Showing posts with label PDC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PDC. Show all posts

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Thursday Morning Hot Links

*The Astros and Rangers are checking in on catcher and Former Astros Great Jason Castro, according to Jon Morosi.

*The Rule 5 Draft is today, because the Winter Meetings would have - in any other year - been this week. I guess the Winter Meetings still happened, but, like, all on Zoom. And I guarantee you the Mets talked for at least 90 seconds on Zoom before having to be told that their mic was muted. The Astros have the 15th pick in the Rule 5 Draft.

*'s Must-Watch Topic for the Astros is whether or not they can re-sign Springer. "Can" they, and "Will" they, or "Does Springer even want to stay in Houston?" are also other ways to ask that question. The Mets are "engaged" with George Springer.

*Will Leitch has Jose Altuve as the Astros' prime bounce-back candidate in 2021.

*Brian McTaggart has the Astros' Top Five Winter Meetings moves. 

*As Major League Baseball continues its full-frontal assault on the fabric of the sport itself, the Astros announced their minor-league affiliates for 2021 and beyond: Sugar Land (Triple-A), Corpus (Double-A), adding Asheville (High-A), which is replacing Fayetteville (Low-A) at that level. Asheville - one of the more historic minor-league franchises - was actually an Astros' affiliate in 1967, 1982 and 1983, but had been a Colorado affiliate since 1994. I guess in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter, but I'm surprised that Fayetteville (who has a year-old stadium) got dropped a level. Fare thee well Tri-City and Quad Cities. Jake Kaplan has a good breakdown of how the Astros' minor-league affiliates are structured now.

The future of the Lancaster Jethawks, a Former Astros Great Affiliate, is in limbo.

*Joe Smith talked about his decision to sit out the 2020 season, returning in 2021, and the passing of his mother in August.

*Dusty Baker is the guest on tonight's Astroline.

*SI: Do the White Sox have baseball's best rotation?

*Pitchfork: Why do we even listen to new music?

*ESPN's Sam Khan on the demise of the Southwestern Conference, 25 years later.

*Ars Technica: Meet the new generation of puzzle-makers bringing mystery to your door.

*Hot Links are going to be hit or miss for a little bit as soon I'll actually about to be able to start writing a manuscript I've spent seven years researching, on Andrew Jackson's 1833 guano-crazy tour of New England. My goal is to be done with it before the 2021 season starts, and then I can blow you up on social media asking you to pre-order my book.

*A Musical Selection:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Morning Hot Links

I was without wifi for a couple of days while on a work thing. I hate missing a day, not because I feel guilty about it (I don't, and actually sort of enjoyed a little break), but because it's actually kind of easier. I know where I left off from the previous day, so the four or five little tactics I use to find what I feel are the most interesting articles become compounded when it's been since, say, Thursday morning. Anyway, posting shouldn't be too terribly sporadic over Thanksgiving. Hope you had a good weekend and, if you're traveling, please do stay safe. (Admittedly this is a dumb saying. "Stay safe," as though you're reading this while driving a car full of your loved ones over Monteagle Mountain and thinking to yourself, "Oh, yes, well if AC says to be safe, I should probably put my phone down.")

Random 2017 Astros fact:

1st-Place votes, MVP (in either league) since 1993:
Albert Pujols: 32, 2009
Barry Bonds: 32, 2002
Joey Votto: 31, 2010
Bryce Harper: 30, 2015
Mike Trout: 30, 2014
Barry Bonds: 30, 2001
Sammy Sosa: 30, 1998
Kris Bryant: 29, 2016
Chipper Jones: 29, 1999
Andrew McCutchen: 28, 2013
Barry Bonds: 28, 2003
Ken Griffey: 28, 1997
Ken Caminiti: 28, 1996
Jeff Bagwell: 28, 1994
Frank Thomas: 28, 1993
Jose Altuve: 27, 2017
Buster Posey: 27, 2012
Joe Mauer, 27: 2009

*From a couple of days ago: Hunter Atkins writes how Jose Altuve captured Houston's heart a long time ago.

