Weekend Astros’ questions

Here are 10 questions for another non-baseball weekend…

  1. How many of the players feel like Blake Snell? What kind of percentage of the players don’t think they should be sacrificing some of their income for a shorter season because of the risks they are taking? And what percentage of fans are understanding and what percentage have had it with millionaires moaning? (I know that is really 3 questions, but as a bonus to the readers we will count it as one).
  2. Is a contract extension for George Springer more of a PR move or a good baseball move? Baseball history is strewn with the bodies of free agents who fell off the edge of the earth post-30 years old. But there are a lot of guys way past thirty (Justin Verlander, Nelson Cruz, Zack Greinke, etc) who are kicking the younger players’ butts. I kind of lean towards George being at least a good player for the next 4 seasons or so.
  3. Is Bryan Abreu or Jose Urquidy more of the real deal? Both pitchers in small samples were quite impressive, perhaps none more than Urquidy’s clutch win in Game 4 of the World Series. Perhaps the answer is both. Or neither.
  4. What if…..Gerrit Cole had told the Yankees “the heck with your antiquated policies, I’m not shaving my facial hair”? Would they have bowed to him or just thrown another $20 MM on the Barbie?
  5. Can baseball afford to not have even an abbreviated 2020 season? Rob Manfred whose ethics and integrity would make him a good FBI bureaucrat says the owners could lose up to $4 billion if they don’t play this year. So…does that mean the players have up to $4 billion in leverage here? It would seem to make it tougher to hold their feet to the fire in negotiating the terms of the season.
  6. Is there anyone you feel sorry for?  I feel sorry for someone like Lance McCullers Jr. who sat out one whole season and now is deep into the next. Not from a money standpoint, but the guy is a heck of a competitor and this has to be eating him.
  7. Is this one of our toughest seasons as fans? Baseball and the Astros will miss Bob Watson, a class act and a very good baseball player. Probably the closest modern Astro to him would be Michael Brantley. Just a very solid hitter. Almost always hitting for good average, not going to strike out much, not going to normally hit 20 HRs, but a good RBI man. And then after 19 seasons he went into the front office and the commissioner’s office and did himself and the sport proud. Heaven bless you Bull!
  8. Does Yordan Alvarez have to have a sophomore slump? Sure, we know he may not even get enough games to match his 1/2 season production from 2018. But does he have to fall off those near miracle stats of a year ago? Sure hope not.
  9. Should they add crowd noise to the games? I grew up on those fake laugh tracks on the old comedies and they never bothered me. Wouldn’t it be fun to be the guy who chooses how long and how loud to hold the applause, cheering, booing, etc after every play?
  10. Which Astros player do you miss the most at this point? A comment from Mr. Bill asking for us to give him reasons to anticipate baseball’s return, made me think about this. Personally, I really miss Justin Verlander, because hands down he is a Hall of Famer and getting to watch those types of players is always special.

Now it is your turn to answer these questions or add questions of your own.

24 comments on “Weekend Astros’ questions

    • I’ve given up on the season and think MLB should too. Fake cheering and boos (no). I’m for signing Springer. He may fade after a few years, but he will still be an asset to the team and fans. If there is no season, maybe Alverez can do what’s necessary to fix his knee.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. #2. Springer came in 25 lbs lighter last Spring, and like Yuli, half a step faster. He’s a consummate pro, and won’t fall off much if at all. 4/yrs with a team option 5th is a perfect plan to get it done. The other night on that marathon game playing, Reddick/Bregs asked Springer, “Yeah, are you going to re-sign here?” They played the sound of crickets and everyone laughed. The way George handles a room, he’s literally the Top Dog. Can’t go wrong re-signing him, imo — what’s another couple million when Crane has tripled his investment?

    #3 Urquidy edges Abreu in control and arsenal. Abreu has the best curve, but his fastball command is a bit suspect. I’d say a lot depends on how each pitcher is used to play up their strengths. Abreu could begin as a Bridge Up&Down guy, like Framber James Pruitt Javier Peacock Devo Sneed.

    I’m not even touching on Whitley Bielak Paredes Torres Ivey Solis Conine Garcia in 2021, who should all be coming along nicely. Point is, Astros have pitching galore, and can begin to implement the 1000 cuts strategy of Rays, Kevin Cash (if we expand rosters this year).

