Merry Christmas, Dear Readers

Yes, it’s a cliche, but we at Chipalatta wish our dear readers a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. For those like my sister-in-law, Marie – Happy Hanukkah. If someone wants some other call-out – please do so below.

We wish…..

  • Another wonderful run to and through the playoffs in 2023 for our favorite team the Houston Astros
  • Lots of Crawford Box luck for our new first baseman, Jose Abreu
  • More great contributions out of the bullpen or rotation from Hunter Brown
  • Better health with better results from Martin Maldonado on the offense – we know he can handle the pitchers
  • Help as the Astros need it from some young kids on the farm
  • Continued excellence from the front office and the management staff – we can complain, but it is pretty hollow with the way this team performs
  • A new great fit as a General Manager sometime in the new year

Your turn for wishes…..the top one for me is the first bullet point above.

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23 comments on “Merry Christmas, Dear Readers

  1. Mele Kalikimaka to all you Chipallatians! It’s time for another Christmas carol:

    O Jeremy, O Jeremy,
    How graceful your glove flashes!
    O Jeremy, O Jeremy,
    How graceful your glove flashes!
    Dive to your left and make a stop,
    Then pirouette like Baryshnikov
    O Jeremy, O Jeremy,
    How graceful your glove flashes!

    O Jeremy, O Jeremy,
    You swing your bat with authority!
    O Jeremy, O Jeremy,
    You swing your bat with authority!
    Just a rookie, good contact you made,
    Now lay off sliders low and away!
    O Jeremy, O Jeremy,
    You swing your bat with authority!

    O Jeremy, O Jeremy,
    Impressive is your sprint speed!
    O Jeremy, O Jeremy,
    Impressive is your sprint speed!
    Home to first under 4.3
    First to third, make it with ease
    O Jeremy, O Jeremy,
    Impressive is your sprint speed!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. * Montero, Abreu and Brantley were all free agents and free to talk, negotiate and sign with any of the 30 MLB teams that were ready to put their money out there. The Astros brass wanted them and went out and got them to fill positions of need. I don’t need to waste a wish on a new GM. I just wish the same guys who went out and got these 3 players would keep filling out the team to keep it a serious contender once again in 2023.
    * Forrest Whitley is 25.3 years old and has one option left. He either makes the team in the next 16 months or his time with the Astros will have run out.
    * Enoli Paredes is 27.2 years old and has 1 option left. He either has to makes the team in the next 16 months or his time with the Astros will have run out.
    * In their extended playoff run over the past years the Astros have always gone with veteran catchers. What is next in the catching position for the 2023 Astros and beyond?
    Today, for us, is Gramma’s lasagna, something that has not been made in years. Half the family will be straggling in today from various locations to be all together for the big gathering Monday, when everyone is off work and has already spent time with the in-laws.
    Now, in our mid-70’s, is the time to gather, remember and make our personal winter one that keeps us warm for the rest of our days.

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  3. I trust everyone had a great Christmas with family and loved ones! We’re back to baseball now! 1oldpro noted briefly before Christmas that Altuve and Bregman are on record, both having stated that Houston is home and they want to finish their career’s here. That’s accurate.

    But I didn’t realize until this morning that the Boras Agency today represents both guys. And I’m looking at Michael Conforto, a real crap shoot just getting 18 million a year for 2 years with an option to walk if he has a good year. Of course we’re still two years away, but Bregman will be in his prime and I’m pretty sure Altus will age well. We might not be able to afford either guy when it comes down to it.

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  4. So the Jays sent Gurriel and Moreno for Varsho.

    Not a fan of Varsho, but I am a fan of Lourdes (and his versatility) and I think Moreno could be the best offensive catcher around in 3 years. I don’t think Varsho is bad, but I think Arizona won this deal, they got two major leaguers that can both hit better sans the power for what could be Varsho’s best year.

    Lifetime .310 hitter in the minors. In 1069 PAs he has struck out 133 times. He has developing power. Even in his small sample debut he struck out just 11% in the bigs. This guy sounds like he should be an Astro. I wish we knew what Toronto suggested to Houston as a return bid so we could debate the merits of it. Moreno is 22, he will be Arizona’s catcher for years to come.

    For the Jays, they wanted the lefty bat for the OF and a great defender. They traded away catching depth for…..catching depth? Well, I guess Varsho will see more time in the OF in Toronto. He certainly has power, but he won’t hit higher than .250 and will strike out roughly 3 times more than he walks. I hope that is worth the occasional at the fence great play from Varsho.

    Good news is we don’t look like we are going to remove opportunity as a wall to Diaz and Lee. We have no idea what the Astros think or how the spring plays out, but Diaz has his own better than respectable 15% K rate in the minors with more power and a higher career average in the minors than Moreno. Think about this with Yanier – in 2019 he hit .294 in his first season of professional ball. He has not failed to hit .300 in a season since, usually by far. And Lee looks like the more polished defensive choice of the two that isn’t exactly a stiff out there – holes in his game offensively, but anytime you bring the threat of a homerun on any mistake pitch you make a pitcher work.