*Jon Heyman says the Astros are trying to sign A.J. Hinch to a long-term extension. Hinch is under contract for 2018 with an option for 2019.

*The Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan wonders how the Astros can be Not Like the Cubs and avoid a World Series hangover in 2018.

*And I guess the Chicago baseball writers were at the same bar because here's the Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer with the lesson the 2017 Cubs provide for the 2018 Astros.

*I hope you got to read JMay's "The Astro Way" post.

*Jake Kaplan writes that the Astros plan on Gattis being the primary DH in 2018. Luhnow:
I think we'll have some options for backup catcher next year that will allow Gattis to primarily be a DH and third catcher, which is probably ultimately the best role for him.

*The Round Rock Express denied a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article saying that they're planning on telling the Rangers next month that they'll flip back to the Astros following the 2018 season, when their PDC expires. Houston's PDC with Fresno expires following the 2018 season, as well.

*Oooooh Lance McCullers was not happy with a couple of Kansas City AL MVP voters who did not give Altuve 1st place on their ballot. The Kansas City Star's Rustin Dodd explained why he voted for Cleveland's Jose Ramirez over Altuve (2nd) and Judge (3rd).

*Kyle Tucker went 2x4 in the Arizona Fall League championship game yesterday. Tucker:
I wanted to come here and work on some stuff and get a little bit better, and work on stuff that I can now do in the rest of the offseason and get ready for next year.

*Josh Reddick went home to southeast Georgia, got a hero's welcome, and broke ground on a $1m community baseball field, which Reddick completely funded.

*Astros minor-leaguer Carlos Pimentel got popped for Stanozolol and will be suspended for 56 games in 2018. Pimentel, 23, made his debut in 2017 throwing 19.1IP, 18H/10ER, 21K:6BB for the GCL Astros, where he was 2.6 years older than his average competition.

*Watch this:

*Thoughts and prayers to Scott McCaughey.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Morning Hot Links

Note: The Hot Links are late this morning because for an hour I thought the air conditioning at our house went out. It healed itself, and the kingdom rejoiced. 

*Mike Fiers and a big 6th inning were the keys to the Astros' 5-1 win over Oakland last night. The Astros guaranteed their first series win in their last five series (Boston, Arlington, Anaheim, Kansas City).

Fiers threw 6.1IP, 3H/3ER, 5K:3BB and got three GIDPs. The Astros are 26-8 on the road this season.

I felt really good. Just needed to throw in the zone a little bit more. I was able to get back, get back to throwing a lot of strikes. Honestly, they did a good job of taking a lot of pitches, taking some close curveballs, working the count deep...But overall, it was a good outing, and I'll take that every time. 

*Every Astros starter got a hit, except for George Springer who was 0x5. Bregman was 1x2 with 2BB. A's starter Sean Manaea:
They're unbelievable. One through nine, you don't catch any breaks. They've got power, they've got speed. They're a really, really good ball club, and they're playing really good baseball right now. 

*Oakland is searching for answers against the Astros, who have won nine straight games in Oakland and 14 of the last 15 games. Stephen Vogt:
Any time you are getting beat by the same team over and over, it's frustrating. But that is a really good team and they are going to win a lot more games. We have a chance to take one and salvage the series and it will still have been a pretty good homestand. 


*Correa had a great game, both offensively and defensively.

*Jose Altuve got a hit off Sean Manaea, his first, and is now 1x14. There are now just two pitchers Altuve has faced 10+ times without a hit: Wade Davis and Bronson Arroyo.

*Reliever Jandel Gustave had Tommy John Surgery yesterday morning.

*No one has in baseball has seen more sliders than Alex Bregman.

*"I think Marwin can be in the conversation among the best players in the big leagues." - Lance McCullers. This is an excellent profile on Marwin.

*San Antonio announced that they will be a Triple-A franchise in 2019, sparking rumors that there could be some reshuffling - possibly with the Ryan-owned Round Rock franchise returning to Houston. Houston's PDC with Fresno expires after the 2018 season.

*13th Round pick Jake Meyers has signed for "somewhere around $125,000," or the exact number the Astros can sign a pick from Rounds 11-40 without it counting against their overall bonus pool. Check the updated 2017 Draft page for details.

