Get used to the slow trickle of information coming out about...well...pick an issue related to the Astros. Chandler Rome has one such article in which MLB instructed MLB employees stationed near the video monitors to listen for loud banging:
Early in the 2019 season, Major League Baseball instructed video monitors working in Minute Maid Park to listen for banging sounds emanating from the Astros' dugout, a person with knowledge of the directive said Monday.
Part of the rule clarification regarding cameras in the outfield and whatnot included that MLB had a group of people at each stadium making sure those rules were followed. That apparently was not the case in other MLB stadiums, indicating that MLB already knew what the Astros had been up to, at least in 2017. One video monitor (and I'm just assuming the "video monitor" is a person, and not a television that Chandler Rome interviewed):
What they told us was we were essentially looking for people who were using technology to steal signs.
The only live feed that is available to teams is in the Replay Room. If a player - from either team - goes in the Replay Room to look at the live feed, then apparently that is noted by MLB officials. Rob Manfred is scheduled to speak at the Owners' Meetings on Thursday in Arlington. Owners' Meetings indicates they will pass around yacht brochures and get together to figure out how to depress the market or screw over 15-year old baseball wunderkinds from the Dominican Republic.
I'm sure nothing will come of this but SI's Legal Analyst Michael McCann says that it's possible for fans to sue the Astros over the sign-stealing thing.
Right quick, let's just clear the air here: There is absolutely more to this story but no one from the Astros is talking about it because they're, you know, under investigation. Some exec from another team is, you know, not under investigation so they're more than happy to talk to whoever wants to know how many grievances they'd like to air. How this is going to work is that the Astros are trying to avoid serious punishment from MLB, so they're going to mind their Ps & Qs, and keep their mouths shut while The Narrative gets built without their voice. Then some decision is going to come down after MLB is done talking to everyone, and perhaps the decision doesn't go the way the other 29 teams wanted it to go down. We don't know. This is how these things play out. So the role on this here blog is to mention what comes out that day, add context where it feels appropriate, and just...let it play out. It's not a popular or clickbait-y thing to just say, "I just want to see where this goes," but I just want to hear the Astros' side of this before swearing off the team or throwing up asterisks. I think the Astros have messed up in the past but all of us (who are reading this) should be willing to hear the side of the Not Interested In Destroying The Astros.
*When Yuli Gurriel signed with the Astros in July 2016 it was extremely inconvenient for me as my wife and I were on our anniversary trip. That said, his five-year, front-loaded deal (2016-2020) included an option to renegotiate his final year, or go to arbitration. On Monday Gurriel renegotiated his 2020 salary at $8.3m - up $300K from his original deal with $250K more available in incentives. Unsure what it means for Gerrit Cole Money.
*Jonathan Mayo has an updated Prospect List for the Rule 5 Draft in December, seeing as how teams have until 7pm on Wednesday to update their 40-Man roster. Mayo says it's obvious that Cristian Javier and Enoli Paredes are no-brainers to get protected, while Ronnie Dawson, Nivaldo Rodriguez, and Taylor Jones could get looks from other clubs. The Astros' current 40-Man Roster has 34 Men, and Garrett Stubbs is the only catcher. I could see the Astros adding two or three to the 40-Man to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft.
*The Brewers unveiled a new logo, which is very similar to their sweet old logo, which is a good time to read this piece in The Athletic on the inspired and melancholy life of logo's creator.
*The Class of 2020 Hall of Fame ballot was released yesterday. Writers have until December 31 to submit their list of (up to) ten nominees. They need 75% of the vote in order to gain induction. Here is the list of Former Astros Greats on the ballot this year (with 2019 Vote% in parentheses):
Roger Clemens (59.5%), Billy Wagner (16.7%), Andy Pettitte (9.9%), Jeff Kent (18.1%), Curt Schilling (60.9%), Carlos Pena (1st time), Bobby Abreu (1st time), Jose Valverde (1st time).
It's a damn shame that Roy Oswalt got dropped last year after getting only 5 (0.9%) votes from the BBWAA.
The NY Times' Tyler Kepner pays tribute to each first-time nominee on the ballot.
Jay Jaffe: The big questions on the 2020 HOF Ballot.
*Terrible news out of New Zealand as 23-year old Minnesota minor-leaguer Ryan Costello was found dead. Natural causes are suspected at this time. Thoughts and prayers with Costello's family and the Twins organization.
*Wired: How does a country just shut off the internet?
*Looking for non-fiction reading material that doesn't involve trash cans? Check Slate's 50 Best Non-Fiction Books of the last 25 years. Cross-Reference it with LitHub's 20 best works of non-fiction this decade.
*A Musical Selection: