Okay, some news! That doesn't involve sign-stealing! For now!
*The Astros traded Jake Marisnick on Thursday to the New York Mets for two prospects. In 631 career games for the Astros (90.9% of his career MLB PAs were with Houston), Marisnick hit .232/.285/.396 with 53 HR / 173 RBI, 505K:91BB. Marisnick's career-high was a 1.8 fWAR in 2015. In 2018-2019 Marisnick posted a career 2.1 fWAR. Of course his defense - and his hair - was show-stopping and above-average. We all will miss Jake Marisnick.
The two prospects:
Blake Taylor is a 24-year old lefty pitcher who transitioned to the bullpen in 2019. Regard this 2013 2nd Round pick by Pittsburgh, in 2017-2018: 172.1IP, 166H/99ER, 155K:103BB, 5.17 ERA / 1.56 WHIP.
Now, 2019: 66.2IP, 49H/16ER, 74K:24BB, 3.38 ERA / 1.10 WHIP. Did I mention he's a lefty? He also replaces Marisnick on the 40-Man Roster, which still stands at 38.
Kenedy Corona is a 19-year old outfielder (he'll be 20 in March) who just finished up his first season of professional baseball, splitting time between the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League, with four games in the New York-Penn League. In the GCL Corona hit .311/.401/.483 with 25K:17BB in 181 PAs.
What does this mean for the Astros? In the bestest of case scenarios, Taylor could be a lefty option in the bullpen. For the immediate roster, however, obviously it opens up a spot in the outfield. Luhnow:
We really like Jake and he's been such an integral part of all of our success. He's played an important role on our team, but when you look at the number of outfield options we have next year, we do have a lot of options.
Verdict: True! In addition to the final year of Michael Brantley, Josh Reddick, and (gulp!) George Springer, the Astros have Myles Straw and Kyle Tucker.
Jake Kaplan thinks that, between the above five, the 2020 outfield is set.
On July 31, 2014 the Astros sent Jarred Cosart, Enrique Hernandez, and Austin Wates to Miami for Marisnick, Colin Moran, Francis Martes, and a Comp Round A pick in 2015.
Colin Moran was traded to Pittsburgh, in part, for Gerrit Cole.
Francis Martes is still with the Astros.
The Comp Round A pick in 2015 became Daz Cameron who was traded to Detroit, in part, for Justin Verlander.
*The Astros are targeting pitchers and catchers at the Winter Meetings, a little over two months before pitchers and catchers report. Luhnow:
I'm excited the market seems to be moving more quickly this year and we're certainly going to be having all the relevant conversations in San Diego and I'd love to make a transaction or two. We'll have to wait and see how it goes. It is encouraging teams are active and players and agents are willing to do things earlier [than] they have in the past two years. That all bodes well for a more active San Diego Meetings.
*Speaking of pitchers, ESPN's Jeff Passan has a report in which sources tell him that the Yankees are making the signing of Gerrit Cole a priority. Passan:
The Yankees' fondness for the 29-year-old Cole, whose fantastic 2019 season with the Houston Astros set him up to smash David Price's record contract for a pitcher of $217 million, was only reinforced during a meeting with him earlier this week, sources said...New York and the Los Angeles Angels, a team similarly smitten with Cole and in even greater need of pitching than the Yankees, are prepared for a bidding war that executives expect will reach well beyond $250 million, according to sources.
*You should really read David J. Roth in The New Republic on the Astros and the McKinsey connection. The close:
All those merciless cullings and endless organizational refinements, all that data and all the brilliant minds and machines working it over, all resolving to some underpaid grunt in a folding chair whaling away on a garbage can because the members of the team's brain trust of thoroughbred data nerds simply took it for granted that they could get away with it. All that data, all those numbers, all those shifting variables continually delivered the same answer: What are you going to do, stop us?
*Heeeeey! Ryan Pressly got married!
*Abraham Toro earned the prestigious Canadian Offensive Minor-League Player of the Year award.
*The great Sam Miller broke down a single play to determine how WAR is calculated.
*GQ: Chaos at the top of the world.
*A Musical Selection: