Astros off-season: Arbitration on deck

The next step in the Astros’ offseason involves the team exchanging salary numbers by this Friday Jan. 10th with the arbitration-eligible players. They could come to terms with some of their arbitration-eligible players before reaching that exchange point, or during the time between exchanging numbers and holding hearings. Here is a look at all the arbitration-eligible players on the team:

  1. Alex Bregman. They do not have to go to arbitration with Alex after signing him to a back loaded $100 MM over 5 years last season
  2. Lance McCullers Jr. The team and Lance agreed to a 1 yr / $4.1 MM contract (the same amount he made for not playing in 2019) to avoid arbitration
  3. Joe Biagini. This one is an interesting situation. Back in early December, ESPN reported that Biagini had agreed to a 1 yr / $1 MM contract. CBS reported that Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle (spit!!) had reported that Biagini had agreed to a contract without stating a $$ amount. However, I cannot find any place in mlb.com or on the Astros site where they reported this. And he is still shown on mlbtraderumors.com as predicting he will get $1.5 MM in arbitration. So, I don’t know the story, but the $1 MM sounds closer to reality…..
  4. George Springer – George just finished off a contract that bought out two seasons of arbitration for 2 yrs / $24 MM. The predictions out there are that he will make $21.4 MM in arbitration this time around. That sounds right as far as production goes, but high considering he has played only 140 and 122 games the last two seasons and will turn 31 at the end of next season. Will they fight him on this? Will they try and sign him to an extension? If they signed him to a backloaded extension like they did with Bregman that might work and could get them past the Verlander/Greinke $$$ bubble. But if I were Springer I might bet on myself – take the $20 MM or so in arbitration and see what the open market brings me after 2020.
  5. Carlos Correa. Correa was arb eligible last off-season and got a $5 MM contract out of it. After missing 53, 52, and 87 games the last three seasons the predictors have him down for a healthy, but quite affordable raise to $7.4 MM in 2020. Would the Astros try to extend him while he is at the bottom of his earnings? They might try, but it is more likely that he will wait until he is coming off a better season to sign anything long term (and that may not be until he is a free agent after 2021).
  6. Roberto Osuna. Osuna made $6.5 MM in 2019. He is predicted to get $10.2 MM in 2020. With the off-season Brandon Taubman “to-do” that was about Osuna’s past (even though he has been behaving very well since joining the Astros) an extension would be a surprise at this point.
  7. Brad Peacock. Peacock made $3.11 MM in 2019, but struggled with shoulder issues and had his worst numbers since 2015. He is predicted to make $4.6 MM in arbitration this season, which is a fairly small raise these days. Brad feels like a guy they will not extend, but they could be offering him around at the trade deadline knowing they will likely lose him to better opportunities when he hits free agency after 2020.
  8. Chris Devenski. Devo made about $1.5 MM in 2019 and had his worst year as an Astro. They are predicting he will make $2 MM in arbitration. If the Astros think they can correct whatever is wrong with him an extension would make a heck of a lot of sense at this point. Either way, even though $2 MM is a dream to us fans, it is chump change in the insane financial world of baseball, so expect Devo to be used a bunch out of the bullpen (at least until one of the young bucks bumps him out).
  9. Aledmys Diaz. Diaz made $2 MM in 2019 and is projected to make $2.4 MM in 2020 after hitting well, but missing June and most of July on the IL. He might be a candidate to try and buy out some or all of his remaining arbitration seasons (through 2022), but he may not be willing to sign that coming off an injury shortened season.

An interesting item to watch will be the accuracy of the salaries estimated for the arbitration participants. These same sources have been underestimating the majority of the free agent contracts being doled out this off-season after a couple of seasons of mostly over-estimating those contracts. It is a little apples to oranges as these players are not eligible to be free agents, but it is likely that their agents will be pointing at these dollar touch points as they try to earn higher arbitration numbers for their clients.

So…..

