WTSWTM: Spring training edition

Today is a flashback to that popular parlor game “What They Said, What They Meant” where we take some real quotes from mlb.com or chron.com (Spit!! Spit!!) and then translate them into real English.

Former Astros World Series Manager Phil Garner on WS Winning Manager and good friend A.J. Hinch

  • What he said. “We used to talk about swinging down on the ball, which is not actually what you did.  It was more of a level swing, and now it looks like they’re talking about swinging up on the ball. He was filling me in on how the new philosophies work. It’s all exciting to really talk ball and what’s going on. He’s really enjoyable.”
  • What he meant. “I’m more old school than Art Howe‘s twisted image in Moneyball. I’m glad A.J. won it all. I would go nuts with nerds e-mailing me spin rates in between innings. Retirement feels great.”

Hinch on Garner

  • What he said. “He really took me under his wing. He’s somebody I respect in the game, and he’s introduced me to a lot of great people that have turned into incredible friends. Just a great bond.”
  • What he meant. “I know he won the World Series as a player, but If I had one wish, it would be if Phil could have won it all in 2005. He took that team and this city farther than they ever had been and there is not a nicer person who could have taken them to the promised land.”

Anthony Gose on Anthony Gose

  • What he said. “I just idolize Anthony Gose. Ain’t no sense in tryin’ be nobody else on the mound. You’ve got to go out there and be yourself.”
  • What he meant. “I love me. Why doesn’t anyone else?”

Hinch on Gose’s first and last Astro appearance, walking the 3 batters he faced

  • What he said. “We know he has arm strength. He was throwing hard, even harder than he was in the bullpen [sessions] and in his live BP. But I think we saw the raw part of him transitioning to pitching. It’s tough. I mean, he has a great arm and flashes some pretty good stuff, but obviously struggled with command today.”
  • What he meant. “Well, at least he has someone who really loves him…”

Verlander on being named the Opening Day Starter

  • What he said. “It’s an honor, especially on this team with the pedigrees that we have.  Obviously, I wasn’t expecting it or hadn’t really even thought about it, to be honest with you. It’s always an honor to have your name called.”
  • What he meant. “Absolutely it is an honor. But, ‘I wasn’t expecting it’? Sure and my wife looks like the girl next door.”

Keuchel on Verlander being named the Opening Day Starter

  • What he said. “I’ll gladly let him go Game 1 and try to replicate the success he’s going to have and move forward from there.  I’ll get to see the Opening Day festivities and enjoy J.V. throwing a gem.”
  • What he meant. “I would love to follow his 6 shutout innings during a win with my 7 shutout innings during a win. Not that I’m competitive….”

Hinch on the contest between J.D. Davis, Tyler White and A.J. Reed to fill in for Yuli Gurriel

  • What he said. “He (Davis) is helping his case (with a .455 BA in ST).  The question for him is how comfortable he can get at first base and left field to make himself more versatile. Whitey moves around the field a little bit; Reed can get a little bit hot with the home runs lately. I think that race is going to come down to the final decision. They’re all making their case known.”
  • What he meant. “It’s the last spot on the roster, of course it will come down to the final decision. Talk about expressing the obvious. Did you see my giant wink when I said that?”

Hinch on Kyle Tucker and his .400 average and 4 HRs

  • What he said. “He continues to get to pitches and put some good swings on it. Man, this guy can really hit. He’s got great balance in the batter’s box. Obviously, when he gets a pitch to hit, he doesn’t miss too many of them. It’s an impressive showing.”
  • What he meant. “Can you imagine floating back to 2013? This kid might have been the best or second best hitter on that team. Today we can let him work on a few things and bring him up at the right time for him and us.”

Keuchel on his first outing (1.2 IP, 4 hits, 1 BB, 2 Runs and 43 pitches)

  • What he said. “That’s one of the things that I was very happy about, was the couple of times I was looking back at second base after the pitch and I saw a few mph on the scoreboard and it was above what I’m usually at my first start.  That’s encouraging.”
  • What he meant. “Though the scoreboard, shows bigger numbers when all the other starters pitch…..”