*Doug Fister, anyone? No, okay.

*A Canadian sniper killed an ISIS target from two miles away. I demand a movie be made about this, eh?

*Soon you'll be able to visit secret WW1 tunnels underneath London.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday Morning Hot Links

Note: A weird bout of insomnia has this up super-early. It's possible I'll update these as new relevant stories get posted later today.

*James Hoyt gave up a go-ahead three-run homer in the 6th, and the Astros lost 4-2. They're trash again and we're dumb for believing in them. Sad!

Hoyt, on the pitch to Russell Martin:
I felt like that was the right pitch to throw, and I was confident in the pitch. It was maybe a little up, but the slider is what I wanted to go to there and he gets me. I'd like to think next time I get him there, or it goes my way.

Hinch, on Hoyt:
He made one bad pitch today and it cost us three runs.

*McHugh, to Hoyt:
You could throw that pitch to Martin another 10 times and he might hit it like that once. You can't really beat yourself up about it. You can't go away from the game plan. You make your pitch and you've got to live with the results. 

*The Tigers beat the Rangers, the Mariners beat the A's. The Astros remain 7.5 GB of Oak Cliff (1.0 GB of Seattle). The Astros are 4.5 GB of Baltimore for WC1 and 3.0 GB of Boston for WC2, with Detroit and Seattle between them.

*A.J. Reed ran into a Toronto cop.

*Teoscar Hernandez talked about how he turned his swing around this past off-season.

*Fresno lost to Iowa 9-5, but Jon Kemmer hit a 2-run homer and a 2-run triple. He's hitting .360 in his last 25 games.

*Fresno and the Astros have extended their PDC through the 2018 season.

*After two months of arm soreness and a team-implemented suspension, David Paulino is set to rejoin Corpus Christi.

*The official scorer changed a 3rd-inning error into a double to extend Francisco Mejia's hitting streak to 50 games.

*Louisiana is in trouble, y'all.

Before you go: This person got a Chris Devenski tattoo:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

*Hey! More one-run road losses! This is fun! For the 3rd time in four years, the Astros are 6-14.

*The Batguy wrote up what he sees wrong with the Astros.

*I took a look at the week of last Monday to the Sunday night Red Sox loss.

*Colby Rasmus became the 3rd consecutive Astro to win Player of the Week honors. Crazy for a team that is playing like hammered dog crap right now.

*The Astros went 2x9 w/RISP, left eight on base, made two baserunning blunders, and are now 2-8 on the road in 2016. Oh, and that's 28 strikeouts between the 12-inning loss and last night's series opening loss to the Mariners.

*Doug Fister walked seven (!) batters last night. That's the most walks in a game by a pitcher - any pitcher - since last May. He walked 24 batters in 103IP last season, and walked seven batters from July 23-season's end, a span of 34IP. His previous career-high for walks in a start was set on April 30, 2011, when he walked five Red Sox.

*Because the rotation is playing like cotton-headed ninnymuggins, the Astros are forced to carry 13 pitchers in an effort to keep the bullpen from reaching their season limits by the All-Star Break, resulting in a 41-game losing streak because Jose Altuve has to come in and throw three innings a night. Hinch:
Obviously with our starters not getting as deep into games as we're accustomed to, it puts a lot of stress on the bullpen. To have that extra arm down there, for the sake of Devenski in the middle of the innings, for the sake of guys not having to go three or four days in a row, 13 pitchers sure makes it a lot easier.

*Tyler White admitted his hot start to the season has contributed to his cool-down period (.274 AVG, .919 OPS tho):
I think the five home runs might have gotten to my head a little bit. I'm like, 'Hey, I can hit a home run every time. Just trying to do too much.

*The Washington Post: The Astros were World Series favorites, now they're awful.

*Jim Crane was in Fayetteville, North Carolina yesterday to scout out the possibility of building a minor-league stadium there. The High-A Carolina League seems like a natural fit here. The Astros have maintained a PDC with the California League Lancaster JetHawks for eight seasons, and the current PDC runs out at the end of the season. A new ballpark in Fayetteville wouldn't be ready until 2018, so the Astros could feasibly sign a two-year PDC with Lancaster before moving to the Carolina League. If it even happens at all.

