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Thursday, December 05, 2019

Mets acquiring center fielder Jake Marisnick from Astros

The Mets are acquiring Jake Marisnick from the Astros for prospects Blake Taylor and Kenedy Corona.

Marisnick, 28, is a right-handed hitter with a strong defensive acumen and appears to be the Mets’ choice to replace Juan Lagares, whose 2020 option the team decline earlier this offseason.

Taylor, 24, is a right-handed reliever who rose to Triple-A this season with a 2.16 ERA split between three levels. Corona, a 19-year-old outfielder, hit .311 for the Port St. Lucie Mets in the Single-A Gulf Coast League in his first season in the Mets system. Neither is considered a high-level prospect.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:42 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jake marisnick, mets

Monday, November 25, 2019

Sources: MLB querying players on Astros sign-stealing allegations

An update on a scandal:

Major League Baseball officials investigating whether the Houston Astros cheated over the past three seasons by electronically stealing signs have asked players associated with the organization what they know about a range of alleged sign-stealing techniques, sources familiar with the conversations told ESPN on Friday.

Players have been asked about “buzzing,” via the use of Band-Aid-like wearable stickers; furtive earpieces; pitch-picking algorithms; and other potential methods of sign-stealing, the sources said. Accusations about the extent of the alleged wrongdoing have streamed into commissioner Rob Manfred’s office from officials of other teams, the sources said. MLB officials are endeavoring to separate fact from fiction, the sources told ESPN, and the league has not concluded whether any such methods actually have been used.

Players who might have violated league rules have been told by MLB officials they can expect leniency in exchange for answering questions truthfully. But members of the Astros’ front office and coaching staff could face significant punishment upon the investigation’s conclusion if they’re found to have cheated, the sources said. The league has requested to search the phones of certain members of the Astros’ front office, the sources said.

 

 

QLE Posted: November 25, 2019 at 01:46 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sign-stealing

Monday, November 18, 2019

PASSAN: Astros exec suggested using cameras to spy in ‘17, sources say

A familiar name in these circles emerges…

A high-ranking Houston Astros official asked scouts to spy on opponents’ dugouts leading up to the 2017 postseason, hoping to steal signs and suggesting the potential use of cameras to do so, sources familiar with the request told ESPN.

The reaction among those who received an email from Kevin Goldstein, a special assistant to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, was mixed, sources told ESPN. Some were intrigued by the idea, sources who received the email said, while others were bothered by the thought of pointing cameras from the stands toward opposing teams’ dugouts, a plan that could have earned them scorn within the scouting community if caught. ...

Goldstein, who did not return a message seeking comment, wrote in the email: “One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout. What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would log things, if we need cameras/binoculars, etc. So go to game, see what you can [or can’t] do and report back your findings.”

Stormy JE Posted: November 18, 2019 at 11:04 AM | 183 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, baseball prospectus, cheating, kevin goldstein, sign stealing

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Astros stole signs electronically in 2017 | The Athletic (paywall)

Early in the 2017 season, at least two uniformed Astros got together to start the process. One was a hitter who was struggling at the plate and had benefited from sign stealing with a previous team, according to club sources; another was a coach who wanted to help. They were said to strongly believe that some opposing teams were already up to no good.

They wanted to devise their own system in Houston. And they did.

“That’s not playing the game the right way,” said Fiers, who was with the team from 2015-17 and was non-tendered in the offseason after the Astros won the 2017 World Series. “They were advanced and willing to go above and beyond to win.”

Three other sources who were inside the organization in 2017 and had direct knowledge of the scheme discussed its existence on the condition of anonymity.

The article goes into detail about how the Astros did it. More broadly, it discusses the problem of teams league-wide using high tech equipment to circumvent rules, steal signs, and get more in-game information.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 12, 2019 at 02:03 PM | 195 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, because of course they did, cheating

Friday, November 08, 2019

Ranking Gerrit Cole’s Top Five Landing Spots

There’s no question Gerrit Cole will be the most sought after free agent this winter. He should be the most handsomely paid, too.

Despite a sluggish free agency period last winter that forced many players to settle for below-market deals, the top tier of players still raked in monster deals (with humongous extensions for Mike Trout and Nolan Arenado to boot). It wouldn’t be a surprise to see things play out similarly this offseason, meaning Cole appears on track to surpass David Price’s $217 million deal en route to the most expensive pitcher contract ever.

Who are the favorites to break the bank for Cole and lock up the potential AL Cy Young Award winner? Let’s assess his suitors as free agency gets underway.

So, of these options, which do we see as most likely?

QLE Posted: November 08, 2019 at 12:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, astros, cardinals, dodgers, free agency, padres, phillies, rangers, yankees

Nolan Ryan cuts ties with Astros amid front-office shake-up involving his son

The Houston Astros are starting the offseason by shaking up their front office, but it’s raising even more questions for a team that’s been peppered with them since the start of the World Series.

Astros owner Jim Crane announced Thursday that team president Reid Ryan has been re-assigned and Crane’s son Jared is taking on a leadership role. In the aftermath of that announcement, Hall of Famer and Astros legend Nolan Ryan — Reid’s father — said he won’t continue with the Astros in his role as an executive advisor to Crane and the Astros.

Up until the change, the first three names on the Astros’ org chart were Jim Crane, Reid Ryan and Nolan Ryan.

The big question is why — and whether the move has anything to do with the controversy involving former assistant general manager Brandon Taubman during the World Series and the Astros’ internal handling of it. Thus far, the Astros’ public statements haven’t connected this front-office change with what happened last month, but the timing is enough to pique curiosity.

Well, this isn’t something you see every day…..

 

QLE Posted: November 08, 2019 at 12:01 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, nolan ryan, reid ryan

Saturday, November 02, 2019

McCarthy: the nerds cost the Astros the World Series and it was glorious to watch

Speaking of dumb narratives…

Jim Furtado Posted: November 02, 2019 at 08:59 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, world series

Friday, November 01, 2019

World Series Loss Brings Astros’ Season-Long Dominance to Staggering End

HOUSTON — Baseball offers no harsher end than a loss in Game 7 of the World Series. You have endured the April frost and July heatstroke, the blowouts and the walk-offs, the delayed flights and the late-inning pitching changes, and you have played as long as you can play. And now you are faced with the most binary of options: win, and float with your friends through the next days and weeks in a champagne-soaked haze, or lose, and descend alone into winter.

Three of the last four seasons have slammed to a halt with this stark contrast, each team’s opposite emotion heightened by the suddenness with which it came. As the 2016 Cubs danced, the Indians staggered through the clubhouse. As the ’17 Astros doused one another in alcohol, the Dodgers wept openly. But on Wednesday, as the ’19 Nationals celebrated a title that even they barely believed had come, the Astros’ response was muted.

The tears were dry by the time the uniforms came off. Houston had just capped a 107-win season with a 6–2 loss, but the mood in the clubhouse reflected more disappointment than devastation.

At his locker, first baseman Yuli Gurriel checked his Instagram metrics. Across the room, outfielder Josh Reddick and reliever Will Harris argued about fantasy football invoices. In the quietest corner of the room, shortstop Carlos Correa and second baseman José Altuve leaned forward in the office chairs in front of their lockers. Between them, on the floor, sprawled third baseman Alex Bregman. In whispers, they discussed the improbability of what they had witnessed: Zack Greinke, seemingly on his way to a one-hit shutout, carried a 2–0 lead into the seventh inning. Then came a solo home run. A walk. A pitching change. Another longball. Two innings later, the Astros watched the Nationals celebrate at Minute Maid Park.

Some thoughts on what it means to lose a World Series, in parallel with the articles on what it means to win one.

 

QLE Posted: November 01, 2019 at 12:56 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, the agony of defeat, world series

Thursday, October 31, 2019

‘We’re World Series champions’: How a six-man unit of Nationals pitchers slayed the Astros’ lineup – The Athletic

One thing I’ve learned over the years is, winning a playoff series doesn’t mean the better overall team won. Luck plays a much bigger role than people realize. I’m not saying not to appreciate the victory. I’m saying the narratives attached to those victories don’t usually match the outcomes.