Under the radar prospect “Super” Jack Mayfield on playing next to Jose Altuve

  • What he said. “It was awesome.  I was excited for it, and being out there and throwing it around the horn with him is a great experience. I definitely think it’s helping me slow the game down. When you get out there, it gets quick, especially at this level. All these big-name guys coming up and you’ve got to slow it down.”
  • What he meant. “You’ve got to be kidding! I’m playing next to the frigging MVP of the American League. I’m standing here surrounded by the heroes of last year’s World Series! I watched all those games. I stayed up until 1 or 2 AM or whatever it was. Pinch me! I can die happy now!”

Hinch on Nolan Ryan helping out at Spring Training

  • What he said. “With Nolan, across the board — young, old, Latin, American — everyone knows [that] you don’t find that kind of presence very often. We utilize it. [Ryan] can capture the room talking pitching and is a great storyteller, obviously. He’s the definition of a living legend.”
  • What he meant. “Hey Super Jack – get a load of this!”

Bonus Quote: Hinch on Tony Sipp

  • What he said. “The way Tony Sipp has thrown the ball so far in camp is encouraging, which doesn’t necessarily lock everything up.  At full health, if he’s throwing the ball well and shows the signs he can help the bullpen, it’s a pretty tough team to make when you think of a couple of starters [Peacock and McHugh] making the ‘pen.”
  • Your turn. what do you think he meant?

97 comments on “WTSWTM: Spring training edition

    • I learned today that Kate Upton would like everyone to know via Instagram that she drives a Ford F-150 truck, in relation to her husband’s new $189,000 Ford Mustang purchase.

      What she meant was, “LAD didn’t want us, so ‘YeeHaw!'”

      I saw that interview with Garner, and have liked him since his playing days in Pittsburgh. I consider him and Hinch to be true gentlemen in the game, and thought it a humble thing to include Scrap Iron in the process. Maybe I’m just too old school, too.


  1. What Hinch meant to say about Tony Sipp: He’s our Lee Majors and he’s beating up AA hitters.
    What Hinch meant to say about Gose’s departure: There isn’t a wet eye in the house.
    What Hinch meant to say about Nolan helping out in camp: I wonder if he share a couple of MPH with a couple of our pitchers.
    What Luhnow meant to say about Gose: We think he’s ready to pitch for Arlington.
    What Hinch meant to say about Tucker: I don’t know about you, but I plan on being here for a while and I would like for him to be here as long as possible, too. When he’s ready to take over a permanent spot in our outfield, we’ll be here.
    What Mayfield meant to say about Altuve: He’s the MVP and he’s the main reason I’m in Fresno.
    What Keuchel meant to say about his first outing: With this team, the only thing I will worry about is winning my last outing of the year.
    What Gose said about his appearance for the Astros: I should have brought a carry-on instead of a lot of baggage. I wanted them to pay for my flight home but they just told me to Walk.
    What Hinch meant to say about the first base fight: We’ll probably go with the best player.


    • Hinch’s caution on Tony Sipp was well deserved. He just gave up a pair of doubles, then the lead, now 2-2.

      Cole went 69 pitches into the 4th of no run ball. Altuve hit a CF home run for our scoring.


  2. By the way, I liked the column and have always liked Phil Garner. Especially as a team player, a leader when he didn’t have to be.


  3. Garrett Stubbs has thrown out two would be base stealers, and has now hit the game tying single in the 8th after Kemmer, Di Goti and Birk loaded the bases.


