Championship season: The 2022 ChipalattAwards

The Astros, of course, had one of their most successful seasons in history, with 106 regular season wins and 11 postseason wins on the way to the World Championship. Along with receiving that wonderful trophy, the Cy Young and Comeback Player of the Year by Justin Verlander, the ALDS MVP by Yordan Alvarez, and the ALCS and WS MVPs by Jeremy Pena, the whole team is breathless waiting for the announcement of the 2022 ChipalattAwards.

Well, here we go….

The pitching stats for the 2022 regular season look exactly like this:

Name Gm W L Svs IP ERA WHIP HR Ks/9 IP BAA OBPA OPSA IR/ IS
Justin Verlander 28 18 4 0 175 1.75 0.829 12 9.5 .186 .227 .498 0/0
Framber Valdez 31 17 6 0 201.1 2.82 1.157 11 8.7 .223 .296 .601 0/0
Luis Garcia 28 15 8 0 157.1 3.72 1.131 23 9 .222 .279 .678 0/0
Jose Urquidy 29 13 8 0 164.1 3.94 1.168 29 7.3 .244 .292 .730 0/0
Cristian Javier 30 11 9 0 148.2 2.54 0.948 17 11.7 .170 .252 .557 0/0
Jake Odorizzi 12 4 3 0 60 3.75 1.150 5 6.9 .258 .319 .720 0/0
Lance McCullers 8 4 2 0 47.2 2.27 1.238 4 9.4 .215 .303 .640 0/0
Ryan Pressly 50 3 3 33 48.1 2.98 0.890 4 12.1 .181 .239 .516 7/2
Hector Neris 70 6 4 3 65.2 3.72 1.010 3 10.9 .205 .275 .580 7/1
Rafael Montero 71 5 2 14 68.1 2.37 1.024 3 9.6 .193 .268 .535 21/5
Phil Maton 67 0 2 0 65.2 3.84 1.249 10 10 .237 .271 .730 5/27
Ryne Stanek 59 2 1 1 54.2 1.15 1.226 2 10.2 .189 .299 .556 9/22
Bryan Abreu 55 4 0 2 60.1 1.94 1.177 2 13.1 .207 .302 .570 10/27
Seth Martinez 29 1 1 0 38.2 2.09 1.034 3 8.8 .187 .266 .532 1/15
Will Smith 24 0 2 0 22 3.27 1.227 2 9.8 .251 .326 .763 3/4
Blake Taylor 19 1 1 0 16 3.94 1.563 1 5.1 .234 .347 .659 3/9
Hunter Brown 7 2 0 0 20.1 0.89 1.082 0 9.7 .206 .275 .563 0/0
Parker Mushinski 7 0 0 0 7.1 3.68 1.091 0 9.8 .192 .300 .569 0/2
Brandon Bielak 5 0 0 0 12.1 3.65 1.216 2 8.8 .234 .333 .716 0/1
Enoli Paredes 3 0 0 0 3 3.00 2.00 0 6 .273 .429 .701 0/0
Pedro Baez 3 0 0 0 2.1 11.71 3.429 0 7.7 .417 .500 1.083 0/0

Note – I added the IR (Inherited runners) / IS (Inherited runners who scored) stat for the relievers.

Starting Pitcher of the Year. Justin Verlander – Having watched so much of JV since he arrived from Detroit in 2017, what he did in 2022 has almost been taken for granted. But, it was one of the great pitching seasons of the last half-century and it came from a 39-year-old coming off of TJ surgery. It was amazing and a season that no one in a similar spot will likely ever match.

Runner-up. (Tie) Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier –  Valdez was terrific, and his 25 straight quality starts (6 or more innings, three or fewer earned runs) emphasized what a rock he was in this rotation. He led the team in starts, complete games, and innings pitched. Javier, while swinging between starting and the bullpen, had the second-best ERA and WHIP of the starters.  And Javier was part of a shared no-hitter during the regular season, which he repeated in the post-season.

Relief Pitcher of the Year.  – Ryan Pressly – He saved 33 of 37 opportunities and seemed to really get rolling down the stretch and into the postseason. While Montero picked up the saves when Pressly was not available – Pressly was the sure thing to end games when he was available.

Runner-up.  (Tie) – Rafael Montero and Ryne Stanek – Stanek walked more people than we wanted, but that was about the only complaint as he put up the historically low ERA. Montero developed into the backup closer and was a very reliable set-up man after never having done this successfully before.

Special Staff Award – If you drop the long-gone Pedro Baez, who only pitched in two games, and Ronel Blanco the highest ERA of the other 20 pitchers who appeared for the team, was 3.94. That is insanely good and unmatched in the Astros’ history.

Now as far as the offensive stats go….

  Name ABs Runs Dbls HRs RBIs BBs Ks BA OBP OPS BABIP
Martin Maldonado 344 40 12 15 45 22 116 .186 .248 .600 .228
Yuli Gurriel 545 53 40 8 53 30 73 .242 .288 .647 .266
Jose Altuve 527 103 39 28 57 66 87 .300 .387 .921 .315
Jeremy Pena 521 72 20 22 63 22 135 .253 .289 .715 .298
Alex Bregman 656 93 38 23 93 87 77 .259 .366 .820 .260
Michael Brantley 243 28 14 5 26 31 30 .288 .370 .785 .311
Chas McCormick 359 47 12 14 44 46 106 .245 .332 .738 .308
Kyle Tucker 544 71 28 30 107 59 95 .257 .330 .808 .261
Yordan Alvarez 470 95 29 37 97 78 106 .306 .406 1.019 .320
Aledmys Diaz 305 35 13 12 38 18 53 .243 .287 .691 .256
Mauricio Dubon 197 21 8 3 16 12 26 .208 .254 .548 .222
Trey Mancini 165 17 7 8 22 18 49 .176 .258 .622 .191
Jake Meyers 150 13 6 1 15 7 54 .227 .269 .582 .344
Jose Siri 135 18 4 3 10 9 48 .178 .238 .542 .247
Christian Vazquez 104 8 3 1 10 4 18 .250 .278 .585 .290
Jason Castro 78 6 2 1 3 8 40 .115 .205 .384 .211
J.J. Matijevic 67 7 2 2 5 2 25 .209 .254 .582 .300
Niko Goodrum 43 2 2 0 1 2 23 .116 .156 .318 .250
David Hensley 29 7 2 1 5 5 6 .345 .441 1.027 .409
Korey Lee 25 1 2 0 4 1 9 .160 .192 .432 .250

Positional Player of the Year.  – Yordan Alvarez – He led the team in “slash” .306 BA/ .406 OBP/ 1.019 OPS, runs (95) and HRs (37). He was the closest he has been to his rookie season

Runner-up.  (Tie) Jose Altuve/ Kyle Tucker/ Alex Bregman   – I know I am cheating on the runners-up and ties, but that is one of the perks of writing this blog. I throw anything out there, and you get to tell me how wrong I am. Altuve had a terrific year, especially down the stretch, as he reached a .300 BA on his last game of the year. Tucker led the team in RBIs and put up a 30/30 season. Bregman overcame a couple of years of injuries and became an effective run producer again.    

Biggest Surprise (Positive).  Jeremy Pena – We thought Pena could be pretty good, and he struck out more and walked less than we would want, but for a rookie, he did the best imitation of Carlos Correa we could expect for $700K.

Runner-up. Rafael Montero – 2022 was a brilliant bolt from the sky in a career of mediocrity for Montero. He became a key cog in the best bullpen in the league.

Biggest Disappointment. Yuli Gurriel – After winning the batting title in 2021, all of a sudden, he turned back into the pumpkin he had been in the shortened 2020 season. His uptick in the playoffs confuses the issue of whether the Astros should pursue him this off-season.  

Runner-up. Trey Mancini – Based on his career numbers, the time he spent with the Astros after his trade in both the regular and postseason were a total disappointment.