“Everybody thinks they’re a better team,” Hudson said as he sipped a Budweiser after the game. “And we’re World Series champions. Baseball is not played on paper. It’s just a fluky game, a funny game.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 31, 2019 at 11:40 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, nationals, world series

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Astros Are Hitting Like The 1927 Yankees

[The Astros] feature one of the most loaded lineups in major league history, performing something like the Yankees’ Murderers’ Row of the 1920s. In fact, by some measures, the only more effective offensive club in the HISTORY of the sport is the storied 1927 New York club.

The Astros finished the regular season with the second-best mark in weighted runs created plus (wRC+), which adjusts for era and ballparks, of all time. The ’27 Yankees produced a 126 mark as a team, meaning they were 26 percent above league average run-production efficiency. The ’19 Astros finished at 125 — and that’s the top of the list. For context, erstwhile Nationals star Bryce Harper produced a 125 wRC+ for the Philadelphia Phillies this season. The Astros are a TEAM of Harpers. MLB has rarely seen anything like it. ...

ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 30, 2019 at 09:13 AM | 62 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, general

New Jersey sports books could lose millions to high roller ‘Mattress Mack’ if Astros win World Serie

The Houston Astros are one game away from winning the World Series, something that would be costly for New Jersey sports books — largely due to one bettor who doesn’t even live here but has wagered around $4 million on the Astros winning it all.

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale has been making headlines back in his home state of Texas for the large bets he has been placing on the Astros to win it all. The furniture mogul who owns three Gallery Furniture stores in Houston is offering a promotion to his customers where he would give full refunds up to $3,000 if the Astros win.

“I believe in the Astros,’’ McIngvale told the Asbury Park Press. “I’ve watched them play all year.”

The bets are in part a hedge against the cost of the promotion, said Darren Rovell, a sports business analyst and betting expert who works for Action Network.

Somewhere, Sport Sullivan is kicking himself….

 

QLE Posted: October 30, 2019 at 12:23 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, gambling, new jersey, world series

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Having a catch: Astros, Nats kids crash World Series warmups

WASHINGTON (AP) — After Robinson Chirinos yanked a line drive off the foul pole in left field to give the Houston Astros a 4-1 lead in Game 3 of the World Series against the Washington Nationals, he huddled with his 12-year-old son, David, in the clubhouse.

“I came inside and he was waiting for me, like, ‘Give me a hug, nice job, good swing,’” Chirinos said. “Stuff like that, you can’t put into words. There’s some memories you’re going to remember forever. So I thank God and the Houston organization to allow me to do that.”

All season, Major League Baseball has urged clubs and fans to “Let the Kids Play.” On Friday night, the Nationals and Astros didn’t need the encouragement. There were enough youngsters with gloves during pregame warmups to fill out a Little League infield.

Owen Kendrick, the 10-year-old son of Nationals veteran Howie Kendrick, took grounders alongside the team at second base — one of his dad’s many positions. Owen and his 8-year-old brother Tyson also chased fly balls in the outfield.

 

 

QLE Posted: October 27, 2019 at 12:23 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, kids, nationals

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Astros Fire Assistant GM Brandon Taubman | SI.com

The statement:

During the past two days, the Astros pro-actively assisted Major League Baseball in interviewing Astros employees as part of MLB’s investigation of the events published in the recent Sports Illustrated article Major League Baseball also separately interviewed members of the media over the past 24 hours,” the team said in a statement on Thursday. “Our initial investigation led us to believe that Brandon Taubman’s inappropriate comments were not directed toward any reporter. We were wrong. We sincerely apologize to Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated and to all individuals who witnessed this incident or were offended by the inappropriate conduct. The Astros in no way intended to minimize the issues related to domestic violence.

“Our initial belief was based on witness statements about the incident. Subsequent interviews have revealed that Taubman’s inappropriate comments, were, in fact, directed toward one or more reporters. Accordingly, we have terminated Brandon Taubman’s employment with the Houston Astros. His conduct does not reflect the values of our organization and we believe this is the most appropriate course of action.

“We are thankful to Major League Baseball and to everyone that cooperated in the investigation. As previously stated, the Astros are very committed to using our voice to create awareness and support on the issue of domestic violence. We fully support MLB and baseball’s stance and values regarding domestic violence. We will continue to make this cause a priority for our organization.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 24, 2019 at 05:35 PM | 115 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, brandon taubman, jeff luhnow

Very complex: Nats, Astros share spring site, meet in Series

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Asked how his Washington Nationals figured out Gerrit Cole in the World Series opener, Juan Soto didn’t have to look far for an answer.