*Friend of AC Chris Kusiolek wrote up some scouting notes on Lancaster.

*A twist in the new MLB war on PEDs.

*40 years ago yesterday, Rick Monday saved the American flag from being burned on the field. Here's the story from Vice Sports.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Morning Hot Links

Hear's youre kneed two no lynx (sorry, that won't happen again):

*Chad Qualls is helping Josh Fields with his mechanics while Luhnow notes that the bullpen would be better if the starters weren't throwing 100 pitches in five innings, and the starters would be better if the offense wasn't hitting .210.

*Bo Porter and Nolan Ryan went to see Tyler Kolek last night (but Silsbee's Brayden Griffin threw a complete game, allowed two hits and struck out ten).

*Jon Daniels, on the Round Rock-back-to-Astros affiliation:
You'd have to ask, 'What's in it for the Rangers?' I'm sure the Astros would like to get back in there, but why would we leave? The Austin area is a fast-growing market, and we've worked hard to establish a strong foothold there...We've made a lot of gains down there, and you can definitely attribute some of those (gains) to the affiliation with the Express. Of course, it helps that the Rangers have been a consistent winner.

Ohhhh. F that. RedHawks president Michael Byrnes:
I believe (the Rangers) intention is to stay there through 2018.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Triple-A affiliate moving back to Round Rock?

There is a (paywalled) article in the Austin American-Statesman from over the weekend which is nicely summarized by this un-paywalled post in Ballpark Digest about the Astros potentially moving their Triple-A affiliate back to Round Rock in time for the 2015 season.

It makes perfect sense, what with the House of Ryan firmly back with Houston, to switch their affiliate to Round Rock when the Professional Development Contract with Oklahoma City expires at the end of this season. That said, the Rangers signed a PDC with Round Rock through 2016, but - as Ballpark Digest notes - those PDCs can be terminated if both sides agree to the termination of that contract.

One would have to wonder if that would put the affiliation in Montgomery County story to bed. The Astros purchased Camp Strake last summer with the idea of purchasing a Triple-A team - likely New Orleans - there. But Reid Ryan made it known last September that he would prefer to move the Astros' affiliation back to Round Rock.

Looks like Reid may be able to talk Crane into it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Morning Link Dump

Here is what you would probably enjoy knowing on this absolutely freezing morning.

*Fantastic read from the Crawfish Boxes on the Great Delino DeShields Debate

*Baseball America wonders if the 16-30 Astros prospects in 2014 are better than the 1-15 Astros prospects in 2010.

*Jim Callis says the Correa/Appel tandem is the best hitter/pitcher prospect combo in baseball.

*Jesse Crain is about ten days away from beginning his throwing regimen

*Jim Crane told reporters in OKC that the Astros may extend their PDC with Oklahoma City (it expires following this season). Crane:
We've made it clear as an organization we'd like to own our Triple-A team, but right now there's nothing in the works. Our team is here ... We like this market. This is a great ballpark and these folks (Mandalay) do a great job.

*The Oklahoman posted an interview with Roger Clemens.

*This is what happens when Fantasy Writers don't really know much about a team.

*Bud Norris told Orioles101 that he is grateful to be in Baltimore, and "was very blessed and thankful for my time in Houston but losing 100+ games 4 seasons in a row was very hard on me, the team, coaches, and the city." (Ed. Note: Four seasons in a row?)

Monday, August 19, 2013

The case for keeping George Springer at OKC

It's not a popular opinion. The Crawfish Boxes talked about it this morning. It's not even popular among the staff at Astros County. So here it is, if you'll allow me to explain myself...I think the Astros are doing the right thing by keeping George Springer at Oklahoma City, at least through the conclusion of the Pacific Coast League playoffs.

Jeff Luhnow, Friday:
I see him as a guy who’s going to come to Spring Training next year competing for our every day center fielder job, and I see him as a big part of our team next year. That’s really the message I want our fans to focus on, not worry too much about the date he comes up. There’s a lot of factors that go into it, and we’ll make the best decision for the organization.

