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Astros Newsbeat

Tuesday, February 14, 2023


While Diamond Sports Group appears set to default on $140 million in interest payments, a move which is expected to trigger a bankruptcy filing in the coming weeks, its 19 Bally Sports properties aren’t the only RSNs feeling a financial pinch. According to multiple league, finance and network sources, the three AT&T SportsNet brands in recent weeks have handed over lighter-than-expected envelopes to their respective MLB franchise partners.

An executive with direct knowledge of the RSNs’ financial dealings confirmed to Sportico that the AT&T outlets in Denver, Houston and Pittsburgh submitted their most recent rights payments to their MLB clubs in a timely fashion, although the disbursements were not commensurate with the contracted rates. The teams impacted by the shortfall are the Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates.

The precise amount of the funds withheld is not known but is said to be significant enough to have catalyzed concerns about the long-term viability of the three networks. According to one insider, the partial payments may be interpreted as a signal that new-ish owners Warner Bros. Discovery are eager to get out of the RSN business.


Friday, February 10, 2023

Cristian Javier extension: Astros ink five-year deal, worth reported $64 million, with World Series hero

The defending World Series champions have signed a core player to a long-term extension. The Houston Astros have inked righty Cristian Javier to a five-year contract, the team announced Friday. It is worth $64 million and includes a $2 million signing bonus, reports the Houston Chronicle. The five-year deal buys out Javier’s three arbitration years and two free agent years.

“Cristian is an outstanding pitcher, so we are really excited about signing him to a long-term deal,” Astros GM Dana Brown said in a statement. “We felt that he is the perfect candidate for this type of deal as a core piece of our rotation. This is in line with our vision to try to lock players up to sustain our success both now and in the future.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 10, 2023 at 06:49 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cristian javier

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Red Sox manager Alex Cora on his time with 2017 Astros, per new book: ‘We stole that ... World Serie

According to Evan Drellich’s new book, “Winning Fixes Everything,” Cora would boast about the Astros’ sign-stealing exploits to members of the Red Sox once he changed jobs. Notably, he’d reportedly get a little loose with the lips once he started drinking.

From the Boston Herald:

When Cora arrived in Boston to manage the Red Sox in 2018, he would “occasionally talk about the Astros’ sign-stealing from 2017, even brag, sometimes in a late-night setting,” Drellich wrote.

“Especially when they started drinking,” a member of the Red Sox reportedly said.

“We stole that (expletive) World Series,” Cora allegedly said.

While many teams were accused of illegally stealing signs during those years, Cora’s acts were seen as particularly egregious.

“We knew the Astros did [steal signs],” another member of the Red Sox told Drellich, “because Alex Cora told us. He said that when they played the Dodgers, ‘We already knew what everybody was throwing before we even got on base. We didn’t have to get on base.’ And everybody was like, ‘What the hell does that mean?’ “

The book details much more than simply the Astros’ sign-stealing operation in 2017, including habits of teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 04, 2023 at 10:38 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cora, astros, sign-stealing

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Dana Brown named new Astros general manager

Dana Brown, a longtime baseball executive who helped the Braves acquire their stable of young talent, was named the Astros’ new general manager on Thursday.

Brown joins the Astros after spending the last four seasons (2019-22) as the vice president of scouting in Atlanta, where he oversaw the drafting of 2022 National League Rookie of the Year Michael Harris II and Harris’ runner-up, pitcher Spencer Strider, along with infielder Vaughn Grissom.

Brown and manager Dusty Baker are the second pairing of a Black general manager and manager, the first being Ken Williams and Jerry Manuel with the White Sox from 2001-03.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 26, 2023 at 04:26 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dana brown

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Brad Ausmus Reportedly Among Astros’ GM Finalists

Earlier today, Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that the Astros have at least three finalists for their GM vacancy: Braves vice president of scouting Dana Brown, Guardians assistant GM James Harris and former Giants GM Bobby Evans. That’s not an exhaustive list, however, and Jose de Jesus Ortiz of Our Esquina tweets that former Astros catcher, Tigers/Angels manager and (most recently) A’s bench Brad Ausmus is also among the finalists. Per Ortiz, Brown and Ausmus are the two favorites for the job.

