*There's a report from SNY's Andy Martino that the Astros admitted stealing signs but denied using a special camera. Martino:
Believing that other teams used technology to decode signs, a group of Houston Astros asked the organization for access to a live feed from a centerfield camera in 2017. They did not install a new camera for sign-stealing purposes, and the players and coaches involved did not even know which camera the feed was coming from. They wanted a monitor closer to the dugout, because their video room was too far away. They considered their actions to be in line with industry standards. The above narrative represents the picture painted by some of the interviews conducted by MLB investigators this fall, according to sources with direct knowledge of the investigation.
Please do click the link, because there's a lot here, including "harsh discipline for GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch remain in play." Also, Phil Nevin was ready to throw down on Alex Cintron because Cintron flipped off Aaron Boone. How Aaron Boone survived this calamity is beyond me. God bless him and his fractured Being. Thoughts and prayers. Brett Gardner is currently banging the ceiling of his efficiency in Yonkers in solidarity with Boone. His upstairs neighbors are not pleased.
Clayton Kershaw talked to Bleacher Report about The Whole Thing:
When the team and the players are doing what they can on the field to get the signs, that's obviously part of the game. But when technology comes into play, if that is really true, it sucks. Unless we get to the World Series, I don't really care what the punishment is. But it does suck, no matter what.
Nice crocodile tears, Dallas Boy, the Dodgers have been credibly accused of doing the same thing (maybe without the trash can).
Regardless, this isn't going to be pretty.
*The Athletic's Sean Gordon: From a Montreal suburb to The Show, how Abraham Toro's road to MLB could be a precursor for others.
*The Astros avoided arbitration with Lance McCullers, paying him $4.1m - the amount he made in 2019 while he recovered from Tommy John Surgery.
*SNY, who is apparently better at finding Interesting Astros Stories than anyone in southeast Texas (which means someone in New York is straight up willing to straight up Talk), says that Houston's discussions with the Mets regarding Carlos Correa began in November and fizzled out at the Winter Meetings.
*MLB Commissioner and Professional Baseball Hater Rob Manfred - a noted morsel of rodent feces - threatened the very existence of Minor League Baseball. Click that link, it's crazy. Rob Manfred is actually worse than Bud Selig, insane as it is to think about. See if you can't get that Anti-Trust Exemption revoked, there, Robbie. Manfred's actions drew the attention of Senator Bernie Sanders. Probably not ideal.
*The roof, the roof, the roof was on fire. We don't need no water let the motherf
This is coming from the new Rangers ballpark right now. pic.twitter.com/iKxDlCitQa— Anthony Andro (@aandro) December 14, 2019
*Dang the Rangers were only a year and $53m away from landing Anthony Rendon. So close.
*SI's Stephanie Apstein: Why the 2019 Winter Meetings were a success.
*The Winter Meetings: The unhealthiest week of baseball's year.
*A Musical Selection: