More Astros’ stuff on a Free Blog Weekend


Here are a few subjects to toss around as training camp begins to roll ahead……

Is Justin Verlander kick butt or what?

Astro fans already had been impressed with what JV brought to the party. He came into town and immediately inspired a team that was floating aimlessly in August. He pitched flawlessly in September, had a great playoff run and in the end, got the woman of everyone’s dreams.

His leadership showed itself in the epic Game 2, when the team had blown the lead they fought so hard to take. He came out of the clubhouse and told them loudly that they could still bloody well win that game. And then they did.

So, it was no surprise that when radio personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo said the Yankees were the team to beat, that JV jumped his case right here.

I called Russo a personality because if you heard his illogical rambling and incomprehensible discussion of why the Yankees were the team to beat you could never call him a sports voice.

Then in words that reminded me of the great Walter Brennan (“No brag, just fact”), Verlander said that the AL has to come through Houston.

JV is not a Texan, he’s from the great state of Virginia, but he is certainly fitting in quickly.

Dallas Keuchel non-news

The following “news” story tells us that Keuchel won’t negotiate during the season. Other than ex-Texan Duane Brown who negotiates during the season? Then you find out that they haven’t even been in talks yet.

David Paulino Tells You Why

In the same link above, David Paulino apologizes for the lapse that caused him to be banned for PEDs. Then he reveals why he did it. Many players take PEDs for improved performance, but the other big reason that is not discussed as often is that players will use it to get their body to heal from injury. Either way, he did it and he got caught and he was punished. Hopefully, he has healed now. And Learned.

M & M

You have to love it when your home team is recognized and even revered by the national press. Mike Lupica wrote some nice things about the Astros last season even before they won it all. Here he talks about how Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. did twice what they probably dreamed about playing catch in their front lawns as kids. They pitched successfully in two Game 7’s against the Yankees and the Dodgers and helped this team do what 55 Astro teams before them failed to do.

Mr. 100

It would be the biggest irony in the world, if Anthony Gose who came to the Astros from the Phillies in the Roy Oswalt trade for the express purpose of being sent on the same day to the Blue Jays for Brett Wallace, makes his big splash with the Astros. He doesn’t have a great chance, but it is not like he has to beat out Andrew Miller. If he can beat out Tony Sipp and……convince the team to swallow the $6 million Sipp is owed, maybe he will have a shot. The other thing that could happen is that if they can’t keep the Rule 5 draftee on the major league roster for all of 2018, that they could complete a trade with the Rangers.

So, talk among yourselves….

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103 comments on “More Astros’ stuff on a Free Blog Weekend

  1. First, DB7, this is a legitimate question.

    Concerning Realmuto trade. In TCB Perry writes that McCann option will probably vest. At Baseball Reference, they show 3 criteria. One is 1,000 PA between 2017 and 2018. He only had 399 in 2017, so very unlikely he gets 601 PA this year. Add to that his comments this winter that he would like to finish his career in Atlanta. Does anyone have better info or are we needing Stassi plus one to step up.

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  2. I am old school, so to me JV’s knee-jerk response to Russo’s standard-fare Yankee braggadocio sounded like proclaiming to the world ‘we aren’t hungry anymore in Houston – just arrogant like your guys’. Arrogance displacing hunger is what causes teams that won the World Series one year to come crashing back to reality the next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I see a talented Yankee team. But their infield is not in any way close to ours, nor will their infield come close to producing the offense our infield will produce.

    Their rotation, at least on paper is not close to our group.

    Their outfield will hit a bunch more homers than ours. Ours is far more athletic however.

    Their pen might be stronger than ours. But it’s much closer than it was a few months ago when we beat them 4 out of 7.

    Only a Yankee fan could be as optimistic (or as obnoxious) as what’s his face, that Bird guy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Comparing the Astros to the Yankees, maybe we can step back and look at these two teams and the way they played last year and the general makeup of the team.
    Both teams feature power, as the Yankees and Astros were 1 and 2 in that category.
    But the Astros were the best team in baseball in the area of not striking out and the Yankees struck out a lot. Then the Yankees went and added a player who struck out 140 times last year and the Astros subtracted their worst hitter, who was second on the team in Ks.
    Everyone questioned the Astros starting rotation last season and they had the second most games lost to injuries by their staff and still won the World Series. The Astros added Verlander, Smith and Cole, who are high strikeout pitchers to a staff that was second in the majors in striking out batters last year. The Yankees added nobody to their staff, so far.
    The Astros have added to their strengths and subtracted from their weaknesses and the Yankees added power, but they also added more Ks.
    It’s going to be a battle, but when it comes down to facing each other, one team strikes out a lot and faces a pitching staff that strikes out more batters than any other team. One team has a good pitching staff but faces a team that strikes out less than any other. Those factors will come into play when the talking is done.

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  5. Regarding the lack of talks involving DK . . .

    Two words: Scott Boras.

    Three more words: Free agency commissions.

    Four more words: We’ll miss you, Dallas!

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  6. we have the best team in baseball, proven by the 2017 World Championship. We have made the team even better by the off season moves. we have a left handed reliever that throws 100mph that may not make the team. who else can say that???

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Regarding David Paulino.

    How will your story end? It is up to you. We would absolutely love to see you live up to your maximum potential – and we would especially like to see you do that in a Houston Astros uniform. Stay on course. Do it the right way, and we will be cheering you on and congratulating you on being an overcomer. But the ‘wrong way’ is now closed, barricaded, and booby-trapped. Don’t even think about it.

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  8. Maybe a little cocky of JV to make the remark but I believe he’s earned the right to make it.

    Russo: In case some of you are wondering who the best is, they are over here in New York.

    Russo: Do you think your team name will be on that trophy?

    Verlander: Yes, sir.

    Russo: That’s pretty arrogant, considering the company you’re in.

    Verlander: Yes, sir.

    Russo: I like that in a team.

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  9. Yesterday, a big bobcat came right up near the house and grabbed a chicken. My oldest grandaughter, who was washing her show-calf, saw the whole thing. She ran into the house and her momma headed into the woods with a pistol and her daddy headed to the fence line with a .22 long rifle. Momma pushed the cat and it ran out in front of daddy so he got a running shot and missed before it went across the fence line, dropping the chicken.
    The dead chicken is in the freezer and they will use it this weekend as bait to hunt the cat.
    My son said the bobcat was so big that he thought it was a wild pig when it came out of the brush and he said it must have been running 20-25 mph.
    I guess we know what has been eating the neighbor’s ducks.
    Life in the country is an adventure.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Holy guacamole old pro….I’m picturing Michael Landon and Little House on the Prairie or something from Wagon Train. My wife ain’t “pushing” any big as a pig bobcat out of the woods. She might push a cart around Marshalls. What century do you live in…..?

      Liked by 2 people

      • The one who raced into the woods is the one who owns the chickens and feeds her family and ours with those eggs. The last time a bobcat got one of the chickens she got the bobcat with a black powder rifle the very next day, and she also dispatched another one a few months ago. She has permission to take them out from The Man.
        I saw this bobcat on one of my game cameras a few months ago and thought it was a pit bull until I saw the tail. My daughter-in-law will be hunting this weekend. I live in the twenty-first century, but we understand the nineteenth and twentieth century, too and we embrace some of the good it taught us. We don’t have a Marshall’s around here, but we have sheriff and she doesn’t mess around with cats. I was laughing at her when she came out of the woods in shorts and crocs and had bloody scratches from the saw vines, and she looked down and laughed and said she didn’t have time to change her outfit when her daughter came in hollering.
        I’ve got this life and a World Championship team, too, so things are pretty good most of the time. Hope to keep livin’ it a bit longer.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I luv chicken. Bobcats are not good to eat, so when it comes down to what’s best to have runnin’ around the house we vote chicken and damn the cats.
        Funny thing is, we have an old tomcat running around here keeping things tidy and he doesn’t mess with chickens. Apparently he has heard about what happens to the cats who mess with the chickens..

        Liked by 2 people

  10. On a completely different topic, trades with other teams. It has been pointed out that it may take years to determine the outcome of a trade. (This is not Luhnow bashing, just interesting). We got Fiers and Gomez from the Brewers and gave up Santana, Maverick, Hader, and Hauser. Fiers ate up innings last year but had a negative WAR. So he “might” have helped get us TO the World Series but
    was benched. Both of our guys are gone.

    The Brewers got positive WAR from Santana, Phillips, and Hader of about 6+WAR in 2017. The Brewers improved 18 wins in the past 2. years.

    The Astros are World Champs.

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      • Tourists love our Vervet Green monkey. Some knucklehead French guys allegedly brought them over as pets on their sailing vessels in the 17oo’s. Everyone else would rather not step in their remarkably stinky dookie, or try to grow produce or have their outdoor furniture stained by their markings. Today they will even step in an open kitchen door and and steal from a bowl of fruit. Don’t put a pie out! Every now and then a local mango hound as we call them, will turn into a good monkey dog and eat most of a young monkeys head. We like that here.

        Liked by 3 people

  11. In keeping with the free blog weekend theme, Houston had a pretty good week. The Astros reported to spring training and had eight players in the Top 100 rankings by MLB Network.
    The Texans did not lose a game and no one on their team lost an arm or a leg to injury, that we know of.
    The Rockets go into the break with the best record in the NBA and an owner who will buy almost anything.
    The Cougars played their way to a win over #5 Cincinnati, and probably an NCAA Tourney bid.
    Maybe we need more Houstonians on the US Winter Olympic team, which is destined to win the team gold medal in Selfiing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Miami Dade county is suing Loria! I figured that was gonna happen, when he threw such a fit until they built him that fancy ball park! It all come down to money, and since Jeter and his group are selling off anyone worth more than a nickle….it’s gonna be a bleak year for the Marlins.
    OP…one time when I was little one of my brothers brought home a “kitten” he found in the woods on our farm. My mother took one look at it and told him to take it back where he found it. I was sad because I LOVE cats, but my mother told him that was no ordinary cat…..it was a* chicken stealing Bobcat*!So I know what you’re talking about!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Becky, I hope the county wins big. I posted the details awhile back, but the bond program they used to fund the stadium will end up costing the county $2 Billion in the end. That’s to pay for a stadium that was supposed to cost less then $600 Million…but ended up being around $750 Million.

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      • Well the lawsuit is over the fact that they were supposed to receive 5% of the proceeds if Loria sold the team in the first 10 years after the stadium build. But somehow amazingly their were no proceeds after he sold them for like 1.2 billion or so
        I have kids as accountants but not those kind of accountants

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  13. I think these little glimpses into everyone’s life really bring a lot to the blog. I’ve always been a city guy my whole life – Milwaukee, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Little Rock and back to Houston. We live in a condo and I don’t even have a yard anymore.
    And it is ironic because one generation back my Mom was born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. You drive along the lake front of Lake Michigan coming out of Menominee and just turn into the woods and that is the old homestead. No bobcats, but lots of deer and skunks and mosquitoes the size of birds for the couple months they are alive.
    So, I was just kidding with you op -because I am not far removed from the country life.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I saw where lefty reliever Tony Watson (who was 2-0 against the Astros in the WS with no runs allowed in 5 appearances) has signed with the Giants. The Astros were rumored to be a prime landing spot but never heard if the ‘Stros went after him.
    Oh well, if we play the Dodgers again in the WS their most effective reliever against us will be gone…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Shortly after I moved to the White Mountains of Arizona in the middle of last year I saw an eagle in my backyard and had an elk drop a calf about 50 yards from my front door. Pretty amazing stuff for another lifelong city boy. One day the local ranger had a neighborhood meeting to explain about a new wolfpack that had recently formed in our area. This guy’s job is to track the various packs in the area. He said he had been into a wolf den 3 times to have a pow-wow with wolves. I figured it might be safer to deal with the wolves than the lunatic ranger!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your post took me right to the Anna Pigeon novels by Nevada Barr. Death follows her to all the National Parks. She is the Jessica Fletcher of the Park Rangers.