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    • I’m willing to see what we have with Lee and Diaz, Steven. It certainly is the best way to build – from within – and they have such a deep lineup they can afford to have the catching position be below average offensively.

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    • Up until the wasted year of 202o, Diaz had been catching full time. In 17,18 and 19 combined, he threw out more than 40% of his would be base stealers. I don’t know about the other intricacies of his work behind the plate, but I’m not yet convinced he can’t be a catcher.

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  5. * Dave, all Jose and Alex need to do is inform Boras of their wishes and tell him to find the way.
    * I remember the Correa injury. I never figured it could possibly be this much of a deal, although it was gross at the time. This is one of the most intriguing situations I have run across in my time following baseball.
    * If I remember correctly, Correa’s Lancaster teammates carried him to the dugout:
    https://www.milb.com/news/gcs-80996278
    * When the Astros played the Twins this year, I remember commenting, out loud to my wife, that Max Kepler looked like the most timid right fielder I had seen in a long while. Now, I don’t get all the Kepler hoopla.
    * Speaking of my wife, she has always disliked boxing and Boxing Day is her least favorite holiday. TeeHee.

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  6. When I look at Jeremy just from a statistical standpoint he looks like a guy subject to a “sophomore slump.” 135 k’s to 22 bb’s. Just .289 OBP – which means when he isn’t hitting well he won’t even draw walks to help facilitate.

    But then I remember the guy I watched. Just too much confidence. Altuve saw it when he said at the start of the year this guy can be a star.

    We really need a more consistent Pena given that 7-8-9 will be Pena -McCormick-Maldy probably 4 nights a week. If Meyers and Dubon get the PT that is probably coming it could be worse – and any injury that puts Pena at 6 – a spot he will probably hit 15-20 times this year even if everyone is healthy – an injury that doubles that could create a lot more 2/3 run turnouts than we hope for.

    Looking at this offense – 1 thru 6 can compete with anyone’s 1-6 in the league. It has superstars, former MVPs and MVP candidates, it has power, it has contact, its balanced with 3 leftys and 3 righties, it has batting champion caliber players. It literally has 5 players in it that wouldn’t surprise anyone if they ran off to an MVP season. It’s the real deal. Unlike most teams that are championship caliber though injuries to ANY of them gives excessive at bats to guys like Dubon, Meyers, and Hensley. We will still be depending on pitching to win that 3-2 game.

    Pena and his ability to adjust to being adjusted to is critical.

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    • Interesting looking at Pena’s season at some of his splits….
      – In Sept/October of the regular season he slashed .278 BA/.303 OBP/.790 OPS which was so much better than how he struggled in July and August
      – In the post season he was on fire – .345/.367/1.005
      – During the regular season two of his best positions for hitting were in the two hole (.290/.315/.837) and surprisingly the 7th spot (.257/.308/.733).
      It is obvious that even when he was hitting well, he is not walking enough. But heck he’s a rookie – he should be able to improve.

      Looking back that is something that Jose Altuve was bad at when he first came up, but improved over the years. I hope Jose gives him some advice and especially hope that Alex Bregman (who has a great eye and patience) talks to him too.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The Astros Luxury Tax payroll for 2023 currently sits at $209 million or $24 million below the first tax penalty line.
    The Astros currently are $181 million behind the Mets for their 2023 payroll.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So, if we have injury or performance problems anywhere and we need a little boost at the deadline we can make moves and stay under the luxury tax. The Mets can get below the tax if they can trade away half their payroll (which isn’t that many players…)

      Again – I like us

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    • I just think the Correa situation is most amusing. 1st the Giants and now the Mets. Does Boras or Correa think that something is going to magically change with another team doing the same physical? I guess that I’m somewhat dismissive and really could care less about the situation. I’m glad we don’t have to deal with these giant egos that some possess. Maybe it’s because I could not ever imagine making that kind of money but I remember the perfect phrase I heard while working in Saudi Arabia many years ago, “you’re insignificant” (at least in my mind).
      In the meantime it’s only 7 weeks till pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. Can’t wait! Oh and a Merry Christmas to all of you on the site. Thank you Dan for all you do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Part of me feels sympathy for Correa as clearly an injury like his was a freak occurrence, but I don’t understand why anyone should be entitled to a 10 year contract. Ultimately, even if he plays 150 games per year through the lifetime of the contract it still hurts the fans who have to shell out increasing amounts for tix/concessions/souvenirs.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Seems more and more the Astros offered the correct and responsible deal of 5 years, 160 million for Correa. And looking further ahead, if still healthy, he could have signed anywhere for a bunch more money at the age of 32. Just maybe the Astros were way ahead of everyone else when they let him go on his tour.

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