And now, back to baseball


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.

59 comments on “And now, back to baseball

    • Whitley was put forth on a major site – I think it was CBS – but it looked wrong as soon as I read it.
      Thanks for the help op on the link – I had no time to research this one – in a workshop all day

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  1. I’m going to pick these guys:
    Jamie Richey
    Taylor Jones
    Christian Javier
    Enoli Paredes
    Brandon Bailey
    My sneaky pick is Yohan Ramirez, but his BBs might have ruined his chances.
    If it were up to me I would DFA Mayfield and protect Tanielu, but that’s just me.

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    • I have refrained from mentioning him too much because he is not eligible for the Rule 5 until next year. I believe Quintana will be invited to camp, if he is not traded, and then he will have to play(hit?) his way onto the 40-man.
      The Astros will protect only those who they are afraid of losing, while being thin at their position. That is why I chose Richey and Jones.
      Yesterday’s Gurriel contract changes make them thin at 1B if Gurriel wants to walk next year. Thats why I picked Jones and I like Richey because he does not strike out much.
      I don’t have a clue how the Astros view the defense of their Rule 5 guys.

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  2. The Astros have two scandals that are now out of their control. I’m ready to be done talking about them, but can’t quite stop. I firmly expect MLB to drag this investigation on until at least February. That alone would discourage any free agents from signing with Houston as every other team in the league would gain the advantage of whispering about how hard Houston is going to get slammed into their ears. That’s what the NCAA does and the coaches take full advantage. As such, we’re lucky the roster is in such good shape. In my mind the moves hinge upon how we feel about LMJ. Do they think he can be a starter for the full season? Do they want try to limit him severely on appearances/innings. Are they considering moving him to the bullpen? After that, Hinch will really have to go back to the drawing board to figure out how we could possibly win some games away from home where we must have a clear cut technological advantage in place. I mean, we only took 2/3 games from the Yankees and 3/3 from the Nationals on the road in the 2019 postseason.

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  3. Honestly I’m finding it really hard to care right now. 30 years of fandom and I’ve never felt that way until now . I keep bringing this up but when I said a few years ago the Astros were going to be baseball equivalent to the Patriots I didn’t know it was going to be off the field too. But hell if someone thinks the Astros are the only team that’s “cheating “, well then I have some oceanfront property in Montana to sell you.

    And confession time…. I don’t see what’s wrong with stealing signs anyway! I don’t consider it cheating. Ball players have been doing it in one form or another for years. Certainly didn’t help them in the Series!

    But yeah, I’m having a hard time caring right now. Already won a series , won’t be our last with this group. Another 100 win season coming up, put it in the bank. Ho hum.

    What I’m really more upset about is the team attitude, and the fact that many of the players quit when down in games. If I didn’t know any better I’d think we were throwing the Series.

    But anyway last straw for me is the fact that well I’ve lived here my whole life but is not and never will be home. There are many factors in play, and despite what this one jackwad said to me on Facebook , it has nothing to do with politics (generally keep to myself anyway). Yeah yeah I’m a liberal snowflake, whatever. I can’t deal with the climate here any longer, just to name one example. I can’t see my Colorado Avalanche play without getting Center Ice , which is a minor annoyance but an annoyance nonetheless.But that’s neither here nor there. I’m ambivalent to the Rockets. I actively root against the Texans (and no, I’m not a Cowboys fan…I’d rather drink bleach while dressed as Minnie Pearl then cheer for them). The Astros in fact were the only team that plays in Texas (professionally) that I support, and now this scandal has sullied them. That sickens me , but more to the point, it saddens me.

    The Astros will still be my #1 team in my favorite sport but something has permanently and fundamentally died inside for me as far as they go. If my employee discount covered it, I’d get Extra Innings so I can watch Rockies games (my #2 team in sports) .

    I’m sorry for rambling like this. I’m not entirely sure my medication is working as well as it used to and I’m feeling rather I dunno…morose? Melancholy? Take your pick.

