Author: Craig Calcaterra

Jed Lowrie

The Astros sign Jed Lowrie for three years and $23 million


Brian McTaggart of reports that the Astros have agreed to terms on a three-year contract with free agent infielder Jed Lowrie. The deal is worth $23 million. There is a club option for 2018 at $5 million as well.

Lowrie played in Houston in 2012, hitting .244 with 16 homers and a .769 OPS in 97 games. He played for Oakland the past two years, hitting .271/.334/.405 as a full-timer.

He should be a full-timer in Houston, too, at least until Carlos Correa is ready to take over the position. At which point Lowrie could play second or third or wherever.

The Cubs officially introduce Jon Lester

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Jon Lester was just officially announced as a Chicago Cub:

Of course he’s gonna have to change that Twitter handle, because if you play for the Cubs you can’t be #31. If you try to, you get a cease and desist letter from attorneys representing Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux.

Among the introductory remarks were Theo Epstein’s words to the effect that, as of now, the Cubs have transitioned into an era where they are “very serious” about winning the World Series.

Before they were just here for the Marriott Points.

It’s time for the Padres to bring back the brown

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Being in San Diego for the Winter Meetings last week made everyone think more about the Padres than most of us do, well, most of the year. And when you’re not an everyday Padres person, the first thing you tend to think about when you think about the Padres is the old brown and mustard uniforms. There was a lot of talk about those things last week.

Today Mike Ferrin of Sirius/XM radio was talking about how the Padres should return to that color scheme. I couldn’t agree with him more. The Padres had an identity once. They should embrace that identity again.

But this does not mean retro or kitchy 70s and 80s homages. Sure, that can be fun, but no one should seriously expect a major league team to turn back the clock to thoroughly and completely that they turn a fun throwback uni into their everyday duds. So, at the outset, let us specify that no one is expecting or even desiring a return to this sort of thing:


But what’s so crazy about, say, this?


Or even this (but with a belt, not elastic waist pants)?


Those — from 1969 and 1974, respectively — are pretty standard or even conservative uniforms, not unlike the sort you may see today. And, of course, there are any number of variations the Padres could do with this color scheme. Things they never did with it before and which would not be tacky or kitschy.

The key is that they should embrace the one unique thing the Padres always had going for them before they decided that identities were overrated, oh, a decade ago: their own colors. The brown, which is appropriate for a friar, and the mustard which was different, much like the city of San Diego is different from most other cities. Certainly fine in small doses as an accent color, even if we got a bit overloaded on it later.

But I’d even take the overload over this:


I mean, my God. There are unlicensed 1990s baseball video game teams dressed with more imagination than that.

“Rumors are the worst. Long live rumors”

Rumors Timex Social Club

I met Grant Brisbee of SB Nation at the Winter Meetings. And, at one point, we ate a taco together. Different taco, but at the same restaurant if you must know. Anyway, I liked the cut of his jib and think he’s a fine fellow.

And today he has some fine insights about his experience at the Winter Meetings. They were much like the insights I had when I first started going to the Winter Meetings five years ago: some excitement, some disorientation and a little bit of “wait, what is the point of all of this for most of us?” and, finally, a sense of “ahhh, I understand.”

Grant’s moment of clarity revolves around why it is people get so hung up on rumors. A hangup many have come to disparage. Many inside the game, actually, wondering why in the hell we all care about rumors. Grant nails it, jumping off from a slight, almost weightless rumor and explaining what it does to a baseball fan’s head:

With that mere fragment of association, my mind starts racing. Kemp on the Giants. Kemp in AT&T Park. How’s the defense going to hold up? How much ground would he have to cover? He’s a strong enough hitter to make the park something of a non-factor. What about the contract? Would the Dodgers eat money? Would the Dodgers even trade with the Giants? How old is Kemp? What sort of knee problems did he have again? Let me see those second-half stats again.

It’s not like there’s baseball to distract me.

The scenarios start spreading out like fractals, permutations of what my favorite team will or will not be. The more rumors, the better. A team with 50 active rumors is a team with fans surfing on the multiverse. Everything is possible. Everything is possible.

I’ve come to know a few actual “baseball insiders” for lack of a better term, and they often roll their eyes at rumors and think we all waste our time on them. But baseball fans savor them because they give us something to think about — give us baseball to think about — when there is no baseball. Don’t let some baseball insider tell you that you’re wasting your time with them. It may be his job and he may get tired of them, but it’s your hobby and if gives you enjoyment, so eat up all the rumors you want.