  4. Does Stubbs have a shot at passing Stassi who has cooled off big time?
    Do the Astros cut ties with Sipp and swallow the last $6 million?
    Do the Astros have more right handed LOOGYs than most teams have left handed ones?
    I never read what Larry Dierker ever said about the Astros winning the championship. While Garner got closer to the golden ring – Dierker had better teams – especially the Big Unit year


    • I don’t think you make any moves with Stassi based on 17 ABs in spring training. Same thing with Sipp. I’d wait until the last minute to decide. Today, he was beaten up by AA guys from the worst team in the NL.
      Most teams don’t worry about righty LOOGYS because they have lefty LOOGYS.


  5. Yes, still three weeks to go! Any of the guys in the hunt will get more playing time going forward. It’s hard not to come to conclusions, but it’s premature.


  6. What he [Josh Reddick] said: ” I think being sandwiched between guys like George, Altuve and Correa for most of the year made my job easier.”

    What he meant: “I like being the top loogy in the worlds’ best offensive machine!


  7. Under the title of expected news with the minor league camps opening the Astros reassigned 9 players to their Minor League camp- infielders Randy Cesar and Nick Tanielu, outfielders Drew Ferguson, Alejandro Garcia and Miles Straw, left-handed pitcher Framber Valdez, catcher Jamie Ritchie and right-handed pitchers Jacob Dorris and Riley Ferrell.

    The club is also optioning left-handed pitcher Cionel Perez to the minor league camp, who I assume is optioned rather than assigned because he is the only one of that bunch on the 40 man roster.

    It will probably be the end of training camp before really important moves are made.

    I assume that the Rangers will not take Anthony Gose back for $50,000 (half what the Astros paid for him) but on the other hand the Rangers are holding a circus clown tryout of pitchers this year as somebody’s article pointed out recently.

    The way they write about Hector Rondon, slowly getting worked in – you would think he’s the only veteran coming off of an off-season. There has got to be more to that story than just Rondon feeling off-balance in his only appearance this spring.

    And if Rondon ends up on the DL, would David Paulino be up for a redemption tour after his PED suspension? He’s thrown 7.2 IP of 2 hit, 8 K shutout ball this spring.


    • If the watchword is: what ever is best for the team, Paulino today earns the spot. Martes will get a start this week, so we’ll see if he’s smoothed out his delivery & built up toward 60 pitches. Armenteros having to come in as a reliever wasn’t exactly optimal for his confidence, giving up a walk off grand slam. Wonder what would happen if these three get a chance like every other starter – to get on a routine – what would happen? Just as surely they’ll build up to a starter again in Fresno, then get called up to relieve.

      In Rondon’s defense, he was brought here to be a bit of a Beltran influence, I’ve read. But baseball reminds us it’s a young man’s sport..

      For those of you who have this kind of time, an excellent article on the aging Ichiro.



  8. And in bad luck news for the day – Tiger lefty Travis Wood tore his ACL while participating in a rundown (I assume as a fielder) in a ST game. Ouch!


  9. What he [Yuli Gurriel] said: ‘I feel better. No pain. It’s good.’

    What he meant: ‘I’m really getting bored. Anybody for wiffle ball?’


  10. I’m looking for the Astros to have less relievers on their team this year who blow up every other time they pitch.
    I think Verlander deserves to get better run support from the Astros than he got last year.
    Verlander makes $28 million this year, but Detroit pays $8 million of that. Still, JV is the highest paid Astro in history at $28 million a year.
    A lot of sportswriters just don’t seem to get it. They talk about free agent players not being signed as being something that is caused by the teams and never seem to mention that the free agents still out there are asking for more than the market is paying. A dead giveaway is when an agent claims his client should get the same or more than so-and-so got two years ago in his deal. Truth of the matter is: this aint two years ago. Things change. People will laugh when I use Antiques Roadshow as an example, but that show has entire series about how prices have dropped as much as fifty percent on many items because of changes in the marketplace. Yes, this antique is fifteen years older than it was in 2003 but nobody will pay for that item at 2003 prices today, period! and nobody is going to pay 2016 prices for 2018 Greg Holland.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I called my state representative yesterday to tell them that I would no longer support him if the teachers of Oklahoma were forced to strike to get a raise. Oklahoma teachers make less than teachers in every other state except the State of Bankruptcy. I actually got to talk to a person in his office.
    I also called the Governor and left her the same message and a live person from her office called me back this morning.
    This issue of teacher pay is way beyond ridiculous and it’s time for a change.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Kazmir faced three left handed hitters in our line-up – Fisher, Reed, and Kemp. All three got hits [Fisher a home run]. Kazmir handles lefties almost as well as Tony Sipp.