  • Who do you think the Astros should extend?
  • Who do you think they will extend?
  • Are any of these projected numbers way out of whack in your estimation? (I know that for some, making any money playing a kid’s game is way out of whack).
  • Who do you think will not make it through the season with the team?

78 comments on “Astros off-season: Arbitration on deck

  1. Wow, those figures seem high to me for Osuna, Devenski, Peacock, and low for Diaz. Based on the body of work, if I’m the Astros I offer the 2019 salaries to the first three and see what their representatives come back with. If the difference is modest I give them a raise, otherwise head to arbitration. I like Peacock and his contributions to the 2017 championship, but we’re not actually planning to bring any of those guys back after 2020 are we? I still think the Blue Jays got the better of us in the Diaz trade, but it’s hard for me to see a versatile player who was competent at the plate only getting such a modest raise. Jake Marisnick will probably get a larger raise from the Mets…

    Luhnow should have a realistic idea whether he’ll be in the bidding for Correa. If they know he’s got pinstripes in his future there is no reason to overpay in the next two years. If they think they can make a competitive offer that he’d be open to accepting you pay him a premium, hire him a new masseuse, and hope he stays healthy.

    Also, I missed out on commenting on a thread started in the previous post. It’s odd – when I first heard/read the Musgrove and Correa comments about Fiers’ cheating allegations it sounded like a denial and questioning what Fiers’ motives were. However, I did a quick google just to be sure of the Correa contract status and the first few news links provided are by authors saying that Correa and Musgrove just admitted complicity to cheating. Maybe my reading comprehension skills are poorer than I thought.

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    • Devin, I believe your reading comprehension is spot on. I read the articles, like you do, and my PhD education comprehends that these players are stating that there was no wrong doing by the Astros. Those who say differently, in these articles, are poor sports.

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      • As much as I would like to agree with you both – what I just read in direct quotes from Correa told me the following:
        – Correa was interviewed and cooperated with MLB
        – Correa said that he does not believe the scandal taints Houston’s 2017 World Series title
        – Correa would not answer questions about whether the cheating accusations were true
        – He did not call Fiers a liar, but said that he is a grown up and it is a free country for him to say what he wants

        – Musgrove was not interviewed by the MLB
        – Musgrove did not believe the scandal taints Houston’s 2017 WS title
        – He basically said that everyone is trying to get an advantage and everyone is accusing others of cheating
        – He was not asked whether the accusations for the Astros are true

        So, to me it was a bit of a non-denial denial. Correa’s part of it was a bit more bothersome – again they are not telling us they are guilty, but they are also not saying Fiers is a liar.
        Here’s a link…not sure what to think of it
        https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/astros-sign-stealing-scandal-carlos-correa-joe-musgrove-open-up-about-allegations-against-2017-title-team/

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  2. The more I look at George’s situation, I see him getting what he can in 2020 and then going the free agent route. It will be his only career chance at a really big payday. If he puts up a 150 games worth of what he did in 2019, he’ll get more than the Astros will be willing to pay. And I think he would have extended by now if that was going to happen.

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  3. Before we get so deep into this discussion, everyone needs to be aware that arbitrated contracts are guaranteed at full value only if the player is on the roster at the end of spring training. The Rule:

    Players who are on arbitration (unless specified at the time of the agreement), Minor League or split contracts are not fully guaranteed their salaries.

    Players on arbitration contracts who are cut on or before the 16th day of Spring Training are owed 30 days’ termination pay (based on the prorated version of his agreed-upon arbitration salary). A player cut between the 16th day and the end of Spring Training is owed 45 days’ termination pay (based on the prorated version of his agreed-upon arbitration salary). The arbitration salary becomes guaranteed if the player is on the 25-man roster when the season begins.
    Chew on that item, especially in the case of a player with a lower arbitration salary who might have a really lousy spring training.

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  4. As long as they are $20-25 million over the luxury limit, I don’t think they should extend anyone, because that will raise the luxury tax even more this season. The exception to that would be a short term extension for Brantley, but it has to be at the same salary or less, so that the AAV is not increased.
    I say this only because I’m assuming they have approached Springer with the idea of an extension and he has, so far, not seemed interested.
    The guy I’m hoping they can extend is LMJ, but only after the end of this coming season.

