From the “let’s remember that we hear all kinds of crazy things at the Winter Meetings and a lot of it is baloney” files, Ken Rosenthal says that the Phillies — the Phillies! — are among the many teams with an interest in trading for Gio Gonzalez.
Because obviously the Phillies (a) need the pitching; and (b) have tons of prospects to deal. Yup.
The apparent reasoning for the interest:
The addition of Gonzalez would give the Phils the depth to trade left-hander Cole Hamels — give them or a ready-made replacement if Hamels leaves as a free agent after next season.
Setting aside the fact that all of the six old dudes hanging around the media room right now think this is the best joke of the morning, the fact is that you can only push off your “we must have a second elite lefty starter in the fold but paying for his contract extension is gonna really hurt” problems off so far.
Find a way to lock up Hamels, Ruben. You’ll be happier you did.
The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.
Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.
There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.
That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.
The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.
One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.
Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.