    I did want to say this though…I stay here at this blog for YOU GUYS. I like the community here

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well like I always say – sports is supposed to give us a diversion from the world – not be something we need to have a diversion from.
      This blog is a mostly safe haven for folks and I hope to keep it that way. I am disappointed in what has happened but I am not going to in-love my team (though I may in-love the powers that be who are responsible).

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      • I’m with you Sandy 40 years I have waited for 2017 and now everything is tarnished , we will be branded cheaters and frauds for years , my heart and gut ache. I don’t even wear my astros hats out anymore. If what I think will come out of this, AJ and Jeff need fired and banned from baseball! I’m Out God bless have a great holiday season all!

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  4. I like Taylor Jones. The Astros must feel he’ll be a candidate to take over Yuli’s job when the time comes. For a big guy, he’s good around the bag. And he keeps growing his OPS with power and OBP.

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  5. Will the Astros pick up the next Wade Miley or Charlie Morton in free agency? Wouldn’t bet against it, based on their track record

    Are Jose Urquidy and/or Brad Peacock answers to rotation spots? How close is Whitley? Urquidy and Peacock need some work, but as of right now I think they have to be penciled in. Whitley had a mediocre run in the Arizona Fall League so I doubt he’s ready.

    Will the Astros re-sign one or both of their catchers? Odds are good they sign one. Two I doubt.

    Will the Astros try to give Will Harris a shot to “redeem” himself? They should. Why wouldn’t they if the money is right?

    How will they fill in the bullpen behind Smith, McHugh, Rondon and Harris if they let most or all of them go? If you don’t re-sign any of those they will need to sign some free agents. I don’t think they can count on in-house guys to fill all those innings.

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  6. ok dan p, im on to you. folks it was dan p that leaked the information to MLB about sign stealing!!! dan p has stated in here on more than one occaison that he would love to have a GM job. if you go back to sept 9, his post asks the question what would it take to get hinch or luhnow fired!!! planting the seeds for this sign stealing issue to answer that question. wow dan p, new GM of the astros, i have only one question. Can i be assistant GM?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As of this evening, the Astros have 38 players listed on their 40-man roster. That is 22 pitchers and 16 position players.
    The next big date for moves is December 2nd, when tenders are due to be given or not given to arbitration eligible players.
    That next deadline will also alter the Astros roster.

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  8. Manfred said today at the owners meetings, that whoever cooked up this scandal will be banned for life….and the Astros will have their trophy taken AWAY.
    I’m sorry……but if that happens, baseball will be dead for me. Think of our team and how this will affect them. Manfred should just make Crane sell the club, pay all the guys the money owed to them, and demolish Minute Maid. Astros will be no more. PERIOD.
    This commissioner will kill the Astros, and it appears to delight him.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. For the record I know nothing about the investigation of the Astros. I can’t find any place that Manfred spoke of such harsh penalties.

    But the NCAA has not given an division 1 athletic program the death penalty since 1987. They realized they had the power but it was way overkill.

    Now it can be confirmed that Manfred is an idiot with unlimited power. It can also be confirmed that concerning the recent SI debacle, the Astros can be very stupid. It is also easily confirmed that the scouts were asked to look at ways to steal signs. (I see no place it was to be used during the game). But to give MLB in Houston this death penalty is so unwise (if discussed). However as stated above Manfred is an idiot, in my opinion, and he has unlimited powers.

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  10. I find it interesting that some sources like The NY Times are saying that the Astros will get punished more severely because everyone was warned that it could get more severe after the Red Sox Apple Watch situation. But if this is about 2017 didn’t this occur before that punishment went out?

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  11. At age 21, Bryan Abreu finished the 2018 season as a tandem starter for Quad Cities and then was added to the Astros 40-man roster. He started 2019 in Fayetteville and finished the year pitching for the Astros.
    At age 22, Nivaldo Rodriguez finished the 2019 season pitching as a tandem starter for Fayetteville and then was added to the Astros 40-man roster. He will start the 2020 in ………… Finish the sentence.

