Archive for November, 2012

11/30/12: Hello Phillip Humber, Good-bye Scott Moore

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Scott Moore signed with the Athletics – he had been outrighted to AAA and as he was a 6 year FA, he chose to go to Oakland. Scott Moore is the kind of FA that the Athletics and their artifically low budget sign.

Meanwhile, the Astros signed homeboy Philip Humber, ex Rice star, to a HUGE 800K contract. Well, with the Astros, that’s huge. He was picked up off waivers from the White Sox. You remember him from that great Rice CWS championship team – with Wade Townsend (who crapped out several years ago) and Jeff Niemann (now with the Rays) – I know I’ve written about them when we signed Lance Pendleton, who I thought was gonna be a great ML hitter. Youneverknow.

Phil was a first rounder with the Mets in 04 (Wade did not sign with the Orioles and Niemann went to the Rays), need Tommy John surgery in 05, then came back a year later, threw a total of 9 innings for them in 06 and 07 before being traded to the Twins (with Carlos Gomez, now with the Brewers, and Kevin Mulvey – yeah, TERRIBLE trade) for Johan Santana.) Over the next 2 years, he threw a grand total of 20.2 lousy relief innings for the Twins before being let go. He signed as a FA with the Royals in 2010, threw 21.2 innings over 2 games – lousy stats.

KC, desperate for starting pitching, waived him at the end of the year and he was picked up by Oakland, who gave it a second thought, waived him a month later, and the White Sox took him. He pitched his first full year in the majors at age 28, started 26 games and relieved in 2 over 168 innings with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. The ol Don Cooper magic.

Last year, he started out in his first game, giving up a run over 5.1 IP vs the Orioles. The next game, he threw a perfect game, 9 K, 96 pitch game vs the horridly hitting Mariners.

and it was downhill from there until, with a 6.14 ERA, he was removed from the rotation on August 3. He even lost to the gawd-awful Astros, remember? He started a total of 16 games:
3 games < 5 IP: 5, 6, 8 ER
6 games 5 – 5.2 IP: 1 game 1 ER, 1 game 4 ER, 2 games 5 ER, 1 game 6 ER, 1 game 9 ER
5 games 6 – 6.2 IP: 2 games 1 ER, 2 games 2 ER, 1 game 3 ER
1 game 7 IP – 2 R/ER
1 game 9 IP – 0 runs

Seems the rule was that if he made it to 6 IP, he had good stuff and a QS – if not, he had lousy stuff and in only 1 game, gave up fewer than 4 runs.

He also spent a month on the DL in the middle of the year. He did even worse after he was put in the bullpen, going from a .834 OPS against to a .915. I guess that Luhnow is hoping for the 2011 version of Humber, even though he’s hurt a lot.  And this right after pimping the WONderful guys we had in the rotation last year, too (in his last “interview” – and he’s SOOOO happy with the guys he had out there last year. I mean, the wonderfullness of Brett Wallace and Fernando Martinez (blech) and he thinks Jason Maxwell is ready to be a full time player. All he needs is a DH – yeah, suuurrrrre.)

They’re trying hard to dump Wilton Lopez (sell high) but he’s only a great pitcher if he’s on the Astros. You see, Wilton will earn more than 1 mill next year as an arb eligible player and we can’t have THAT. And thing is, what’s left on the roster is teh sukc. To be nice about it. No Mickey Storey, neither. Here are the remaining relievers. Please try not to barf. Thank you.

Hector Ambriz: 18 G, 19.1 IP, 4.19 ERA/1.29 WHIP
Xavier Cedeno, LOOGY: 44 G/31 IP: 3.77 ERA/1.42 WHIP and 2 blown saves
Rhiner Cruz: 52 G/55 IP: 6.05 ERA/1.71 WHIP – only 1 UER
Sam Demel, RHP (from Dbax) 1 IP last year, 2010-2011: 63 IP – 4.95 ERA/1.51 WHIP (uck)
Chia-Jen Lo: pitched 15 innings at AA in 2010, 19 innings at high A Lancaster last year with a 1.42 ERA (which is awesome.) On the ML roster from high A? REALLY?
Fernando Rodriguez: RHP – 78 K/70 IP – 65% inherited runners stranded. 10 losses, 4 BS, 5.37 ERA/1.35 WHIP. 4.35 BB/9 and 1 HR/9.  There is no excuse for my liking this guy. I just do. It’s shameful.
Wesley Wright: the veteran on this team. Also arb eligible, which means he might could be gone. He pitched great last year – 77 games over 52.1 IP, mostly LOOGY. 3.27 ERA/1/18 WHIP.