Stats of note:

  • The BABIP (Batting average ball in play) for two of the best Astros – Alex Bregman (.260) and Kyle Tucker (.261) points to some better times to come. The average BABIP tends to land around .300, so the team may be able to look forward to some even stronger seasons from these two big bats if their luck tends back toward average.
  • The average slash for hitters in the majors in 2022 was .243 BA/ .312 OBP/ .706 OPS. Only five of their pitchers – Jose Urquidy, Jake Odorizzi, Will Smith, Pedro Baez, and Enoli Paredes gave up higher-than-average BA’s. Only Odorizzi, Smith, Blake Taylor, Brandon Bielak, Baez, and Paredes gave up higher-than-average OBP’s. Only Urquidy, Odorizzi, Phil Maton, Smith, Bielak, and Baez gave up higher-than-average OPS’s. This meant that in the playoffs, the only pitcher they used who had allowed higher than average in any of these categories was Urquidy and he was barely above.
  • Even more important than having all five starters in double digits in wins was having no one on the staff in double digits in losses.
  • Yes, he was only playing part-time. And his knee was apparently falling apart, but Jason Castro’s likely final season in the majors ended with an insanely bad slash of .115 BA/ .205 OBP/ .384 OPS. If this was the end, then it was a bit of a sad farewell. He did launch a game-winning home run in his last at bat, so we will concentrate on that.
  • Dusty Baker got the World Series gorilla off his back. He passed the 2000 career win mark. Looking forward – he will catch Joe McCarthy with 32 more wins, Bucky Harris with 65 more wins and Sparky Anderson with 101 more wins – Hall of Famers all.

As usual, it is your turn to comment. Any awards you disagree with? Any new ones you want to award?

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43 comments on “Championship season: The 2022 ChipalattAwards

  1. Big effort Dan! Speaking of BABIP, the Astros were 25th overall in MLB. That’s a pretty good indication the club should provide more production as we look towards 2023. And I really believe Crane will build a more robust offense in the coming weeks.

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  2. Sunday morning off the cuff:
    * Michael Brantley has played professional baseball for 18 years and has made over $100 million doing it. He resigned with the Astros to finish the job and now he has his WS ring. He is a guy I admire.
    * Jeremy Pena is just getting his MLB career started, but every Astros prospect can look at him today and strive to make it happen for them.
    * Has the hot stove ever been colder?
    * Signing Brantley, Jose Abreu and Omar Narvaez to short term deals would be a nice Christmas present for me.

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  3. daveb (UK)
    I never know what to expect with the BAbip thing. I feel like Tucker hits in a bit of bad luck, because he hits an awful lot of balls hard. I think the end of the shift will help him a lot. Bregman hits too many pop-ups which may affect his BAbip.

    OP
    That Brantley, Abreu, Narvaez addition would be very helpful to this offense.
    The hot stove league always does this – it seems to be a bunch of dominos waiting for something anything to happen.

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  4. Odd how similar the seasons are from our biggest surprise and biggest disappointment. OPS is about the only separating factor, and I get it, thats a pretty large margin, but they were pretty similar as hitters outside the homeruns. It really won’t surprise me next year if Pena does not hit .250. I know, one is a rookie and the other was the defending batting champ, so their expectations were miles apart.

    Bregman is traditionally a low BABIP guy. The .260 is a bit below his career average (.285) but its been worse too. I would assume his ability to work counts – not as aggressive – makes him pass up a hittable pitch or two a series. They are all productive in different ways.

    The overall BABIP will probably still be a weakness. Six through nine in the batting order right now has the potential to be a black hole. It’s still early though. Maldy will probably have a similar season. There are lot of hitters on this team that are take advantage guys, not as many pure hitters. Alvarez and Altuve are the hitting banner carriers, while Tucker and Bregman are really guys who tend to take advantage of bad pitches and force more good pitches by not offering as much at bad ones.

    McCormick, Pena, Aledmys, etc are all hitters that rely on hittable pitches. Not a bad thing, the major leagues are full of those guys. They are called average major leaguers.

    I hope Brantley is back, but he isn’t going to sign anywhere until he is hitting again and a team sees it. His contract will be practically uninsurable at this point, so there is no need to give anyone 8 million dollars until you know they can do what you are going to pay them to do. Crane said something about Brantley and March – I would expect that to be a just before ST signing.

