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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Astros to make Sugar Land Skeeters their Class AAA affiliate

The Astros and Sugar Land Skeeters reached an agreement for the Skeeters to become the Astros’ Class AAA affiliate, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome. The Astros also will have an ownership stake in the Skeeters, according to KRIV-TV.

The Skeeters play at the 7,500 seat Constellation Field, located about 20 miles southwest of Minute Maid Park off Highway 6. The team had been playing in the independent Atlantic League since its inception in 2012.

The move means the Astros’ top two affiliates are both in the state with the Corpus Christi Hooks serving as the organization’s Class AA affiliate. The Astros also own the Hooks and the Class A Advanced team in Fayetteville, N.C.

The Round Rock Express now will need to find a new affiliation, which the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant speculates could be the Texas Rangers.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2020 at 08:47 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Monday, November 09, 2020

Ex-Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, fired after sign-stealing scandal, sues team

Jeff Luhnow sued the Houston Astros for breach of contract on Sunday, alleging that Astros owner Jim Crane and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred negotiated penalties for the sign-stealing scandal that enabled the team to paint Luhnow as “the scapegoat for the organization” and fire its general manager “in order to save more than $22 million in guaranteed salary.”

In January, after a two-month investigation into how the Astros violated baseball rules by improperly deploying technology to decode signs in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Manfred suspended Luhnow and Astros manager A.J. Hinch for the 2020 season. Crane then fired Luhnow and Hinch.

Luhnow’s lawsuit uses quotation marks around the word “investigation” and calls it “a negotiated resolution” between Crane and Manfred “that enabled the team to keep its World Series championship, went to great lengths to publicly exonerate Crane, and scapegoated Luhnow for a sign-stealing scandal that he had no knowledge of and played no part in.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 09, 2020 at 12:05 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jeff luhnow, sign-stealing

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Astros place closer Roberto Osuna on outright waivers

The Astros placed Roberto Osuna on outright waivers Thursday, providing an end to his controversial tenure as the team’s closer.

Osuna appeared in only four games this season before suffering an elbow injury. KRIV-TV reported that an initial diagnosis called for Tommy John surgery, but general manager James Click said in September that the 25-year-old closer had resumed playing catch. Osuna already underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013.

Osuna was eligible for arbitration a fourth time this winter and was an obvious candidate to be non-tendered. He was scheduled to make $10 million last season prior to the proration for a 60-game year. Osuna’s 2021 salary in the arbitration process would have also been around $10 million.

If Osuna clears waivers, he can elect free agency. He finished his Astros career with 51 saves and a 2.45 ERA in 93 appearances.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 29, 2020 at 12:47 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, roberto osuna

Friday, October 23, 2020

Ben Reiter called the Astros’ title, but says he couldn’t have seen the signs of cheating in advance

DN: In your second episode of “The Edge,” you spoke to one of those fired baseball lifers, Dave Trembley, who shared that he was frustrated that you never reached out to him because he could have offered a more grounded perspective on the Astros culture. Why didn’t you?

BR: By my count, I spoke to 46 members of the organization, past and present. Trembley was just not on my list. I couldn’t talk to everybody. Baseball’s an insular world and it’s extremely hard to get people speaking critically about their opponents on the record. There weren’t many people at the time, pre, sign-stealing scandal, willing to say anything specific about a rival. In retrospect, I wish I had spoken with Tremblay, which is why I included him in the podcast….

DN: As a journalist, what have you learned about being presented opportunities with access and how to avoid missing the story?

BR: I don’t feel that I missed the sign-stealing scandal. Despite the level of access I had, I don’t think I was ever in any position to have seen it or to have been told about it. What I think I might have interrogated more a certain side of their culture and operations that I didn’t see. That’s what I’m interrogating through this podcast.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 23, 2020 at 12:10 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Monday, October 19, 2020

Q&A: Full, 37-minute interview with former Astros GM Jeff Luhnow

“Some people will say there is no way you couldn’t have known. Do you have any evidence of that?”

“So, I understand that if I were a fan and I heard about this scandal, I would assume that the GM might have known, so I get that. And let’s start by me saying I wish I knew. Because, if I knew, this never would have gotten to where it got to.