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  16. While we’re on the subject of animal life in our various jurisdictions, the local goat (tail up) and sheep (tail down) herders, let their stock out each morning to go and eat other peoples stuff. Then they herd them home each night and lock them up for safe keeping. I still can’t get used to that. Leave the gate open by mistake for an hour, you might lose a half acre of food. Or a garden full of hibiscus flowers. And the wild donkeys sure can wipe out a melon patch quick. They are descendants of transport animals. Nobody needs or wants them today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s front loaded – $20M for the first 5 years and only $13M for each of the last three. There is a $5M signing bonus. It also includes a player opt-out clause after year 5. I think it’s an overpay, but not terrible when you consider some of the other contracts out there. It may end up being similar to the Jason Werth signing in Washington – have to overpay for a good, not great player to give your team some legitimacy. Also, if the Padres need to trade him and eat some contract later on it shouldn’t be too difficult.

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    • So they got a defensively reliable (but unremarkable) corner infielder with a .781 lifetime OPS for 18 million a year. He’s been healthy. He’ll probably manage stats close to those at the tail end of that deal. I guess 18 x 8 is what a good first baseman gets these days. I think Marwin smiled when he read this news.

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  17. The Rays waved the white flag.
    They traded Odorizzi to the Twins for a guy who slots in as TB’s #22 prospect and then DFA’d LF Corey Dickerson, who made the AL All-Star team last summer.
    Just a weird night in baseball.

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    • The deal saves Tampa about $5.75M in salary as they will now attempt to plug a minimum salary guy with a better arm into his slot in the rotation. When they traded Longoria they waved the white flag for 2018. These two moves are simply an effort to dump more salary. What shocks me is that they could only get a single-A infielder in exchange for a relatively inexpensive starting pitcher.

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  18. I’m not sure why they released Dickerson. Yes he strikes out too much and doesn’t walk enough but his slash .282 BA / .325 OBP / .815 looks a lot like Springer 2016 slash – .262 / . 359 / .815
    He was only going to make about $6 million – would the Astros be interested in picking him up?

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  19. It means we could’ve plucked either of those guys Dickerson, and Odorizzo for next to nothing … and we didn’t. I would’ve advocated either/and.

    It means we’re super set already, and the guys we hope will push the starters are on the verge of making the big leagues. The guys who are the core are of the verge of rivaling the 1927 Yankees hitters, and the 2011 Phillies pitchers! It means this unit wants three championships, because that is their current window.

    I’d been calling for Martes to come in looking solid, and he has delivered! I’m with daveb: do not hold back a young player who has earned it. His attitude last Spring was – what are the Astros waiting for? I just mowed down the heart of the Nationals order and have never pitched a meaningful major league game. Hello?!

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    • They say Martes has worked on a slower delivery, which I’d noticed he was too jerky, like Guduan and Gustave when they miss. It’s mostly nerves and with confidence, staying within themselves, they can all be good.

      In Op’s mention of JJ Cooper’s interview, one of the things he belabored was that even if Whitley falls back in each of his arsenal, he’s still better than average. So, the point is that even if these guys dial it down a little and don’t try to do too much, they’ll be more effective for us.

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  20. *Brady Rodgers said, and I’m summarizing here, that until he blew out his elbow due to a shoulder problem last spring, he had not a clue what he should have been doing in the offseason. When the doctors and trainers told him what he needed to do during the winter he was amazed at how he did not know how to maintain his body.
    * I’m pretty sure that Martes and the team knew at the end of last season that he was not ready for the majors and they laid it all out for him as to what needed to happen. If you cannot repeat your delivery to the plate, you aren’t ready. Some of his problem are his and some of his problems are the team rushing him past AAA(32 innings only). It is now for the team to rectify this and give him a chance to reach the ceiling that was there and that everybody saw. He is too important to try and shortcut him!
    Is there a pattern here? How about Paulino’s 28 innings in AAA, Michael Feliz’s 8.1 innings in AAA, and LMJ’s zero innings at AAA (other than rehab).
    I don’t mind the changes in the front office when it comes to minor league development. The Astros need to do a better job of preparing these terrific young arms to take over in the coming years. They have to, or they won’t have a path secured to keep Altuve and Correa, because they will have to keep going outside to acquire starting pitching.
    *Seeing Verlander working with LMJ yesterday on Lance’s delivery made my mouth water like the memory of an Hebert’s large rib steak from the 70’s. OMG! Medium rare, please.
    * So Giles said he doesn’t give a rat’s a** about what people say about him. That is the mentality a closer has to have. He said he was gassed at the end of last season and he is working on that with the team to get it managed. Sorry, I love hearing him acting like a mean person. I want him to be an AH because closers need to be that. A closer needs to be like a punter who runs down the field and slams the returner to the ground, fearless. They are very rare. I want to see Verlander spending a little time with Giles, too.