    #8 Yordan has all the fundamentals of a great swing and plate discipline. He was hurt, and we didn’t really know it. I don’t see a slump of any kind coming. He’s an animal.

    I wish Lance McCullers would get off Fortnite. He’s like my son, who would play that game for hours! peraps, all is well for him as Father Time patches up his golden bolt throwing arm. He’s such a fierce competitor, yes! Who’s gonna get paid money money money next year. Now that offer is an interesting one? 4 yrs/6M each? Seems low.

    Manfred probably wants to play, I’m calling it 50/50 today.
    I would have said 70/30 games will reopen in mid-March.

    #9 The crowd noise comment got me to thinking that the players will probably be “hamming it up” more if they are interacting more among themselves (Little League games). Imagine a team mocking one of our players running off the field after a Fly ball out, when the “fake noise” is cheering, and their player says, “In real Life, they would be boo’ing you!” haHa

    #10 player I most miss is I suppose is Josh James. Really looking forward to see him become SP4, or maybe #3 one day.

    Say a li’l prayer for Art Howe tonight. He’s a fighter, I think he’ll get through this.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 1. I think most of the players feel like Blake Snell but don’t want to say anything because people will think they are greedy. Many of them may be greedy millionaires, but many owners are greedy billionaires.

    2. It would be a good baseball move if they can sign Springer for less than 5 years and less than $30 MIL per year. If they sign him for longer or more $$ it will be a PR move.

    3. Urquidy because of better control/command as GoStros1 said.

    4. If Cole insisted on keeping his beard, the Yankees would let him keep it unless he had a losing streak or got injured, then they would make him shave.

    5. Owners stand to lose a lot more $$ than the players, which gives the players leverage. Everyone can afford to lose Manfred.

    6. I feel sorry for fans of Korean baseball who think that Preston Tucker is a good player.

    7. Bob Watson was the first player to hit for the cycle in both the NL and AL. His nickname should have been “Bicycle”. He was credited with scoring the millionth run in MLB history and won a $10,000 prize. Did they pay him with a million pennies?

    8. No, Yordan already had a Freshman slump at the end of last year.

    9. It would not be surprising to hear the other teams play booing and trash can banging sound tracks.

    10. Jose Altuve. Hoping to see him prove that his 2017 MVP year was not a fluke.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know how many players are with Blake Snell, but has any present player come out and said that baseball must be played in 2020? Even besides the money aspect, maybe the enthusiasm is just not there. The health concern is a legitimate one. These guys are used to gearing up in February. It’s already a lost season in many respects. Do they even want to play to an empty room? And they not going to go out of their way to work with the owners.

    As far as the fans go, I took a peek at the Rays version of The Crawfish Boxes. Probably 60% of their own fans are not thrilled by is comments. A few are ready to trade him.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Getting George extended is definitely a good PR move, because losing him is a PR problem.

    Our favorite Astro has played in 744 regular season ML games over five and a half seasons. He’s been used pretty lightly. Kept on the shelf longer than most young guys with his talent. Is he beat up? Or will he be a young 31? If it takes 6 years to get a deal done, I’d do it with George.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Urquidy showed up on the biggest of stages with the poise of a veteran. I’ve got hopes for Abreu, but Jose gets the nod at this point. Really small samples though.

    Cole is very happy to be the ace of the New York Yankees. The hair was a non factor.

    Can baseball afford not to play on 2020? Well, if they this year, they will play next year. And the owners might not be so generous. Dan, you even managed to sneak in a bit of a political statement here.

    Don’t feel sorry for anyone. Lance is making good money to get in the best shape of his life. But I am concerned about a kid like Whitley. Where is he? Is he working hard in a structured environment?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. On a personal note, here is an interview with Grayson Rodriguez – Orioles prospect. His grandmother build a baseball field behind her house for the kids to play years ago. It is still there and being used. (On a personal note, I went to school with his grandmother and she was a firecracker back then and still now)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 1. I believe a lot of players think like Blake Snell. I believe that the more players come out agreeing with him. the less chance there is a 2020 season in MLB.
    Skipping the season won’t kill me. Going to the store might.
    I don’t really care if the owners lose $4 billion. They will have a chance to get it back.
    I love the Astros. I love blogging about them and watching them, but I don’t need it to survive.
    I love watching cars going fast on a track. But I don’t see the need for them to race in May in a pandemic. They don’t need to do it for me or for first responders. I think it is silly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This world is strange right now. Had to take my 86 y.o. father-in-law to his pulmonologist. He has breathing problems (long time – non-COVID). So a guy who has breathing problems has to wear a mask that further restricts his breathing to see a doctor about breathing problems. I want to scream.
      Sitting here this morning after making breakfast and listening to Ultimate Petula Clark in the background. Old school music CDs are quite a pleasure especially listening to such a true talent who never gets played on radio anymore.
      Yes, I can live without baseball if that is the final decision, but this little corner of blogdom will be tough to keep current and fresh if there is no baseball until 2021.