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    • GM for a day

      I’d tender an offer to Biagini, and be willing to trade or walk away before ST ends. Keep in mind, he has an option though, and Astros have nothing to show for the Laureano trade now that Bailey was taken in R5. Do they want to walk away empty handed from the Fisher trade? (Cal Stevenson is not going to pan out.)

      I don’t know the fate of Dean Deetz, but based on the Guduan situation and his complete lack of control in ’19, I’d be willing to DFA him to add Bielak.

      Mayfield and Devo are good depth and clubhouse guys, I keep them out of loyalty; or trade them to spread their wings.

      I wasn’t a big fan of the money for Smith, but he’s another good guy, fighting Huntington’s in Houston, bouned back nicely. Good BP depth.

      The guys I’m ready to add to the 40 man after an outstanding Spring would be Whitley Ivey Bielak Matijevic, but there’s no rush if Stubbs, Toro, Armenteros or Cionel (examples) cannot find a spot to play already. Sneed seems like a trade piece, but not going to get much value.

      I have to slightly disagree with Devin on the Thornton for Diaz trade. I don’t think Aledmys has been utilized effectively, and mostly because when Correa was hurt, Diaz had a hamstring too. It allowed Straw to learn SS, and let Mayfield get a real paycheck finally. I expect Diaz to play a bigger role next season, though.

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  5. I love arbitration time. It is that time of the season where the front office tells the player that he is not worth dog poop. And then try tries to get the player to sign a multi-year contract.

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    • Another way to look at it, AC, is guys like Maldonado show they will take less because in theory the team can spend elsehwere to give them a better chance at post season.

      The ones to really fight for are the minor leaguers pay. Unless they sign huge bonuses, how do they support their families on this?
      “For AA, the monthly salary is $1700 and it goes up $100 per month for subsequent years. For AAA, the monthly salary is $2150 per month and it goes up to $2400 the second year and $2700 the third year. If a player becomes a minor league free agent, higher salaries can be negotiated.”

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    • My guess is Will was the consummate Astro, but that 3rd year guarantee was enough to make the Astros hint they wish they could do more.

      Same with Morton, I don’t fault the player one bit for doing what is best for his family. They earned it big time, and our hands were tied with other concerns. Middle relief pitching depth just isn’t one of those problems imo.

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  6. Every guy on this team has heard the “we don’t want to go over the luxury tax” over and over this off season. Go to arbitration George, and take the money….and get out of Houston as FAST as you can and get REAL dollars and play on the team that has Garrit Cole pitching for them. THEN keep the seat warm for Correa to get measured for HIS pinstripes. Hopefully you guys can shake the accusation of cheating off you. You deserve better.
    It may take many years for this organization to be respected again….if ever.

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    • Interesting how the article is trying to downplay how much this really helped the Red Sox – while saying the Astros were cheating-cheating – not just cheating.
      So, if the Astros have to hand back the 2017 title would the Red Sox have to hand theirs back too and the Dodgers become 2 time champs without winning a thing….
      What they are saying does not surprise me – I always figured somebody would pull the signs live and decipher them
      Will we eventually get where the catcher and pitcher have headsets on and the manager or pitching coach calls the pitches over a microphone like the NFL does?

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      • I’ve suggested that, yes, but baseball is pretty rock ’em sock ’em for a catcher, not sure an earpiece is safe. I guess it could be like an NFL helmet, though?

        In my opinion, we should leave it, but use sensor tech to make sure no cameras are on the field or stands. Make teams devise their own methods of misinformation — that cat and mouse is an intrigue that’s always been in the game. The “culture” has changed since Garner’s day. If you tried to look down at catcher, and he spotted you doing it, they’d plunk you.

        I notice Maldy looking right at the batter every time he shows signs. He’s watching batter’s eyes to see what reads he’s getting; from pitcher’s glove tipping, or maybe looking at base coach or baserunner. He’s a serious hawk like that!

