So the Winter Zoom Meetings came to an end on Thursday. The Astros lost Jose Alberto Rivera to the Angels in the Rule 5 Draft, as well as outfielder Drew Ferguson to the Mets and catcher Chuckie Robinson to the Reds in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
Rivera will be 24 in 2021 and is coming off a 2019 season in which he threw 75.2IP, 61H/32ER, 95K:36BB, but is most notable for throwing 102mph. He has to stick on the Angels' active roster for the whole season or be returned to the Astros. Prior to 2020, I would not have thought it possible to make it on an MLB roster for the entire season after having never been above Low-A. But who knows. The Angels paid $100,000 for Rivera, and if he gets DFA'd or sent to the minors, the Astros have the opportunity to get him back for $50,000. James Click said the Rule 5 rules mean that there's a good chance they get him back, and they needed the 40-Man Roster flexibility:
If we've added Rivera, we'd obviously be down to one [roster spot], and we've got quite a few holes on the roster to be filled. So we anticipate additional roster changes over the course of the season and had to balance the need for those roster spots over the next couple months with the ability to protect a player like that.
Ferguson was the Astros' 19th Round pick in the 2015 Draft and hit .281/.395/.440 at Round Rock in 2019. Chuckie Robinson was the Astros' 24th Round pick in the 2016 Draft and hit .217/.276/.324 at Corpus in 2019.
The Astros also picked up pitcher Joe Record in the Minor-League Phase of the draft, and pitcher Seth Martinez. Record was the Twins' 27th Round pick in 2017. He threw 55IP in 2019 - his professional debut - between Low-A and High-A, posting a 5.07 ERA/1.27 WHIP, with 68K:16BB.
Martinez, 26, was Oakland's 17th Round pick in 2016. In 2019 Martinez threw 71.2IP, 50H/20ER, 74K:18BB, 2.51 ERA/0.95 WHIP.
*James Click told Chandler Rome that the word for this offseason is "Patience."
If immediately we have not addressed some of the areas that we have identified as needs, that doesn't mean we're not looking to do that later in the offseason. We're going to have that patience and make sure that we wait until we get to Spring Training - or maybe even a little bit into Spring Training based on previous winters - to assess this roster and how this offseason has gone.
He also said the Astros are still engaged in talks with representatives for both George Springer and Michael Brantley. Click here for McTaggart's un-paywalled version of the Click conversation.
*The Athletic's Eno Sarris predicts that the Astros sign catcher J.T. Realmuto to a 4yr/$85m deal this offseason.
Adding Realmuto to an infield that includes Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve could be a masterstroke, particularly if a lack of competing offers suppresses Realmuto's contract requirements.
He also predicts Springer to the Mets for 5yrs/$110m.
*If you look at FanGraphs' Depth Charts for 2021, you see the Astros are projected for a .545 win% - 88-74 - or the 3rd-best record in MLB (and the top team in the AL). I don't know how FanGraphs is doing this, but I'm not going to question it.
*Yahoo's Tim Brown wonders whether the 2021 season will start "on time."
*Great news: Gary Pettis and his world-famous windmill will return in 2021, following his bout with Multiple Myeloma.
*SI: The Hall of Fame must act with more urgency, before it's too late (RIP Dick Allen).
*I acknowledge that the Houston Texans exist and hooboy this SI article on chaplain-turned-GM(?) East Jackerby.
*I am adding "This is Branchburg" to my very skimpy podcast queue.
*The incredibly-true story of Renting A Friend in Tokyo.
*An Italian man had an argument with his wife and then walked 280 miles to "clear his head."
*"Xmas or Bust:" The Untold Story of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
*Leeds United v West Ham at 2pm Central Friday.
*A pre-Musical Selection: I'm obsessed with Kent Nishimura's YouTube channel: