This is what happens when you rebuild a roster with youth.
The wives of Houston Astros players have, for several years, put on a charity gala to benefit the Houston Area Women’s Center. A minor brouhaha has erupted over the past few days when it was learned that the Wives Gala would not be held this year, which will have a negative impact on the Women’s Center. Two Astros blogs are even protesting it by going dark for a day.
There have been a few competing explanations for this. One was a change in focus of Astros charities under the new ownership group, but today there came a statement from the Astros Vice President of Community Relations on that which gets to the point a bit more directly:
There was no event canceled because there was no event planned because the wives group no longer had any wives in it,” Vaillancourt said. “This change is not at all a reflection on the value of the Women’s Center. We really respect and appreciate everything that the Women’s Center does.”
In other news, the Astros will not be growing playoff beards due to their lack of ability to grow facial hair and will have no champagne showers because the only guy of age on that team when they broke camp just got signed by the Mets.
UPDATE: My knowledge of how any team spends its charity money is pretty low. As I imagine it is on the part of most fans and even team bloggers. For that reason I can’t weigh in with any sort of authority on how the Astros handle their philanthropic pursuits and can’t criticize or endorse bloggers’ decision to boycott coverage of the team for a day. Heck, I can think of reasons to boycott the Astros based sheerly on the basis of watching them closely being cruel and unusual punishment.
That said, if there is a change in the Astros’ charitable direction, it’s probably worth noting that there are still some pretty major charitable acts being led by and or joined by the Astros. I don’t think most of us on the outside are in a great position to judge how well a team is doing in this regard, whether it’s making good choices or bad ones or any of that.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.