That is IT. The closer from the AA team , Jason Stoffel, wasn’t protected. There aren’t any good relievers at AAA. And Ed Wade is gone.

11/26/12: Happy Thanksgiving 2012

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Well, the good news is that I ended up cooking only pies and cranberry sauce. Sons 1-3 cooked the cornbread (with a little help, yes) and roasted the turkey legs. The giant feast was held at my Mama and Daddy’s and they are recuperating on life support, as Daddy overdosed on sugared pecans and Mama on coffee. NOW they see why I got tired of doing this every year. And why we are stricter than Carrie Nation about our No Alcohol No Kidding rule (hint: alcohol does NOT make everyone who drinks it more fun, more pleasant and a better conversationalist…)

Remembering 06
remembering 07
remembering 08
remembering last year

And best of all, we are not STILL eating turkey and ham. Although my kidsss would most certainly not complain about getting turkey legs. They are, however, complaining about the end of endless desserts.

And speaking of just desserts,  JB Shuck signed a minor league contract with the Angels – not that he has much of any chance to play on their ML team with Trout, Bourjois and Mark Trumbo in the OF – not to mention the virtually worthless Vernon Wells taking the 4th OF spot on the bench because he costs so much. Brian Bixler (utility IF who is a AAAA guy) signed with the Mets.

We haven’t signed any FA, regardless of cost.

Brian Bogusevic signed a free agent contract (minor league) with the Cubs. I wish him luck. The Astros wasted THREE years of his young life. Stupid player development people. A lot of baseball success isn’t talent – it’s being in the right place at the right time and having the right people like you. And not having stupid player development people screw up your career.

And speaking of players to develop – prospect lists are out.

Here is Marc Hulet (Fangraphs) Top 15 (Singleton is #1) then Correa, DeShields, Springer, McCullers, Cosart, Foltynewicz, Rio Ruiz, Carlos Perez (Brandon Lyon trade), Tropeano. Of those, 6 are Astros draft picks. You notice the absence of Jio Mier. Also Jonathan Villar, Domingo Santana, Ariel Ovando, and a whole bunch of guys who were pimped last year. Hulet’s reports are free, everyone else is subscription only.

Here is Baseball America’s Top 10 (Correa is #1) – then Singleton, Springer, McCullers, Foltynewicz, DeShields, Cosart, Ruiz, Tropeano, Fontana. Note that they don’t list anyone from the Bourn trade, anyone from the Wandy trade, anyone from the Chris Johnson trade, anyone from the Brett Myers or Brandon Lyon trade. Last year’s list had Jonathan Villar (uck), Brett Oberholzer (who the Organization likes, and is pimping and may very well make the ML team at some time this year, of not next) and Telvin Nash (who has incredible power, but strikes out most of the time and has a low BA as well).

Here is Baseball Prospectus’ Top 10 – they have Singleton #1. Then Correa, Springer, DeShields, Cosart, Jonathan Villar (????!!!!!!!), Domingo Santana, Ruiz, McCullers, Foltynewicz.

Here is BP’s Jason Parks’ (Kevin Goldstein’s replacement) scouting report on Carlos Correa (scroll halfway down.)

Nobody lists Paul Clemens, Ariel Ovando, Chia Jen Lo, Ross Seaton, Tanner Bushue (highly pimped, but sank beneath the waves into some kind of permanent Spring Training thing akin to the Yankees and Tampa), Austin Wates (with the minor league Catch Of The Year)

I have never understood how they do these prospect ratings, except that they have a thing about “potential” which is greater the younger the player. You notice they don’t list Jose Cisnero, AAA pitcher, who is more likely to make the ML roster in 2013 than anyone not named Singleton. I guess  having “potential” is more exciting than actually MAKING the major league team, even if it is as the 25th man or the last reliever.

Just a few more days until the non-tender deadline (Nov 30) and then is the Rule V draft on Dec 6.