Jumping straight into the GM’s chair would be a first for Ausmus, though it wouldn’t be his first stint in a big league front office. Ausmus was a special assistant in the Padres’ front office shortly after retiring as a player, and he held a similar role with the 2018 Angels under then-general manager Billy Eppler.

Since retiring, however, the bulk of Ausmus’ experience in the game has come in a big league dugout. That includes a four-year stint as the Tigers’ manager from 2014-17 and a 2019 run as the Angels’ skipper. He spent the 2022 campaign as the bench coach under newly hired A’s skipper Mark Kotsay, but Ausmus turned down an offer from the team to return for a second season in that position. Ausmus’ decision to decline that offer came just a week before ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that Ausmus traveled to Houston to meet with former teammate Jeff Bagwell, who’s been a key advisor to owner Jim Crane and has held some sway in the team’s baseball operations decisions.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 25, 2023 at 08:33 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, brad ausmus

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Michael Brantley, Astros agree to deal

Michael Brantley will be back with the Astros next season after agreeing to a one-year, $12 million deal with the club, a source told’s Mark Feinsand on Sunday. The deal will include $4 million in incentives. The team has not confirmed the move.

jimfurtado Posted: December 18, 2022 at 08:10 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, michael brantley

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell criticizes Astros’ recent tilt toward analytics but says he doesn’t want GM job

The Houston Astros remain in need of a general manager after surprisingly cutting ties with incumbent James Click earlier this offseason. So enter Jeff Bagwell?

The franchise legend and Hall of Fame first baseman has been a close advisor to club owner Jim Crane for some time, and the idea that he might be in for a larger and more formal front-office role gained credence when Bagwell reportedly helped negotiate José Abreu’s recent free-agent contract with Houston. On Tuesday, Bagwell leveled what seems to be thinly veiled criticism at Click and his data-driven approach:

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2022 at 12:35 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, astros, jeff bagwell

Monday, November 28, 2022

Astros near deal with veteran 1B José Abreu

The Astros are finalizing a deal that would bring veteran first baseman José Abreu to Houston, according to multiple reports. Bob Nightengale was first to report the news, which has not been confirmed by the Astros. When completed, the deal is expected to be for three years, according to Nightengale.

Abreu, who turns 36 on Jan. 29, played his first nine Major League seasons with the White Sox and consistently has been one of the top middle-of-the-order run producers in the game. His 2022 campaign featured a drop in power to 15 home runs and 75 RBIs, marking just the second time Abreu finished below 25 and 100 in these particular categories in a full-schedule season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 28, 2022 at 02:27 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jose abreu

Thursday, November 17, 2022

AFL performances impacting rankings: Pipeline Inbox

Given that he was a Top 100 Prospect before his health issues, does Orioles outfielder Heston Kjerstad’s solid 2022 season and great AFL performance get him back into the Top 100 conversation?—Chris W., Harrisburg, Pa.

I always caution about reading too much into Fall League performance because it’s a small sample and the hitters are significantly better than the pitchers. In Kjerstad’s case, I’ll make an exception. Because he came down with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, he didn’t make his pro debut until two years after the Orioles made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.

Kjerstad faced better arms than he ever had before in the AFL and won MVP honors while hitting .357/.385/.622 and leading the developmental circuit in hits (35), doubles (nine), extra-base hits (15) and total bases (61). He offers big left-handed power and while his K/BB ratio was 31/5 in 104 plate appearances, scouts believe that didn’t reflect any flaws with his swing or pitch recognition. He’s not afraid to fall behind in the count while zeroing in on specific pitches and zones early in at-bats, and he can make some refinements to that approach.

One evaluator I spoke to thought Kjerstad was the best prospect in the AFL, ahead of even Cardinals outfielder Jordan Walker, who ranks No. 6 on the Top 100. He was one of the top five prospects in the league and that definitely will put him in the Top 100 conversation when we update the list again in January.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Houston Astros’ inner turmoil through World Series run ($)

Did Bagwell make the case the Astros player development is too good, which is unfair to their competitors? I fear the dark times are coming back for Astros fans.

