Bud Norris on the Astros: “They are definitely the outcast of major league baseball right now”

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle¬†has a very interesting and in-depth piece on the Astros’ radical rebuilding plan. While the team’s farm system is brimming with young and exciting talent, their progressive approach is drawing some criticism from both outside and inside the organization.

Bud Norris, who was traded from the Astros to the Orioles last year, had some pointed comments about how the team is being perceived in the industry:

“They are definitely the outcast of major league baseball right now, and it’s kind of frustrating for everyone else to have to watch it,” said former Astros pitcher Bud Norris, now with the Orioles. “When you talk to agents, when you talk to other players and you talk amongst the league, yeah, there’s going to be some opinions about it, and they’re not always pretty.”

Some of this criticism is centered around the team’s perceived approach to analytics and service time. Look no further than the George Springer contract situation as a significant example. Put it all together and you have some unhappy players.

“I don’t think anybody’s happy. I’m not,” one Astros player told the Chronicle recently on the condition his identity not be revealed. “They just take out the human element of baseball. It’s hard to play for a GM that just sees you as a number instead of a person. Jeff is experimenting with all of us.”

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow spoke with Drellich and said that he expects some unhappiness and resistance to their approach, but insists that they are doing what they are doing “for the right reasons” and won’t divert from their plan unless it starts to affect them in “a meaningful way.” Ultimately, he expects winning to cure all ills, but they obviously still have some work to do on that front.

There’s a lot more to Drellich’s piece, so I recommend you all go and check it out. Great stuff about a fascinating organization.

Report: Blue Jays sign Curtis Granderson to one-year, $5 million deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported on Monday night that the Blue Jays have signed outfielder Curtis Granderson to a one-year, $5 million deal. The contract is pending a physical and includes performance incentives.

Granderson, who turns 37 years old in March, spent last season with the Mets and Dodgers, batting an aggregate .212/.323/.452 with 26 home runs and 64 RBI in 527 plate appearances. He struggled offensively after going to the Dodgers, mustering a paltry .654 OPS. He went 1-for-15 in the playoffs as well.

The Blue Jays will likely platoon Granderson in the corner outfield. His career OPS is 158 points higher versus right-handed pitchers than against left-handers.