Let's see where we are right now (the morning of Monday, August 19) and see if we can't figure out some of these 'factors': Oklahoma City is 73-56, six games up on Albuquerque with 15 games to play in 15 days.  The season ends on Labor Day, September 2nd. Tonight and tomorrow's games are against Albuquerque at home. Obviously, it's possible to lose six games on an opponent with 15 to play. OKC is six up on Round Rock, as well, and the RedHawks have a five-game series at Round Rock coming up from Wednesday - Sunday.

The road to the playoffs is not a cake-walk, but with ten of their remaining 15 games to be played at home, where Oklahoma City has a league-best .653 Win% and haven't lost at home since the All-Star Break (15-0), the remaining schedule is definitely in their favor.

George Springer has been the catalyst for the team. He moved from Corpus to OKC on June 27, when the RedHawks were 41-37. Since George Springer showed up, Oklahoma City is 32-19. He's hitting .314/.431/.663, and for the season (combined with 73 games at Corpus) he has 35 home runs and 39 stolen bases. Earlier this month he became the first minor-leaguer since Grant Desme in 2009 to join the 30/30 club.

I know what you're about to ask: Can he make the 40/40 club? He could. He's averaging 4.26 plate appearances per game, and with 15 games remaining (barring a day off), would receive about 62 plate appearances before the playoffs start. Springer is averaging a home run every 13 plate appearances for the RedHawks - one every 12.5 plate appearances in August, one every 12.33 in July/August combined. So, yes, it is statistically reasonable to assume that Springer could hit five more homers by Labor Day.

Should he get five more jacks and one more stolen base, he will be the first minor-leaguer since Jerry Witte hit 46 home runs and stole 75 bases for Double-A 1946.

So let's stop here for a second: All season long I've been harping on the Astros trying to keep their minor-league affiliates happy. After years of losing, and not seeing top prospects (substitute "top" with "any" and you'll see how most fans felt about the affiliation with the Astros).

Back in March, when word first came out that maybe the Astros would buy a Triple-A franchise and move them closer to Houston, baseball fans in Oklahoma City were not happy. They had just lost the Rangers' affiliation, which had begun in 1983, for the Astros...who started their affiliation in 2011 with a 68-75 record, 18.5 games back of Round Rock. There was improvement in 2012, but the RedHawks missed the playoffs by a game and a half. Then they find out heading into this season that the Astros might leave them? One guy ominously said, of Crane's tentative plan to move the affiliation out of Oklahoma City, "That would be the biggest mistake if he ever did that."

What we've seen so far with this regime is an effort to make the affiliates - and their fans - happy. See Jon Singleton's week-long stint in Quad Cities, Carlos Correa's season-long campaign in Low-A, and Mark Appel's extended stay at Quad Cities.

This is what blew up the partnership in Round Rock and Lexington: Losing. Former Express GM/Current Astros President Reid Ryan said in 2010, "There are a lot of parts to putting together a good experience, and winning on a consistent basis is a big component of that." He also said, "Fans here don't necessarily care who the team is connected to, but they do care about the players and about enjoying the game. That's tough to do when your team isn't winning." In that second link we find that Round Rock's staff actually applauded the end of the 2010 season (the team's 5th straight losing season, one that saw the 2010 Express finish with the worst record in the PCL). Manager Marc Bombard said of the 2010 team, "The players are disappointed, the staff's disappointed, but you do the best with what you have." Now, OKC has the chance to win their first league title since 1996.

Following the 2012 season, the Low-A Lexington Legends ended their Professional Development Contract with the Astros - with whom they had been affiliated since the team's beginning in 2001. Why? Losing.

The PDC with Oklahoma City ends at the end of the 2014 season. Back in April we talked about the timeline for any potential new stadium/PDC agreement, and decided that - barring some massive, unforeseen development - 2017 is the earliest that it could happen, which would mean that the Astros would need a PDC with a Triple-A affiliate for 2015-2016 (the minimum length of an agreement). OKC has a very real chance to win the Pacific Coast League - provided George Springer is on the field for the pennant race.

Keep also in mind that the Astros are praising OKC's coaching staff seemingly every chance they get. Bo Porter did so following Brad Peacock's strong start Friday night against the Angels. Luhnow said that Springer's success is a "testament to our scouts and player development people." By bringing Springer up to Houston, say, would that sink Tony DeFrancesco's (and the other coaches') chance to win a ring? That coaching staff is solid, and is on board with what the Astros are building. Think of the Astros that got sent down from Houston, got some work in at Oklahoma City, and came back better. That's a coaching staff you want to have around to reinforce development. Do you want to piss them off by taking their best player away with two weeks left in the season?

We should also take into account the experience George Springer himself gets in a pennant race/playoff push. He's getting PAs against older, more experienced pitchers (405 PAs this season are against older pitchers), as well as younger players (127 PAs). If you're younger than George Springer at Double- or Triple-A, then you likely have a bright future ahead of you. Springer is playing in a pennant race, where there are no off-days for the rest of the season, against high-quality opponents. Then the playoffs presumably start. He'd be rising and grinding, of course, no matter where he is. But that playoff experience is important for a player's development.

Should the RedHawks make the playoffs, under the PCL playoff rules, the Conference Championship is a Best-of-Five series and Games 1&2 would be at OKC beginning September 4. Games 3-5 (whichever ones are necessary) would be on the road (currently Omaha is five up on Memphis). Should they make it to the Best-of-Five PCL Championship series, Game 1 is on the 8th day following the close of the regular season, meaning Tuesday, September 10. This would mean that the PCL Championship would presumably end no later than Sunday, September 15.

If the Astros wait until the end of the playoffs and call George Springer up immediately, he would still get two weeks with Houston that would include series with the Reds, Angels, Indians, Rangers, and Yankees. Is two weeks a lot of experience? No. Would you rather Springer get the experience of playing in a pennant race and playoff situation at 23 years old (with a chance to be the first 40/40 player in 57 years), or playing in Houston, where the team is 42 games under .500?

Two weeks ago I felt differently. I wanted Springer up, LIKE, YESTERDAY. But now, I'm okay with the Astros letting him finish out the season, get experience in that pressure, and end the season in Houston, spending a couple of weeks with the big league club. It's a matter of two weeks, anyway.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Reese Ryan takes over as CEO of Round Rock

Answering one of the talking points of What Happens To Round Rock in the wake of the Reid Ryan hiring, the Express named Ryan's younger brother Reese as President/CEO of the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate. Reese Ryan was the team's Chief Financial Officer.

Reese Ryan, on his brother:
He's the visionary. He's a big thinker. I've always been more of the operations, details side. He set out a vision and I look forward to executing the game plan we've set forth here. We're going to try to continue to earn [Express fans'] trust and treat them right.

The PDC between Round Rock and the Rangers runs through the 2018 season.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Everything in that Baseball Digest post was true

Earlier today we linked to a post from Baseball Digest that disputed a Chronicle report and said that Jim Crane was trying to buy the New Orleans Zephyrs (something that, from the comments, a few of you are not really happy about) and move the team to The Woodlands/Montgomery County.

Turns out they were totally right.

Crane told McTaggart that it's going to take a few years, but basically here are the steps that need to be taken:

1. Get the cities/counties (Crane mentions The Woodlands and Conroe) involved, and agree on funding.
2. Build a stadium.
3. Buy a franchise.
3. Move them.

Obviously, the Astros can't buy the Zephyrs and leave them in New Orleans, if they're currently affiliated with a team in Oklahoma City. The current Professional Development Contract with OKC ends in 2014. And, hey, so does the Zephyrs agreement with the Marlins. So you could have the Astros purchase the Zephyrs, sign up for a two-year PDC for 2015-2016 in New Orleans, build a stadium in north Houston, and move them for the 2017 season.

Turns out Zephyrs GM Mike Schline is surprised that it's gone public this early in the process.