Disagreements over player evaluations furthered the chasm between the sides and further isolated Click. Baker was among those who convinced Crane to kill the trade that would have sent right-hander Jose Urquidy to the Cubs for Contreras. Bagwell, who “Jim might trust more than anyone,” according to one source familiar with their relationship and corroborated by another, was critical of the Astros’ player-development system, even as it was graduating eventual ALCS and World Series MVP Jeremy Peña. Jackson, who joined the Astros in May 2021 as an “executive assistant” despite never playing for the organization, yelled at members of the team’s front office this year and later would apologize, according to sources.

jimfurtado Posted: November 16, 2022 at 02:50 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

ESPN Insider: Inside the champion Astros’ behind-the-scenes turmoil [$]

“Sometimes I wonder if Jim thinks he’s Jerry Jones,” said one Astros employee, who was among the dozen people with knowledge of the organization with whom ESPN spoke to better understand the inner workings of arguably the most successful franchise in baseball. Not since Larry MacPhail in 1947 has a championship franchise parted ways with its top baseball executive so soon after a title, but what became clear over those conversations was Crane’s willingness to meddle in baseball-operations decisions, much like the Dallas Cowboys owner who also serves as GM. It’s a path certainly in Crane’s purview as owner but rare among his peers in baseball—and it suggests that Click’s work always came with impediments.

Crane, sources said, felt coming into the 2022 season that the team needed more “baseball men” involved in operations decisions and invited Hall of Famers Jeff Bagwell and Reggie Jackson into the team’s weekly senior baseball-operations meetings. Crane, sources said, killed an agreed-upon deal for Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras at the trade deadline. Crane, sources said, this week personally negotiated the three-year, $34.5 million contract that brought reliever Rafael Montero back to the team—a deal that was widely seen in the industry as a hefty price to give a 32-year-old with only one good full big league season….

Disagreements over player evaluations furthered the chasm between the sides and further isolated Click. Baker was among those who convinced Crane to kill the trade that would have sent right-hander Jose Urquidy to the Cubs for Contreras. Bagwell, who “Jim might trust more than anyone,” according to one source familiar with their relationship and corroborated by another, was critical of the Astros’ player-development system, even as it was graduating eventual ALCS and World Series MVP Jeremy Peña. Jackson, who joined the Astros in May 2021 as an “executive assistant” despite never playing for the organization, yelled at members of the team’s front office this year and later would apologize, according to sources.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 15, 2022 at 10:46 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Sources: Astros, Rafael Montero reach 3-year, $34.5M deal

Reliever Rafael Montero agreed to a three-year, $34.5 million contract that will bring the right-hander back to the Houston Astros’ dominant bullpen a week after the team rode its pitching staff to a World Series title, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN.

Montero, 32, thrived in his first full season with the Astros, posting a 2.37 ERA in 68⅓ innings and allowing just three home runs while striking out 73. The deal came together on a transformative Friday for the Astros, who saw general manager James Click reject a one-year contract from owner Jim Crane and leave the organization.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 13, 2022 at 11:05 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, rafael montero

Watch: ‘Mattress Mack’ Gives All-Time Flex With World Series Winnings - Sports Illustrated

There is gambling and there is GAMBLING!

jimfurtado Posted: November 13, 2022 at 10:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, gambling

Friday, November 11, 2022

Astros and general manager James Click are going their separate ways after winning World Series -

“Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan”

Jim Crane thinks he’s a single parent.

jimfurtado Posted: November 11, 2022 at 01:08 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, james click

Rosenthal: Uncertainty surrounding Astros GM James Click marring World Series shine - The Athletic

Crane evidently doesn’t care. Maybe he shouldn’t care. But his handling of Click is another unfortunate episode for a franchise that has had too many under his ownership, a franchise that should be basking in the glow of its untainted World Series title. It would be difficult to blame Click if he told Crane to stick his offer you-know-where.

jimfurtado Posted: November 11, 2022 at 06:45 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, james click, pay site

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Dusty Baker likely to be back with Astros, James Click in limbo

Dusty Baker received a one-year offer to manage the Astros in 2023, and his return is said to be likely. Baker, 73, seems to be OK going one year at a time.

