The latest news around the Astros and baseball on February 22nd, including a reminder Saturday features the club’s first live game action in 2019 and other items of interest.
Astros vs. Nationals in West Palm Beach
Saturday, May 23rd, which is tomorrow, features the Astros taking on their Spring Training complex roomies, the Nationals, in their first game action of the 2019 calendar year. Yes, it is only Spring Training, but it beats nothing, right? Right-hander Brady Rodgers will get the start for Houston. Max Scherzer receives the starting nod for Washington.
Alyson Footer of MLB.com notes here that Houston is still determining how to utilize Chirinos and Stassi for the upcoming season. Although both catchers have their strong and weak points, the Astros seem confident about entering the season with the duo as the primary two catchers. For Stassi, a strong Spring Training with the bat will be needed to earn more playing time while Chirinos will need to demonstrate his defensive capabilities.
Breaking down the Astros’ payroll for the short- and long-term
Rob Huff of MLB Trade Rumors put together an informative piece here about the club’s projected payroll for the 2019 season. It also includes some useful information about the club’s long-term liabilities, which includes Jose Altuve‘s contract extension kicking in earnest in 2020. Huff also notes that the Astros “could be lurking in the shadows for (Bryce) Harper.” The topic of future free agencies of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Collin McHugh also surfaced. Overall, Huff projects that the Astros’ Opening Day payroll in 2019 will settle near $175 million with a projected payroll space of $10.1 million.
Astros Stat of the Day
Only four Houston hitters on five occasions have hit exactly 34 home runs in a given season: George Springer in 2017, Lance Berkman in 2001 and 2007, Jeff Bagwell in 1998, and Glenn Davis in 1989. Only 34 days ’til the Astros start their season in Tampa against the Rays on March 28th.