Off-season Would You Rather

In Dan P’s illness-addled brain state, this is a cheap way to get out of writing a coherent post. It is an oldie, but sometimes a goodie that lets our loyal readers respond to a number of choices…..

Would you rather….

1) Have Carlos Correa as your shortstop for 13 years and $350 MM or have a root canal without anesthesia?

2)  Have Aledmys Diaz at 2 years $14.5 MM or David Hensley at $700 K / yr?

3)  Have Jim Crane wait until David Stearns is available after the 2023 season to be the new GM and/or president of operations, or go with someone else in the next month or so?

4)  The Astros extend Kyle Tucker or Framber Valdez this offseason?

5)  Have Hunter Brown as the next man up for the rotation or bring in a veteran (ala Jake Odorizzi) until Hunter has had more time to mature?

6)  The Rangers become the top AL West competitors to the Astros in 2023 or have it continue to be the Mariners?

7)  The Astros fill the backup catcher spot from within (Korey Lee, Yainer Diaz) or add a so-so veteran from the outside?

8)  The Astros re-sign Michael Brantley or Yuli Gurriel?

9)  The Astros make a trade for catcher or outfield help in the off-season or wait until the trade deadline to see what they really need?

10) The Astros stick Chas McCormick out in CF and let it roll, or continue to fiddle with a rotation of Chas, Jake Meyers, and Mauricio Dubon?

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42 comments on “Off-season Would You Rather

  1. 2. I would rather have David Hensley because he is a better player than Diaz at this point in their careers, fits into our budget better, and seems less likely to be injured than Diaz, which makes him way more valuable.

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  2. 3.I would not wait to put Stearns in my basket, because, the way people are throwing money around, Stearns would probably find a better basket among the other teams. I would wait until spring to fill the job. One of these three Assistant GMs might show their worth and save a lot of trouble.

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  3. I would rather … Jeremy Pena outperform Carlos Correa in each of the years that he is under team control. I would rather Dodger fans be relocated to the Panama Canal – where they can wallow in pig filth with or without anesthesia, as seems right and fair to the Panamanian authorities.

    I would rather David Hensley be our ace in the hole and that Aledmys Diaz’ contract be Oakland’s pain in the A’s.

    I would rather Jim Crane due his due diligence, take his time, and find the best fit for Astros GM. I could care less about a Stearns in the basket or bush, and I have no concerns at all about Crane finishing the off-season – or even starting 2023 – without rushing into a hire.

    I would rather free agency be done away with, and we find a way to keep both Valdez and Tucker in the Astro fold forever; barring that, I guess I’d prefer extending Valdez because it is slightly easier to find and develop good outfielders than is it to find top-of-the-rotation arms.

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  4. I would rather … the Mariners ship sink to the bottom of Puget Sound the Rangers hire the gm and the coaching staff that has made the Houston Texans franchise what is today.

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  5. 1. I don’t have to take Correa nor the root canal due to my international residency.

    2. Hensley will work an at bat. He’ll probably be available a 150 nights a year too. Diaz landed on his feet. He’ll be exhausted by mid May.

    3. I hope Crane finds someone he’s comfortable with sooner than later.

    4. Tucker. Seems he’ll be the toughest one. Why would anyone in his position make a deal now considering what’s happened over the past few weeks?

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  6. 5. Hunter is our new Reptile unless we go with a 6 man, which is plausible.

    6. The M’s can play. The Rangers can spend money. So far there is no correlation between the two with them. DeGrom knows he can’t throw 5 more years. That’s why he took that delightful 5 year contract from the Rangers

    7. In order to slow the development of Lee and Diaz, the Astros will pick up a not so good catcher.

    8. When the Astro realize Jake and Frenchy are not ideal, they’ll bring Brantley back. He’s still going everywhere on the team bus.

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  7. 9. Seems the Astros are working on that outfielder especially. Seems the other guys want a real pitcher. Seth Martinez? Yeah. Maton? Absolutely. Whitley? Wouldn’t that be something?

    10. Oh gosh, I hate the thought of the daily guess who’s in center tonight quiz. That’s the main reason I got irrational and wanted Dusty home at the vineyard sipping wine. I want a better outfield, as long as our braintrust does not give away away of my 6 starters, or Abreu.

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  8. 4. Of the two choices given, I would rather see Tucker extended now because he is three years younger, plays every day and would seem to be harder to sign.

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  9. I would rather see Hunter Brown in the rotation next because we need to keep up the home-grown additions to our team to make this work and to stay under the luxury tax line.

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  10. 1 – Correa for 350M. It’s my mouth, but it’s not my 350M.

    2 – Diaz because it’s not my money and he can play more positions. I do believe Hensley is a better hitter, but that won’t matter as much at 200 PAs.

    3 – Just find a GM. One that likes math.

    4 – Framber. Pitching is always more important.

    5 – At this point Brown because there are no other options left, but the Astros might want to take a flyer on a guy that is a long guy that can be the 8th guy up (they did use 8 starters last year, and that was with 5 starters making 25+ starts).

    6 – I don’t care which, but I assume it will be the Mariners.

    7 – Add Narvaez. He can probably be had for a 2 year deal. If you can’t keep it at 2 then just go with Lee and Maldy. I am not convinced Lee will ever be a major league back stop and I don’t think Diaz is destined to catch.

    8 – Brantley – because at this point, right now, he is a better hitter, and can bat 2nd, and is a lefty, and can trot out to left field. Gurriel is none of those things.

    9 – I think they make a trade for OF help, but not a C. There really aren’t any left out there that have the rumor mill out on them being on the block. They could still sign one for depth. I would watch the Varsho market, he isn’t a guy I really like, he has power but his hit tool is meh, K’s too much, BB’s too little, but I think the rails are off the Astros front office right now and they are willing to do some things maybe Click or Luhnow would not have, and that would include moving some package to Arizona for a guy that can catch AND play the OF.

    10 – They SHOULD roll with McCormick. If he hits .235 with 15 HR he has done his job batting 8th. If the Astros are forced to move the CF position up in the batting order because of an injury, they should look for something at the deadline. It’s not really how McCormick fits the OF, its how he fits the lineup as long as he is outside of arbitration. Once arby hits and he starts some escalations, well, I don’t know that he will earn 5M. He might improve though. The issue is depth. Dubon is a liability at 300 PAs. Meyers is just not a major leaguer. If McCormick sprains a wrist and is out for 6-8 weeks, that could be a long 6-8 weeks with a CF hitting .200 even down in the 8th spot.

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    • Yeah, I’m prepared to give the job to Chas, assuming our front office by committee does not give away a starter to bring in Varsho. Don’t get me wrong, I’d take Varsho in center against righties and keep Chas busy by playing him there against lefties and also in left field whenever feasible. And if Brantley was to get another year, then Chas or Varsho would be great defense late in left, alleviating the need for Jake and/or Dubon. And when Tucker needs his day off, we have a quality option in right field too.

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  11. Can someone explain why we want Stearns? How has he made the Brewers better with his trades and drafts? My brother-in-law is from Milwaukee and fairly dissatisfied. We don’t have to bring people back just because we worked here…but I’m honestly curious as to why so many Astros fans want it to happen.

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    • I think most of the sound comes not from fans but from speculation from writers because of Crane and Stearns relationship. TBH I never heard of the guy until I read a story about him in the offseason suggesting he is why Click only got a 1 year offer. Maybe Crane thinks he does business like Luhnow, idk.

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    • Sterns took over the Brewers after the 2015 season. They were a 94 loss team in 2015. The 2016 season was tough but then, they turn it around to a tune of 481-390 or .552 which is pretty good. In the playoffs 4 out of the six seasons that he has been there.

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  12. 6. I guess I would rather see the Rangers chasing the Astros, because they have already spent a bunch and it would be fun to see Dipoto go crazy at the deadline trying to catch up.

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  13. 7. this is the toughest question of the bunch for me. I am leaning toward wanting a backup catcher from outside to give Diaz one more season in AAA to work on his defense and to give Lee another season in AAA to work on his batting. Hoping they can take over for a long time at catcher starting in 2024.

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    • You know 1oldpro, our strongest catching option in 2023 might well have been Vazquez with Maldy as back up and Lee/Diaz getting reps across town. 10 Million x 3 looks looks pretty reasonable these days. It concerns me that Dusty might have too much policy making ability, especially with no definitive GM in house.

