Just like many people would like the government to get back to governing, I imagine folks here on the blog would like this writer to “move on” relative to the Astros cheating scandal. Whether the current front office and manager/coaches are still in place, suspended or fired there are certain things that need to happen for the Astros in this off-season.
Here are some off-season deadlines and comments tied to them…..
- All teams had a five-day quiet period after the World Series to negotiate exclusively with their Free Agents and the Astro (as is the norm in baseball) signed none of the following – C Robinson Chirinos, RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Will Harris, C Martín Maldonado, RHP Collin McHugh, LHP Wade Miley, RHP Héctor Rondón, RHP Joe Smith
- At the conclusion of the five-day quiet period the Astros made the $17.8 million qualifying offer to the only free agent worth that: Gerrit Cole. A player offered that figure could accept it and be locked into a single season at that amount.
- Cole, as is also the norm, declined the qualifying offer and became a free agent. If he signs with another team before next season’s draft the Astros will receive a compensatory pick
- If the Astros had any players with team options they would have had to pick that up already – but no one was in that situation
- Obviously, the league awards were given and Justin Verlander won the AL Cy Young and Yordan Alvarez won the AL Rookie of the Year, while Alex Bregman came in second in the AL MVP to Mike Trout.
- The MLB Owners Meetings are currently occurring in Arlington, Texas. It will be interesting to see if any news comes out of those meetings beyond the commissioner saying indirectly that he is taking the Astros to the woodshed
- Wednesday is the day players need to be placed on the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. I’m going to cop out here – I cannot find a list of those Astros who are eligible. I read that Forrest Whitley is one of them, which is hard to believe. It does not seem that he has been in the organization that long. Anyways the Astros have six spots open on the 40-man, so expect them to add three or so players to the 40-man. If anyone can find a link to the Rule 5 eligible for the Astros I would appreciate it
- December second the Astros have to decide who of the arbitration-eligible players they will tender and who will be let go. This list includes the sure things like George Springer, Carlos Correa, Brad Peacock, Lance McCullers and Aledmys Diaz and the question marks like Jake Marisnick, Aaron Sanchez, Joe Biagini, and (in my mind) Roberto Osuna
- The MLB Winter Meetings occur on Dec. 9-12. A good guess is punishment from the cheating scandal would be handed down here.
- Dec. 12 is the Rule 5 draft
- Jan 10 the players and teams exchange arbitration salary figures
- Feb 3-21 the arbitration hearings occur
And of course this whole time free agents can be snapped up – though based on the last couple seasons, the snapping may occur slowly.
Will the Astros pick up the next Wade Miley or Charlie Morton in free agency?
Are Jose Urquidy and/or Brad Peacock answers to rotation spots? How close is Whitley?
Will the Astros re-sign one or both of their catchers?
Will the Astros try to give Will Harris a shot to “redeem” himself?
How will they fill in the bullpen behind Smith, McHugh, Rondon and Harris if they let most or all of them go?
This has been a terribly disappointing and upsetting time for the team and fans from about the 7th inning of game 7 to today. But baseball must go on and the team must go on also.