Working on a post for tomorrow of reflections of the 2019 season a week after it ended. Until then:
*Jake Kaplan: This winter might be Jeff Luhnow's biggest challenge yet.
*Brian McTaggart has a notebook in which:
-Jim Crane is ready to "make a run" at Gerrit Cole, who received a qualifying offer. This means that, if he signs with another team, the Astros will get a compensatory pick (possibly off-setting the loss of a pick if the Astros sign a player who received a qualifying offer). Luhnow:
We're probably over the line [the so-called Luxury Tax] at this point without any added additions. Fortunately, Jim's been really open to different investment ideas depending on how we justify it and how it helps our team. At the end of the day, we're not going to know our payroll until we start next year. There's going to be opportunities to improve the team.
In this video, Crane said "it's a possibility" to go over the luxury tax.
-Hitting coach Alex Cintron will manage Gigantes de Carolina in the Puerto Rican Winter League.
*Finalists for major AL awards: Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez.
*Finalists for AL Manager of the Year: Rocco Baldelli, Aaron Boone, Kevin Cash.
*Lance McCullers was reinstated from the 60-Day DL. Kent Emanuel was added to the 40-Man roster.
*The Astros declined Chris Devenski's $2.825m option for 2020. He's still arbitration-eligible.
*What The Heck Bobby has a good look at whomst the Astros could lose in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.
*Tom Verducci: Seven moments that flipped the World Series. You don't have to read this.
*Ken Rosenthal spent the last part of his offseason column lobbying for harsh punishment to come the Astros' way for Brandon Taubman.
*A Musical Selection: