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Monday, September 25, 2017

24 years ago, Nolan Ryan pitched in his final game - Houston Chronicle

My favorite player. My eldest son’s name is Ryan. It’s not a coincidence.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 25, 2017 at 06:19 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, nolan ryan

Saturday, September 23, 2017

How the Astros’ trade for Justin Verlander came together | SI.com

If you are interested in trade discussions, this is a must read.

“The reality is that any economic modeling that includes projections is not going to like a deadline deal, where you’re trading what could be an enormous amount of future value for a decent amount of present value,” says Luhnow. “The math does not support these types of deals. It’s a matter of using your best judgment.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 23, 2017 at 09:13 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, justin verlander, tigers

Thursday, September 14, 2017

McCullers scratched from start with arm fatigue

Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr., who came off the disabled list Wednesday in Seattle in his first start in more than month, was scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday against the Angels with what manager A.J. Hinch called “arm fatigue.”
...
“I feel fine,” he said.

My credulity, it is strained.


Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Astros’ Lance McCullers ready for return Wednesday

On Wednesday night at Safeco Field, the day after they will have officially welcomed Justin Verlander into their rotation, the Astros will get back Lance McCullers Jr.

But which version of McCullers will the Astros get?

The last time we saw McCullers on a major league mound, the 23-year-old with the electric right arm was amid the worst stretch in his young career. Poor fastball command plagued the 2017 All-Star, whose once-elite 2.69 ERA inflated to 3.92 in a span of five starts.

LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 06, 2017 at 10:45 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, lance mccullers

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Astros, Luhnow at center of baseball’s scouts versus data debate – The Athletic ($)

Posting the latest Rosenthal because the Athletic is running a 50% flash sale for the next hour. Paying about $60 for the Athletic was too high for me. Paying half that is more to my liking.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 05, 2017 at 06:41 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Friday, September 01, 2017

Stunner! Detroit Tigers trade Justin Verlander to Houston Astros

At approximately 11:59 p.m. on Thursday night, Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander was traded to the Houston Astros for three prospects, according to multiple persons with knowledge of the situation.
....
In exchange for Verlander, the Tigers received right-hander Franklin Perez, outfielder Daz Cameron (son of former Gold Glove outfielder Mike Cameron) and catcher Jake Rogers.

The Tigers are also believed to be sending at least $10 million to the Astros (via Yahoo’s Jeff Passan), with Verlander signed through 2019 with a vesting option in 2020. Verlander, 34, makes $28 million in each of the next two seasons.

LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 01, 2017 at 02:01 AM | 168 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, omg, tigers, trade, verlander

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Astros agree to trade for Cameron Maybin | MLB.com

At the same time…Angels reportedly close to getting Upton.

The Tigers will receive Minor League pitcher Grayson Long, ranked No. 9 among the Angels’ top prospects by MLBPipeline.com, as part of the deal.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 31, 2017 at 02:52 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, astros, cameron maybin, justin upton, trades

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

12up.com: Astros Pitcher Calls Out Rangers for ‘Greed’ in Hurricane Harvey Crisis

Quite a brushback pitch.

The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros were scheduled to play a series in Houston this week. Of course, that had to be moved due to the hurricane. The obvious location was Arlington, but the Rangers were unwilling to take on the burden of switching up the home series. Put simply, this upcoming series would be switched to a home series for Texas, while a later set of games would become a home series for Houston. Seems easy enough. ...

Because Texas was unwilling to cooperate, the series was moved to Tampa Bay, a seemingly random location, but effective nonetheless.

The Astros were not happy about this considering the tragedy in the area. Pitcher Lance McCullers even took to twitter to call the Rangers organization classless.

Renegade (((JE))) Posted: August 29, 2017 at 12:18 AM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, hurricane, rangers, schedule

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hurricane Harvey forces Rangers and Astros to play at Tropicana Field

The Astros will play this week’s scheduled three-game series vs. the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida.

Additionally, the series vs. the Mets may also be moved to Tropicana Field. That decision will be made later this week.

If that’s the case, then that would mean 19 straight road or neutral site games for the Astros.

I think the last time a game was moved to a neutral site was when the Astros hosted the Cubs in Milwaukee. Carlos Zambrano threw a no-hitter.

Here’s hoping our Texas Primates are OK.

Greg Pope Posted: August 28, 2017 at 05:52 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, hurricane, mets, rangers

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Heyman | Astros Have Results But Recent Firings Raise Questions

Another Heyman piece.

Just so we are clear…who is saying they are very good at their jobs? If it’s other teams, they shouldn’t have a problem catching with another team which holds them in high regard.

Of course, their talents might not fit what the Astros want from their scouts. If that’s the case, don’t the Astros get to determine who they have working for their team?

The Astros laid off at least eight scouts this week – according to Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle, they included Tucker Blair, Tim Moore, Paul Gale, Mike Wickham, Zach Clark, John Martin, Nick Venuto and Mark Ross — who by all accounts were very good at their jobs and also making far less than huge bucks (many, if not all, were earning less than six figures).
...
Upon hearing about the Astros’ latest layoffs, some rival execs opined that the Astros couldn’t lose enough games for them. While some may not love the Astros for doing things differently or the perception that they are arrogant, some of the dislike now stems from the way they treat their own people.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 24, 2017 at 05:00 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, scouts

Monday, August 21, 2017

Can Scouts and Statcast Coexist? | FanGraphs Baseball

Yes, still beating this dead topic. At least there is a new spin.

“I think context on a personal level,” Daniels said. “I think in general, when we talk about evaluating players, that is the piece [missing]… You’re not there everyday. And that includes myself… That’s becoming more and more the skill of the scouts; their top responsibility is to identify that context. Identify that personal piece… that is an element you cannot access unless you are on the ground. The best scouts are able to fill in that blank.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 21, 2017 at 10:25 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, scouting

Justin Verlander’s domination of Dodgers looked like an Astros audition | ESPN

“I went out there against the best team in baseball, and this morning I just kind of told myself I was going to take a playoff type of intensity out there and not let these guys sweep us,” Verlander said.

“It’s impossible to really create a playoff atmosphere without being in the playoffs, but I tried my best to do that and use that much more focus and intensity on every pitch.”

It’s almost as if he took out a full-page ad in a Houston paper saying, “This is Justin Verlander dialed up to postseason intensity.”

LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 21, 2017 at 03:18 AM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, verlander

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Charlie Morton’s secret to pitching: throw harder - Beyond the Box Score

Morton hasn’t always been a hard-throwing righty, either. His average velocity on both his four-seam fastball and his two-seam fastball (or sinker) are at career-highs this year, at 96.0 mph and 95.4 mph, respectively. Morton touched 99.1 mph with the two-seamer earlier this year. “Charlie Morton can throw 99 mph” is not a sentence I expected to write when beginning this piece.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 20, 2017 at 09:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, charlie morton

Monday, August 14, 2017

Astros acquire Clippard from White Sox

Buying low on Clippard.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 14, 2017 at 08:13 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, trades, tyler clippard, white sox

Friday, August 11, 2017

Josh Reddick: the Astros are “down in the dumps” about the team standing pat at the trade deadline

Still, there are many who believe that the Astros failing to land a starting pitcher such as Justin Verlander, Sonny Gray or Yu Darvish bodes ill for the team’s chances and these folks have spent the past two weeks feeling kind of deflated. They’re not just fans, either. Some of the disappointed folks are Houston Astros players.

Astros outfielder Josh Reddick was on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM yesterday and he had this to say about the front office’s lack of moves:

“I think deep down everybody in that clubhouse knew we were going to make some moves to make us a really great team to a team that put us over the edge, especially with all the moves you see moving around the league. It’s nothing against our guys, we are a great team, but any time you can make your team better you feel like should have the opportunity to do that and take full advantage. I think deep down, we all were, I don’t know if you want to say disappointed or upset, I guess we were just kind of down in the dumps because we feel like we had a pretty good shot at getting somebody to help this team get over that hump to where we needed to be.”