The last 2 years, the Astros have done well in the Rule V – in 2011 with Aneury Rodriguez, and last year with Marwin Gonzalez. Let’s hope Kevin Goldstein’s scouting expertise will get some good, overlooked guys.

11/20/12: Goodbye Mickey Storey; Hopefully, Hello Clint Robinson

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

To my surprise, the team held onto Fernando Rodriguez and let go of Mickey Storey, who was immediately snapped up by The Evulll Empire. Scott Moore was taken off the 40 man and sent to AAA, which did NOT make him happy, and he’s looking for a ML job, not that I blame him. He’s a reasonable option for a 25th man.

The Astros, not to my surprise, have Paul Clemens, Brett Oberholzer, Jarred Cosart and Ross Seaton on the 40 man, now. To my surprise and delight, they also added Jose Cisnero, who pitched great at AA and had a few games at AAA – 2 lousy, 4 good. Chia-Jen Lo, who was signed all the way back in 08 (!!!!!) has also come back from endless surgery and is back on the 40 man. So is Robbie Grossman, obtained in the Wandy trade. He’s an AA outfielder, 23 years old from Cy-Fair, who had a .786 OPS at AA and has an overall minor league of .769 – not particularly outstanding for an outfielder.

youneverknow

The Rule V draft is coming up – the Astros have 2 spots left and my baseball friend Perry Van Hook (from SABR) thought that since we have the first pick, we should grab Clint Robinson from KC, who has left him unprotected. He’s 27, will be 28 in February, was drafted in the 25th round of the 07 draft. I can’t believe this guy has been left to rot int he minors. He either can’t field/throw/run or they have something personal against him.

Look at these numbers:

Age 22, Rookie League .963 OPS/ 278 PA
Age 23, A ball . 806 OPS/ 424 PA
Age 24, A+ ball, .819 OPS/ 483 PA
Age 25, AA, 1.083 OPS/  548 PA – 58 BB/ 86 K (this is Arkansas, not Coors/Las Vegas
Age 26 AAA,  .932 OPS/ 574 PA – 58 BB/88 K, 18 GIDP (and no ML appearances neither)
Age 27 AAA . .845 OPS/ 570 PA – 79 BB/ 65 K, 17 GIDP (4 ML PA)

WHY??? won’t they play him or trade him? I never understand why guys like this who can hit like this rot in the minors, while they promote first rounders who didn’t hit.

Well, this team is supposed to be statty and Kevin Goldstein, the prospect expert, should be all OVAH this guy. He plays 1B, LF and DH. We, I mean THEY, need hitters like this, seeing as how there isn’t anyone on the ML team who has numbers like this.

We could even go and get Bryan LeHair, as the Cubs have DFAd him and he can hit.

Yes, I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner again. Don’t ask me how I get talked into this every year.

11/18/12: Is Crane Really Dumb Enough To Not Re-Hire Jim Deshaeis?

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

It’s bad enough they’ve fired Bill Brown, who is a really good play by play man. I shouldn’t say fired, because it’s more correctly said – not re-hired. Here and I thought they’d gotten some sense after getting rid of the 2 radio guys.

But JD is interviewing for the vacant Cubs WGN job and let’s be honest here – Crane isn’t going to find a BETTER color man than JD. Because there isn’t one out there. Now he might could find someone CHEAPER, sure. Maybe he’s gonna hire someone who talks like Keith Law so as he can get rid of the few fans left. But listeners don’t want to be bombarded with an array of stats, we want to hear stuff like what inning it is, what the score is, who is pitching, who is hitting, what pitch was thrown, the action on the field.

Amidst all the “Brand X” call to the bullpen – type ads every few seconds.

But I’m not gonna be surprised if Crane goes for cheaper instead of excellent. After all, he’s just lost the title of Cheapest, Rottenest, Lousiest Creep Of An Owner to Jeffrey Loria, who naturally went back on his word to all those free agents he hired last year and traded them to a very high tax team. Just for fun. He has one guy on the payroll who he has to pay more than minimum wage – Ricky Nolasco, who is getting 11.5 mill, and you KNOW he’s gonna be a goner before Spring Training.

This leaves the Marlins with 3 actual major leaguers on the team – Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison and the new SS, Escobar (the guy who used to be with Atlanta who didn’t get along with any person on the team.)