“I’m glad I face him in spring training,” Soto said.

In fact, all of the Houston Astros and Nationals see a lot of each other starting every February — they share the complex at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

More than 200 days after breaking camp, they’ve ended the year on the same field with much more at stake.

Apparently, this is the first time this has occurred, for those interested in milestones.

QLE Posted: October 24, 2019 at 12:52 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, nationals, spring training, stadiums

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Left Out: Astros 1st WS team minus lefty pitcher since 1903

HOUSTON (AP) — Something was left out when the Houston Astros submitted their World Series roster.

Namely, left-handed pitchers.

For the first time since the very first World Series in 1903, a team has no lefties on its Fall Classic staff.

Instead, Houston has 12 pitchers, all right-handers.

A surprising accomplishment, especially given how many pitchers are on the modern roster.

 

QLE Posted: October 23, 2019 at 12:28 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, left-handed pitchers, world series

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Astros Staffer’s Outburst at Female Reporters Illustrates MLB’s Forgive-and-Forget Attitude Toward Domestic Violence

More than an hour after José Altuve won the Astros the pennant, the party in the Houston clubhouse still raged. Rightfielder Josh Reddick was crushing vodka Red Bulls. Starter Gerrit Cole smoked a cigar. Shortstop Carlos Correa gazed lovingly at the American League championship trophy.

And in the center of the room, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of three female reporters, including one wearing a purple domestic-violence awareness bracelet, and yelled, half a dozen times, “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f———glad we got Osuna!”

The outburst was offensive and frightening enough that another Houston staffer apologized. The Astros declined to comment. They also declined to make Taubman available for an interview.


‘The paranoia is real’: Keeping fresh signs top of mind for catcher Kurt Suzuki vs. Astros

HOUSTON — He knows they’re watching. They always watch. Then they rewind, watch again.

He knows they’re looking in from second base, from the corners in the coaches boxes, from who knows where. He knows there are rumors about everywhere, every ballpark in every league, how they do it, how they try, some of their methods fair and some perhaps not.

He knows the reputation here. Everybody knows the reputation here, at Minute Maid Park. He also knows the nature of reputations, how one man’s anxiety, one man’s suspicion, becomes the hardened truth in a league of thousands of men willing to believe the worst, which is precisely how paranoia works, and also why Kurt Suzuki wears a wristband to remind him which pitchers use which set of signs, because there’s an awful lot of moving parts out here. And who knows what else.

After some 12,000 innings back there and hundreds of thousands of pitches called and caught and not caught, and at the end of 13 seasons in which not a single one of those innings or pitches had come in a World Series game, Suzuki on Monday afternoon returned to Minute Maid Park, where he’d caught the first of those innings and the first of those pitches, and where he’d play more than 12 years later in the World Series.

Has he considered consulting the Five Man Electrical Band on this subject?

 

QLE Posted: October 22, 2019 at 01:00 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, kurt suzuki, sign-stealing

Astros pick Verlander for Game 2, Greinke for Game 3

HOUSTON (AP) — Justin Verlander will follow Gerrit Cole and start Game 2 of the World Series for Houston against Washington on Wednesday.

Zack Greinke will start for the Astros on Friday when the Series resumes at Nationals Park.

“Greinke gets to hit. That’s going to be fun for him,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said Monday.

 

 

QLE Posted: October 22, 2019 at 12:27 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, justin verlander, pitchers hitting, world series, zack greinke

Monday, October 21, 2019

Astros enter World Series against Nationals as heaviest favorites since 2007

Mere hours after clinching their second pennant in three years, the Houston Astros were conferred the best World Series odds in over a decade.

Westgate deemed the Astros as -220 favorites with Caesars Sportsbook opening at -235. Even at the lower figure, that’s largest odds for a favorite since the 2007 Boston Red Sox were -240 favorites over the Colorado Rockies.

For the uninitiated, lines bigger than -200 are rarely seen at this level because people don’t often think things will be so lopsided. The implied odds from a -220 line is that the Astros will win 68.8 percent of the time — 70.1 percent if you use the Caesars line. And given how talented the Washington Nationals are, that seems very high.