    • As much a favorite of mine, Hoyt never did have the pedigree. His slip is starting to show.

      I hear that Reed and White (error and HR today) are making it a race with my pick, Davis. Kemp with another defensive gems.

      Davis 1.179
      White 1.062
      Reed .946


    • Yeah….he has been bad. This was probably his last Spring training with this club. He will stay in the Fresno to close. I cringe everytime he gets the ball!


  13. Brendan McCurry is having the most productive Spring of all relievers. Albeit pitching in the later innings.

    5.2 IP
    0 runs


      • Dan,
        Two fellas trying to shed their past faux pas? You’d think they could’ve put up their tent, but instead bear’d down! I like it.

        It’s going to be another unfortunate day when all this Spring playing around is done, you’re Tony Kemp, or J. D. Davis, and your name isn’t called. They’re all going to get a good pep talk about ‘keep on grinding and your day will come’. But, will it?

        We have some incredible talent on the farm, like Reed and Martes; and then we have org guys, like super Jack Mayfield and Ryne Birk, Branden McCurry and Brady Rodgers, Trent Thornton.

        Our top 30 prospects always includes a list of 30 more names to watch. Somewhere in there was Max Stassi.


      • A chunk of making it as a big leaguer is working your behind off – but there is luck involved. Colin Moran was blocked but traded to a team that will give him a real shot. Guys like Davis and White and Reed if they don’t get traded may spend their prime in a “Break Glass in case of an emergency” mode.


      • A little more specifics of the comparison between Paulino and McCurry, both of whom have 0.00 ERAs for the spring:

        Paulino – 7.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 Ks; BAA is 0.80; WHIP is 0.52, 0 WP, 0.50 GO/AO

        McCurry – 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 9 Ks; BAA is 2.50; WHIP is 1.20; 0 WP, 1.00 GO/AO

        Both have been excellent. Paulino has allowed a lot less hits; McCurry has struck out more batters. Neither has been great at getting opponents to beat the ball into the ground.


  14. Before Spring I mentioned to keep an eye out for Jon Kemmer. He has hit 3 HR’s in successive days? Today off Daniel Winkleman, who had a 0.91 WHIP for ATL last season.


  15. Regarding the ‘competition’ between White, Reed, Davis, and Kemp, so far:

    If OBP is your favorite criteria: White .483; Davis .448; Reed .375; Kemp .226

    If EBH power is the critera: Davis, 5 Dbls, 2 HRs; Reed, 2 HRs, 2 Dbls; White 3 Dbls, 1 HR; Kemp 1 Dbl, 0 Hr.

    If low Ks is the criteria: Kemp 1; White 5; Davis 7; Reed 8.

    If you combine all three, White and Davis both have one 1st place, one 2nd place, one 3rd place, and no 4th place; Reed has no 1st places, one 2nd place tie, and one last place; Kemp has one 1st place and two last places.

    Right now it’s looking like its between White and Davis – with Reed a long shot and Kemp needing a major rally.


  16. Astros “renewed” Correa’s contract at $1 MM
    Second highest pre-are salary behind Kris Bryant but probably less than Carlos wanted.