        I’m just glad the obvious is being revealed. I knew all along BOS and NY leaked out the Astros were guilty, because THEY WERE.

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      • Back when Bonds and others were defending steroids, the chant was “you still have to hit the ball and that is the hardest thing in the world to do.”

        So I expect similar “yes, we knew what pitch was coming but you still have to hit the ball and that is the hardest thing in the world to do.”

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      • But, that chant is true AC, because many who took steroids did not make it in the league. Many on that Mitchell Report were flameouts, or had one year wonder years, like Boone.

        The point is, the Astros were already heavily scrutinized during the season. The league took every measure. People act like it was such a surprise when the news was pushed of a death penalty. The Astros knew the consequences, and I won’t believe they broke the rules AFTER a certain point when they were made aware.

        Steroids weren’t against the rules, until they were.

        I’ve made this point before, Bregman was stealing catcher signs as a bat boy at 10 yrs old. You don’t need a camera. This is all a witch hunt and a cheap lawyer trick to divert attention away from their VERY OWN ACTIONS. Their PR firms have more clout with major networks, because they sell millions more “newspapers.” Apparently, since this is only now coming out about BOS! They’ll be uncovered for their deeds too, and the Astros players know what they know about how hard they’ve worked to get here. We don’t have to prove anything but to beat their pants off next season.

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    • As I scrolled down the list, and saw way down the list names like Ronnie Dawson, Garret Stubbs, Armenteros, etc – in my mind I could hear Jerry Reed singing “got a long way to go and a short time to get there.”

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    • I’m in the middle of my own, and to see how those two whiffed in the past, I’m not impressed. For example, JA Rivera has serious control problems, same as Yohan Ramirez and Dean Deetz. Just because he found velocity so suddenly, same as Hunter Brown, now they rocket up the list?

      It smacks of the same ‘getting caught off guard’ they appeared to be by Alvarez. At the time they rated him #6 in our system, I had him #1 (some time in May). Other examples of their velocity bias is Manny Ramirez and Angel Macuare. They don’t seem to account for the prospects we have who are outperforming the bonus babies, and the competition’s bonus guys too. One example is Chas McCormick, who I have tracking an Alex Gordon comp. They’d never rank him simply because he is 24. Their projections (all numbers, no gut) following Dan Szymborski Zips is flawed!

      Anyway, I’m excited to differ from them, and glad to see them at the finish line. Pena so far from Nova is a huge variance with Baseball America.. I’d have Pena ahead myself, but it’s somewhat subjective at this point, since a lot has to go right for a prospect to achieve their ceiling.

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      • The reason Astros left 100 mph Yohan Ramirez exposed was control. Or Guduan for that matter, never got his shot because of his terrible command.

        I want a Top 40 Astros list to be functional, in terms of realistic to make it to the majors and accrue WAR. Not just who runs the fastest, or throws hardest.

        If you look at this list compared to last year, you can see the other misses they’ve had.

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      • Correction: they finally do notice McCormick, as if NOW he has 40 FV? Or, Urquidy is another that these two now contend is FG#2? Where were they last Spring Training when Jose Luis-Hernandez put on display that nasty changeup?

        They have Conine so far down, there’s the best changeup in the entire system, for example.

        I will give them credit Robaina, but where is Jeremy Molero, Ryan Gusto, or Alex Palmer if you’re listing him? Where is Peyton Battenfield? And the biggest miss of all, CJ Stubbs!

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    • Excellent diversion 1OP. Will delve into it this evening. Back to the latest on “The Subject”, clearly, Cora’s name keeps coming up. We’ll see how this all plays out. Maybe it will help serve to soften whatever blow the Astros might take, but wouldn’t be ironic if the Sox were able to determine what Verlander and Cole were throwing in the 2018 ALCS?

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    • The article implies that since Cora is mentioned,the Astros are only guilty of 2017. Again, it follows the limited time the Astros tried it with the influence of the two culprits.

      That article also begins to discuss the pitfalls of punishing Astros too harshly. I do believe things should be mitigated, since other teams are obviously guilty (Cora/Beltran represent other teams now), and because the warnings came after the infraction on Houston’s part.

      Even when they were meting out the Cardinals punishment, I agreed that if they came down too heavily on StL. it would unfairly give an advantage to Houston, and that isn’t fair to the division which did nothing wrong.

      I’m ok with a fine ($5M to be shared by 3 teams), two future 2nd round pick for Astros, and suspension of 6 months Luhnow, 3 months Hinch, 3 months Cora. But if there is evidence that BOS cheated in ’18 ALCS, I do think BOS was warned in advance and should receive a very harsh penalty!

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      • Just remember Gostros that the warning supposedly came out in Sept. 2017 – so if the Astros cheated in the playoff run they did it with the knowledge of the warning. Again we don’t know what he heck the facts are

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      • The Farquhar game (CWS) in the JOMBOY video was Sept 21, by the way.

        That is an example where the pitcher claims he stepped off, and that he would have liked to answer questions about it, but White Sox Owner, Hahn said he wanted a more dignified approach.

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  7. here is a story from last year on spring training invitees. HOUSTON — The Houston Astros announced their 2019 non-roster invites to Major League Spring Training today, which includes 11 pitchers, three catchers, six infielders and two outfielders for a total of 22 players. The announcement was made by Astros President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Jeff Luhnow.
    The group of 22 non-roster invites at Major League camp will be OF Yordan Alvarez, RHP Brandon Bielak, RHP Akeem Bostick, RHP J.B. Bukauskas, OF Ronnie Dawson, IF Alex De Goti, LHP Kent Emanuel, RHP Ryan Hartman, RHP Jose Luis Hernandez, IF Taylor Jones, RHP Corbin Martin, IF Jack Mayfield, RHP Brendan McCurry, RHP Erasmo Pinales, C Lorenzo Quintana, C Jamie Ritchie, C Chuckie Robinson, IF Josh Rojas, RHP Cy Sneed, IF Nick Tanielu, IF Abraham Toro and RHP Forrest Whitley.
    • Astros’ Top 30 prospects
    Alvarez, 21, hit .293 (98×335) with 21 doubles, 20 home runs and 74 RBI in 88 games combined between Triple A Fresno (45g) and Double A Corpus Christi (43g) in 2018. Considered a top 100 prospect in baseball, the native Cuban played for the World Team in the 2018 Futures Game and currently checks in as the No. 3 prospect in the Astros system, per Baseball America. The left-handed hitting outfielder played primarily left field in 2018, making 63 starts at the position, but also appeared in five games at first base. The 2019 season will be his fourth with the Astros after being acquired via trade from the Dodgers in exchange for RHP Josh Fields on Aug. 1, 2016.

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    • Dan, I was watching the game on Saturday and the Texans had finally awakened in the third quarter when at 8:00 PM, (6:00 Houston time) the likely pirated ABC station on local cable showing the game suddenly went blank and then switched over to Wheel of Fortune! Thankfully the Indian Restaurant down the hill on the main road still had the game on, with their own pirated satellite feed. One of the better Oiler/Texan outcomes in decades. The good guys will need to play all four quarters this weekend though.

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      • You might get away with a first quarter that is not stellar, but a 2-1/2 quarter “lull” like they played is a recipe for disaster. Glad you were able to watch it. They had to pirate this game? It was on ABC and ESPN…. I am not sure I could survive where you live dave

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  8. In regards to the Fangraphs article I linked to above, note the recognition of the Astros NOT signing MLB players to minor league contracts by the writers of that blog. It is something that has not been talked about by other scouts.
    The Astros do a lot of things differently.
    On a different note, of the pitchers who are still free agents out there, Ivan Nova had the highest WAR in 2019.

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  9. Former Miami Marlins President:
    1. Every team cheats .
    2. You’re just jealous Astros do it best.
    3. MLB is upset because of the “integrity of the game,” only as it relates to deceiving gamblers, which has become a huge revenue source.
    4. Other teams are hypocrites for calling them out.
    5. Will Crane leave Luhnow out to dry, like Taubman.
    6. Baseball must punish hard if it wants to send a message.

    Then, move over to the article exposing the Red Sox from a NY source. Red Sox used a monitor to steal signs, then from the dugout they signalled to the 2B runner to stand a certain way. The article reads like this to conclude:

    “But the Astros flouted the system in such a blatant way that MLB has no choice but to leave no stone unturned. Even though what Boston did was arguably harmless in practice, it still possesses the optics of an unfair advantage. This means MLB commissioner Rob Manfred should investigate further.”

    Bias & hypocrisy are rampant! I just want to know the truth, that everyone was messing around, and that Fiers was a jerk for ever saying anything if his own teams do the same thing. A ridiculous side show designed to take down the organization. The days of these media options getting so much traction are numbered, imo.

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  10. Rj….I did too but I’m ok having Maldonaldo for two more years. Chirinos got hit in the head so much last year, it worried me since he had more than one BIG concussion. He was a good guy.
    During the beginning of the 2017 season the Red Sox were caught and fined for stealing signs from the Yankees using an Apple watch. Alex Cora was our bench coach who informed our guys that Darvish was tipping his pitches….in BOTH of the games Darvish pitched in during the World Series.
    In 2018 Cora was the manager of the Red Sox, and now he has been found guilty of stealing signs during the 2018 season. Evidently Manfred is looking into the Yankees doing the same thing during the 2019 season as well.
    You know what “Jacks my jaw”? Who??? Is the common denominator in 2017 and 2018-2019??? ALEX CORA😠! I don’t know where all the who-what-where stuff starts and ends….but if Hinch and Luhnow are delt the death penalty, I want Manfred to LOWER the BOON on Alex Cora. The penalties will be handed out in the next 2 weeks from MLB…..but what about all the fans who have been with this team for 50-60 years? I can’t forgive whoever decided it was a good idea to do this crap. I just can’t. Becky⚾

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    • There is another common denominator in this – Rob Manfred. Who changed the baseballs in 2017? Who oversaw production of the baseballs now used in AAA as well as MLB which resulted in a huge spike in HR rate despite no increases in lower leagues using the same ball? Who is trying to deflect negative attention from possible MiLB contraction plans? I hope Manfred woke up sick to his stomach when one of the prized teams in the league (Boston) got brought into focus for cheating as well. This fish is rotting from the head down.

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      • It appears the Yankees have been doing it since 2015, so Manfred’s dictum that there’s no evidence it extends beyond Houston was a lie.

        Effectively, what the lie accomplished was further destruction of the Astros brand, which has caused us to lose personnel and momentum going into 2020. The punishment is all about the Money, and keeping your darlings in power — we’re not stupid Manfred.

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  11. Your proof as it applies to the Yankees does not quality as proof by most any standard.
    I don’t like Manfred either, but do we really know he lied?
    Did a Manfred lie damage the Astro brand? Certainly it’s possible, but the wounds might also be self inflicted.
    What personnel have we lost due to your alleged Manfred lie?
    Have we lost momentum? That’s certainly subjective. Our guys might be pissed off coming out of the gate and play that way.

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    • Good points, I’ll try address.

      In 2014 actually the league allowed video rooms near the dugout to be able to challenge calls on the field. There is evidence the Yankees began in 2015, going into the video room between innings to glean what signs were, and to communicate them on the field. That information was not public when Manfred said, “there is no evidence beyond Houston of cheating.” It is now, and because it wasn’t suppressed, Manfred has to investigate BOS for 2018, remarking, “I have no choice.”

      We lost Oz Ocampo, and Eve Rosenbaum. These are most likely the outcome of centralizing scouting and development, where the Astros are credited with policy suggestions to reduce the amount of minor league stadiums, to re-align financial structures, upgrade facilities and the like. However, the timing of losing them, where they found jobs immediately is more than curious.

