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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Gerrit Cole goes to arbitration with Astros

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Pitcher Gerrit Cole has gone to arbitration with the Houston Astros, asking to be given $13.5 million rather than the team’s offer of $11,425,000.

Cole made $6.75 million last year, when he earned his second All-Star selection and went 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA. He earned $6.75 million.

Arbitrators Gil Vernon, Steven Wolf and Walt De Treux heard the case Monday and are expected to decide later this week.

So, what comes first: the end of this year’s arbitration, the signing of this year’s free agents, or the World Series?

 

QLE Posted: February 12, 2019 at 05:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, astros, gerrit cole

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Astros aren’t ruling out another addition before spring training - Houston Chronicle

“We’re starting from a pretty good spot where we have a lot of good options for our roster and a lot of good options who aren’t even going to make our team,” Luhnow said Wednesday. “Whoever we get, if you sign them to a guaranteed contract, they have to be certainly better than what your internal options are.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 07, 2019 at 05:37 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Astros owner: ‘I don’t know that you’ll see many 10-year deals in this business anymore’

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane confirms what everyone around the game has known for the past couple offseasons: Free agency has changed.

Crane spoke about this year’s slow free-agent market, saying he doesn’t believe 10-year deals are going to happen in baseball anymore.

Crane referenced both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado while making that comment to MLB.com’s Alyson Footer.

The bright side concerning a long, drawn-out strike: it might be what it takes for FOX to stop bidding on MLB and let someone who will treat the sport with dignity broadcast the World Series.

 

QLE Posted: January 27, 2019 at 08:25 AM | 86 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, free agency, jim crane

NY Post: MLB owner: The long-term free-agency deal is dead

Speaking Friday at a team event, Astros owner Jim Crane told reporters the numbers don’t support the kind of lengthy deals superstars are looking for.

“I think that teams are very focused on value, and some of the deals that have been thrown out with Harper and Machado I think are long-term deals,” Crane said. “I don’t think that you’ll see too many more 10-year deals in this business anymore because the analytics are so good and a lot of those deals never work.”

 

bobm Posted: January 27, 2019 at 08:25 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, free agents, owners, strikes

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Reid Ryan announces plans for Astros HOF

Whither Terry Puhl?

The Astros on Tuesday will unveil plans for the Astros Hall of Fame presented by Houston Methodist, with construction to begin in March. Hall of Fame Alley will replace the current Home Run Alley that runs along the concourse beyond left field and will provide a physical space to honor the greatest players in club history with their own plaques.

The inaugural Hall of Fame class will be large and will include Astros players who have had their numbers retired—Nolan Ryan, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Jimmy Wynn, Jose Cruz, Mike Scott, Larry Dierker, Don Wilson and Jim Umbricht—and those who have been honored on the Walk of Fame along Texas Ave.—former players Joe Morgan, Bob Aspromonte, Joe Niekro, J.R. Richard and Shane Reynolds and broadcasters Gene Elston and Milo Hamilton.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2019 at 07:55 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Astros’ Alex Bregman undergoes elbow surgery

Astros third baseman Alex Bregman underwent arthroscopic surgery on Friday to remove loose bodies in his right elbow, the team announced.

Bregman will be “limited” at the start of spring training, according to a statement disseminated Friday morning, but the Astros expect their reigning All-Star infielder to be ready to play prior to opening day against the Rays on March 28.

Bregman approached the team around New Year’s Day to complain of discomfort, general manager Jeff Luhnow said. The loose bodies were discovered in a doctor visit “a couple days ago,” leading Bregman and the club to make a mutual decision for an operation.

So, which is the bigger euphemism, “loose bodies” or “limited”?

 

QLE Posted: January 12, 2019 at 08:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, astros, elbow surgery

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Houston Astros Scouting And Player Development Is Extending Team’s Contention Window

Houston won’t be getting a lot of high draft picks while they keep winning. Being able to churn their current prospect depth (which is greatly enhanced by their player development success) will be a huge factor in how long they can keep their window open. Trades like this show they understand how important churning will be for their future.