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  8. 2. If you agree with Dan that George Springer will be a good player for the next four years and you can sign him for the amount that a good player makes, you do it.
    If you think he’s going to be a good player, but you have to pay him what a great player makes, you really have to be careful about doing that.
    Gerrit Cole turned into a great pitcher and got what a great pitcher receives. The Astros couldn’t afford a third great pitcher at a great pitcher’s salary. Will the Astros be able to afford a third great position player’s salary, especially if he’s good and not great?
    The thing that lingers in my mind is Springer having used the trash can method for way more pitches than any other Astros player. George was always a strikeout batter. As he ages, will that show up more?

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  9. 3. I like Urquidy long-term as a starter and I like Abreu long-term as a reliever. I picture both of them as fixtures. I really like both of them a lot. I can’t begin to express my excitement when I think of these two having good careers as Astros.

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    • Gerrit Cole – you know son of Ol’ King Cole, not related to Nat King Cole, third cousin of actor Gary Cole, Cole Hamels little brother. You know the kid who always got coal in his stocking….
      I guess Gerrit is dead to you….

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  10. I’ve been watching a lot of vintage sporting events thanks to the MJ doc currently airing and the lack of live events. I have the following thoughts:
    1. Watched ’83 UVA v UNC basketball yesterday. The game wasn’t as clean as possession wasn’t valued the same way, but all players on the floor were more skilled. The player speed certainly looked comparable, but only Jordan and Sampson got off the floor like today’s kids. I think most of current NBA and NCAA players would sit on the bench until at least their junior year due to need to develop skills.
    2. I wish they had CF cameras for Sandy Koufax’ world series games. The 70s and 80s games made me think today’s hitters couldn’t handle the larger parks and questionably fluid strike zones. However, today’s sheer strength doesn’t allow pitching to contact like in those games.
    3. I’m glad we have hd tv now
    4. I don’t buy the numbers discussed in connection with a lost season. Play no games and a lot of the costs go away. Cancelling probably saves the owners money as they don’t have to pay the salaries. With no gate and concession/souvenir sales likely in the tank I’m not sure there is enough media/sponsorship to cover it all. $4B across 30 teams is $133M per team. If the teams each made $133M in profit last season then we need to talk about dropping prices while boosting milb and rookie pay. We can’t afford to do that? Well, I guess someone is either lying or applying Bora$ type projections only loosely based in reality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Devin – Your #2 – I remember watching from the OF when Koufax pitched. OMG that curveball! And #4 – is everyone thinking they will play the whole (half) season without fans? I kinda think fans may be back before the end of the season.

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      • Thriller, you’re on fire with these nostalgic comments! Thanks!

        Dan to Op about the Cole Miner with a smooth face. He better bring a headlamp to blind our eyes, because we have an ax to grind when we see him.

        Devin, if we don’t resume this year,..what assurances things will be any different next season? We can’t seem to get a definitive answer on getting “it” and not getting “it” again, passing it on, wear mask/dont wear one, and so on. I don’t think we’ll be any closer to those answers, mainly because none of these tests are serology/anti-body tests. Doing that on mass scale seems impossible just to attend sporting events. I see many many just staying home in that environment of fear. I’m posing these questions to you because you probably have reasonable answers for them in terms of making plans. Which I agree trying to forecast future draws and consequently salaries is going to be tough. Hope differences of opinion doesnt rear ugly head in Springer negotiations particularly.

        You made a really good point the other day on Snell (and his situation). Rays will squeeze everything they can out of players too, and he deserves a huge payday soon. A lot has been talked about players using leverage in upcoming CBA. Scrapping season may not even be about money so much as, taking a wait-and-see approach since MiLB is canceled and so many things yet to be determined.

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