Astros news and notes from February 7th, including a brand new slogan for the upcoming 2019 season and proposed rule changes that could possibly change how we view baseball going forward.
“Take It Back”
Proposed Rule Changes
Major League Baseball and the Players’ Union are in discussions about implementing radical changes to the game. Jeff Passan of ESPN has a breakdown here of the proposed rules.
Here are the proposed changes, in no particular order, with a side of commentary:
- Universal designated hitter (Yay!)
- Only one trade deadline during the season, before the All-Star break (Makes sense)
- Establishing a rule for two-sport athletes to sign a major league contract (basically, the Kyler Murray rule)
- Three-batter minimum for pitchers (Um, not sure about this one?)
- 20-second Major League pitch clock (It was going to happen sooner or later)
- Increase active roster to 26 players, including a 12-pitcher maximum (Yes, please)
- New draft benefits for winning clubs (Well, MLB has to do something)
- Penalties for losing, or “tanking,” clubs (See comment above)
- Conduct a study to possibly lower the mound (I’m all about studies)
As noted in Passan’s work, “Whether any substantive change comes of it, sources said, remains unclear.”
Personally, I’m in agreement with most of the proposed changes. We’ve known for a while that a pitch clock was coming to the majors, and Major League Baseball does have to address the issue of competitive competition. Out of all the proposed changes, the one I have a hard time reconciling is the three-batter minimum for pitchers. At the end of the day, I’ll probably support it, but it is going to take some time and more research.
Kyle Tucker Update
For all those wanting the Astros to trade Kyle Tucker for J.T. Realmuto, or anyone else, well, you’re not getting your wish.
Yes, Jeff Luhnow expressed his desire for Tucker to be “an everyday major leaguer on a contending club.” Also, he noted that “it’s going to be us.”
Another J.T. Realmuto Update
Unless something changes in the eleventh hour, I do not expect for Realmuto to wind up as an Astro. However, he may be close to becoming a Phillie?
If the Phillies land Bryce Harper, another starter, and Realmuto, the NL East may require our attention in 2019.
PECOTA Projections Released
The Astros are currently projected by PECOTA (Baseball Prospectus) to win 99 games in 2019, which is also the highest projected win total in baseball right now. With so many notable free agents still available, it is likely that these projections will change soon; however, the Astros are in a good spot heading into Spring Training.