“I do have a lot of evidence. It’s hard to prove that you didn’t know something, it’s proving a negative. But the investigation interviewed dozens and dozens of people; players, video staff members, coaches, etc. None of them said that I knew. The investigation looked at emails, text messages, slack messages, tens of thousands of messages from different people. I handed over my phone to the MLB investigators. They went through all of my messages, and everything on my phone. I provided to the investigators several pieces of evidence that they used in the investigation. Unfortunately, they turned some of those back around and tried to implicate me and say that I might have known. But I was proactive in assisting them in the investigation.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 19, 2020 at 09:58 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jeff luhnow

Friday, October 09, 2020

So the Houston Astros are headed to another ALCS. How angry should you be?

Three reasons to root against the Astros in the ALCS:

1. They were cheaters.

“I know a lot of people are mad,” Carlos Correa said after the Astros swept the Twins in the first round. “I know a lot of people don’t want to see us here. But what are they gonna say now? We’re a solid team. We played great baseball. We won a series, on the road, in Minnesota. So what are you gonna say now?”

Correa was a little more diplomatic after Thursday’s 11-6 win over the A’s, saying the Astros did not use the idea of fans not wanting them here as motivation. “Absolutely not,” he said. “We’re motivated because we want to win. We want to be able to bring another championship to the city of Houston. We know what it feels like so we want to be able to have that feeling once again. 2017 was such a special year celebrating with the fans in Houston so the thing that motivates us is to get to feel that again.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 09, 2020 at 09:06 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Carlos Correa addresses Astros haters after sweeping Twins: ‘What are they going to say now?’

“I know a lot of people are mad. I know a lot of people don’t want to see us here,” said shortstop Carlos Correa, who homered as part of a two-knock game, “but what are they going to say now?”

Correa’s frustration is understandable. It can’t be fun to have critics question the legitimacy of one’s accomplishments at every turn. The obvious retort, though, is that Correa and the Astros did it to themselves. Remember, this all stems from Houston’s sign-stealing scheme that led Major League Baseball to suspend both the club’s former manager and general manager, and to fine and strip the organization of draft picks. Yes, other teams were probably doing similar things, but the Astros got caught; that means suffering the consequences, such as public criticism.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2020 at 10:38 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, carlos correa

Minnesota Twins eliminated by Houston Astros as postseason losing streak hits 18 games

The Minnesota Twins’ postseason losing streak has reached a stunning 18 games—and now their 2020 season is over. The Houston Astros eliminated the Twins with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday at Target Field in Minneapolis, a disappointing finish for a team that had rallied to win its second consecutive American League Central title and finished with the best home record in the majors during the 60-game regular season.

The Twins’ playoff streak is not only a major league record, but is the longest in U.S. sports history. The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks lost 16 straight playoff games from 1975 to 1979. Before the Twins, the previous MLB record belonged to the Boston Red Sox, who lost 13 playoff games in a row starting with the infamous Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

“We haven’t been successful in the playoffs lately, at all. That’s a reality for all the fans and for everyone who follows the organization and cares about the Twins,” second-year manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I’m aware of it now. The day I showed up here ... I had no idea that was even a thing. I didn’t know it existed. I hear about it from people who care about this team. And you know what? We want to do better. We want to do better for ourselves, we want to do better for the organization and we want to do better for the fans, too.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2020 at 10:29 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, twins

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Yuli Gurriel takes pay cut to $7M to stay with Astros

First baseman Yuli Gurriel and the Houston Astros have agreed to a one-year contract with an option for 2022 that guarantees $7 million, a cut of nearly 20% from his 2020 deal.

The agreement was announced hours before the defending AL champions started their first-round playoff matchup against at Minnesota on Tuesday, an odd time to reach a contract for a future season.

Gurriel’s 2020 contract called for an $8.3 million salary and wound up being worth $3,074,074 prorated.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2020 at 01:04 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, yuli gurriel

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Why losing Justin Verlander marks beginning of the end of Astros’ sad legacy

In the big picture, I do wonder whether this is the end of the era, this run that started in 2015 and included the now-controversial 2017 World Series title and three straight 100-win seasons from 2017 to 2019. They will now be without Verlander for 2021, and George Springer, Michael Brantley, Yuli Gurriel and Josh Reddick are all free agents. Given the current stink hovering over the entire organization, what are the odds any of those players are wearing an Astros uniform in 2021? These guys are all 30-something, so the Astros would possibly go in another direction anyway.

