Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

First: RIP Valentin Jalomo.

*Toronto was able to surpass the Mets' bid (6yrs/$120-$125m) and ink George Springer to a 6yr/$150m deal last night. Never mind that I said in the Chronicle back in October that 6yrs/$150m would get a deal done with Springer, though it was believed earlier this month that he was looking for a deal in the $175m range. The Astros were apparently never really engaged in bringing back Springer. It was just last Friday that "GM" James Click said, regarding Springer and Brantley, "we're gonna go where the market dictates sometimes and sometimes we are gonna push the market and make it come to us." Apparently the market dictated that the Astros were going to go the Extreme Shift route and play with a one-man outfield. The Astros do not spend in free agency, that's just a fact. 

So what have the Astros lost, besides the spark plug for the best lineup in franchise history? 

*At 26.6 fWAR, Springer was 0.2 fWAR behind Terry Puhl for the 5th-highest fWAR for an outfielder in franchise history. 

*His 174 home runs are 3rd-most for an Astros outfielder, and 5th-highest for an Astro.

*His 134 wRC+ is 2nd in franchise history for an Astros outfielder who played more than 500 games for the team. 

*His .491 SLG and .852 OPS are both 6th all-time in franchise history.

*His 39 leadoff home runs are 2nd in franchise history, 14 behind Hall of Famer Craig Biggio which Springer could have passed by, I don't know, May? 

*His 19 postseason home runs are most all-time, and his 2017 World Series Game 5 home run that came minutes after his diving misplay in centerfield remains my favorite home run of all time. 

Despite me being mentally prepared for Springer's departure back in early November, the Astros also lost a whole lot of their heart and soul. It's entirely possible that Springer just didn't want to play in Houston, and I can get it. I'd been hearing whispers that Springer wanted to be closer to home in Connecticut and now he can live in Toronto, play in Boston and New York 20-ish times a year. Obviously summers in Toronto are preferable to summers in Houston (if you're from Connecticut). 

And let's not discount how fans around baseball have signed a personal services contract with Amnesia when it comes to badass members of the 2017 Astros coming to their team. Not getting booed everywhere has some non-monetary advantages, I would imagine. 

*Oh, and it's entirely possible that Michael Brantley follows Springer to Toronto. This is Drake's fault.

*Since the Astros gave Springer a qualifying offer, they'll get an extra pick after the 4th Round of the 2021 Draft, if that's something that matters to you. 

*Chandler Rome: A face and voice of the Astros' golden era is gone.

*Toronto is scheduled to play at Minute Maid Park May 7-9. 

*At some point soon I'll take a look at possible replacements, but not today.

*Former Astros Great Chris Devenski signed a deal with the Diamondbacks.

*Astros prospect Freudis Nova is trying to get to Houston this year.

*Former Astros Great Joe Musgrove is ready to bring a World Series to his hometown team.

*I read Maria Konnikova's book "The Biggest Bluff" last month and enjoyed it immensely. Here in Wired, she talks about poker and the psychology of uncertainty.

*Outside: A Nepali team just made the first winter summit of K2.

*I wrote about a fake plot to kidnap nuns and force them into sex slavery, Samuel Morse, the "Harper" in "Harper Collins Publishing," an inspiration for Scorsese's "Bill the Butcher," and the 1856 elections, if that's something you're interested in.

*A Musical Selection: