Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday Morning Hot Links

Another day in paradise...

*Forrest Whitley talked about reporting to camp at 230 pounds, up 40 from the 190 at which he showed up in 2019. Whitley:
I was just so skinny that by the time the season would reach like June or July, I wasn't ready. That showed in 2018; I got hurt quite a little bit....I think just the general thought process that went into that was just not coming into camp absurdly skinny like I had the past couple years. I remember a couple years ago I came into camp at like 190, so I wanted to lower the workload, eat a little bit more, and focus on coming into camp at a little better weight. 

I'm sitting at about 235, down five since the beginning of the month. Of course, I'm like 5'11" so

*Jim Crane told James Click he can have more money if he needs it. Click:
I know where our payroll is relative to the CBT line. (Crane) just shot it down and was like, 'We're over it, that's fine because we're going to win, and if you need more for us to win, I'll get you more.

Spotrac has the Astros' payroll at $214m to $231m. The line in which you pay the tax in 2020 is $208m, with a further penalty if you go over $228m. $37.3m is coming off the books after the season when Brantley ($16m), Reddick ($13m), and Gurriel ($8.3m) become free agents, with the possibility of a further reduction should the Astros not re-sign George Springer ($21m in 2020). I love savings. Love it when my favorite team has coupons. Getting a jersey embroidered with "Savings" on the back.

*Rob Manfred, on punishing the Astros' players themselves:
Look, it's impossible, given the facts that we found - and, frankly, the statements of the Astros' players since the decision came out - to escape the fact that, independent of what the GM did, the manager did, (the players) had an obligation to play by the rules, and they didn't do it. I understand when people say, 'The players should have been punished.' I understand why people feel that way, because they did not do the right thing...If I was in a world where I could have found all the facts, without granting immunity, I would have done that.

Manfred says throwing at Astros' hitters is "dangerous, and not helpful to the current situation."

Manfred, on the use of buzzers in 2019:
Can I tell you 100 percent certain that it didn't happen? No. You can never know that. People tell you what they tell you. I will tell you, the evidence on this issue was as consistent in the direction that nothing was going on as the evidence was consistent in the direction that there was inappropriate behavior in (2017 and 2018).

So stay with me here: The part of the quote that, and this is shocking I know, people are keying in on is the first part, where Manfred says he can't be 100% certain the Astros weren't wearing buzzers in 2019. But he goes on to say, if you take the time to read the whole quote, that the evidence was as consistent for them not wearing buzzers as it was consistent that they did shady crap in 2017 and 2018. In other words, Manfred's investigation probably got that right, since the Astros themselves are coming out and admitting it.

It is incredibly shocking to me that people are running to Jomboy's defense and taking what he throws against the wall as gospel, while ignoring evidence to the contrary. I can't quite put my finger on a parallel in society where people believe the guy they like is telling them the truth in the face of evidence to the contrary, and vilifying the people who provide said contrary evidence. It's right on the tip of my tongue. I'll figure it out, I guess, after a little more coffee.

Anyway, here's where the buzzer theory originated: Reddit user meme-engineer on October 24:
I had a dream a couple weeks back when the Astros were playing the Rays, it was that after the post season finished a news story came out that the Astros had a team of people deciphering signs with cameras and then that team relayed the signal to transponders that were worn in the cleats of the top (trusted not to snitch) Astros players, the transponders would vibrate according to what pitch was coming (example: once for fastball, twice for off-speed). But it was just a dream haha. That wouldn't happen.

*Say, what's happening with Mike Fiers:
Sunday, The Chronicle asked Fiers, the public whistleblower in the Astros' cheating scandal, if he'd like to respond to Correa's prompting, and Fiers politely declined comment. Then, before walking away, Fiers added, 'We did it as a team.'

*The A's had filed a formal complaint to MLB about the Astros before Fiers' allegations were revealed in The Athletic, and nothing was done.

*Yu Darvish says the Astros should lose their title. Darvish:
It's like the Olympics. When a player cheats, you can't have a gold medal, right? But they still have a World Series title. It feels weird.

Darvish threw 3.1IP in the 2017 World Series in two starts - Game 3 in Houston and Game 7 in Los Angeles - and allowed 9H/9R (8ER), 0K:2BB, 2HR, and threw 61 of his 96 pitches for strikes.

*Chris Sale:
Yeah, it sucks. But what am I going to do? Am I going to hold them at gunpoint? Am I going to sit here and curse them out through a bunch of cameras? If I have something to say to them, I know those guys. I can get one of their numbers and text them and talk to them face-to-face or whatever. It happened. What are you going to do about it? You can sit around and cry about it or I can get my ass to work and try and win a championship.

*GM James Click says the focus is on rebuilding trust:
Every Astros employee, every single one of us, is absolutely committed to making sure that that kind of thing never happens here again. That's our focus. There will be absolutely zero tolerance, no tolerance whatsoever, for that kind of behavior in the Houston Astros organization ever again. And furthermore, that would be the case whether there had been an investigation or not. Any organization that I'm a part of would be absolutely 100 percent in compliance with the rules. There'll be no question about that.

*Yahoo's Tim Brown: The Astros should stop apologizing and go full heel.

*Will Harris is "in a tough spot" in Washington. Harris:
Oh, man. They're obviously my friends, and guys that I consider family, guys I will have a relationship with the rest of my life, hopefully. And now watching them go through this...

*MLB will restrict access to video during games. Dugout phone calls will be recorded. Bo Bichette, on technology in the games:
In a way it would be dumb to not take advantage of what we have, but at the same time I think that...personally I'd be fine if there was no technology in there whatsoever. I mean they did it back in the day, why can't we do it now? So I'm sure part of the reason (the Astros) did what they did, it is because of how easy the access was to it. And for me, I'd have no problem taking every bit of it away.

*California Little Leagues are banning the use of "Astros" in naming their teams.

*All the ways teams could use the 26th spot on their active roster.

*What you need to know about the rule changes for 2020.

*Outside: How to deal with the regret of a missed adventure.

*Vice: This filmmaker believes Tupac is alive and living in New Mexico.

*A Musical Selection:

Note: 3:03 into this song is one of my favorite musical moments of all time.