The latest news around the Astros and baseball on February 20th, including a shout out to today’s birthday boy and a Spring Training appearance from a Hall of Fame Houston legend. Oh, there was also a major shift in the free-agent market on Tuesday, February 19th.
Justin Verlander turns 36
The Astros have big hopes for 2019, and Verlander plays a major role in those lofty expectations. Now 36-years old today, the veteran right-hander looks to continue his resurgence as an ace this year. Happy birthday, JV!
Craig Biggio swings by West Palm Beach
The first player to enter the Hall of Fame wearing an Astros’ cap, Biggio, stopped by Houston’s camp on Tuesday, February 19th to see how the club is getting ready for the season. As noted here by Alyson Footer of MLB.com, Biggio will remain in camp through the entire week.
Brady Rodgers to start the first Spring Training game
In a bit of uplifting news, the right-handed Rodgers, who underwent Tommy John surgery last May, was given the nod to start in Houston’s first Spring Training game. While he hasn’t been mentioned frequently, it would be irresponsible to ignore Rodgers, who could contribute to the Astros in some fashion this year.
Manny Machado agrees to historic deal with Padres
Obviously the biggest news yesterday, Machado reportedly agreed to terms with Padres on a ten-year, $300 million contract. Yes, those San Diego Padres.
In the largest free-agent contract in the history of American sports, Machado improves a franchise on the upswing in San Diego, supported by one of the top farm systems in baseball today. Jeff Sullivan provides a thorough breakdown here of the reasons and consequences of Machado signing with the Padres.
With Machado now off the board, we may start to see more movement in the free-agent market that has been largely stagnant. Bryce Harper is still available while former Astros in Dallas Keuchel and Marwin Gonzalez are still looking for their next contract. Hopefully the offers come soon and are fair to all parties involved.