    Abreu and Narvaez would be wonderful. Outside of those two and maybe a lefty reliever (only if it is a guy that can prove his salt against lefties, not just a lefty for lefty sake, so not Will Smith again) I don’t think this team needs much. I think Yuli’s market is not very big, so I think he will be back on a fairly cheap 1 year deal but I think Abreu is the target. Yuli will be depth at 1B and DH a little. Unless something like a Benintendi deals sneaks in Yordan will be in LF more than we want.

    I think its time for Yainer Diaz to be on this roster, but only if he is playing. I don’t think it helps him or the Astros to give him 2 games a week when he can be playing everyday at AAA. He won’t be catching if its AAA so maybe its time to see what he does with that hit tool full time and not worrying as much about the other side.

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    • Good morning Steven. 6-9 in the line up has got to be addressed. We’ve all got our thoughts on how that should be done. I’ve got to figure that Maldy will catch 100 plus games, assuming good health, so 6-8 are the spots I’m really interested in. I sure hope we’ll see movement before Christmas. Don’t want to wait until next year.

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    • Dan, I believe the final nails in Click’s Astros coffin was the deadline deals he made, what we gave up and what we received.
      Not adding Murray to the 40-man to protect him and adding JP France instead tells me that Crane absolutely thought that we lost the Mancini trade and lost value in the Vasquez trade and Will Smith returned nothing to the Astros, but got rid of Odorizzi and his dollars in decent compensation.
      Yes, I’m speculating. That’s what we do here, right?

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      • OP – I think you covered it all with this comment when Click was let go….

        1oldpro
        NOVEMBER 11, 2022 @ 6:05 PM
        Let’s work backwards:
        Maybe Crane didn’t like the Contreras/Urquidy trade.
        Maybe he didn’t like the price we paid for little result from Vasquez.
        Maybe he didn’t like the Mancini trade, given the results.
        Maybe he didn’t like the worthless Goodrum deal.
        Maybe he didn’t like the way the Will Smith deal turned out.
        Maybe he hated the Pedro Baez deal.
        Maybe he didn’t like the way Graveman didn’t want to be here.
        Maybe he doesn’t like the way the Maton deal is looking.
        Maybe he wasn’t happy with the way Brooks Raley turned out.
        Or Austin Pruitt.
        Or Blake Taylor.
        Or Yimi Garcia
        Or Jacob Wilson.
        Or Jose Siri.
        Or Dustin Garneau
        Or Chase De Jong
        Or Mauricio Dubon.
        Maybe He is unhappy about drafts
        Maybe he is unhappy about the last 3 years of International free agent signings.
        Maybe he just wants somebody who he thinks can do better with developing minor league pitchers.

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      • We are certainly allowed to and are encouraged to speculate. Where would I be otherwise? While Dusty Baker made every effort to get Smith into games, I presume because he really wanted a lefty, he did not have the same enthusiasm for Vasquez or Mancini. The manager clearly felt more comfortable with Yuli and Maldy on the field. So if nothing else, that’s a pretty good indication the GM and the manager were not on the same page. But Dusty also took a very long time to accept the fact that Chas was the best guy to put in center. He’s stubborn.

        Which gets me to Omar Narvaez. Odds are he’ll rebound at the plate this year. And he’s quite good defensively. But like most guys, he hits better when he plays. And in 2022 with only 262 at bats, he hit as bad as Maldy does. If the boss goes out and pays the guy 6 million a year, will Dusty give him more than 60 starts? I doubt it. And somehow I’m thinking Y. Diaz might hit his way on to the roster out of Spring Training. Is he good enough behind the plate to steal the back up job from Lee?

        On the flip side, I’m more and more convinced that Brandon Nimmo is our Michael Brantley replacement in the line up. We paid Brantley 16 million a year for four years. He was worth it, even with the injuries. If Nimmo cost us 22 a year x 5, it’s not that big a difference over what we paid Michael. And we get a guy with a lifetime .385 OBP and an .827 OPS that plays centerfield pretty well too. It makes me less concerned about Yordan playing the field too often. And Chas ends up playing left where he should anyway. The only problem I see right now is that too many clubs want Nimmo right now. He’ll get paid.