The Astros could still make a trade — Justin Verlander has cleared waivers and could be had, albeit for a hefty price in terms of prospects, salary obligations or both — but I find it odd that a player has the same viewpoint of fans who think a strong team MUST make a big deadline deal.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2017 at 02:25 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, josh reddick

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Getting the Tigers a Real Prospect for Justin Verlander

Nobody claimed Verlander. It suggests no team is willing to just eat his remaining contract. On MLB Network, Ken Rosenthal just suggested the Tigers want top prospects *and* don’t want to assume a big part of his salary. If it’s true, the Tigers are living in a fantasy world and aren’t placing a real-world value in today’s MLB. Verlander will ride down with the Tigers’ sinking ship.

More reasonably, I’d think maybe the Tigers would be willing to pay something like half of Verlander’s remaining contract, getting him down to 2+/$32M. At that price, he’d pretty clearly be under market value, especially when you consider his value to a team who could use him down the stretch, which disappears if they hold him until this winter. So if the Tigers were willing to pay half the freight, I’d think they could land a solid back-end Top 100 type and some filler, enough to legitimately say they didn’t just move Verlander in a salary dump to lower payroll at the expense of the team’s talent base.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 10, 2017 at 11:21 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, justin verlander, tigers

Monday, August 07, 2017

Sources: Astros, Tigers talked Verlander deal

The Tigers and Astros have had recent contact regarding the possibility of a Justin Verlander trade, sources told MLB.com.

Verlander has cleared trade waivers, according to the Detroit Free Press, leading to even more extensive contact between the teams than in the days leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, sources said.
While it’s unclear if progress toward a deal has been made, several factors have increased the viability of Verlander as a trade option for the Astros:
• The Astros’ need for a starting pitcher is greater than on July 31, given the apparent lack of progress by Lance McCullers Jr., who is on the disabled list with back discomfort.
• The Astros’ front office is under pressure—from the team’s own clubhouse, among other constituencies—after not making a significant pitching move at the non-waiver Deadline.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 07, 2017 at 11:13 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, justin verlander, tigers

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Heyman: Winners and non-winners from MLB trade deadline

The Houston Astros are getting considerable heat for doing next to nothing at the deadline, and according to sources it’s true that a deadline-day agreement they had with just the sort of left-handed bullpen star they need – with Baltimore for star closer Zach Britton – was cancelled by the Orioles, as is their right.

While Orioles higherups are staying quiet and making no alibis about their quirky calls to buy rather than sell when they don’t appear to be a clear contender, Astros owner Jim Crane took to the airwaves to push back. Crane told a Houston radio station (97.5 ESPN Radio), without naming the team or player, that there was “an agreement in principle, medicals were exchanged and then (it) got vetoed at the top,” before going on to make clear where he thought the deal died by volunteering that it’s not his way to call out “another owner.”

Crane actually said at one point, “We thought we had a couple deals done. And they got vetoed.”

He didn’t say whether there was another pitcher they thought they had, too, or it was two separate deals for Britton. But in any case, people connected to the Orioles didn’t agree with the suggestion that Orioles owner Peter Angelos (whether he’s named or not) had anything to do with the death of that blockbuster deal, nor were they especially thrilled about the suggestion he did. Angelos takes a lot of hits for things he has done while running his team, but people associated with the team say that while he never seemed especially thrilled to trade Britton he doesn’t deserve this particular hit.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 03, 2017 at 12:32 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, orioles, zach britton

Dodgers, Astros redefining starter use—and winning

Why? Because as we saw last October, when the games really begin to matter, the traditional roles go out the window. “Starters” and “relievers” don’t matter nearly so much as “pitchers” do, because it’s simply about getting 27 outs as effectively as possible. More and more, that means starters leaving early and relievers coming in often, rather than having one pitcher turn over a lineup several times—because such a strategy no longer correlates as well to actually winning games as well as it once did.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 03, 2017 at 10:22 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, starter usage, third time through the order

Monday, July 31, 2017

Astros acquire pitcher Francisco Liriano | MLB.com

UPDATE:

Outfielder Norichika Aoki and a Minor Leaguer will head to Toronto in exchange for Liriano, a source told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi was first to report that a deal had been agreed to, pending the completion of physicals.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 31, 2017 at 02:24 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, blue jays, trades

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Former MLB All-Star Lee May dies at 74

Lee May, a three-time All-Star with 354 career home runs, passed away on July 29 at the age of 74.