Astros GM James Click also is believed to have received a one-year extension offer on a contract that expired Oct. 31, which obviously isn’t much of a reward for a young GM after winning the World Series. Click told reporters in Las Vegas he’s “in discussions” about a new deal, though it isn’t known whether Astros owner Jim Crane is willing to alter the one-year offer, which is stunningly light following two straight World Series appearances. Click didn’t reveal any upset about a situation that is said to be upsetting, it’s unknown whether he will accept a one-year deal from Houston.

The Astros have called a press conference for Wednesday, and uncomfortably Click was unaware about this until told by reporters at the GM Meetings — though he handled the whole interview session with grace and even humor. The short extension offer for the GM hasn’t been explained, but sources suggest they believe Crane credits Baker more for the title, appreciates his old-school baseball calls and doesn’t want to emphasize analytics even more.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 09, 2022 at 01:47 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

If MLB’s postseason roulette is so unpredictable, how do Astros continue to beat the odds?

“It’s a really hard question to answer, but obviously our guys have continued to come through in those big spots, year in and year out,” Houston general manager James Click told the Post-Dispatch during a recent conversation. “So, while there is a level of unpredictability in the playoffs and I think we all understand that this is a game of inches — talent still plays in the playoffs. Nobody is suggesting that it’s all luck. It’s probably a little bit more of a question of luck and skill than the regular season, but three is still plenty of room for skill to play up.”

jimfurtado Posted: November 08, 2022 at 08:46 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals, playoffs

Monday, November 07, 2022

2022 World Series- How Dusty Baker’s Astros beat the Phillies

The Astros and Chicago Cubs were in agreement on a trade to send star catcher Willson Contreras to the Astros for starter Jose Urquidy, four sources familiar with the deal told ESPN. The straight-up trade was agreed upon, pending owner approval. That approval never came.

During the 2022 season, as the Astros churned toward a regular-season win total one shy of their franchise record, relationships outside the clubhouse soured, according to sources. Owner Jim Crane, who paid a record $5 million fine levied by commissioner Rob Manfred for the cheating scandal, took a more hands-on role in baseball operations. New voices, such as Astros Hall of Fame first baseman Jeff Bagwell, grew in prominence. And when Click tried to execute the trade for Contreras—a pending free agent who is not regarded as a good defensive catcher but would’ve ably filled the hole at designated hitter that plagued the Astros during the postseason—another prominent name let his opposition be known: Dusty Baker.

“Much as I like Willson Contreras, Urquidy was one of our best pitchers then,” Baker said. “I needed a guy that wasn’t going to complain about not playing every day. And this is his [free agent] year. See, that’s tough. When you trade for a player in his [free agent] year. Everybody’s about numbers and stuff, and I can’t blame them, no doubt. But that’s not what we needed.”

In the best organizations, the general manager’s and manager’s aspirations cohere. Both Click’s and Baker’s contracts are now expired, and the 2022 season illustrated how lame-duck status for both simultaneously can influence something as seminal as player acquisition. Dealing Urquidy, a 27-year-old right-hander with three years of team control until he reaches free agency, made sense to the Astros’ front office, particularly with the team’s starting pitching depth. Crane—who when asked for comment walked into the clubhouse that was closed off to reporters—disagreed and spiked the deal, only furthering widespread concerns among front-office members that despite maintaining the Astros’ success, Click’s return is no given. Click declined comment.

jimfurtado Posted: November 07, 2022 at 05:54 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, phillies

Saturday, November 05, 2022

Dynasty! Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, Astros are an all-time team | ESPN

That part was novel, but much else looked familiar. For the third time in four seasons, the Major League Baseball season has ended in Houston. The Astros’ two titles have come in a six-season span, with the first the infamous championship of 2017. In each season between that title and this one, the Astros advanced to at least the ALCS, pushing their streak of appearances in that round to an amazing six.

Given these simple facts, one obvious question springs to mind: Are we watching baseball’s newest dynasty?

Hombre Brotani Posted: November 05, 2022 at 11:31 PM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, world series

Bomb threats and prank calls: ‘All hell broke loose’ for Philadelphia restaurants in World Series food fiasco

It’s not often that the citizens of Philly are the victims of pro sports-related abuse, rather than the perps.