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      • I would agree Dave. Nimmo would be a fantastic add.

        I also agree his market is big. The reason I haven’t really mentioned him is I don’t think we overpay (not in our history). Lets say there was a perfect salary to production calculator out there and it says Nimmo is a 17 mil a year player – to get him over 15 other suitors you are going 24. He plays a premium position that has practically no other alternatives. And let’s be honest – the guy has never even been an all star. He has never received a silver slugger. He has never won a gold glove.

        There is a lot to like. He gets on base, with multiple .400 OBP seasons. He had one bad strikeout year, the rest he sits around average on. Even when he doesn’t hit his on base tool translates to slumps not killing you. I love him. He would be a prom date I would say yes too. But we aren’t out bidding anyone, and I am not sure I want to pay 24 mil to a 17 kind of guy.

        He sure does seem a lot like an Astro though.

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      • Right, it’s a bit odd to read articles and hear the “experts” talk about how the Astros only offered a one year deal to the guy who put together the championship team. Unless it was Click who talked Crane into paying Verlander and not paying Correa it’s hard to give him too much credit here. It’s possible those were the moves Click made because no one wanted to sign here or Crane wouldn’t approve other deals, but we don’t know that. We’ll have to see where Click goes next, but I think you have to expect given the track record from Tampa and his young age he’ll get a chance to make more money than Crane would pay AND have more freedom to make good or bad moves.

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  5. If anyone is in the vicinity of Sugar Land Towncenter – Ryan Pressly is in B.B. Italia until 5 PM – free autographs and pictures – nice guy – told him I was a fan since 1966 – he said that of course is before he was born. I told him what he and the bullpen did this year was tremendous – it was something that was missing in so many of our playoff runs.

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    • He sure got screwed. But Yordan got his ring. He’ll be fine. I also think he’ll crush the California club next season.

      Good day to be an Astro fan. The owner is prepared to spend what it takes to get the guys he wants. It’s his money. I’m along for the ride!

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    • Honestly?
      Nimmo is big bucks and costs a draft pick.
      Conforto is a health risk.
      If you eliminate Brantley from the mix, I think the answer might be Bellinger, especially if he is looking for a one year redemption contract. That fits into the Astros budget for this year and beyond and gives the Astros one year to align their outfield prospects with their future needs. Where could Bellinger get so much lineup protection, such a good chance for a ring and the chance to get playoff exposure, and play against a new set of pitchers with a team known for their ability to beat good pitching? Also, that inviting RF porch?

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      • Any interest in Benintendi? Or are we thinking the Yanks will re-sign him and/or he is too pricey with too long a contract. Similar to Brantley – good hitter not a ton of power but in his 20’s and good fielder who can play center.

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      • Dan, I could be way wrong about what Crane wants, but I think Benintendi is looking for 3 to 4 years and I am not sure Crane wants to tie up that much in a LFer, when he could find a CFer for one year.
        With the Abreu money added in, payroll gets super big for 2024 with all the arbitration raises the Astros are going to incur.

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  6. Now, this is something I am bringing up out of the blue.
    The Astros spent a ton of money signing outfielder Pedro Leon two years ago.
    I wonder if Jim Crane might be not happy about how the Astros have used his investment. The Astros front office has wasted two years of his development by putting him in RF, SS, 3B, 2B and DH.
    The man has never made an error in CF in his career in Cuba or in our system. Who knows how much of his time has been wasted on him learning new positions when he could have been concentrating on developing his bat and playing CF, when the Astros have known all along they needed a CFer for the future.
    This situation goes straight to the Astros former GM, who is responsible for this lack of development.

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  7. Just listened to the Abreu press conference. When asked what else the Astros might be looking for, Crane said catcher, outfielder and added, “we can never have too much pitching”.

    I’m warming to a one year Bellinger deal. As 1OP notes, what better place for the guy to put his offense back together? I sure like Nimmo, but we don’t need the guy for 5 years. A Benintendi signing would delightfully offend Yankee fans.