      You have also speculated with “worry” that other teams wouldn’t deal with us. Since then we have dealt with Mets, Maldonado took a cut and signed, Cole and Harris bolted for their payday. As we near arbitration with Springer and Correa, we will begin to see what core members truly believe in management. If they are suspended; or our players face terrible jeering in every single venue, we might wonder when that will end. Sure, it might motivate us to prove we deserve credit. However, having to answer whether you are the only cheater has kept us from carrying out plans, when there may not be a GM to work any deals.

      I suppose bad news is good news in the Advertising game, so hurting the brand is a perception. But, I mean this in the sense of an Alex Wood, or CC Sabbathia who goes out of their way to effect disillusionment among the public. That is not good business, and we both wonder why players who are exonerating the Astros aren’t being on front pages, or being taken at their word and interviewed?

      What’s news today? More Astros implications from, “toddler who has brain damage.” On this story, the attorney claimed he was a personal friend of Crane, and he said, “he’d do the right thing” a few months ago. I was at that game — it was horrific. Why aren’t the Cubs standing up, or the league trying to help?

      MLB is coming off as tight-fisted, and beholden to gambling sindicates. The AAA and major league baseballs were tampered with. Doesn’t that effect player’s careers, and records for posterity, asked Verlander when he called Manfred out! Then a sudden switch back during the playoffs, when OF were over-running AirOuts.

      I could go on, but keeping eye on this sideshow keeps me from prospect research.

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  12. So, if this story hadn’t broken; or Fiers had never spoken…?

    “We had (the monitors) in our back pocket,” one Red Sox person said. “If we wanted to whisper something or they walked out, then we could do something if we needed to.”

    Manfred telephoned Red Sox principal owner John Henry on Monday night to inform him of the investigation. “I’ve got no choice here,” the commissioner told Henry.

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  13. Regarding speculating that other clubs might not want to deal with us, I am guilty as charged. I’m also wrong more often than not! And it is still only still speculation. It might also be speculation that we want more than we should for Reddick and that we are willing to trade Correa if the right deal comes up and on and on.

    Bottom line though is that there are so few actual facts that have been established throughout this entire episode. I sure hope that changes within the next couple of weeks so that we can then express our informed opinions and begin to move on. For example: if Hinch is found guilty of wrong doing, will he come clean, or will he say no comment and quietly take his punishment? Or maybe he’ll sue MLB.

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  14. according to what i have read players cannot comment on particulars until the investigation is concluded. when asked, hinch stated this very thing, along with i will have full and complete statements at that time.

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      • Always a little love for Op! Definitely.
        But I still don’t understand this comment about underdogs, uncle. I was expecting to open the article and see Quintana’s name.

        Aside, Maldonado took a lot of heat for his defense in the 2018 ALCS. I’ve always contended that our pitchers threw a bunch of nasty dirtballs; it wasn’t all his fault. I recall reading an opposing manager about Martin, he said regarding his pop time and runners stealing bases — “if a runner ever steals on Maldonado, it’s the pitcher’s fault for allowing a big lead or a good jump, because he is one of the best in the game.” To get him for 2/$7MM proved to me how the Astros appreciated him staying in touch with us through last season, with the debacle surrounding Boras. Cole commented many times how creative he was as a catcher. Garneau is very underrated, and should beat out Stubbs for a mojority of the backup innings, although w/26 men, we may carry 3 catchers at some point.

        On the prospect end, catcher is going to be a strength at the end of MM’s contract.

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      • I think uncle is referring to Quintana as an underdog for the simple reason that Q is never referred to in any article about Astros catchers, including this one.

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      • Ah,..

        Another guy who I am seeing more of at catcher than I thought is Colton Shaver. Not only was he our very last pick in 2017!, he played mostly corner infield at BYU. I admit I think he has skillet hands, but he is an absolute slugger. He was invited to AZFL, spending time with Whitley.

        Nathan Perry got to play quite a bit of 1B/C last year, and he is starting to look like the player of the future when we drafted him.