Springer would be the one guy you would most want to bring back, but there’s a longstanding grudge between him and the organization after it tried to sign him to a long-term deal when he was still a minor leaguer and delayed his promotion to the majors. In a thin free-agent market, he’ll also be one of the most sought-after players available.

Then Greinke, McCullers and Carlos Correa are all free agents after 2021. Depending on which direction the Astros go, those three could all be trade bait this offseason. Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve are signed long term and Yordan Alvarez will be a monster after missing all but one game in 2020, but Altuve in particular has been terrible and will turn 31 next season. He’s signed through 2024, but it’s fair to ask what kind of player he’ll be the next four seasons.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2020 at 04:09 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Verlander to undergo Tommy John surgery

Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, announced via his Instagram account on Saturday that he has decided to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery—the first time in his long and accomplished career that he has needed the procedure. Verlander, who has not pitched since Opening Day in July, said he consulted with several doctors before reaching his decision.

“I was hopeful that I would be able to return to competition in 2020,” wrote Verlander, “however, during my simulated game, unfortunately the injury worsened. Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed, but I will not let this slow down my aspirations for my career. I will approach this rehab the only way I know, attack and don’t look back.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2020 at 04:07 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, justin verlander, tommy john surgery

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Angels vs. Astros Game Wednesday Postponed Because of Hurricane Laura

The Houston Astros announced they’ve postponed Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels and restructured the remainder of the four-game series because of Hurricane Laura.

Wednesday’s contest will become a road game as part of a Sept. 5 doubleheader:

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2020 at 01:05 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Even in a Pandemic, Everyone Still Hates the Astros

Brendan Donley, a writer and Cubs fan from Chicago, started the Astros Shame Tour Twitter account for the same reason Wilson had in flying his sign over an empty Coliseum: to give the Astros a steady reminder of their transgressions. While Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended and then fired, no Astros players were punished by M.L.B., something that outraged many fans and opposing players.

Donley opened the account in February, before the pandemic was declared, and within a short time it became a central clearinghouse for all things anti-Astros.

It began in a time of relative normalcy, when opposing fans were showing up to the Astros’ spring training games in Florida to boo, some bearing signs that mocked the team. The real punishment, though, was expected during the regular season. One Dodgers fan group was organizing a trip to Anaheim specifically to jeer the Astros.

“But then this pandemic happened,” Donley said, “and you think, did they really get their one year of shame?”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2020 at 01:38 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Oakland Athletics OF Ramon Laureano charges Houston Astros dugout, sparks brawl

Oakland’s Ramon Laureano got hit by a pitch—for the third time in the three-game series—this one by Humberto Castellanos with one out in the seventh. Laureano began exchanging words with animated Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron, then left first base, threw down his batting helmet and began sprinting toward him.

Astros catcher Dustin Garneau tackled Laureano before the A’s outfielder reached Cintron, and a wild scene ensued.

Players rushed out of both dugouts to join the fray. A’s and Astros players who were sitting in the seats, observing COVID-19 social-distancing protocols, also rushed onto the field.

Laureano was ejected by plate ump Ted Barrett, and the umpiring crew could easily be heard yelling at the players to “get back to the dugout!” through a ballpark with no fans.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 09, 2020 at 08:42 PM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cintron, astros, athletics, brawl, ramon laureano

Friday, July 31, 2020

Astros owner Jim Crane opens up on sign-stealing scandal: ‘It weighs on all of us every day”

“People are aggravated the players didn’t get suspended,’’ Crane said, “but I didn’t have anything to do with that. That was (Commissioner) Rob (Manfred’s) call. Listen, it’s always going to be whatever you want to call it. A black mark. An asterisk. It happened. It’s not good for anybody. It’s not good for the game.

“We broke the rules. We got penalized. We were punished. There’s no doubt it weighs on all of us every single day.

“But I don’t know what else they want us to do. I mean, you couldn’t do a lot more. We took a big penalty. Rob (Manfred) sent a message. We accepted the message, and went above and beyond.

