The latest news around the Astros and baseball on February 15th, including thoughts about the “opener” from Gerrit Cole and the latest rumblings around camp.
A little chat about the “opener”
Following Madison Bumgarner‘s comments about the “opener” not too long ago, Astros‘ right-hander Gerrit Cole expressed his thoughts about the subject. Let’s just say that he wouldn’t be a fan if the club decided to use the “opener” during one of his starts.
While there are advantages to using the “opener” in certain situations, I can also see why pitchers like Cole aren’t in favor of it. Hey, it is fine to have an opinion to see the merits of both arguments. Baseball, like life, leaves a lot of grey area to interpret for ourselves.
Justin Verlander brings his opinion about the free-agent market
Needless to say, Astros’ starter Justin Verlander hasn’t been a fan of teams not signing free-agents. Don’t we all, right?
Verlander does make a fair point about rebuilding clubs, especially as multiple teams have tried to replicate the Cubs’ and Astros’ model of the rebuild. It was one thing when only a few clubs tried to pull off a massive rebuild, but it is another when roughly one-third of Major League Baseball is doing it. There are plenty of clubs who can afford to sign free-agents, but choose not to for various reasons. And, yes, some reasons are better than others.
That said, clubs have become more efficient in how they allocate resources, but that progress doesn’t apply to all situations. For example, there are a list of contenders who would benefit from having Dallas Keuchel on their roster, which includes the Astros. Same goes for Marwin Gonzalez. Let’s face the music: Some owners are more concerned with the bottom line than winning. Unless something changes soon, we could see more labor strife by the time the current CBA expires in a few years.
Prospects that carry major league potential in 2019
Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs released a list of prospects who could impact their respective major league rosters in 2019. Here is who represent the Astros:
Personally, I can see all three contributing more under certain circumstances, especially James and Whitley. However, the projections are fair, because the Astros are loaded at most positions going into the 2019 season.
More links about Spring Training
Here is a link to a video from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com showing Cole and Verlander having a friendly catch session. Hey, we better enjoy this as both pitchers are scheduled to enter free agency next offseason. Oh, here is another link that shows 80 percent of the Astros’ projected starting rotation.