    I like our acting GM.

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  8. I’m sure the tires are being kicked on Nimmo and Benitendi. It’s a players market for outfielders. There are way few players available than spots teams need to fill. Someone will overpay for both.

    I still think our answer ends up Brantley, after they are sure he can swing a bat. I wouldn’t be surprised if Yuli is back in a bench role – Hensley, Yuli, Dubon, Meyers and a catcher yet unnamed probably end up the bench, though I would rather see Y. Diaz in the role that Yuli will get (some DH, some 1B, some late pinch hitting, 3-4 times a week and Diaz can catch some too).

    Abreu is a great signing. I was hoping 2 years, but 3 may be what they had to go. We’ll see what the third year is like, but at least in 2023 he should be a plus hitter, and who knows, may be back to his 30 HR/100 RBI days.

    Leon can’t hit. Fast, check. Above average defender (at least in the OF), check. Swings a hard bat, check. Even draws a walk or two, check. None of that matters if you can’t consistently as a hitter discern what you should do in the 400 milliseconds it takes a 95mph fastball to get to the plate. Hitters like Leon are the guys that rely on mistakes solely. He also had 18 CS last year, and has 4 errors in just 297 innings in RF to make up for his lack of errors in CF. He is right now an fundamentals nightmare wrapped in a talent laden wrapping.

    If I was Crane I wouldn’t lay Leon’s lack of a hitting tool at the feet of Click. Not to pile on him, because he is fairly young and controllable for a number or years, and he could get better. Guys have.

    I would never warm to a Bellinger deal. He is an overconfident prima donna that probably surrounds himself with people that tell him how great he is because one time he was. Now, being non-tendered could slap him in the face or make him mad and the MVP could come back out, but it would cost us 8 million to find out. I would rather pay Chas 750k, and Chas probably won’t hit .210 or strikeout 150 times.

    Yordan only played DH 77 times. He is a better hitter than Ohtani. I think people know that. I’m guessing in the criteria MLB gave voters only their stats in the DH role mattered. It is a stupid award anyway.

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    • Heck, if Bellinger could be had for 8 million, he’d be gone already.

      So as I warm to a one year deal with him, I’d still be super happy if Crane locked up Nimmo, even if for five years.

      I’m pretty certain Crane will not get shut out. He’ll pay for one of those few left handed hitting outfielders soon. He won’t wait on a good health report from Brantley.

      By my count we have 8 non pitchers locked in. And then per Crane, a new catcher and outfielder. So we have 3 more slots. Who are they and what roles will they play? It’ll be hard to have both Yuli and Brantley back.

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      • Sure, Nimmo, 5 years, he is young enough for that. It just might end up one those contracts if he can’t stay upright. He has only played 100 games in a season twice, though I guess 2020 doesn’t really count against him. And thats a younger version. The older version could get worse. As a fan I just love Nimmo. Takes me back to what baseball used to be. Reckless abandon. Lay it out there. Grind things out. Figure out how to have a good at bat today no matter how good the pitcher is dealing.

        I agree, Yuli doesn’t fit at all if they sign any LF’er including Brantley, unless the plan is Yuli sees 150 PAs and thats it. Abreu is an everyday Joe. Always has been. Any LFer puts Yordan back where we as fans want him, DH for 100+ and a little OF. But Crane himself is the one that said he could see Yuli back in “some role.” Of course he also said they would love JV back when clearly, he is just being political towards his players. Deep down maybe he doesn’t care if either of them are back.

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  9. https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2022/11/astros-to-meet-with-willson-contreras.html
    In regards to this article and its contents, I am wanting to say:
    1. The Astros had interest in Contreras at the deadline, the first week of the hot stove and now, in early December.
    2. Contreras is the best catcher on the market and the Astros know that and they know the amount of money he will be asking for.
    3. And yet, they are meeting with him.
    I conclude that they are not trying to recruit him to be their backup catcher, no matter what anyone says. If they sign him it will be to have him as their primary catcher.

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    • I agree. But how many years will it take? And I’m thinking about all the catcher prospects (I recognize they are only prospects) we’ve finally developed over the past few years. But I’m also thinking that our owner is putting the hammer down. Seems he’s intent on putting a remarkable baseball team on the field.