So they have more actual major leaguers than the Astros, who have 2 1/2 – Altuve, Harrell and Lowrie (who counts as the half because he’s always hurt.) And Lowrie is due for arbitration, so you know he may not last neither.

There is a little media talktalktalk about how icky Samson/Loria are and how they’ve Lost Credibility. Like it matters one little bit to them. They make millions with a completely empty stadium. All the talktalktalk about the Astros can be summed up by – oh, isn’t Luhnow WONderful, he’s doing all this statty stuff and is gonna put these AAAA guys on the field again but he’s acquired all these prospects so that after doing the Billy Beane for years, maybe he’ll manage 1 year like the As did this year when everything clicks – before he tears it down and builds it back up.

Nobody cares about the Astros, relegated to the sub-basement of the DH league. But Miami has a nice new stadium, paid for by taxpayers, after all the crooked politicians (yeah, that’s an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp, I know) gave it up. Gonna cost them suckas 2.4 BILLION. None of which is coming out of Loria’s pocket. Nice work if you can get it. So really, the Media is pissed off because just like the FA, they swallowed Loria’s bullstuff about how he was now gonna have a REAL major league payroll now that he got his new stadium, which he REALLY needed to pay for actual major leaguers. And like all those FA who were unceremoniously dumped on their asses, they are getting sneered at by Loria. Media always get pissed off when they get duped.

They’ve gotten duped by Crane, too, but it’s Houston, some hick town in the middle of nowheres, so who cares. Miami is glamorous. You get Miami Vice. You get Miami Heat. You get Burn Notice. Houston? you get

crickets

And looks as if I was wrong about Berkman, too, who is now talking about being a DH for the Astros.

He’s as bad as me. He SHOULD let go, but he can’t just yet…

 

11/12/12: Happy No Veterans Day

Monday, November 12th, 2012

So far, it looks as if Bud Norris, Wesley Wright and Jed Lowrie are the Proven Veterans on the 2013 team. There was brief speculation that Lance Berkman just might could be back to DH, but given his anti-DH attitude, as well as, um, his outspokenness, I had a seriously tough time believing that. He wasn’t exactly, uh, supportive of Crane.

So far, it looks as if the payroll will be south of 20 mill, which will not set well with the Players Union.  ESPECIALLY seeing as how all teams will be receiving all that extra $$$ from ESPN/Fox/TBS – like at LEAST 25 mill, this year. I suppose they are spending it all on their Dominican Academies, trying to grow ballplayers. Yeah. I’m getting tired of writing about how owners don’t HAVE to spend any money on their baseball team to make tons.

Luhnow is talking about finding some Old Cheap Guys to act as mentors – meaning they will get more playing time on a terrible team than they would on a good team. This is being done to shut up the Players’ Union, of course. Crane is going to make, best I can calculate, 50 million bucks this year, with the Worst Team That Minimal Money Can Buy. Not bad at ALL.

sigh

Wonder how many people are actually going to show up at the park – I mean, when it isn’t Yankees/RedSox/Nolan Ryans.

OPS of guys playing in the Winter Leagues (who have played more than 10 games – there are some who have only played in a few:

Brandon Barnes: 100 AB: .873 OPS (GOOD!!! hopefully he can be our CF)
Bobby Borchering: 38 AB: .628 OPS  (in the AFL – although he’s kind of old for that)
Jake Goebbert: 44 AB: 518 OPS (guess the Organization’s hopes for him are not gonna be good)
Jose Martinez (NOT Julio Daniel – age almost 27, didn’t play from 08 to 12 except for 20 AB in 2010, second baseman, this year killed the ball at AA, had .532 OPS over 82 AB at AAA): 90 AB: .804 OPS
Jiovanni Mier: 54 AB: .742 OPS
Jimmy Paredes: 54 AB: .753 OPS (he’s in the OF now because his glove at 2B sucked, too)
Jonathan Singleton: 86 AB: .789 OPS (in the AFL – he should be KILLING the ball if he’s gonna be a ML first baseman next year)
George Springer: 62 AB: 1.041 OPS (which is what Singleton should be doing, too)
Jonathan Villar has 14 AB in 11 games with a 400something OPS. Am not sure why he is STILL on the prospect list.