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      • When my wife and I were dating we went to Bud Bigelow’s because it was good and it was convenient. Bigelow’s and Portabello’s were close and they always felt like they liked us as much as we liked them. There were so many great places to eat and very few were part of a chain of restaurants.
        I worked so hard for so little money back then and I spent what I made on her.
        From the very first date with her, my life was totally different. We’re old and we argue and we ache. But we love and when we look into each others eyes we remember everything about us.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I still think the best steak (and fried chicken) was at Brenners out on Katy Freeway when old Mrs. Brenner was in the kitchen and husband Herman was out front.

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  21. Gerrit Cole made an interesting comment the other day when he said something to the effect that when he looks into the eyes of of his Astros teammates he can see a difference in the Astros’ and their bond in the clubhouse. He mentioned it was something different to him.
    Then, reading what Josh Harrison and David Freese have said in the last couple of days, you get the feeling that the Pirates have had some issues.
    Cole’s season will be interesting to follow. He always struck me as a guy who dug so deep to try to get everything out of himself that he could to pull his team along with him, that he wore himself out. He ended up looking like a guy who thought he had let his team down and it grated on his personality.
    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Cole and McCutchen had bounceback years.

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    • I think we are going to see a different Cole. He’s going to be just one more boost to an already special team. The Pirates probably had some issues, but don’t most all teams that don’t compete?

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  22. First of all, who is to scoff at $105 Million. But the contract for Hosmer with the Padres seems to be 5 years at $20 million plus a $5 Million signing bonus. The rest appears to be “lets make Borus look good and make it 3 more at $13 so he can say $144 Million.” He made $12.25 Million last year.

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  23. A little glimpse into the family of the Houston Astros.

    “I remember telling him at some point (last) season, ‘Hey, man, you’re about to make enough money to take care of your kid for the rest of your life,’ ” catcher Evan Gattis said of his batterymate.

    Gattis cut his story short in order to hold back tears.

    “So proud,” he said.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/astros/amp/Brad-Peacock-welcomes-unlimited-role-with-Astros-12623886.php

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  24. 3 former Astros, now FA players, go signed to minor league contracts in the last few days: Chris Carter [Angels], Alex Presley [Orioles], and Fernando Abad [Phils]. Good luck to all except Chris Carter.

    P.S. It’s nothing personal against you, Chris. It’s that team you signed with. #They’reNoAngels

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  25. Time change —-https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/02/mlb-mound-visits-pace-of-play-initiatives.html
    I really liked us being able to settle our pitchers down and to change signs – wonder how this will go and what will be the punishment….

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  26. So when will MLB Network start offering the direct slow motion reply premium content option for a premium?

    I guess MLB can shave 5 minutes off the average game if they tweak everything enough, but it’s already hard enough for some of us to make it back and forth to the head in between innings, which for some reason seems to happen with more frequency these days.

    Liked by 3 people

    • By the way, reading bits and pieces of Dierkers book (it’s another yawner of a baseball book) he notes that as recently as 1979, commercial breaks were 60 seconds for regular season games. MLB is the real culprit when we look to the reasons why a game takes 3 hours plus.