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      • But 1OP, you did not initially ask us where he’d end up initially! I like that he pitched over 100 innings in 2019. And I suspect we’ll see a few more guest starters throughout the 2020 season, much like we did in 2017. Especially since we can’t simply bring in six or eight arms in September any longer. Verlander has to be convinced that entering October with 200 plus innings under his belt is not best for his team. And who gives a crap about home field advantage at this point anyway. It’s nothing but trouble.

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    • Nivaldo is still a skinny kid. He’ll fill out and hopefully add something to his fastball. Seems that his curve is already good enough to help him post last years .175 BA against and the 1,04 WHIP in high A. Yes, Corpus.

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  12. We keep trying to edge our way back into baseball discussion while fandom throughout the planet wants to burn us at the stake. All sorts of fake news is coming from all corners of enemy territory. But we have screwed up. We are very bad at PR. We are going to take a real hit.

    The club is way too valuable to all the league owners and trying to toss or give to a new owner a franchise from the 4th largest city in the US would result in years of litigation even if Crane ends up being a guilty party too. Becky, Manfred man will be directed by his owners ultimately.

    Vacating a title would have so many ramifications. I don’t see that. But, if the Astros are determined to be guilty of even a fraction of the transgressions still being brought forward, then like Dan, I could see Luhnow and Hinch gone, maybe even fired by our owner, along with a string of other penalties. And really, as I’ve said before, I don’t want Luhnow and Hinch around if they indeed helped/allowed any of this embarrassing mess to occur. People without integrity really piss me off.

    In the meantime, I’d like to see an early free agent signing, even a small one. That would give me some solace that business will continue as usual, at least until the gavel comes down.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Out of curiosity, this morning I ventured to Spotrac and looked up the Top 10 biggest contacts that existed currently in baseball in 2019.
    Out of those 10 biggest contracts, only one player’s team made the playoffs and that was Stanton’s team, the Yankees. and Stanton only played in 13 games.
    Mike Trout (2019-2030) CF LAA 28 12 $426,500,000 $35,541,667 2031
    Bryce Harper (2019-2031) RF PHI 27 13 $330,000,000 $25,384,615 2032
    Giancarlo Stanton (2015-2027) DH NYY
    Signed w/MIA
    30 13 $325,000,000 $25,000,000 2029
    Manny Machado (2019-2028) 3B SD 27 10 $300,000,000 $30,000,000 2029
    Nolan Arenado (2019-2026) 3B COL 28 8 $260,000,000 $32,500,000 2027
    Miguel Cabrera (2016-2023) 1B DET 36 8 $248,000,000 $31,000,000 2024
    Robinson Cano (2014-2023) 2B NYM
    Signed w/SEA
    37 10 $240,000,000 $24,000,000 2024
    Albert Pujols (2012-2021) DH LAA 39 10 $240,000,000 $24,000,000 2022
    Joey Votto (2014-2024) 1B CIN 36 10 $225,000,000 $22,500,000 2025
    David Price (2016-2022) SP BOS 34 7 $217,000,000 $31,000,000 2023
    I don’t know if this link will fit or work. But it was amazing to me to see that nine of the ten contracts were being paid by teams who did not make the playoffs in 2019 and the one that did, did not get anything out of their big payroll guy.

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    • Great info – old pro
      It is a crazy combination of guys who have recently been paid like Harper, Machado, Areanado who did not lead their teams to playoff spots and those guys like Cabrera, Cano and Pujols whose contracts have been anchors drowning their teams during a series of non-productive seasons. Its a cautionary tale that many of these teams have just not read….

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  14. I usually pick one kid to watch during the year, and I’ve made no secret that my guy to watch was Nick Tanielu. I sure would hate to lose this kid to rule 5. I’m going to cross my fingers that he doesn’t get picked.
    The story about Manfred was in the Dallas paper online yesterday. Sorry, I won’t post anything else about this scandal.

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  15. I have one observation about the scandal and if it was created by Beltran and Cora (as some have alleged) then they should also suffer the ramifications imposed on us too.

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  16. Interesting post OP. What use is it to pay individuals those huge salaries for a tm that is a perennial loser? At $300-400M it’s auto 8-10 yrs. what’s the point if a tm can’t field a WS roster around that player? Even if they add a Cole type SP the payroll is hampered afterwards, so what’s the point? I guess they could fill seats enough to satisfy hopeful fans.

