Carlos Lee has more career plate appearances than the rest of the Astros combined

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The other day I wrote about how ugly the Astros’ lineup looks after trading away Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, and Jeff Keppinger.

But as Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle points out, the lineup is incredibly inexperienced in addition to being really, really bad:

Carlos Lee has 7,967 career plate appearances, or four more than the rest of the position players on the active roster combined. Three of those players–second baseman Jose Altuve, left fielder J.D. Martinez and third baseman Jimmy Paredes–have made the jump from Class AA in the past three weeks.

Campbell goes on to write about the odd situation Carlos Lee is in on a terrible, rebuilding team, for which he can thank a contract no other teams wanted any part of at the trade deadline. Houston is 366-412 since signing Lee to a six-year, $100 million deal in November of 2006 and despite being in a steep decline at age 35 he’s still owed $18.5 million for next season.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.