“We’re sorry. We apologized. But no matter what happened, it wasn’t going to be enough. People wanted me out of baseball. They wanted players to be suspended. They wanted everything.’’


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 31, 2020 at 11:03 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jim crane, sign-stealing

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Bad blood erupts between Astros, Dodgers in opener

It took six innings for tensions to boil over between the Astros and Dodgers.

Benches cleared between the sixth and seventh innings after Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly twice threw at the upper body of a player from the 2017 Astros. No punches were thrown, but the two groups yelled back and forth for about 30 seconds before order was restored.

Both bullpens emptied to join, too, a release of five months of frustration after the fallout of the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal. The Dodgers, whom the Astros defeated in seven games to capture the 2017 World Series, were vocal in their displeasure with the club’s cheating and its apology attempts in February.

With one out and a three-run Dodgers lead, Kelly threw behind Alex Bregman with a 96 mph, 3-0 pitch. Bregman took his base without incident or words toward Kelly. Kelly yawned on the pitcher’s mound after he threw the pitch.

Carlos Correa, already 2-for-2 with a home run, arrived with two outs. Kelly began the plate appearance with two inside fastballs — the first of which put Correa to the dirt.

Kelly eventually struck out Correa on six pitches to end the frame. As the teams departed the field, Kelly and Correa immediately began to argue. Umpires tried to intervene but, by then, both benches were emptying. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Astros manager Dusty Baker came to the front, calming their clubs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2020 at 12:23 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sign-stealing

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Astros reliever Joe Smith opts out of 2020 season

Jim Bowden of The Athletic reports that Astros reliever Joe Smith has opted out of 2020 season. Previously, Smith had cited “concerns about the health and safety of his family” as his reasoning for not reporting to Astros summer camp, and those concerns no doubt are the reason for his decision to forego the 2020 campaign.

Smith has been a key part of the Astros bullpen over the past couple of seasons, posting a 3.06 ERA in 84 appearances in 2018 and 2019.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 15, 2020 at 09:05 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, coronavirus, joe smith

Monday, July 06, 2020

The legend of the Astros’ free beer ‘Foamer Nights’

On “Foamer Night,” there was a rectangular orange light next to the scoreboard clock in right field. When the digital clock was on an even-numbered minute while the Astros were hitting, the light was illuminated. If an Astros player hit a homer – err, “foamer” – while the light was glowing, fans got free beer the rest of the night through the eighth inning.
Cliff] Johnson became a hit by paying particularly keen attention to that orange light.
The San Antonio native, who led the 1975 Astros with 20 home runs, would take intentionally laborious strolls to the plate if his turn at bat came upon an odd-numbered minute. He’d stop to adjust his batting gloves. He’d call for time as he dug into the dirt with his cleats, keeping an eye on that orange light. When it clicked on, then – and only then – was he ready to hit.

Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 06, 2020 at 06:23 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, beer

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Alex Cora: Astros’ sign-stealing wasn’t two-man show

“There has been a narrative out there of what happened. Ever since mid-November until the commissioner announced the results of the Red Sox investigation, I have read many things that are true and many others that are not,” he said. “Out of this whole process, if there is one thing that I completely reject and disagree with is people within the Astros’ organization singling me out, particularly [former general manager] Jeff Luhnow, as if I were the sole mastermind. The commissioner’s report sort of explained, in its own way, what happened. But the [Astros players] have spoken up and refuted any allegations that I was solely responsible.”

He added: “If there is one thing I am absolutely sure of, it is that it was not a two-man show. We all did it. And let me be very clear that I am not denying my responsibility, because we were all responsible.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 11, 2020 at 05:04 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sign-stealing

Friday, June 05, 2020

Sources: MLB inclined to allow local governments to decide if fans are allowed at potential games

Call it home-state advantage.

As Major League Baseball and its Players Association wobble toward an agreement to start the COVID-19-delayed season, the Rangers could be handed a huge advantage if the schedule ever gets underway: fans.

According to two major league sources Thursday, MLB is inclined to allow local and municipal governance to take precedence when it comes to allowing fan attendance at games.

On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Texas-based teams could now allow attendance up to 50% of stadium capacity. The announcement was an expansion of the state’s previous policy of 25%, which had been in effect for two weeks, but had not yet been tested by any league. All plans would also be subject to change based on health and safety protocols.