Houston’s scouting and player development has allowed the Astros to produce a large number of big league caliber players. They have produced large numbers of useful outfielders as well as plenty of intriguing pitching prospects. Many of them do not fit for them, but they have enough value to bring back either solid prospects or big league help in return.

Since the 2016 offseason began, the Astros have traded away 16 prospects. Some of those are very solid prospects and a few have already turned into useful big leaguers. Ramon Laureano, Colin Moran, Teoscar Hernandez and Joe Musgrove have all spent time in the majors so far. Davis, Franklin Perez, Trent Thornton, Patrick Sandoval, Jake Rogers and Daz Cameron could all play in the majors in 2019.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 10, 2019 at 10:56 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Move over Red Sox: Astros the best team in baseball in 2019, according to one oddsmaker

The Boston Red Sox may have won the World Series in 2018, but the Houston Astros will be better in 2019. If you have a problem with that statement, take it up with the oddsmakers.

Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas believes the Astros will win the most games during the 2019 Major League Baseball regular season. Yes, that’s right, it’s barely January and MLB win totals have already been released.

Is this really the sort of thing we want an organization so closely tied to MLB management to be releasing?

 

QLE Posted: January 09, 2019 at 08:15 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, gambling, odds

Friday, December 21, 2018

Astros reliever Joe Smith out 6-8 months after rupturing Achilles tendon

The Astros could be missing a veteran bullpen piece for the first half of the 2019 season.

Reliever Joe Smith ruptured his Achilles tendon last week and is expected to miss six to eight months after undergoing surgery Tuesday, the team announced.

For those wanting another demonstration of the fungibility of relievers….

 

QLE Posted: December 21, 2018 at 08:03 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, injury, joe smith

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Astros owner willing to add to payroll | MLB.com

Like most clubs, the Astros have their limits. Crane said the club has no plans to raise its payroll higher than the luxury-tax threshold, which would come with severe financial penalties. The Red Sox and Nationals were the only teams subject last season to the Competitive Balance Tax after exceeding the payroll threshold of $197 million. That number will be $206 million next year.

“I’d say if the right situation came along—certainly we’re not going over [the luxury-tax threshold]—but we could move closer to that,” Crane said. “We were pretty high up in the food chain last year. A lot of teams realize the penalty is pretty severe if you go over. We’ll stay within the strike zone.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 11, 2018 at 08:17 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Report: Nationals Ownership Rejected Bryce Harper Trade to Astros

The Houston Astros reportedly had a deal in place for the Nationals’ Bryce Harper at the non-waiver deadline in July but Washington ownership nixed the deal, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The Nationals would have received right-hander J.B. Bukauskas, the Astros’ No. 8 prospect according to MLB.com, and two other minor leaguers, in exchange for Harper. Catcher Garrett Stubbs, the team’s No. 15 prospect, was also reportedly in play, along with another, low-level, minor-league pitcher as well, per Rosenthal.

The Astros’ offer would have benefitted Washington significantly more than the late-round compensatory pick it will receive in the 2019 draft, assuming Harper turns down the team’s qualifying offer on Monday and signs with another club.

So, who do you suppose ultimately regrets this decision the most?

 

QLE Posted: November 11, 2018 at 06:56 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, bryce harper, deadline trades, ownership

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Astros have a few changes occur as the offseason simmers

I missed Hallahan’s departure.What’s going on in Houston?

While the offseason rumors simmer, the Astros’ front office is experiencing employee turnover. Sig Mejdal, one of the key figures in Houston’s data-driven front office, is moving on from the organization as Brian McTaggart of MLB.com notes here. Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports here that another key member of the front office, Ryan Hallahan, the Astros’ senior technical architect, will also leave the club.

 

 

Jim Furtado Posted: November 07, 2018 at 03:49 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Monday, November 05, 2018

Who is the Astros’ future at catcher? Exploring their options, and what they value at the position – The Athletic

A great in-depth look at the Astros catching options.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 05, 2018 at 12:19 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, pay site

Analytics guru Sig Mejdal leaves Astros | Houston Astros

Interesting.