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    • If Jeremy Pena is contributing I’m less concerned about what we get offensively from catcher as I am what they’re bringing to the defensive side. At risk of being kicked off the blog, let me point out that Brad Ausmus only managed 50 RBI once in his career and finished his career besting Maldonado in OPS .669 to .634. If they aren’t bringing wins to the table through handling of the staff and controlling baserunners then it’s time to move one, though. Keep in mind the pitch clock, throw-over rules, and larger bases are intended to increase stolen base attempts next year.

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  14. Dan P’s druthers…..

    1) I guess I’d rather have Carlos, since its not my money – but about 5 years out the root canal might start looking inviting
    2) If you told me Aledmys would be available for 150 games a year, I would pay the $7+MM / season – but he has never been that for us
    3) I don’t know enough about GMs and how Crane wants to use them to answer this question – but they sure need someone to be in charge this year, even if you make them GM and bring in a Stearns as president of baseball ops
    4) Framber was in the Cy Young race. With no shifts out there, Tucker may be in the MVP race. This one is tough – I guess I would lean Framber, but you could talk me into Tucker
    5) Hunter is my guy – he can do the Javier thing for this team
    6) I hope the Rangers choke on their huge contracts – let the M’s be our competitors
    7) This one drives me crazy. We need to know something about the guys we have because Maldy will likely be gone after 2023. So will we know more about them playing once a week in the majors or every day in the minors? I’d pick up a decent back up for a 1 season agreement
    8) Brantley had 1.3 WAR in 64 games. Yuli had -0.3 WAR in 146 games – game – set – match Brantley
    9) I think if Brantley will be back early in the season and you can get an agreement to sign him – then there is no need to trade for OF help. In that case trade or sign a catcher would be my preference
    10) Give Chas some steady work and see if he can improve against right handers. You can always chase someone at the trade deadline from among the teams that are out of it then

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    • Still leaning Narvaez – what happens if Diaz can’t catch and Lee can’t hit? Narvaez on a 2 year gives you a stopgap for 2024 to figure out 2025. Prospects are great, but they should never be your number 1 option, make them take it. We got lucky with Pena (but Aledmys was still here providing insurance).

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  15. 1. Assuming it’s my money, I’ll take temporary pain and suffering for 350 Alex.
    2. Once again, I’ll take Hensley for 700K Alex.
    3. Not sure on that one, but it would be nice to get a GM on board before too long.
    4. I’ll take Tucker for 7 years only because pitchers can be unknowns every year. Framber has only been a very good starter in the last two years but I’d extend him for 5 more.
    5. Hunter Brown in a NY minute. Only one way to see if he’s ready and that’s put him out there every 5 -6 days.
    6. More afraid of the M’s than the Rangers. Money doesn’t necessarily by you happiness or a Division/League/World Series championship.
    7. Agree with Dan on this one but “Who Can It Be Now” for that backup?
    8. Brantley, hoping he’ll be ready to perform in the limited role.
    9. No trade unless it’s a really good deal. Have to admit though some our trades haven’t been stellar in the last few years.
    10. Let the Chaz man play and lets see if he’s got what it takes to be an everyday player. No need to panic at this point.

    Don’t trade any of our young pitchers! We’ve got 6 guys who can all start. Remember it’s pitching that will get you to the playoffs.

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  16. 1) Steak dinners on Carlos Correa! He bit into that T-bone and now he needs a root canal.
    2) Hensley will play the next 2 years like he is worth $14.5 MM.
    3) We can wait until next month since the Christmas shopping is done.
    4) Extend them both, but do Framber first.
    5) Hunter Brown.
    6) Rangers, Mariners & Angels can all tie for second place and beat up the A’s.
    7) Backup C from within. We did fine the past 3 seasons with backup catchers Garneau/Stubbs, Castro/Stubbs & Vasquez/Castro/Lee. Lee/Diaz can probably provide similar results.
    8) Sign both. Brantley at $8 MM and Yuli at $5 MM and get rid of Dubon.
    9) Wait until the trade deadline. We might need another pitcher instead.
    10) Chas and Jake in CF. Get rid of Dubon.

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    • What information / leverage do the players have that’s allowing their agents to pull this off? Last offseason I figured the Rangers were just doing Rangers things giving those deals to Seager and Semien. Is this a situation where a lot of owners are planning to put their teams on the block in the coming years? The deGrom and Rodon contracts would keep me up at night…probably going to end up with $100M+ of dead money on both. The Correa contract is indefensible. Are these owners just jealous of the NBA where teams are now forced to hand out obscene money to guys who actually campaign for the right to sit on the bench more?