Any thoughts from the gamblers among us?

QLE Posted: October 21, 2019 at 12:03 AM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, odds, world series

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Capital hill: Astros, Nats put World Series eyes on pitching

Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer and a slew of aces get the World Series started in Houston, then the scene shifts to Capitol Hill.

But with Justin Verlander, Stephen Strasburg and all these electric arms, might as well call it capital hill.

Because in this Year of the Home Run, the focus of the 2019 Fall Classic is on the mound.

A throw-down for the ages, maybe. With a neat twist, too: The Astros and Washington Nationals share a spring training complex — they met in the exhibition opener, and Scherzer gave up a homer to the first batter of the game.

A consideration of the World Series to come, and an item that could end up being very important about it.


Clinching heroics net Altuve ALCS MVP honors

José Altuve was in the running for the ALCS MVP Award entering Game 6 on Saturday night, but his pennant-clinching walk-off homer in the ninth inning of a 6-4 win over the Yankees sealed it.

Altuve finished the series with six runs scored, a .348/.444/.652 line and two homers, including the biggest hit of the series.

Altuve became the first second baseman ever to win both a regular-season MVP and a postseason-round MVP Award.

Congratulations to both Altuve and the Astros.

 

QLE Posted: October 20, 2019 at 12:47 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: alcs mvp, astros, jose altuve

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Pen: How did the Astros wind up with baseball’s best-dressed fans?

About three hours before Game 2 of the ALCS between the Yankees and Astros I spotted a man outside Minute Maid Park wearing head-to-toe tequila sunrise.

For the 80-degree day in Houston he was wearing a generic throwback jersey from the ‘80s, an era when the Astros sported red, yellow and orange stripes — a colorway known as the tequila sunrise. Paired with that, tequila sunrise-striped shorts with a superimposed Astros “H.” Where those stopped, a few inches of exposed skin before picking up the pattern again in tequila sunrise knee-high socks. His shoes were the navy Astros-blue Vans with tequila sunrise panels that I saw dozens of times during a long weekend in Houston.

I was in the middle of seeking out subjects for this very story about Astros fans and their notably creative flair for showcasing their commitment to the team through clothing that borders on costume. My proof this is a real phenomenon is simply that within my first nine innings at Minute Maid Park, I went from not knowing Astros fans were so stylish to needing to know why. This is why I noticed him; but also why his getup — which could charitably be described as “loud” — failed to merit an interview. Astros-ified entire outfits and accessories, most often rendered in the throwback hues (by which I never mean the short-lived brick-red situation), were rampant around Minute Maid as the team eliminated the Rays and opened a series against the Yankees last weekend.

Cowboy hats, naturally. Woven straw with a bespoke collection of Texas sport pins worn by a man with a handlebar mustache who hands out business cards with a poem and a proclamation of “no business, no plans, no money, no worries” on them. But also comically oversized orange foam versions worn in packs by handsome young adults with José Altuve jerseys.

For those who wish to discuss the fashion of baseball, here’s an open thread.

 

QLE Posted: October 19, 2019 at 12:12 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, fashion

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Yankees think Astros are stealing signs by whistling

During the 2018 postseason there was a bit of a thing involving the Indians and Red Sox thinking that the Astros were stealing signs and/or spying on their dugouts via the stationing of a team employee nearby. That controversy came and went with Major League Baseball issuing a statement that nothing untoward had happened.

Flash forward to this week and, once again, someone is accusing the Astros of stealing signs. This time, however, the accusation involves a far lower-tech means of doing it. From Andy Martino of SNY:

“Yankees players and coaches became angry with the Astros during Game 1 of the ALCS when they noticed a whistling sound in the Astros’ dugout — which they believed was an over-the-line example of sign stealing, and a violation of the game’s unwritten rules.

According to three sources, a Yankees coach noticed a whistling sound in the opposing dugout on certain pitches on Saturday night in Houston. The Yankees started yelling across the field, and people in the dugouts argued back and forth.

“The whole dugout was pissed,” said one source. “Everyone was chirping.””

Meanwhile, Aaron Boone is getting increasingly convinced that Carlos Correa is hypnotizing Yankees players with his teeth…..