Jarred Cosart has a 7.20 ERA – he’s started 5 games over 15 innings.
Chia-Jen Lo (remember him? He had TJ surgery, is coming back) , Alex Sogard and Nick Tropeano are all playing in the AFL, are relieving. Sogard is having a BAD time, but Lo has a 2.13 ERA/1.13 WHIP over 13.1 IP and Tropeano a 3.21 ERA/1.07 WHIP over 14 IP.
Won’t nobody but (maybe) Brandon Barnes and Singleton be on the ML club this year. Well, maybe Cosart – he only threw 5 games over 27 innings at AAA this year, but youneverknow. I havedn’t heard anyone even mention Dallas Keuchel, so unless he pitches like Pedro 2000 at ST, he’s probably out.

I’ve been looking for something to talk about. Maybe I should go to WAR (speaking about Veterans.) WAR, of course, is “Wins Above Replacement” in which Replacement refers to a non-existent imaginary major leaguer called “replacement level” who is so bad that he’s incompetent at hitting, running and fielding, still manages to hold a full time job in MLB, adjusted somehow, for position, defense, league, year, ballpark, umpire, quality of opposing team. Uh, no, take some of those back.

You CAN’T follow the formulas unless you have a PHD level understanding of advanced math and statistics, so for most of us, trying to figure out exactly HOW the adjustment numbers were reached by the author is, well, difficult. We can’t even go near the arguments about defense, seeing as how the formula authors can’t agree about those, neither. Yet, we are supposed to accept these numbers as gospel truth. And I can’t.

I can’t even accept the reasons given by formula makers as to why they exclude some instances of what actually HAPPENS in calculating on-base percentage. They omit all reached on errors, as well as fielders’ choice, catchers’ interference and dropped 3rd strike. The player actually REACHED THE BASE. Don’t tell me he didn’t. Or that he didn’t mean it. Or it wasn’t “real.” Or it was the caprice of an umpire. It HAPPENED. Don’t omit what really existed – how can you expect any other number to be real if you can’t be honest about an event that existed? If a player never reached base, then how did he score?

For years, I’ve been posting and lurking at sabermetric sites. Part of what drove all the statistics has been the interest in finding some sort of number which will unarguably, conclusively allow us to compare player X from 100 years ago to player Y from now. Not sure why this is such an imperative, but to many it is. Seems to me that it is very difficult to do this, seeing as how the equipment was different, the stadiums were different, the rules were enforced differently, the quality of players in general was different.

The other part, of course, is predicting what will happen in the future to any given player at any level of play. And, given the nature of humans, injury and baseball, they STILL neverknow.

I don’t really care if people spend hours/years/whatever trying to devise some sort of formula to assist in their gambling game. And we all know that Organizations are trying to find The Numbers that will tell them conclusively which players to draft and/or promote. Any time it is All About The Money, I get it. Not the money, just the impetus. And I know all about how it is part of human nature to want to be The One Who Knows.

Trouble with WAR, is like war, it doesn’t really settle anything, it just shuts up some people for the time being and creates rebellion. Sometimes it manages to suppress other ideas/cultures for a while, but eventually, that too passes.

Thing is, you can’t predict (accurately) accidents, random streaks of excellence/suckage, illness, quirks of managers/coaches or even teammates. AND you still have the universal problem of those who predict wanting to prove their predictions true. Meaning that Organizations who want players A, B, C, D and E to succeed, because they have been designated as “prospects” will give those people more chances, better situations and pimping to show that they can indeed Know Who Will Succeed.

I sound like one of those grouchy Old Folks who want all the guys in their underwear in they mama basement to get offn my lawn. I’m not, really. I wonder if all the numbers and the closeups, I guess you could call it, have taken the magic out of baseball. You need some illusion for an event to really sustain interest. At my favorite baseball site, most of the posters are posting about non-baseball matters – football, college football, soccer, basketball and politics (really, what is left to be said that hasn’t been said exactly the same way in the same words by the same people a zillion times over?) That’s sad. The last time I can remember any REAL excitement about this ball club in the offseason,  was the 03/04 offseason when we managed to sign Andy Pettitte and would we/could we get Da Rojah???!!!

sigh

And speaking of Roger, I need someone to explain why he is absolutely positively guilty of using illegal drugs – I mean, the government BADLY wanted to convict and imprison him, spent hundreds of millions of dollars, zillions of lawyer/researcher person-hours, and couldn’t find ANY evidence besides ONE scumbag’s say-so. And that aforementioned scumbag couldn’t keep his story straight. But yet, even though the government couldn’t find ANYTHING, the guy is STILL guilty? It’s really sorry, is what it is.

