Spinning the Astros' moves

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The one bit of conventional wisdom that came out of Indianapolis is that the Astros made some really, really bad moves. Brandon Lyon for $15 million?  Pedro Feliz?  This is not the stuff a smart team does.

But they do have at least one defender. This unattributed post comes from the FOX Sports.com rumors blog that had recently started doling out attribution between Rosenthal, Morosi and Ringolsby depending upon whose story it was. No one is claiming this, however:

So, [the Astros] ended up with Lindstrom, Lyon and Feliz for almost the same
amount of money — in 2010, anyway — that it would have cost them to
keep Valverde.

Whether you’re a fan of those three players or
not, we can agree that Houston general manager Ed Wade has more talent
on his roster now than if Valverde had accepted the arbitration offer.

I guess that’s one way to put it. Another way to put it is that they’ve spent more than $10 million on parts that only begin to fill their many, many holes. That the players they spent more than $10 million on aren’t worth the money they’re making and that as currently constructed — and without much more available in the way of cash — the 2010 Astros stand to be substantially worse than the 2009 Astros. And that doesn’t even take into account the two additional years on the Lyon contract.

This spin reminds me of the sort of thing my dad says when he’s at Best Buy. He’ll covet a TV or something else he can’t afford, dismiss it, and then walk out of the store with three things that, together, cost as much.  When you ask him why he bought that stuff, he’ll cite all the money he saved by not buying the TV.

Padres sign Trevor Cahill

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Trevor Cahill (53) during the seventh inning of Game 3 in baseball's National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.

He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.

Justin Verlander: “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process”

DETROIT, MI - JULY 20: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the eighth inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on July 20, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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The Tigers have sent some mixed signals this winter. The offseason began with widespread reports that GM Al Avila was going to break up the team. Indeed, it was reported that he was willing to field offers for any and all players, on up to Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.

As the offseason has unfolded, however, a rebuild has not materialized.

Avila traded away outfielder Cameron Maybin. He signed old friends Omar Infante and Alex Avila. He made the usual sorts of minor league signings every team makes to fill out the roster. Detroit still needs a center fielder and there continue to be rumors that outfielder J.D. Martinez and second baseman Ian Kinsler could be had for the right price, but it’s been pretty quiet at 2100 Woodward Avenue.

If that changes, however, and the Tigers do start to rebuild, there’s one key member of the team who doesn’t really want a part of it. From the Detroit Free Press:

Justin Verlander is 33 years and 330 days old.

He’s not that old.

But the Detroit Tigers ace right-hander – a 12-year major league veteran – is old enough in baseball years to know that he doesn’t really want to be part of a rebuilding process.

“Would it have been upsetting for me if we started trading away everybody?” he told MLB Network Radio on Friday morning. “I’m too old to be part of a rebuilding process.”

Verlander will make $28 million a year for each of the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 if he finishes in the top 5 of the 2019 Cy Young vote. He had an excellent return-to-form in 2016, but his contract is still pretty big for a pitcher with his mileage, making it seem unlikely that he would be moved absent the team eating a huge portion of his salary. The same could be said for Miguel Cabrera who, despite still being one of the best hitters in baseball, is making between $28-32 million between now and 2023. A wonderful player, but an extraordinarily difficult contract to move. Both superstars have full no-trade protection as 10-5 men as well.

At the moment the rebuild does not seem to be materializing and the Tigers — as I think they should, probably — will enter 2017 aiming for the AL Central crown, not aiming at restocking their farm system.

But what will Verlander think, however, if the Tigers find themselves out of contention come May? What will he think if Ian Kinsler — a valuable player on a tradable contract — is sold off? Or Justin Upton? Or J.D. Martinez?

It’s worth watching.