Texas is the only state to have opened to pro sports with fans, though some other states have indicated they would consider adjusting their stances as they meet various thresholds in containing the coronavirus outbreak. Texas is home to two MLB teams, the Rangers and Houston Astros.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 05, 2020 at 09:45 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, coronavirus, rangers

Friday, January 20, 2012

WSJ: Houston Astros Owner Mucked Up in JeffCo Bankruptcy

We release things drip by drip…and when I have my sewer bonds settlement statements ready for this year, I’ll release them!

Stuck at the unfortunate end of the debt-clogged sewer system of Jefferson County, Ala., you’ll find Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Fresh into his takeover of the Texas baseball team, Crane has been ordered by a bankruptcy judge to reveal details of his settlement with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. over $35 million worth of sewer bonds that he bought from the investment bank four years ago—a personal investment that quickly turned to, er, garbage.

Those dirty details, which are not public, are what Jefferson County attorney are seeking amid their own fight with the bank over the complicated series of dealings that, with a little help from a corruption scheme that ensnared the county’s top elected leaders, left the county swimming in a pool of toxic debt.

Ultimately, the county—Alabama’s most populous with roughly 658,000 residents—filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, marking the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Crane said he got stuck with a bum deal, too, according to court documents filed in Texas state court.

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 04:48 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business, media

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MLB: Astros reach one-year deal with Cust

CustomInk: Compare prices!

Jack Cust, who has hit 105 home runs in a 10-year Major League career that has spanned six teams, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Astros that includes an option for 2013, according to a baseball source.

The deal is pending a physical and could be announced as soon as Wednesday. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow declined to comment.

Cust, 33, appeared in 67 games before being cut loose last July by the Mariners, for whom he batted .213 with three homers and 23 RBIs. He spent the previous four seasons with the Oakland A’s, hitting 97 homers and driving in 281 runs in that span. He’s played primarily left field, right field and designated hitter in his career.

The addition of Cust likely puts him in the mix to start in right field in an increasingly crowded group that includes Brian Bogusevic, Jason Bourgeois, J.B. Shuck and Fernando Martinez, the former top prospect of the Mets who was claimed off waivers last week.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2012 at 05:57 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

RLYW: Salvaging a Sunken cost

Burnett projects to have an RA of 5.03 in CAIRO.  The following possible starting pitchers project better than that.

CC Sabathia (3.57)
Michael Pineda (4.37)
Freddy Garcia (4.55)
Brad Meyers (4.56)
Hiroki Kuroda (4.57)
Phil Hughes (4.63)
Ivan Nova (4.93)

If that’s true, then every start that goes to Burnett is a start that should be going to one of the above.


Unfortunately, since Burnett is owed $33 million over the next two years, the Yankees probably feel obligated to try and get some value out of him.

I don’t think they can do that by pitching him…. trading Burnett’s bad contract to another team for their bad contract might be a way to recoup some of that value.

Mr Dashwood Posted: January 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cubs, mets, projections, white sox, yankees

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Bartolo Colon Agrees to Sign With Unknown Team

Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with an unknown club reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The right-hander wouldn’t divulge the team because he has not yet passed his physical.

Pretty sure it’s either the All-Stars or the Champs.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Adam Everett retires, joins Indians as special assistant

I forget if Roger Clemens said it or if someone said it to him when he went to the Astros…but the “Now I’ll/you’ll finally have a Major League shortstop behind me/you.” was pure Jeterkill.

I guess this means Adam Everett is officially retired.

Everett was released by Cleveland in the middle of his 11th big-league season last June, and the light-hitting, Gold Glove-caliber shortstop has decided to end his playing career and join the Indians’ front office as a “special assistant to baseball operations.”

Everett hit just .242 with a .294 on-base percentage and .346 slugging percentage in 880 games and never won a Gold Glove, but consistently rated among the elite shortstops in baseball according to various defensive metrics. He also earned about $12 million in addition to the signing bonus he received as the Red Sox’s first-round pick in 1998, so all in all that’s a pretty solid career.

Repoz Posted: January 13, 2012 at 06:01 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, indians

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