    Like

    • Of course, it’s just another take by a Ranger beat writer. Nothing new. Fines? Loss of draft choices? Luhnow? Hinch? I’m pretty much expecting all of the above. Like I continue to say, if we’re guilty of significant and continuing transgressions, both guys need to be fired, regardless of what the commissioner says. Suspension is not enough to bring credibility back to my club.

      But I sure don’t think the situation is dire. I want a GM and a manager that can win without cheating. I want integrity. Assuming we get hit hard, the toughest part of any recovery will be in convincing guys to play here and to stay here. I want us to come clean and kick ass on the field. And we’ve got guys that can do that. Maybe we’ll even become more business like and less arrogant at the same time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am in agreement with what you are saying. Totally.
        After this situation is handled, we need to go out and win the 2020 World Series.

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  17. You want to see a team completely ripped apart……fire their manager, and General Manager….and take their World Series trophy away.
    If Manfred does this, baseball will be dead to me. There won’t be a 2020 World Series championship….maybe never. It seems like that is EXACTLY where this is going.
    I’m taking a break from everything, see ya. Becky😢

    Like

    • Me too.
      There is no doubt in my mind that Beltrán and Cora played a big part in cooking all this stuff up.
      Maybe that’s why the offense took a dive in 18. Also, remember how skittish the Astros were in the 18 playoffs? Probably because they knew what Cora was capable of.
      I do not condone cheating. Every one that cheats should be held responsible. The key word is “everyone “ period.
      If the commissioner of baseball tears this team apart and takes away the trophy or even attaches an asterisk without even looking at the rest of MLB then I’m done with baseball. I gave up football because of the kneeling thing and I almost gave up baseball when the Astros were forced to change leagues.
      Punish the franchise if they are found guilty but don’t destroy the franchise without looking at the other 29 teams too.

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      • Well I gave up the NBA when Jordan retired and it started to look like two prison teams playing each other. Yep, the kneeling and owners reaction got me out of the NFL. And I can live without MLB. There are too many high school and college teams to watch that play for the love of the sport.

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  18. As y’all may or may not have noticed – Dan P is in a bit of a dry spell here.
    Normally these posts just pour out of me in a flurry.
    This whole scandal has sapped me of some inspiration I guess.
    But hang in there – I am busy during the day today but I will get back to it tomight

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  19. I have some Astros thoughts and they are not related to each other, nor are they a response to anyone else’s comments:
    *Jack Mayfield is on the Astros 40-man roster and Nick Tanielu is not. We have to honestly look at that and the figure out why that is.
    * The Astros must not be afraid of Jamie Richey being claimed by another team. or Brandon Bailey for that matter.
    * Ronnie Dawson must be what he appears to be and that is a guy who is going to strike out a ton against major league pitching.
    * Aledmys Diaz did not show positive defense at 3B, SS, LF or 1B. He did show positive rated defense at 2B. Is his bat enough to afford keeping him over a player like Toro, who probably has a future on this club and is way less expensive in the year the Astros are facing with the luxury tax.
    * Peacock’s fastball slowed down and his slider was not always under control. what do the Astros have in mind for Brad.

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  20. This may be a repeat of a previous post, but this is the “guesstimate” from MLB Trade Rumors as to the Arbitration numbers.

    George Springer – $21.4MM
    Brad Peacock – $4.6MM
    Jake Marisnick – $3.0MM
    Aaron Sanchez – $5.6MM
    Lance McCullers Jr. – $4.1MM
    Carlos Correa – $7.4MM
    Roberto Osuna – $10.2MM
    Chris Devenski – $2.0MM – club option for $2.825MM
    Joe Biagini – $1.5MM
    Aledmys Diaz – $2.4MM

    I can’t do Sanchez, Devenski, nor Biagini. Springer make $12 Million last year and that is a healthy increase. Not saying he is not worth it. But when you talk about $ 4 million over qualifying offers.

    Like

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