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      • Catching prospects = Assets!
        You have Maldy for a year.
        You let Lee and Diaz fight it out in AAA and you let the next two or 3 fight it out in AA.
        All the while you are developing young catchers to use in 2024 or trade for players you will need for 2024 and beyond.

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  10. I’m not really sure what is going on in the organization or in Crane’s head. While I like us holding on to Montero and signing Abreu I think we overpaid for both. Is Crane trying to have the highest payroll in baseball? He indicates that he’d still want JV but at 43MM a season and how much would Contreras cost? Then there’s an outfield position. I don’t mind us going after a couple of needs but why abandon what’s been working for you. We’ll have several arbitration players coming up in a couple more years and they’ll not be cheap. Remember, when is the last time a team won the World Series with the highest payroll in baseball? Maybe time to step back and catch one’s breath.

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  11. Walking in the Winter [Meeting] Wonderland ….

    It lasts four days … and should be interesting.
    Tons of FAs are repositioning;
    There are offers galore;
    but agents want more …
    It’s all a high-stakes game of CandyLand.

    Looking for homes … Judge and Verlander;
    Jacob DeGrom … Bogaerts, Xander;
    Contreras and Bell; Trea Turner as well …
    They’ve come to play some high-stakes CandyLand.

    Come the spring they’ll all drive Mazeratis;
    show up late to camp … what do they care?
    They’ll all be spending money like the Saudis;
    but which of them’s the biggest millionaire?

    As the year wears on … they’ll meet on the I.L.;
    leavin’ fans suicidal;
    But what’s it to them? Who needs a web-gem?
    That’s just the perks of high-stakes CandyLand.

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  12. Projections on players linked to us by MLBTR –

    Verlander 3/120
    Nimmo 5/110
    Contreras 4/84
    Benintendi 4/54
    Conforto 1/15

    Bellinger wasn’t included in the projections but SI is guessing 10-12 million for 1 year.

    Crane told Rome Chandler that they are still after an OFer and catcher and they are willing to go over the tax. Meeting with Contreras coming up, and Heyman is reporting Benintendi is meeting with the Astros soon.

    We are at 197 million after Abreu (still includes buyouts Baez and Mancini, deferred salary to Greinke and projected arby numbers). The tax number is 233.

    If it is Contreras and Benintendi, it will put them right at the number, maybe slightly over. Adding Verlander at this point looks highly improbable.

    Last year we had a 1B with a .650 OPS. Our SS was great one day and 0-5 with 3 k’s the next, fairly regularly. Our 3B had 2 big slumps. Our LF was lost at midyear. CF was pieced together and generally below average most of the year. Our catcher was quite possibly the worst hitter with an everyday job in all of baseball. We traded for 2 guys that neither performed or was given the PT to get out of that funk. And we still won 106 games! We all know why.

    Abreu is great. Contreras would be great (I still think highly unlikely unless Crane sees Maldy as the backup). Benintendi would be great, a lefty batting second that is basically Brantley. But we didn’t win 106 games because of hitting, or lack there of at times. We won a lot of 3-1 games. The pitching will still be great, but if McCullers doesn’t make 27-30 starts or Brown is what he was at AAA (today great, 5 days later can’t find the strikezone), we won’t win 106 games again.

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  13. Zanuda, I’m confident Crane is a rational guy. I’m sure he’s aware of what it will cost to keep guys like Tucker and Framber and others in the fold. I also think he paid what he needed to pay Abreu. Too much? We’ll find out. Same with Montero. I don’t have any idea what our owner will do next, but I’m pretty sure he’s not done. Personally, I don’t think we need Contreras, but yeah, I’d be pleased to see him in Houston. Just the same, we do have to continue to get one or two in house assets on to the major league roster each year in order to keep having the same success we’ve had. So I’m really intrigued to see how our 26 man roster shapes up.

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  14. Reason #1 for Jim Crane to go all in for 2023 and 2024:
    The current contracts of Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve expire at the end of the 2024 season.

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