Astros 2020: Month by month, from the mouth of a seer

I have this long-time friend. Let’s call him Mr. X.  Way back in 1975 he fell down the steps in his parent’s house bumping his head on his sister’s Pet Rock and ever since, strange things happen with him.

He gets “visions” that he will share with me occasionally and, well, they have been pretty amazing. Among the things he has predicted ahead of time were the Larry Andersen trade for Jeff Bagwell, the shift of Craig Biggio to second base and that Patrick Duffy’s character had not really died in the TV show “Dallas” and that he would return the next season.

So when he calls me up and tells me he has had a “vision” of the Astros whole 2020 season, well I not only have to pay attention, I need to record it for posterity and my loyal bloggers.

We met at a local Chuy’s where I bought him his usual “Elvis Presley Memorial Combo”. This is usually the only payment he requires, though occasionally he needs a ride back and forth from his parent’s house where he still lives in his old 10′ X 10′ bedroom in the back and makes money broadcasting his “Gambler’s Investors Daily” radio shows on the weekends.

Dan P:  Hey X, thanks for meeting me today. I understand that you had a vision laying out the whole of the 2020 season for the Astros. How did that come to happen?

Mr. X:  Well, you know my parents are the last people in the Greater Houston area to still own and use a rooftop aerial for their 1953 Philco black and white TV.  Well, I was up there on the roof adjusting it when that storm we had last week kicked up and a bolt of lightning decided I was part of the shortest route to the ground. I fell off the roof luckily landing on my sister’s trampoline and the nurse next door came over and started CPR on me within a couple minutes. But while I was out – I was sucked in towards the light and met a trio of the late Loel Passe, Spec Richardson and Jose Lima. They quickly told me how the 2020 season would unfold for the Astros. I don’t know how they fit it all into a couple minutes or how the heck I remembered it – but they did and I did.

Dan P:  That’s a fascinating story X. Can you take me through what you can remember?

Mr. X:  Sure. Here’s what I can remember…..

January will start off quietly and morph into a jarring month. The Astros will exchange arbitration figures with all their eligible players and will come to agreements with Chris Devenski, Brad Peacock, and Aledmys Diaz. They will go to actual hearings in February with George Springer, Carlos Correa and Roberto Osuna. Then the Astros surprise a few teams by signing the oft-injured, but effective when healthy Alex Wood on a 1 year/$8 MM deal for the back of the rotation.

The month will turn on the announcement of the results of the cheating scandal. The Astros championship trophy remains untouched. The team is fined $5 MM and loses a 1st round pick in 2020 and a 2nd round pick in 2021. Jeff Luhnow is handed a one-year suspension and A.J. Hinch gets a 3 month regular season suspension, but cannot manage in the 2020 playoffs should the Astros make it and the honor of managing the All Star team is given to Yanks’ manager Aaron Boone. No players are punished, but Dean Wormer places them on double-secret probation. Major league baseball is very unclear about what other teams it has or will investigate based on what they found out. They have assigned a former Secret Service agent to stand next to Mike Fiers when he takes the mound in 2020.

In February, the Astros will go to arbitration with Springer, Osuna and Correa. The first two win their hearings, while the team beats Correa. The players report in mid-February to Spring Training and amazingly every one of them is in the best shape of their lives. The Astros beat the Nationals in the first game of Spring training on the February 22, but the Nats are still the World Series champions.

In March, the Astros decide they have seen enough good things out of some of their younger pitchers for bullpen spots, like Bryan Abreu and a surprising dark horse, Francis Martes and they trade Chris Devenski to the Pirates and release Joe Biagini. The Astros start the season on the road in Oakland and for some reason, Mike Fiers is not able to answer the bell for the first three games. Reasons given are “He has a case of the Mondays”, “His feng shui consultant has not approved changes to the stadium, yet” and “His dog ate his homework”.

The Astros struggle a bit in April as they seem to be trying to over-prove they are not cheaters. George Springer is leading the league in strikeouts and Jose Altuve is on top with the most infield pop-ups. They settle down a bit and end the month with a 14-17 record (including 6 games played in March). Carlos Correa plays every game, but everyone walks around him like they are in an antique store, hoping to not be the one to trigger glass breakage. The Astros, while they wait for Hinch to come back from suspension install Larry Dierker as interim manager to start the season. After one week he has had enough of the pointy head patrol telling him what to do and Phil Garner takes over. He lasts two weeks and Art Howe comes in to prove that what he said about not being like Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Moneyball is true. The A’s come into Houston for a 3 game series without Mike Fiers. He has taken maternity leave as he has a guppy who is expecting.

The Astros get their mojo back in May as they go 20-9 including an eight-game winning streak. Justin Verlander is the AL Pitcher of the month with a 4-0 record and the 4th no-hitter of his Hall of Fame career. One of the down points is when the Yankees come into town and Gerrit Cole throws a complete game shutout and the Yanks take 2 out of 3 at Minute Maid. Towards the end of the month the Athletics visit for a four-game series. Mike Fiers starts two games in a row in the previous series and is unavailable until the next series after they leave Houston.

In June the Astros go 15-9 against a fairly easy schedule. The injury problems that they normally face every year hit them in waves again as Michael Brantley pulls a hammy, Yuli Gurriel hurts his thumb trying to catch an errant throw into a runner and Carlos Correa goes down with prolapsed hemorrhoids. Luckily, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez share AL player of the month honors with 12 HRs and 30 RBIs apiece. Zack Greinke continues his steady work in the rotation and Lance McCullers misses two starts with a tired arm. The MLB draft is held June 10-12 and the Astros have to wait for the last pick of the 2nd round for their first pick of the draft and then the last compensation pick after the 2nd round for the loss of Cole. Oh, the Astros visit Oakland for a three-game series and Mike Fiers is supposed to pitch the Sunday get-away game, but it is postponed after a mysterious bomb threat is received just before the game.

The Astros have a very solid month in July going 16-9. There is controversy on the All Star team selection as not one of the Astros is voted onto the team by the fans (9 position players) despite at least three of the players (Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and George Springer) deserving the honor. The player voting, which covered 5 starters, 3 relievers and a backup at eight positions does not include any Astros even though this ignores the seasons that Verlander, Roberto Osuna, and Yuli Gurriel have put up. Manager Boone chooses 8 additional players and only picks Verlander (who pitched on Sunday and won’t be available for the Tuesday game) and the fans choose a non-Astro for the last spot in the game.

The Astros play the Nationals in DC in early July and sweep the Nats. They are still not the World Series champs. They play their last seven games of the season (3 home and 4 on the road including the makeup game) against the A’s between July 17 and 29. Mike Fiers goes on the IL with anal fissures on July 16 and comes off on the 31st. In the last couple of days before the trade deadline, Josh Reddick is sent to the Mets for a couple of so-so prospects. The Astros pick up a pitching rental who will be a free agent at the end of the season in Cole Hamels from the Braves, who have had an unexpected disappointing season.

The Astros take advantage of an August schedule liberally sprinkled with the Mariners, D’Backs, Blue Jays and Tigers and go 21-7. They have not been happy campers after the All Star game disrespect. Altuve goes off and raises his batting average above .330, while Brantley goes on a 20 game hitting streak. Verlander misses his first time since joining the Astros when he has to have his appendix out. Jose Urquidy and Lance McCullers win 7 games between them and Ryan Pressley allows no runs for the second month in a row.

In September the Astros have an early month swoon, but buoyed by a 4 game sweep of the Yankees they put up a 14-11 record and become the first team in MLB history to reach 100 wins four games in a row. They win the AL West by 6 games over the resurgent Angels and head to the playoffs with the 2nd best record in the AL and the majors behind the Yanks.

In October, the Astros, utilize a manager by committee with Dierker, Garner and Howe sharing the dugout and take on the Twins and beat them 3-1 in the ALDS, losing the opener and then sweeping the next three games. This sets up the matchup everyone wanted to see with the Yanks hosting the Astros in the ALCS. It is a heavyweight matchup as the teams take turns – splitting the first 6 games. In Yankee Stadium in game 7 with the world watching, the Astros win 2-1 on a Yordan Alvarez 7th inning blast as Verlander beats Cole to send the team to the World Series again.

The World Series is a rare repeat (the last was when the Dodgers and Yankees met in 1977 and 1978) as the Nationals again go up against the Astros. Rob Manfred comes down with anal fissures and says he is not able to go to the opener in Houston. He asks Bud Selig to attend in his place, but he comes down with a case of prolapsed hemorrhoids. Manfred invites Nolan Ryan to his office and asks him to attend in his place. Nolan beats the holy hell out of Manfred and tells him to go face the booing in Houston or he will come back and do it again.

Manfred faces 10 minutes of booing for the first game and that is in the parking lot. The crowd settles down and the Astros do, also. The team’s offense is on fire in this series scoring an average of 8 runs per game. There are no accusations of cheating or trash can pounding as the only pounding is what the Astros are doing to the Nats’ pitchers. They take the Nats out 4-1, but the MVP is Verlander, who wins game 3 for his first World Series career win and then comes in for 2 shutout innings in Game 5 for the save that gives the Astros an untainted championship.

In November, the Astros don’t take home the Rookie of the Year, the Cy Young Award, the MVP or the Manager of the Year awards, but they don’t care. In the week after the win they have one heckuva parade that has even more people in attendance than the one in 2017.

Dan P: That is an amazing story, X.

Mr. X: This is an amazing team and an amazing city.

84 comments on “Astros 2020: Month by month, from the mouth of a seer

    • AC
      As the wonderful Ray Thomas of the Moody Blues once sang “Timothy Leary’s dead. No, no he’s outside looking in. He’ll fly his astral plane. Take you trips around the bay. Bring you back the same day. Timothy Leary.”
      Hey I don’t need acid to write a trippy post. Anyways I was just writing down word for word what Mr. X said.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. Some various Astros thoughts:
    * I remember someone comparing the Met’s analytics department to the Astros as likened to a computer from the early 1990’s. That is why I see plenty of room for improvement for Blake Taylor. Just my observation.
    * I remember LMJ telling us several years ago that his doctors said his fastball was harder on his elbow than his curveball was. With his elbow fixed, I look for his fastball to be better than it used to be.
    *I would have been more excited about Austin Pruitt if he were named Houston Pruitt. The Rays are excellent with pitchers, so I am keen to see what the Astros pitching gurus have for Pruitt.
    *Baseball bloggers and writers nationwide cannot talk about the Astros on-the-field team without lengthy snark about the scandal. They absolutely cannot help themselves and MLBTR is as guilty as any of them. Baseball bloggers are apparently waiting for their chance to become political bloggers. They just haven’t gotten their big break, yet.
    * OK, I will admit it. I cannot wait to see 24 year old Francis Martes pitch for the first time in 2 years. There was so much promise from him for so many years.
    Oops. Mom needs help with laundry. So embarrassing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Berman talked with Luhnow and tweeted out that there is not likely going to be any splashy moves upcoming.
      It was published in MLB TradeRumors.com and of course there are a ton of comments about how Luhnow should be concerned about a lifetime ban, that we are cheaters, that we will be so bad this year.
      I don’t think they will win 107 games this year but this is a very good and dangerous team. I hope we shove it up where the sun don’t shine.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Honest reporting won’t get page views, sell advertisements, and keep people coming back to their sites. However, there isn’t much to write about the Astros until this is resolved.

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    • The only thing close to mention in this article of what we’ve heard about UCL sprain is his priority of staying healthy this season. If you recall, just before he was cited with using a foreign substance, he was put on 7-day IL for “undisclosed injury.” And at the end of the year, Astros shut him down. I thought at that time he could have pitched in AAA championship, even gone down and started for Fay’ville, or assigned to AZFL instead of Deason. So, I suspected he had some sort of fatigue. If it’s only Grade 1, there’s a chance the only issue will be a lengthening, not a full tear. Seems like Astros are siding with resting him to see if that works first.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Dan, just what I needed today! I enjoyed this tremendously!
    I’m trying to take a more light hearted view of this ridiculous situation.
    I don’t know who I’m the most angry with, the Astros for putting themselves in this situation, or MLB for making an example of this city when I know other teams are doing the same thing or worse.
    Anyway. Much thanks for bringing me back to thoughts of spring and baseball.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Remember Ed Whitson, Dan (and dave)?

    He told a friend of mine who pitched with him in SD that the Yankee fans were so terrible to him at home games, the Manager literally stopped scheduling him to pitch there. After one year, he was outta there. Some are not cut out for their kind of “savagry.”

    Conversely, I’d think A’s best chance for Fiers to pitch against us in ’20 is at their friendlier confines.

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      • I’m a little surprised they settled at $8 MM with Correa – maybe they want to get on his good side for eventual extension or free agent negotiations. If he could produce like 2019 over a whole season he will be a bargain.

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      • Maybe we’re just a tad spoiled, Dan?
        We signed him for 3M less than slot. He was able to sign an undisclosed Adidas endorsement.

        He’s made a total of 10M, and put up 21 WAR. If WAR is worth conservatively 1=$8M, somewhere in the $168,000,000 range? I’d say the Astros have won BigTime.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m getting too old to remember Ed Whitson.

        Carlos got 8 million. Lindor got 17. Staying on the field pays.

        I’ve experienced some cold hearted fans in the Bronx, but Philly in the cheap seats was the worst experience ever.

        Once the A’s are done with Fiers, he might be done.

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  4. I’m hoping Luhnow gives George a 3yr deal, instead of $20 million for one year.
    Please….please…don’t trade him. He is *THE* heart and soul of this team. These guys are gonna need him this year more than ever. Don’t listen to the noise guys. This kid we got from the Ray’s last night is supposed to have unreal spin on his curve ball, maybe Strom can make another Charlie Morton out of him! I would bet money Charlie has already talked to him about what it’s like to be a part of this pitching staff!
    Dan- I absolutely loved this blog today! But….I love a dry sense of humor!!

    P.S. PLEASE DON’T TRADE SPRINGER….*PLEASE*😭

    Liked by 1 person

      • PAY THE MAN CRANE!!! Do we remember the bad feelings between Pence and the organization when they low balled HIM?? Don’t get me started on this…..
        I’m all ready soo dam angry I could spit razor blades….this guy gives up his body EVERY GAME HE PLAYS. It’s a good thing you are not in the same room I’m in right now.😠

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      • Dan, the Astros’ counter was absurd. I hope their tactic was to go low so it seems like they came a long way up when they settle below his asking price. If they give him $21.5M in the end I’ll assume that was the case. If they don’t settle, I hope the arbitrator rejects both Springer’s number and the Astros and awards him $27M to match Mookie Betts.

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  5. So, MLB created a brand new defensive metric and then used it to name Javy Baez as the best defensive infielder in baseball.
    How do you feel about that?
    The same new metric says that Jose Altuve is 206th best defensive infielder in baseball. Myles Straw had a higher ranking at SS than Altuve did at 2B.
    Now how do you feel about it?
    I know, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know there will be some folks after me, but I’m still not sold on quite a few of the defensive metrics touted out there. This is one area where the eyeball test holds water in many cases. 1OP, your example is only highlights the folly. GoStros 1, I’m ready for your thoughts on this issue.

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      • I very much agree with you, uncle. Defensive metrics — wish I was stronger in the mathematics of it, having never taken Probabilities or Statistics en route to an Engineering degree, like some here.

        For those of us watching baseball for 40+ years, after awhile, you can begin to see who’s got better range, glove or arm.

        What’s really changed about the game is the Shift, and the actual science of “pitching to the defense.” Why wouldn’t you concentrate on pitching to the side of the plate where you have the extra defender? In this way, I don’t think defensive metrics adequately describe (how to word this?) the expertise of why the play was a success.

        The eye test tells me that most guys on the field are good enough to be out there (Tony Kemp at 2B, he played OF/IF at Vanderbilt), where they typically are successful depends mostly if they can get to the ball/positioning. Another reason I don’t trust some defensive stats — they give OF 5-stars, 4-stars and so on for difficult catches — What if you don’t get opportunities for tougher catches? Does that mean he can’t make the play? No. Or another example is a play Jake jumped way up to get a ball that would have been 5-stars, but it hit the green padding (not his fault). In that stat, missing the ball counts against him, hurts his overall grade, even though very few OF could even get to that ball.

        These are some of the ways that a stat doesn’t match what I’m seeing, and it doesn’t exactly measure what a player is doing right. Aren’t stats supposed to measure what we see, rather than change the way we look at it? I’m not sure, that’s a good question.

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    • Good article.
      One thing to keep in mind, if the pitcher doesn’t deliver a “normal” pitch, that should change the outcome percentages.

      In other words, the team works so hard to get guys to stand in the right place, where a majority of balls hit are going to end up, but one problem. Framber Valdez cannot find the plate. Everyone is all dressed up for the party, but Framber is late!

      This is why Astros focus on pitchers with good command. Bad location fouls up all the plans we made, and allows hitters to beat the shift.

      One example is, let’s say you’re an extreme pull right-handed batter, and the Astros have Altuve on the SS side of 2B. Just as soon as a hitter gets a pitch on the outer 3rd, all he has to do is “go with it,” don’t try to do too much, and push it through the huge hole at 2B. The pitcher has made a mistake by not keeping the ball in on the hands.. And in this way, defense is still very much a team game, not just an individual stat.

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    • First, I did take Statistics. I learned there is a mean, median, and mode. I was told they could be calculated but that part was lost on me.

      But back to Furman. They are suggesting that one outfielder (for Frazier) needs to stand with his back against the Left Field wall. Then someone is playing Shortfield. someone is playing Short Right, and then for no reason someone is standing in Center with very few dots. But again, if that is what the numbers say, how can anyone argue with limited baseball knowledge.

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  6. And now we see why these new metrics favor Baez and screw Altuve! Guess who shifted the least in all of baseball, by far!
    https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/visuals/team-positioning
    Yep, the Cubs.
    Now tell me that individual defensive metrics aren’t skewed toward non- shifting teams.
    The Dodgers and Astros led all of baseball in shifts and yet the Astros and Dodgers were #1 and #2 in DER in MLB Sortable Stat charts.
    The Cubs were last in all of baseball in defensive shifts, 21st in baseball in team DER, but they have the best defensive infielder in baseball? Something stinks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Neither one of the two minor league players the Astros gave up in the Austin Pruitt trade was on the Astros MLB Top 30 Prospects list.
    This will be an very interesting trade to review in five years.

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    • We have (3) 10th Rounders I was tracking in CF; Adolph, Chandler Taylor (Alabama), and Cal Stevenson we got in the TOR trade for Fisher. I liked Taylor the most. Hi strikeouts but much better power, probably better suited as a corner OF, though.

      As I wrote a week ago, I considered Stevenson organizational depth. And it was inevitable Deetz would be a roster casualty.

      But I also very much liked Battenfield’s make-up. A mature and polished pitcher, said his manager Guillen. Made big strides his first season. Peyton’s big brother, also a prospect, helped him prepare for the rigors of the minor leagues.

      I consider the Rays one of the smartest teams out there, obviously getting it done on a tighter budget — the envy of the league. Kevin Cash really knows how to handle his pitching staff! They were going to lose Pruitt, simple as that, because they have pitching coming out of their ears. The move was similar to the Astros trading Thornton for Diaz last year.

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      • In CF, I think the team is high on Alex McKenna, but after fighting injuries a few years, 2020 is the year he has to find his power.

        A really good clubhouse guy I think is over-rated is MLB#16, Ronnie Dawson. And to think we could have gotten Pete Alonso with that (daft) draft pick?!

        My two faves are Straw and McCormick. If we don’t extend Springer, in 2021 we’re looking at Straw, Tucker, McCormick, Alvarez, and possibly someone we convert from the infield, like Matijevic, or Toro. Otherwise, we may be looking to trade for someone.

        I luv Springer too, but one thing to consider is the list of guys who are R5 eligible in Dec. 20. We HAVE to make room, or run risk of losing guys like Whitley, Solis, Bielak, Ivey, Santana, or Freudis Nova..

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      • I am not picking on your comments.
        The Rays must have liked Battenfield a lot.
        The Astros must like Pruitt a lot.
        The Astros wanted major league starting pitching candidates a lot.
        The Astros might have considered that having Hunter Brown and Ryan Gusto from the same 2019 draft as Battenfield, that they were ok with letting him go in the trade.
        I will be keeping a close eye on Brown, Gusto and James Nix this year as they begin their Astros minor league journey. I think those three guys really wanted to be Astros.

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      • Op, as I read it, Gusto’s goal was to just get drafted. He was cut from his high school team twice, and went from the worst pitcher at Florida SouthWestern State College to leading the state in K’s. But, he’s going to have his hands full emerging from this staff in Short Season – Gusto, Macuare, M Ramirez, Tokar, Robaina, Schroeder, Jimenez, J Chavez, Holcomb, Cobos, Jaquez, Casey, D Taveras, 5 draft picks. I like Robaina, and finally Alfredi Jimenez and Heitor Tokar are state side! Macuare and Ramirez (bonus babies) will be pushed hard bc they are R5 next year.

        Gusto has this staff ahead of him at QC – Solis, JA Lopez, Brown, Henley, JP Lopez, Bellozo, Chavez. The loss of Battenfield allows an opening.

        From ’19 draft, in addition to Brown, I’d rate Henley and Alex Palmer as highly. And I like the “electric arm” from Rice, Garrett Gayle. Can’t forget Kevin Holcomb (Glendale); and Chandler Casey (Lubbock Christian) didn’t give up a run in limited action.. Plumlee is a little bit intriguing to me, as is his mate from MSU, Billingsley impressed me a bit last year.

        Anyway, this is digging deep into the farm.

        Guys I’m high on who can make a difference this year for the big club are; Javier, Abreu, Armenteros, Whitley. If it weren’t for reasons of “no rush” I’d say Brandon Bielak is ready, and Tyler Ivey should be ready by June. There’s absolutely no reason to add them to 40-man though, unless they are Lights Out.

        And one other issue to consider is that in Sept. the league is restricting call ups to 28 men. That’s a big limitation for a farm like ours.

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      • To be clear, Henley and Palmer as highly as Gusto, not Hunter Brown. Although Brown’s huge leap is a bit of a mystery.

        Bellozo, and Jairo Lopez, even Jeremy Molero (led DSL in K’s) should get as much recognition for 2019.

        This team has pitching in spades, and like the Rays, cannot hang on to all of them. Evidence Yohan Ramirez and a guy who was a BIG loss (from prospects I’ve talked to who faced him), Brandon Bailey. Meanwhile, Laureano racks up more WAR — we have nothing to show for him now.

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  8. AC45, as I was saying before, contrary to your previous SportsTrac figures, if Springer and Diaz win their arbitration the Astros will be at $229.565 million. That puts us over the 2nd tier tax threshold, which leaves us less options to make a creative Greinke-type trade at deadline, and takes away even more draft/int’l monies than the cheating scandal.

    We must trade Brantley, or Reddick asap, imo.

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    • That means trading Reddick even if we have to attach prospects with him. I would only trade Brantley if we are in total free fall at the trade deadline

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      • Dan, if Reddick’s shoulder was hurting his play in 2019, I think the Astros would be willing to wait to trade him until after he shows something in Spring Training. I think they will feature him a lot in ST in order to not have to eat salary or add a prospect. I look for him to be on the field a lot in ST.
        At least, that’s what I’m hoping happens.

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      • Always very humorous, thank you, my friend.

        Actually, I would bet Newhart derived this from a distant memory quote of Huxley. (Had to look it up.)

        “In fact a favourite problem of Tyndall is—Given the molecular forces in a mutton chop, deduce Hamlet or Faust therefrom. He is confident that the Physics of the Future will solve this easily.”
        ― Thomas Henry Huxley, Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley – Volume 1

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  9. Being the cynic here, our outfield in 2021 could be a real problem area.

    We’ve got very limited sample size from both Straw and Tucker so far. Alvarez looks like a liability out there. Brantley might be gone. Springer is more and more likely to be gone. Reddick is gone. We need at least one of the two kids to take ownership this year. And it sure would be good to see someone in the system separate himself from the minor league pack in 2020. There should also be some money to buy talent next winter, especially if George moves on.

    If we are at 229,565 right now, then I think our GM, whomever he may be, will get us down below the magic number one way or the other.

    By the way, hypothetically of course, if Luhnow gets suspended for a year and admits to allowing a focused effort at breaking the rules to go on, do we want him back?

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    • Dave, in 2019 Brantley accumulated 4.2 WAR on a salary of $16 million.
      He’s projected to accumulate 2.6 WAR in 2020 only because of his past history of injuries.
      Let’s say Brantley accumulates 3.0 WAR in 2020. That is worth a dollar value of $24 million. That means the Astros would have gotten a huge value from Brantley over his 2-year contract. At that point, if I am the Astros GM and Brantley has delivered that value and is still healthy going into his age 34 season, I’m giving him a QO(Just as the Braves gave Donaldson) We either get a draft choice or we get him for another year at around $18 million. At any rate, the Astros are one of the best teams in baseball at assessing current value. They will know what to do. Who knows. Brantley might take that QO and we have our left fielder to go along with our RFer, in Tucker, and our backup in Straw.
      That leaves us needing another outfielder, with Springer, Bradley, Jr., Betts and Starling Marte all being due for free agency for 2021.
      In the meantime, we’ve had another year to assess our outfield prospects.

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  10. After watching Cole declare himself a free agent and get a $324 million deal, I will assume George Springer is going to free agency.
    The Astros can’t give everybody huge multi-year deals. They already have one of the highest payrolls in baseball and they are a medium market team.
    That said, we have a really good team this year and I hope to enjoy myself following them.
    Using state of the art visual technology to get balls and strikes instantly called correctly is a dream come true. It will get the game called properly. It will move it along faster. Only deranged players will yell at an ump who is the messenger instead of the messupper.
    One weird thing I noticed. By the end of the game, the floor of the dugout looks like a trash dump. Why even have a trash can in the dugout, when nobody uses it for trash? Trash cans in dugouts were never used for trash. Why even have one?
    I don’t have a clue which Texans team will show up in Kansas City. But, I really hope it’s the same one that went to KC earlier in the season. That’s the team that has a coach and players that plan for two halves of football all week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Could it be that according to the pundits and accusers that we’ve been cheating since the trash cans were placed in the dugout for other purposes than collecting trash.
      Or as most people will tell us when we leave a mess, “Your mother does not work here so pick up your trash before you leave!”
      Best of luck to the Texans today.

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    • Here’s a question for the panel relating to Springer.

      In 2017, he reduced his K-rate an astonishing 8%, down from 25%. This seems to be the main year in question regarding stealing signs. Let’s say for one minute that they are guilty of it being more prevalent than we might suspect.

      If the Astros know his numbers were inflated by getting him the signs offensively, might they be hesitant to pay him a premium amount?

      I know this is pure specualtion, but something to think about in terms of what the “team knows that we don’t.”

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      • Yes, but other than K rate and number of games – his 2019 was a superior year to 2017 – higher BA and OBP and much higher OPS
        So unless they were still cheating in 2019…..I don’t see how they use that as a reason to not pay him

        Like

  11. Here’S something that caught my eye yesterday. Mctaggart was talking to Luhnow and he said:
    “I’m not surprised there’s a big gap, but we’ll be prepared if we go to a hearing, or we’ll get something done beforehand”. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m more optimistic about Springer staying with the Astros if Luhnow gives him a competitive offer for another 3yrs. Becky⚾
    I’m not a fan of football….but I’ll be watching this afternoon, and cheer for your Texans!

    Like

    • Becky – Thanks for cheering for the Texans – is your husband a football fan as I know he tolerates your baseball fanaticism?
      The last few years have been the golden age of sports here as the Astros have been so excellent and the Rockets have been very good too and the Texans have in Deshaun Watson the kind of leader who can overcome everything and could lead that team to the promised land.

      Like

  12. OH YES….He is a *huge* Texans fan! I grew up with my father and my 3 brothers watching football. Me….not so much.

    Like

  13. The Texans’ defense reminds me of a Big XII defense. When it comes down to playing the best teams, they don’t have it.
    But it was a lot better season than I thought it would be after that ridiculous circus of an offseason.

    Like

  14. Hinch and Luhnow are both suspended for a year….
    I guarantee you, Cora and Beltran had better get the same fate, or there will be a total exit of MLB fans. Now what say you?

    Like

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