The anti-drug hysteria has really gotten out of control. Now, we have writers, supercilious ex players, who are wanting to give drug users the same penalty as those who bet on baseball. It’s tiresome.

 

11/1/12: Astros News And Notes

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Mary Jane Schafer is gone – the Braves, for some reason I can’t understand, wanted him back. They can have him. Besides, Brandon Barnes runs circles around him with the glove and Justin Maxwell can at least hit for SOME power.

Had a really good laugh today – Tim Dierkes (who I luvvvvv, and have known since I started blogging back in 04) writes MLB Trade Rumors – and he thinks that Mike Napoli, expensive free agent catcher, ends up with the Astros. We have the “payroll space” but DEFINITELY not the payroll inclination, Tim. And not Russell Martin, neither.

Astros just declined Chris Snyder’s 4 mill option and he’s all the yummy veteran goodness they could want right THERE. Sure Russell is a power upgrade, but he’s gonna cost more than 4 mill. They have Jason Castro and Carl0s Corporan – what more could you want? Me, I’m still rooting for Chris Wallace – he was hurt a lot of last year, but hey, he just might could pick it up – youneverknow.

Click here to check out Jason Park’s scouting report (from Baseball Prospectus) on last year’s #1 pick, Carlos Correa. I’m quite sure the reports on Jio Mier never read like that.

Kyle Weiland, who spent all last year on the DL because of an infected shoulder joint (I’m think Bagwell – and he never had an infection) was removed from the 40 man and put on the AAA roster. It’s goodbye to Abad (TOLDJA the starter experiment was dumb) and Sergio Escalona (surgery), Jose Valdez and his non-existent strike zone and last month starter fill-in Edgar Gonzalez.

Still can’t figure who is gonna be in the rotation, unless they pick up someone very VERY cheap from the scrap heap or a Mike Hampton/Russ Ortiz end of the line type guy. Here’s Luhnow, as quoted by Brian T. Smith, in the Chron, discussing payroll (which just might could increase from 15 mill):

 “Are we going to go out and sign a free agent that’s going to play and contribute at the major league level? Probably not. Now, we have some flexibility. We’ve got some outfield spots, we’ve got some pitching spots, we’ve got some bullpen spots — there’s places to plug in players that are major league value right now that we feel we’re going to go look at. But by and large … I feel pretty good that even if we don’t go out and sign free agents, we have a team that’s going to be better next year.”

It’s gonna be better, like HOW? With only 3 starters, none of whom are above league average? And no, there aren’t any minor league pitchers who look as if they could be any sort of major league starters in our system.

We picked up a couple of minor leaguers off waivers from the DBax – Sam Demel and Jake Elmore.

Sam, a righty reliever, is 27, from Spring, and picked in the 3rd round of the 07 draft by Oakland. He was traded mid June 2010 by Trader BillyBeane for Conor Jackson. (My GAWD – Conor Jackson – he was supposed to turn into this huge star – guess he must have gotten hurt because he got traded/droppped and is OOB. Had OPS in the high 800s his first 3 years.) Anyway, Sam has thrown 62 unremarkable innings of 84 ERA+ ball over the past 3 years, most of it in 2010. He’s been pretty much a AAA guy for the past 4 years – and has spent the past 2 in Reno (think Coors with the wind blowing out) and has a nice 10.2 K/9, 3 BB/9 and 8 H/9. Homers are a little high, but we ARE talking the high desert. I guess they want to see what he’d do in OKC, as he did pretty well at Sacramento. Anyway, we NEED more AAA relief arms, seeing as how we barely have any.

Jake Elmore is one of those little utility guys, SS, second baseman – age 25, 34th round pick of the Dbax in 08. He KILLED the ball in Reno (remember what I said about Reno) but had a .717 OPS over 2 years at AA Mobile (Southern League.) We really need roster filler at AA and AAA, so, like fine with me.

And last, but not least, check out Chris Jaffe’s remembering that the Astros signed Little Joe Morgan 50 years ago today.