"I was a little surprised that its gone public at this preliminary of a stage, but (owner) Don (Beaver) has had discussions with people in the past and discussions are discussions. That's where it's at right now. If someone comes up with the right price and the right package, he'll sell the team."

The linked Advocate report says that the Zephyrs' current stadium lease ends in 2016. So it's all sort of mapped out, isn't it?

Also, the Astros are involved in planning to build new Spring Training facilities ready for when the agreement with Osceola County ends in 2016. Crane:

"There's a number of teams that have expressed interest, and the Blue Jays are one of them. Again, we're waiting on state approval and city approval, which isn't done yet. Once that's done, a two-team complex there would anchor that area with the Marlins and Cardinals, and Mets up the street. That would be a pretty good situation for everybody, and those teams are very supportive of somebody trying to get something done there."

Friday, March 8, 2013

OKC fans aren't very happy with Jim Crane right now

Another day, another set of people Jim Crane is pissing off. While you, Texas-based fan, may be excited about the Astros moving a minor-league franchise to a town near you, that means OKC residents aren't so excited about the possibility of losing their team.

One OKC resident/baseball fan:
"That would be the biggest mistake if he ever did that."

But here's the thing. The Astros have to either own a team or coerce another owner to move their team to The Woodlands (or wherever). Mandalay Baseball Properties owns the Oklahoma City RedHawks. And, from Crane's comments yesterday regarding the Ryan-Sanders Group owning the Hooks, I wonder if Crane/Astros are looking to buy their own Triple-A franchise.

OKC fans don't really need to worry about losing baseball, either. The PDC (Professional Development Contract) the Astros signed with OKC last fall runs through 2014. Bricktown is such a great park/location/facility that some team is going to sign up with them should the Astros leave.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Astros might move Triple-A team to The Woodlands

In a remarkable turn, Jim Crane told Brian Smith that the Astros are entertaining the idea of moving the Triple-A franchise to The Woodlands.

"Something north of the Woodlands would definitely work. When we were in Austin with the Triple-A, we got a lot of bang for our buck and the most for our TV market. Unfortunately, we’re not there.”

And, oooh, here's more from Crane about the Nolan Ryan (group)-owned Corpus Christi Hooks:
“That’s not necessarily the way we like to see that.” 

Click the link, because there's an awful lot to unpack here.

First, The Woodlands as a possibility for the Triple-A team is interesting simply because Drayton seemed to go out of his way to avoid that. Remember back in 2011 when Drayton vetoed a minor-league team in Sugar Land (paving the way for the Skeeters - who had two, TWO, nationally televised games to the Astros' zero nationally televised games).

Here's what we wrote at the time (link above):
This is tremendously short-sighted. It takes 48 minutes to drive from the Ballpark in Arlington to Frisco, TX. It's 46 minutes from Turner Field to Gwinnett, GA - home of the Braves' Triple-A affiliate. It's 39 minutes from Camden Yards to Bowie, MD - home of the Orioles' Double-A affiliate - and 44 minutes to Aberdeen, MD, where the Orioles have their NYPL short-season team.

Hurt attendance? If your favorite prospect was playing 45 minutes down the road, and climbed the ladder to Minute Maid, wouldn't you check out the guys you're invested in? Chalk it up, Drayton. Another fantastic idea. 

Second, it would seem that Crane is leaning towards not bringing Nolan Ryan back (at this moment), as the idea of the Astros' Double-A team being owned by Nolan Ryan isn't something he likes to see. It's a valid point. The part-owner and CEO (even one whose official capacity is somewhat up in the air) of your new division rival owns your Double-A team? I wouldn't like it much, either.

But the Astros desperately need a south Texas presence, what with the Rangers thinking they're hot crap, and whatnot and making inroads across the state (not to mention that everyone who has cable gets Fox Sports Southwest and CSN Houston?...oh yeah). So they'll need to keep something in Corpus...right?