Mike’s BBQ and Angelo’s Pizza, two popular South Philly businesses that often provide food to the city’s professional teams, even engaged in social media posts joking about not accommodating the opposing team.

Danny DiGiampietro, the owner of Angelo’s Pizzeria on 9th Street, told The Post that Houston fans have been prank-calling his eatery nonstop — with some hecklers even tracking down his license plate and his home address to share online.

On Tuesday, an individual claiming to be a cousin of an Angelo’s staffer tweeted that Astros fans “threatening to bomb his store.” They explained the pizzeria closed at 7 p.m. and did not want to make food during the game.

However, there is more to the story.

cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: November 05, 2022 at 08:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, fans, food, philadelphia, phillies

Thursday, November 03, 2022

NYT: These Guys Are Nasty’: Houston Thrives With Unexpected Stars [$]

Javier switched from outfielder to pitcher at 16, the age when many prospects from the Dominican Republic turn pro. He signed just before his 18th birthday for $10,000, the same bonus the Astros had given Framber Valdez, a Dominican left-hander, in 2015. The team gave a $100,000 bonus that year to José Urquidy, a right-hander from Mexico, and $20,000 in 2017 to Luis Garcia, a right-hander from Venezuela.

Add it all up and the Astros spent $140,000 to sign four pitchers from Latin America who combined to make 112 starts this season. None of the four were ever listed among the top 100 prospects by

“When I got here, I only knew what I’d read, that the system is a little empty,” said reliever Ryne Stanek, who signed with Houston before last season. “But then you see these guys come up and you’re like, ‘What do you mean, empty? These guys are nasty.’ Obviously the prospect rankings mean nothing when those guys weren’t prospects.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 03, 2022 at 10:59 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Javier, bullpen combine on no-hitter as Astros tie Series

Looking forward to hearing all the hot takes tomorrow about the Astros having momentum.

Earl Weaver had it right.

jimfurtado Posted: November 02, 2022 at 11:37 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, no hitters, phillies, world series

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Rob Thomson & Framber Valdez discuss Twitter “sticky stuff” rumors.

jimfurtado Posted: October 30, 2022 at 08:39 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, framber valdez, phillies, rob thomson, sticky stuff, world series

Astros win World Series Game 2 2022

“It was almost a mathematical must, actually,” said manager Dusty Baker, “because it’s tough when you lose the first two games at home.”

jimfurtado Posted: October 30, 2022 at 08:09 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, phillies, world series

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Can this World Series match the madness of the 1980 Phillies-Astros NLCS?

“That to me, it was probably one of the greatest playoffs ever,” then-Phillies shortstop Larry Bowa said recently on MLB Network….

Then came Game 4—one of the weirdest and wildest contests in postseason history.

There were five double plays turned—four started by an outfielder. There was a sacrifice fly that was then taken off the board when the Phillies appealed that the Astros’ Luis Pujols had left third base early. A fourth-inning triple play was even changed into a double play following a 20-minute argument among the umpires that led to both teams protesting the game.

Despite it all, when Philadelphia came up to hit in the eighth inning, the Astros held a 2-0 lead and were just six outs away from the World Series. The Phillies then scored three runs in the inning on four straight singles and, naturally, a sacrifice fly double play from Manny Trillo to take the lead, 3-2.

After Puhl hit an RBI single to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, fans were treated to more free baseball.

With two outs and Pete Rose on first in the top of the 10th, Luzinski doubled off the wall and Rose raced around third base, ignoring the stop sign, and collided with catcher Bruce Bochy at home to take the lead, 4-3.

“What I saw when I came around third was the catcher fighting with the throw,” Rose said at the time. “The throw wasn’t a good one. It would have been hard for anybody to handle it. So I went in any way I could.”

“He keeps saying that was the first time he ever missed that and ran through a sign,” Luzinski said on Wednesday, incredulous about Rose and his baseball instincts. “I said to him, ‘Well, it was a good time to do it!’ It was a game-winner.”


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 27, 2022 at 12:07 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, phillies

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