That the Astros are in rebuild mode is no secret. In the past, they had been pawning off veteran players in an effort to usher in a youth movement, but GM Jeff Luhnow says the Astros aren’t likely to be sellers at this year’s trade deadline.
Jesse Crain and Jerome Williams are eligible to become free agents after the season. Meanwhile, Dexter Fowler will be due a raise in his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility, a handful of players will be eligible for arbitration for the first time, and the team will have to attempt to hammer out an extension with catcher Jason Castro.
Via Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle:
“This year, we have veteran players. If they play well, we’re likely to keep them as opposed to move them,” Luhnow said. “There’s always going to be that temptation, especially if you have an area where you think — if come mid-July we’re clearly not contending, and there’s a club that needs a guy that we have and they’re willing to give up enough to get him, we’re never going to shut that conversation down.
“But at the same time, I do think we value the relationship with the fans and we’ll make a — we’ll balance all the factors, including the fact that we do want to show significant progress.”
The Astros enter 2014 with a $50.5 million payroll, according to Cot’s Contracts, representing a significant increase over last season’s $26.1 million Opening Day payroll. Luhnow and his team has been disciplined in adhering to a long-term plan that included lots of short-term losing, but it looks like the strategy should bear some fruit in the coming years.
The Yankees just released a statement saying that Yankee Stadium will be undergoing “enhancements” this offseason. The enhancements include:
- The Sunrun Kids Clubhouse, which is basically one of those “kids run around and climb on crap play areas” not unlike those you see in the middle of shopping malls. Except, of course, it’s baseball-themed. Parents of little ones will likely appreciate that. People without kids will likely watch from afar, horrified, and will check their bags for hand sanitizer before getting anywhere near it. As someone who has been on both sides of that interaction, it’s all good. It’s how it should be for all involved;
- The MasterCard Batter’s Eye Deck which is, not surprisingly, an outdoor gathering space/bar in center field near the batter’s eye;
- Bullpen landings which are gathering spaces/bars near the bullpens;
- The AT&T Sports Lounge at Section 134 on the Field Level. It’s a bar with big screen TVs showing the game that is going on just outside the bar; and
- Budweiser Party Decks at Sections 311 and 328. Which are hopefully explanatory.
Artist’s renderings here.
The park will lose around 2,000 seats to make space for these additions, but will likely make up for that and then some with added revenue from all of the Yankees fans partying on. In decks.
No surprise here: the Cubs have just named Jon Lester their Game 1 World Series starter.
Lester has allowed two earned runs in 21 innings over three starts this postseason and was the co-MVP in the NLCS. Lester will face off against Indians ace Corey Kluber.
On the season Lester went 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA and notched 197 Ks against 52 walks in 202.2 innings.