Monday, September 24, 2012

Astros sign PDC with Low-A Quad Cities

Daniel Makarewicz is reporting from the press conference that the Astros have signed a two-year PDC with the Quad Cities River Bandits. Quad Cities play(s) in the Low-A Midwest League, and will replace the Lexington Legends, who punked out of negotiations with the Astros to renew their PDC.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Luhnow eyeing Midwest League

With the Astros needing a Low-A affiliate after Lexington wanted to go in a different direction (thanks for nothing, Yoko), Jeff Luhnow is eyeing the Midwest League as a destination.

Quad Cities (based in Davenport, Iowa) are a possibility, as the Cardinals were affiliated with Quad Cities during Luhnow's time there.

Cedar Rapids (also Iowa, not Michigan, as we ignorantly said last week) was a possibility, but the Twins just signed a PDC with the franchise.

Quad Cities set a franchise attendance record in 2012, with 240,008 fans coming to Modern Woodmen Park. And there's the added historical footnote of Quad Cities' affiliation with the Astros from 1993-1998. The 1994 River Bandits featured Richard Hidalgo, Chris Truby, Billy Wagner, Chris Holt, John Halama, and Scott Elarton. They were 57-81.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Astros and Lexington Legends to part ways

Bummer out of Lexington today, as it appears that the Astros and Legends will end an affiliation that began with the Legends' inception in 2001.

Tomorrow marks two weeks since the end of the Legends season, and with it the window to renegotiate expiring PDCs - but it looks like it's over now.

So what now? The Astros need to find a full-season Low-A team - meaning another team in the South Atlantic League or the Midwest League. Hagerstown and Lexington were the only SAL teams not to announce a renewal. In the Midwest League, it looks as though Peoria (Illinois), Quad Cities (Iowa), and Cedar Rapids (Iowa) are going to be available.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Astros extend with Lancaster

Brian McTaggart says the Astros have extended their PDC with the California League's Lancaster JetHawks for two years through the 2014 season.

That leaves Lexington as the only affiliate not yet to re-up. And, I'm afraid, the longer this goes, the worse of a chance there is of the Astros re-upping with the Legends.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

OKC, Houston extend PDC

The Astros and the Oklahoma City RedHawks have extended their PDC through the 2014 season, MiLB announced today.

This leaves Lancaster and Lexington as the two teams with contracts up at the end of the season. The parent club and affiliate have two weeks from the end of the MiLB season to determine whether or not they will renew.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Astros and ValleyCats to renew PDC

In the first of what will be several negotiations with affiliates, it looks as though the Astros and NYPL's Tri-City ValleyCats will sign a 2-year professional development contract through 2014.

“We’ve had a great relationship with the ValleyCats. We like this facility (Joe Bruno Stadium), we like this area and we like this league, so there are a lot of (reasons) to keep our team here.”

Director of Player Personnel Fred Nelson spoke about the health of the farm system:
"Probably the thing that struck me the most is just the overall lack of depth, which is a sign of a weak farm system and I think with all the trades of the past three years, and plus the (past two) drafts (things improved)."

Astros affiliates with expiring contracts at the end of 2012 include Oklahoma City, Lancaster, and Lexington - all of whom Baseball America projected could see changes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New ownership creates challenge for minor-league affiliates

With a captip to Citizen Andrew, we find this article, from the Troy (NY) Record, in which the ValleyCats are just waiting and seeing what will happen under the Crane/Postolos/Luhnow regime...

ValleyCats GM Rick Murphy:
“I just can’t imagine a guy spending $615 million on a business, especially a (ball)club that had the worst record in both leagues and not want to turn that around or make changes...I would think that the performance on the field is going warrant a close examination of what’s going on (with) baseball (player) development. So, from there, I would anticipate, that from the scouting, player personnel, right on through, will be scrutinized."

It's noted within the article that the Astros have PDC (Professional Development Contracts) with the ValleyCats through the 2012 season, and could be making a change in 2013. This makes no sense, unless the ValleyCats want out. But I can't imagine that the Astros want to part ways with Tri-City, since attendance is solid; and I can't imagine that the ValleyCats wouldn't want to see what the Luhnow regime has in store for them - it has to be better than what they've put up with over the past few years.

Also up for negotation at the end of the 2012 season are the PDCs for Oklahoma City, Lancaster, and Lexington.