  17. What Verlander said: The road to the WS goes through us.
    What Verlander meant to say: Oh, the road to the WS goes through New York, or Boston or LA because we don’t think we’re good enough.
    What Keuchel said: We’re not the Cubs.
    What he meant to say: Oh yeah, we’re the Cubs.
    Finally, the way the Astros play and what they say really does mean something to the rest of baseball. Finally! Bulletin board material is what we had when we got beat. Now the shoe is on the other foot.


  18. What he [Dan] said:
    “Today is a flashback to that popular parlor game “What They Said, What They Meant . . .”

    What he meant:
    “But Friday is still free-blog Friday”.


  19. Through 3 innings, Verlander has struck out 8. But he did give a solo dinger to Paul Dejong. Meanwhile, the Astros – mostly regulars- have three singles off Mikolas but have hit into two DPs. Despite Verlander’s impressive dominance, the Cards lead 1-0.


  20. Dan, this could turn into a free for all! That OP is always going off on tangents..

    In the meantime, I think I’m convinced that Tucker is going to be pretty good.


  21. That gleam in Hinch’s eyes may tie to him knowing his front office traded for JV and Cole and did not touch a player who could fight for top honors with Altuve and Correa and Springer and Marwin and Bregman – this kid could be transcendent….


  22. What he [A.J. Hinch] said:
    “James Hoyt, Francis Martes and David Paulino are still in the bullpen discussion”

    What he meant:
    “Hoyt has been horrible. Martes inconsistent, and Paulino fantastic. That has been the bullpen conversation”

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Remember that Astros pitcher who almost did not make the team last season, and ended up with a 13-2 record? He was a reliever and then a starter, and then a reliever and a starter in the playoffs.
    He has pitched six innings this spring and has a 3-0 record.
    When you find a four leaf clover, take it with you everywhere you go.


  24. Well, it’s a Sunday that feels like a Monday because I lost an hour somewhere.
    -Astros starting pitchers have looked pretty good and it’s hard to believe Verlander already threw a five inning stint halfway thru camp.
    -I believe Hinch is aware of a hangover effect and is trying mightily to allow his position players to get some rest.
    -The price of players is coming down. The way the players are talking, you’d think that they are waiting to see what happens next year and hope that salaries jump back up. The prices may spike up because of teams like The White Sox, Phillies and Braves jumping back into the free agent market and the rich teams having reset their penalty percentages to a low water mark.
    But my question is why would the owners just jump back into a market that they suddenly have more control over and go back to paying over inflated prices and give money away that they won’t get equal value for. If $30 million a year to a player who has gone downhill fast is tying up money, what will $40 million a year do to a team for a player approaching age 35.
    -I read an article from the Fresno newspaper the other day that admitted that although the Astros have provided the best teams ever to the affiliate there, the people of Fresno couldn’t care less about the Astros. They are still in love with the team that walked out on them to go live with another. Don’t know what the new owners of the Fresno franchise will do if the Astros leave, because I doubt the Giants are coming back to reconcile with their ex.


    • -With depth, the hangover effect and coaching three future Hall of Famers – Hinch’s priority is rest and health leading up to the playoffs.

      -Weren’t we trying to get Round Rock back?


      • We do want Round Rock back and when we leave, who will want to send their AAA players to Fresno, after seeing the way Fresno ignored the Astros’ AAA players. Even though the Astros gave Fresno their first championship, Fresno responded with less attendance every year.


      • I guess things take time. We’ll be trying to gain some traction in the Carolinas, building a new stadium in Fayetteville in 2019.

        One of the things Luhnow said they like to do before promoting to the big leagues is increase to higher leverage. Not that large crowds should sway a player — most get used to drowning out the noise — but at least playing for a AAA National Championship is something those prospects can hang their hat on.

        It’s a way to be in one of the most prospect-laden states, though, and easier to see them up close. Who knows if the next Mike Trout is a Grizzlies fan? Now’s the time to get on the Astros bandwagon, rather than Dodgers anyway!