Sig Mejdal, the former NASA engineer and blackjack dealer who spearheaded the analytical team that helped the Astros win their first World Series last year, has allowed his contract with the Astros to expire as he pursues other opportunities, MLB.com has learned.

Mejdal, who served this year as special assistant to the general manager, process development, told MLB.com on Sunday the decision to leave the Astros was his alone. He joined the club in 2012 after following president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow to Houston from St. Louis, initially with the title of director of decision sciences.

“It was me asking for some time to explore other opportunities,” said Mejdal, whose contract expired on Oct. 31. “Jeff is an amazing manager and always been supportive of me and was again in this case.”

Luhnow couldn’t be reached for comment.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 05, 2018 at 09:34 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sig mejdal

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Astros’ Jose Altuve underwent surgery to repair right knee injury

Hopefully he’ll make a full recovery.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 20, 2018 at 02:27 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jose altuve

Thursday, October 18, 2018

More questions after Astros get free pass on dugout spying

“We were playing defense,” Astros president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow said. “We were not playing offense. We want to make sure it’s an even playing field.”

This is a bad look. It’s the league’s job to make sure it’s an even playing field.

The league offering Houston the free pass enraged executives around baseball, who reached out to Yahoo Sports trying to understand the rationale. If the Astros were allowed to monitor another team’s dugout in-game without penalty, one wondered, shouldn’t every team be allowed to do the same? If the Astros were so concerned with opponents’ nefariousness, another said, why did they send a kid in his early 20s whose role with the team is opaque and not simply request MLB send a security professional to examine the dugout from the same spot and ensure everything is above board? Most of all, taking at face value the Astros’ explanation for using McLaughlin, if there is a rule forbidding in-game technology to help steal signs, why is a team allowed to use in-game technology to investigate whether its opponent is illegally stealing signs?

 

Jim Furtado Posted: October 18, 2018 at 10:12 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Fan interference negates Jose Altuve home run

Good job by security blocking the best camera angle.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 18, 2018 at 06:30 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, red

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sources: Indians warned Red Sox about man stealing signs for Astros

A little more info.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 17, 2018 at 09:16 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, red sox

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Magic dust, spin rates and buy-in: How the Astros make good pitchers even better - The Washington Post

“Every team has an analytics department, and this is no knock on the Twins, but seeing the time [the Astros] put in and the scouting reports you’re given, it’s like, ‘Whoa.’ It’s a different level,” Pressly said. “You kind of see, ‘Wow, if I just pitch a little more to this percentage instead of that percentage I can have some better results.’ When I came over here, they were like, ‘Look, your curveball is your best pitch. Everyone tells you your best pitch should be your fastball. But with the amount of spin you have on the ball, you need to throw that more, and it will set up your fastball even more.’ ”

Luhnow described the acclimation process into the Astros’ philosophy as more of a two-way street: “It’s really, ‘Tell us about your repertoire, your experience.’ It starts with them telling us what they’re trying to accomplish every time they go in. And then it’s us: ‘Let’s start with the basics. This is what we love about you. Let’s keep doing this.’ Are there areas maybe we can try something? Sure. But they’ve got to want to do it.”

Added Manager A.J. Hinch: “The beauty of what we have going on right now is there’s an immediate buy-in when guys come over, because of some previous success stories. … Our analytics team, our front office does a great job of providing information, providing thoughts, ideas. But it circles back to the player. I always credit the player, because he has to be the guy — he is the guy with the ball in his hand.”

...

“The key principle,” Cole said, “was using a lot of the data and information they have to discern what is your strength. So you have a pitch that looks great on the charts, and then you have the [video]. … It’s not like they were reinventing the wheel. They were just showing me what I did well and then allowed me to just attack.”