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  17. Well Steven, your guy Narvaez is going to play catch with Verlander. Pretty good money too, 8 million in 2023 and 7 million in 2024 unless he decides not to pick up his option. I’ll bet Vazquez looks better to the Twins right now! He’s the Christmas special of free agency so far, unless Bellinger becomes Bellinger again in Chicago.

    It looks more and more as if the Astros will go with Lee/Diaz as our backup backstop.

    It figures the Yankees would end up with Rodon. The guy has had two premium seasons, one of 24 starts and one of 31. If he pitches like he did in 2021 and 2022, the Yankee faithful will be ecstatic. But if he ends up being the earlier version of himself, he won’t be loved for long.

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    • I loved the thought of giving Rodon that same deal the Giants did last year. I would loathe the thought of depending on that guy to stay upright for at least 4 of 6 guaranteed seasons at 162 million.

      Yea, Narvaez I thought fit. He isn’t a great defensive catcher, but sometimes a catchers metrics depend on how good his staff is too. He had been considered a terrible framer of pitches while with the White Sox, and became league average in Milwaukee. I suspect the Brewer staff was just better at throwing him pitches that were close enough to frame. Regardless he is off the board.

      There are worse spots to be in than the trio we have right now, especially because one happens to be a hitter that can make an impact, one happens to be a glove that can make an impact, and one has a little of both if he can just improve a little of both just a little. Little is the word of the day.

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  18. On AT&T Sportsnet they have been every other day or so re-running classic games from the 2022 season. Recently they had Jeremy Pena’s first walk-off against the Blue Jays and the combo no-hitter against Gerrit Cole and the Yanks. Tonight it is a Verlander pitching gem against the Mets which is topped off by Jason Castro’s last hurrah in the 9th.
    Fun to check in on.

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  19. 8. This is the easiest one for me. Give me Brantley to cover LF/DH with Yordan. It adds another lefty to the lineup and gives Brantley and Yordan the rest they need.

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  20. The Astros are down to the #8 in the Fangraphs rankings for team war and it is for two reasons.
    1. Their loss of Verlander will hurt their pitching WAR.
    2. Fangraphs projects that Alvarez, Altuve, Bregman, Pena, McCormick, and Abreu will all drop in cumulative WAR from last year, and the Astros will not be able to account for the loss of Brantley with the players they have. They project that only Maldy, Tucker and Dubon will have a slight increase in their WAR.

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  21. If I am the Astros I am at least making a phone call to Toronto about Gabriel Moreno.

    I don’t have to do a lot of selling here. .310 lifetime average in the minors in 253 games. Will be 23 on opening day and can split time with Maldy next year before becoming the primary guy in 2024. Let’s you move Diaz to another position and as long as we control Lee he remains depth (and could still have a chance to be a guy getting good PT in 2024 if he warrants it).

    My assumption is Toronto’s asking price is going to make me hang up the phone. If they asked me for Urquidy though, I am probably making that deal (based on the other pieces around it) because Moreno could be the catcher here for a decade and doesn’t have to bat 9th to do it.

    I am also guessing that when Toronto says they are willing to move a catcher because they have 3, Moreno isn’t the one they want they move.

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  22. In the regular season of 2022, the Astros as a team OFFENSIVELY were:

    1. 12th in team BA [.248] (Toronto led league at .264);
    2. 7th in team OBP [.319] (Dodgers led league at .333);
    3. 7th in team OPS [.743] (Dodgers led league at .775);
    4. 8th in runs scored [737] (Dodgers led league with 847);
    5. 4th in HR [214] (Yankees led league with 254);
    6. 9th in BB [528] (Yankees led league with 620);
    7. 25th in BABIP [.278] (Bosox led league with .313);
    7. 29th in Ks [1179] (only team that struck out less -Guardians 1122).

    FROM A PITCHING STANDPOINT, the Astros as a team were:

    1. 2nd lowest in runs allowed [518];
    2. 2nd lowest in ERA [2.29];
    3. 2nd lowest in BBA [.212]
    4. 2nd lowest in hits allowed [1121];
    5.3rd lowest in WHIP [0.98];
    6. 4th in K/9 [9.49];
    7. 4th lowest in Pitches per-inning-pitched [15.87/inning]

    In which of these areas do you think we will be better in 2023 – and in which do you think we will fare worse?

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