Details of his passing are not known.

May, known as the Big Bopper, was a fierce hitter who hit 20 or more home runs and 80 or more RBI in 11 consecutive seasons. In 1976, he led the American League in RBI (109).

The slugging first baseman and designated hitter played 18-seasons for the Cincinnati Reds (1965–71), Houston Astros (1972–74), Baltimore Orioles (1975–80) and Kansas City Royals (1981–82).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 30, 2017 at 01:41 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, lee may, obituaries, orioles, reds, royals

Thursday, July 27, 2017

For Phillies, emulating Astros’ ascent requires much more than high picks | CSN Philly

Luck has always been part of The Process.

“It’s similar in a lot of ways (to the Sixers’ process) and I know [Sam Hinkie], he used to be in Houston. He and I have talked a lot about what he was doing here and what I was doing there — there are a lot of analogies. You have to be patient to wait for the results to manifest themselves. Sometimes you get a good roll of the dice, sometimes you don’t.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 27, 2017 at 01:07 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, phillies, the process

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Jose Altuve continues torrid July in Astros win over Phillies - Houston Chronicle

Jose Altuve has made a giant dent in Aaron Judge’s American League MVP candidacy, which at the end of the season’s first half looked close to a slam dunk.

With a second consecutive four-hit performance in the Astros’ 13-4 win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park, Altuve improved his AL-best batting average to .365. He’s batting an astounding .507 in July with six games left in the month. During a career-high 16-game hitting streak, he’s batting .528.

Altuve’s 1.005 OPS ranks second in the AL behind only the New York Yankees’ Judge (1.083), who has cooled off early in the second half. Through the Astros’ first 99 games, their star second baseman is on pace to better his production from last season, when he placed third in MVP voting behind Mike Trout and Mookie Betts.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 08:52 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jose altuve

Friday, July 21, 2017

Baseball’s Best Teams Are Too Damn Good

As we approach the July 31 trade deadline, this is more than just an academic curiosity. A team’s willingness to pony up prospects for a better shot at the World Series is directly tied to how much good it thinks a trade will do. In a wide-open season, even teams outside the top tier of contenders could be convinced to roll the dice on an upgrade — particularly with the expanded wild-card format. But the stronger the top teams are, the less incentive teams on the periphery have to make a championship push. According to Elo, we haven’t seen a stronger crop of elite teams in the expansion era than this season’s top six.1

As recently as a few years ago, you could have lamented the lack of dominant teams at the top of the major leagues. At this same time in 2015, for instance, the leading Elo teams were among the weakest at their slots in the expansion era. But baseball’s era of parity seems to be officially over, with the game moving back toward imbalance. While a top-heavy MLB might never look like its basketball equivalent,2 it’s still going to be tougher than usual for aspiring contenders to break through — a fact you can bet every GM is keenly aware of in the lead-up to the deadline.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 21, 2017 at 05:40 PM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, fivethirtyeight, parity

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Carlos Correa to undergo surgery for torn thumb ligament, expected to miss six to eight weeks

The Astros announced on Tuesday that shortstop Carlos Correa has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a torn ligament in his left thumb. He’s expected to miss six to eight weeks. Ken Rosenthal reports that Correa will undergo surgery and notes that Mike Trout missed seven and a half weeks after undergoing the same procedure.

Correa, 22, suffered the injury during Monday’s game against the Mariners, specifically in the fourth inning on a swing. He suffered a thumb injury initially at the beginning of July, so his swing on Monday likely reaggravated it.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 18, 2017 at 04:22 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, carlos correa

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