“I don’t think it’s a secret,” Morton added. “It’s not something where they put you in a chamber, and they push a button and you come out a new pitcher. You’re the pitcher you are, with the tools you have, and they give you suggestions on how to utilize your stuff a little bit better. … For people to say, ‘Oh they must be doing something illegal or special — because why aren’t [other teams] doing it?’ Well, they haven’t caught up yet.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 16, 2018 at 10:33 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, astros

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Astros beat Red Sox to take a wild—in every way—Game 1 of ALCS

BOSTON – On the anniversary of Derek Jeter’s famous flip and David Ortiz’s famous home run that caused Torii Hunter to flip over a fence, no indelible moment seared itself into baseball’s memory Saturday. Instead, Game 1 of the 2018 American League Championship Series was wild in smaller ways, from the pitches to the umpires to the hit-by-pitch that may make an already-interesting series that much more intriguing.

What germinated from it all was a 7-2 victory for the Houston Astros over the Boston Red Sox and the instantaneous thievery of home-field advantage in front of 38,007 at Fenway Park. Even as the Astros didn’t capitalize early on the diminished stuff and inability to find the strike zone by Boston ace Chris Sale, they weathered an uncharacteristic wild inning from their own starter, Justin Verlander, to take the lead in the sixth inning – and then turned on the afterburners in the ninth inning to finish taking advantage of Boston’s troublesome bullpen.

After home plate umpire James Hoye ejected Red Sox manager Alex Cora following an argued called strike three, Houston went to work. Sale was out of the game, having gone four innings. Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly led off the inning by plunking Alex Bregman on a 1-2 pitch after Bregman called a late timeout. Bregman stared down Kelly before catcher Christian Vázquez intervened. Whether it was intentional or not, it proved costly when Carlos Correa feathered a single into left field later in the inning to score Bregman, who chirped toward Kelly as he headed toward home plate.

Tis a strange game indeed when it feels like the team that lost felt like it was in danger of giving up more HBPs than hits…..

QLE Posted: October 14, 2018 at 07:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alcs, astros, red sox

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Astros Blast Past Cleveland Into LCS

The Astros passed their first October test as the defending World Series champions with flying colors, burying the Indians with a relentless offense and solid pitching on Monday afternoon to earn a champagne celebration they hope won’t be their last.

My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 09, 2018 at 09:22 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, indians, postseason

Thursday, October 04, 2018

What Happened to the Houston Astros’ Hacker?

The Dogs went undefeated, consistently thrashing even the powerful All-Blacks. Something to put on my résumé, the Dogs’ coach thought to himself, mordantly. FPC Cumberland championship softball coach. His CV had once been impeccable. He had been Chris Correa, the former doctoral student who had steadily ascended through the front office of the Cardinals to become their scouting director, in charge of their amateur draft. No longer. Now he was Christopher J. Correa, federal inmate 04550-479.

Correa, 38, spent much of his time out on Cumberland’s softball field even when there were no games. He walked laps around its perimeter for one to two and a half hours each day, covering four to 10 miles. He began to shrink inside his prison-issued dark green uniform, losing 35 pounds off his 5’11” frame, and his wedding ring dangled from his slimmed finger.

As he walked, he listened to a transistor radio. The NPR affiliates served mostly as background for his thoughts, which always cycled back to one simple question.

Why am I here?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 04, 2018 at 02:34 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals

Monday, September 24, 2018

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

So, what do we suppose this actually means, reading between the lines?

QLE Posted: September 24, 2018 at 05:09 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, blue jays, ken giles

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Yuli Gurriel has 7-RBI night as Astros clinch playoff berth

In a season with little doubt that the defending World Series champions would return to the playoffs, Yuli Gurriel and Gerrit Cole ensured on Friday night that the Astros will compete in October again.

Gurriel harassed pitchers with his two home runs and seven RBIs. Cole bullied batters with 12 strikeouts in seven innings. George Springer’s three-run homer in the eighth dealt a gratuitous blow.

The Astros overwhelmed the Los Angeles Angels 11-3 at Minute Maid Park for a win that clinched the 12th postseason appearance in franchise history.

So, any guesses for how the Astros may fare in the playoffs this time around?

QLE Posted: September 22, 2018 at 08:35 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, playoffs, yuli gurriel

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