      • Round Rock averaged 2,500 more fans per game than Fresno did in 2017. They sold 180,000 more tickets than the Grizzlies/Tacos did.
        The Fresno’s population is four times that of Round Rock


  25. Round Rock must be the future. It will only assist in growing the ML base throughout the state. OP, that will help you get us to the goal of 3 million plus in the park every year. Weekend family road trips in the summer should guarantee a sell out to every weekend game and fill downtown hotels at the same time.


  26. And the Astros get a run back as the Mets SS commits a throwing error. Then Super Jack Mayfield knocks in the fifth run for Houston. 5-2 bottom of the ninth. Hoyt in.


  27. Hoyt with a save – good for him during a tough ST.
    Did Reed’s weight loss speed up his bat?
    Up to .324 on the spring.
    And some guy named Tucker with another run scored and RBI.


    • Bill, I lay claim to the notion of “losing it”, so you need to tighten up your game. Hauschild was sent to the minor camp, because Houser was traded long ago. I think it was to the Milwaukee Braves.
      Hauschild to Fresno is a promotion over being in Arlington last season.


  28. This article is absolutely fascinating: https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2018/3/12/17108524/baseball-end-of-starting-pitcher-dodgers-astros-lance-mccullers-clayton-kershaw
    Did the Astros start the trend years ago with the Tandem in their farm system and then move it to the majors?
    Did they luck into what other teams started?
    Is baseball becoming a land of a five inning strikeout rotation and a multi purpose bullpen?
    Will this new thinking start to eliminate huge contracts for pitchers who aren’t 200 inning pitchers any more, thus evening out the payroll playing field for pitchers?


    • Excellent piece. The ten day DL wil be used more and more, unless it gets discarded for overuse.

      The Astros won a World Series by using their pitchers in unique fashion. I don’t think it will be unique going forward. Without McCullers and Morton and the long save, the Dodgers very likely win the series.


  29. Speaking of ‘minor leaguers under the bridge’, since the ‘Stros are at the White House, and not between the white lines, today, I checked on how a few of our old friends are doing this Spring with their new teams:

    Colin Moran [Pirates]: .360/.407/.887 with 0 HR, 2 RBIs, and a few too many Ks.

    T. Hernandez [Tor.]: .292/.292/.875 with 2 HR, 5 RBIs, and way too many Ks.

    Ramon Laureano [Oakland]: .318/.375/.739 with 0 HR, 2 RBIs, and too many Ks.

    Joe Musgrove [Pirates]: no official pitching line yet this Spring

    Jason Martin [Pirates]: .188/.188/.375 with 0 HRs and 0 RBIs

    Michael Feliz [Pirates]: ERA-5:14; SO/9-9.0; HRs 3 in only 7 IP

    Maverick Phillips [Brewers]: .100/.156/.356 with O HRs, 2 RBI, and K city

    Josh Hader [Brewers]: 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, 7 SOs in 4.2 innings

    Jake Nottingham [Brewers]: .250/.333/.850 with 1 HR and 3 RBIs

    Franklin Perez [Tigers]: no official pitching line yet this Spring

    Daz Cameron [Tigers]: only 2 at bats this Spring; 1 was an RBI single

    Jake Rogers [Tigers]: .200/.273/.473, with 0 HR, and 1 RBI

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Great honor, guys – and well deserved. Now go out and make them add a ‘Houston Astros, Perennial World Champions’ room to the White House.

    Oh, and by the way . . . it’s okay to smile, George.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Rogelio Armenteros, Brendan McCurry, and Trent Thornton are apparently all off to minor league camp as well. The relief corps is really thinning out. Paulino and Martes and Hoyt will probably be pitching frequently from this point on – along with Harris, Sipp, Smith, and ultimately Rondon.


    • This is all good. I think we’ll see Rogelio at some point this season getting a few starts when the ten day DL is utilized or when significant injuries claim multiple starters. It’s pretty apparent late inning situations are not his forte!


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