 

QLE Posted: October 17, 2019 at 12:06 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sign-stealing, whining bunch of crybabies, yankees-no-fun-as-usual

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Houston Mattress Magnate bets millions on Astros to win World Series

People in Houston need no introduction to Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, who owns Gallery Furniture in Houston. A lot of sports fans may not either, as he’s made quite a name for himself by associating his business with both the highs and lows of the Houston Astros over the years.

I don’t know much about his business at large, but he’s been on our radar for several years. Back in 2014, when the Astros were absolutely terrible, he promised a customers who spent a certain amount of money on furniture at his store a refund if the Astros didn’t lose 100 games that year. They lost only 92 games and Mattress Mack had to pay out $4 million or so in refunds. In 2017 he did a similar thing except this time he offered big refunds if the Astros won the World Series. Which they did, of course, which cost Mattress Mack around $12 million.

Mattress Mack is at it again this year. He’s been offering customers who spend over $3,000 on stuff a refund if the Astros once again win the World Series, as they’re favored to do.

One might think that this is irresponsible, but you probably don’t become a successful furniture salesman if you’re not savvy about such things. I mean, without even knowing anything about the guy or listening to him explain himself, it’s a very safe assumption that the guy simply — and correctly — figured that his offer was great, mostly free advertising, that it increased sales volume and that it might’ve inspired people on the fence to buy something. His margins, along with some well-thought-out conditions on the refund offer, no doubt ensures that his “crazy” promotion will do more good than harm for his business.

If only the teams could be this flamboyant with their promotions….

 

QLE Posted: October 03, 2019 at 12:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, gambling, world series

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

How the Astros Nabbed Zack Greinke and Built a Postseason Rotation for the Ages

At 7 a.m. Central on July 31, Gina Luhnow descended the stairs of her house in Houston with her four-year-old son, Henry, in tow. When she had woken up, her husband, Jeff, was not in the bedroom, and soon she and Henry discovered why. He was in his home office, where he’d been experimenting with different combinations of names and numbers and pinging various members of his staff for several hours already—three hours, in fact, after a virtually sleepless night. The 12-cup carafe of Colombian dark roast he’d brewed had only one or two cups left. “Oh, boy,” Gina said. It was going to be another one of those trade deadlines.

The 53-year-old Luhnow, in his eighth season as the general manager of the Astros, is often accused of being entirely left-brained, and his sometimes bloodless analytical leanings served him well as he transformed the terrible club he’d taken over into the 2017 World Series champion, and then a consistent power. Even so, he swears he internalizes public opinion, and everywhere he went in midsummer—in radio interviews, down onto the field at Minute Maid Park, whenever he walked past a screen tuned to the MLB Network—he heard the same thing. Which was that even though the Astros seemed destined to become the sixth team ever to win 100 games in three straight seasons, and even though they already had the two best starting pitchers in the American League, they still needed to trade for another quality starter. The worst part was that everyone who said that was absolutely right.

He had acquired his dominant one-two rotational punch via trade. Justin Verlander came from the Tigers with officially two seconds to go before the waiver deadline—a secondary deadline that no longer exists—in late August of 2017, and Gerrit Cole arrived from the Pirates in a less stressful deal finalized the following January. Over their two seasons together, Verlander and Cole have ranked first and second (in some order) in the AL—and, in most of these categories, in the majors—in ERA, wins, strikeouts, batting average against and WHIP. Luhnow’s third starter, the veteran lefty Wade Miley, had at the time far outperformed his bargain one-year, $4.5 million contract; he was 9–4, with a 3.06 ERA.

But no one else had stepped up to secure the fourth, let alone the fifth, spot in the rotation, not Collin McHugh, not Brad Peacock, not Framber Valdéz, not Corbin Martin. Luhnow did not believe he needed another pitcher in order to win the AL West for the third consecutive season; the Astros were already 7 1/2 games up on the second-place A’s and had the league’s best run differential. He needed someone who could reliably start one or two games in a seven-game playoff series, four outings of which would undeniably go to Verlander and Cole. He needed someone who was as good or better than Miley.

A case study concerning the front-office search for pitching.

 

QLE Posted: October 02, 2019 at 12:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, pitching, playoffs, zack greinke

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