        A test for Quintana (and McCormick) in 2020 is the liveliness of the AAA baseball, because both had noticeable power improvements going from Corpus to RR last year. Quintana will never get his due as a “prospect” because of his age, but he’s another example of why our farm is under-valued on the position side.

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      • Yeah, that was my point. He gets no ink. Who knows about the guy outside of a few people in Houston? Quintana would indeed be a long shot success story, if for no other reason than his advanced age and those lost years between 2015 and 2018. GS1, he pretty much solved AA ball with his .964 OPS in 2019. He pounded the “regular” baseball in that league. Let’s see if he can turn in an .800 plus in Round Rock. I admittedly know nothing about Garneau, but how can he be considered underrated?

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      • I should have written under-the-radar, smart pick.
        At virtually league minimum, Garneau put up 103 OPS+
        Chirinos at $5.75MM posted 105 OPS+
        (similar exit velocities, similar K/BB rate)

        Advanced metrics, Robbie was pretty pedestrian for the money.
        https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/robinson-chirinos-455139?stats=career-r-hitting-mlb

        Admittedly, too small sample size, but Garneau slugged .588 for OAK as you know. One error in 244 innings. He’s got an opportunity to seize more playing time, and he brings experience with two teams in our division. The Astros will want to pick his brain.

        Last year, I think it was Bregman crediting Maldonado with a game plan against the opposing pitcher, and he wasn’t even catching that day. Catchers are often under-valued for the intangibles (framing, handling the staff, keeping the peace with umpires, and so on.), while BA and CS are magnified.

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    • That should be about right for George. Ignoring payroll issues for a moment, wouldn’t the Yankees and Sox both love to take our heart and soul from us next year. And they both will be needing a center fielder. The cynic in me comes out again. I don’t think we hold on to him, assuming he remains healthy.

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  15. For those of you interested in minor leagues, a few friends have been collaborating and have put together rosters for next season. One thought experiment is to try to guess which prospects you believe with be promoted, and check back throughout the season.

    A few strong examples I’d guess are;
    CJ Stubbs to get to Round Rock in just his first full season.
    OSU’s Peyton Battenfield to Fay’ville.
    OU’s Austin Hansen is a name you won’t see on Fangraphs, or MLB.

    If you watch close enough next season, I really cannot stress this more, we have some unbelievable pitching coming on. Our biggest problem is keeping them all. It is because of this, that we have to hold Ivey (who may have a UCL sprain), Whitley and Bielak back, until absolutely necessary.

    Some examples who are R5 eligible in Dec.’20 — Whitley Solomon Mushinski Rivera Solis Collado Bielak Ivey Nova Santana Matijevic. Is this sinking in? These will ALL be taken, if not roster’d!

    https://www.crawfishboxes.com/2020/1/7/21055049/full-season-rosters-in-reply-to-gostros-1

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      • He’s got a 60 grade arm, plays all around the field.
        It won’t be a question of ‘we don’t promote catchers’ when he slugs 500 in CC…
        Get him OF reps in 2020, and work on getting him and Garrett on the field together in 2022, like the Kiebooms.

        RR is aggressive, so am I on him.

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  16. Pruitt is a hometown boy from Woodlands and U of H.
    The 30-year old is added to the 40-man. No options remaining. Comes to ST camp to compete for #5 spot, with bullpen as a fallback.
    2 more years of pre-arb salary and 3 more years of arbitration.
    Dean Deetz DFA’d to make room on 40-man.
    Rays get Peyton Battenfield and Cal Stevenson from our low minors.

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  17. I love giving free advice that no one cares to hear. So IF I were a pitcher that is a free agent, and am in my early 30’s with a terrible WAR. And apparently no one wants me, I would have my agent contact the Astros and beg to get a minor league contract. (Example: Drew Smyly at 31 and several others). That would give me a chance in Spring Training to work with Strom. That guy has made millionaires out of questionable pickups. My only condition would be that I get on the roster by end of ST or I get released.

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