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  27. Boston’s payroll now projects to $238 million for 2018.
    But, Martinez’s addition now has them projected for more wins(94) than the Yankees (90), but four less than Houston(98). I assume they will worry about NY first and then deal with us and the Indians if it comes to that.

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  28. Crane said the WS rings are at the manufacturer, and he will be giving about *900* of them out! Of course the players rings will be a lot different, but how cool would it be, if you’re a clubhouse guy who vacuums and takes care of the clubhouse….to get a World Series ring!! I don’t care who ya are…..that right there is 100% class!

    Liked by 2 people

  29. When was it, a few weeks ago I made my case about pitch clock, and letting the players settle matters on the field?

    So, I’ll let Lance finish the thought …

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.crawfishboxes.com/platform/amp/2018/2/20/17031688/lance-mccullers-lit-on-twitter-espn-houston-astros-tweets

    Boy, between Bregman hammering a fan over trading him, McHugh questioning the President, Keuchel questioning the surface & core of the baseball, Giles not giving a rat’s ars and now Lance – these guys are pretty strong-willed and feeling their oats. Sounds like they’re as ready as me to Play Ball!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Who do you thin do you want to see start Friday in the ST opener against the Nationals?

    My picks:
    P – Gerrit Cole [followed by Martes, Rondon, Gose, Devenski, and Riley Farrell in any order];
    C – Max Stassi, followed after 4 innings by Tim F.;
    1B – A.J. Reed, for the whole game;
    2B – Jose Altuve [for 3 innings], followed by Tony Kemp;
    SS – Carlos Correa [for 4 innings], followed by Jack Mayfield;
    3B – Alex Bregman [for 4 innings], followed by J.D. Davis;
    RF – Kyle Tucker [followed after 5 innings by Jon Kemmer];
    CF – Jake Marisnick [for 3 innings], followed by Myles Straw;
    LF- Derek Fisher, followed after 5 innings by Drew Ferguson
    DH -Tyler White, followed after 2 ABs by Nick Tanielu;
    pinch runners: Alejandro Garcia and Randy Cesar

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      • I just know that management seems to like to ‘stage’ the appearance of regulars in waves. Since I had three guaranteed position heroes [Altuve, Correa, and Bregman] making their debuts Friday, I was leaving room for Springer, Gurriel, Gattis , McCann, Marwin, and Reddick – who are the other 6 virtually guaranteed starters – on Saturday and beyond.

        In other words, I am fully aware that unless Tyler White hits .750 or higher for the Spring, with 10 or more home runs and an OBP of around .750 as well, El Oso Blanco is going to be the F.O.s DH even if he strikes out every single time he comes up in ST without even fouling one off. I just want to see Tyler get a chance to showcase his skills to another team, as there is clearly no room for him and El Oso Blanco on the same team.

        Liked by 1 person

  31. I would like to get Martes into the game so the Marlins scouts can see the new version of him. I would like to see if McHugh is healthy, so I’d like to see him throw an inning.
    I’d like to see Stassi and Stubbs.
    I want to see El Oso Blanco with a couple of ABs.

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  32. Dallas and Marwin talking about wanting to stay with the Astros is worlds away from what Josh Donaldson is saying about staying in Toronto.
    ESPN got exactly what they wanted when LMJ called them out. It’s all about controversy and adding viewers.
    More and more baseball talk is going behind paywalls. I refuse to pay for the internet in more ways than I am already doing.
    Has everybody else noticed that as the value of our vehicles depreciate, our insurance rates increase? I haven’t had a ticket in 12 years or been involved in a wreck in over forty years. I will soon be out of the car owning/leasing business and into the car borrowing business. The time has come for the parent to be borrowing the vehicles of their children. Turnaround is fair play.
    Even if the children won’t go to church, their vehicles will be going.
    One WAR is no longer worth $8 million in the baseball marketplace.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Max Stassi has over 46oo innings catching in the minors and over 2600 plate appearances. He turns 27 next month and his major league hitting stats are a carbon copy of his minor league stats.
    It’s time to either give him a chance to catch for the Astros or let him have a chance somewhere else.
    The same holds true for Tyler White.

    Liked by 1 person

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