Morgan Ensberg on giving up certain Astros prospects for Cole Hamels: “I’d quit.”

34 Comments

Former major leaguer Morgan Ensberg has been serving as a minor leaguer special assignment coach for the Astros over the last couple of years. As a result, he works with the club’s young players at various levels. Understandably, he might be a little touchy at the thought of seeing a handful of them get sent away in a trade.

The Astros have been rumored to have interest in Phillies ace Cole Hamels, which would require giving up a significant haul of prospects. Asked on Twitter if he would give up Brett Phillips, Preston Tucker, and Domingo Santana in a trade for Hamels, Ensberg said, “I’d quit. I wouldn’t trade any of those guys straight up for him.”

John Stolnis, one of the writers for SB Nation’s Phillies blog The Good Phight, challenged Ensberg’s view. They had a back-and-forth for a bit, but Ensberg increasingly resorted to condescension to Stolnis and others who disagreed with him. “You have no idea what you’re talking about,” Ensberg wrote in response to @AntsInWA. He sarcastically suggested to Stolnis, “You should be a GM.”

Snark aside, Ensberg is unrealistic about Hamels’ price tag. Hamels is one of only six pitchers (min. 500 IP) with an ERA below 3.00 since the start of the 2010 season. He’s in the same list as Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, Felix Hernandez, Adam Wainwright, and teammate Cliff Lee. Furthermore, Hamels is signed to a very team-friendly contract. He’s making $22.5 million per year between 2015-18 and has a $20 million option for 2019 he would likely demand guaranteed. After the 2015 season, he would earn $87.5 million over four years, which is about $100 million and two fewer years than he would get if he were to hit the open market. Ensberg wouldn’t trade any one of Phillips, Tucker, or Santana (a former Phillies prospect) for Hamels, but the reality is that the combination of the three might be too light a return for the lefty.

No, the Astros aren’t being targeted for HBPs in spring training

Alex Bregman
Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images
1 Comment

On Wednesday, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was hit by Cardinals pitcher Ramon Santos. It marked the seventh time an Astros batter had been hit in spring training exhibition games thus far, the highest total among all teams. As expected, teams are exacting revenge for the Astros’ cheating ways!

Well, not quite. The pitch Santos hit Bregman with was a 3-2 breaking ball that got away. Usually, if a pitcher is going to hit a batter as an act of revenge, he’ll attempt to do it with a first-pitch fastball.

José Altuve was also hit by a pitch against the Tigers on Sunday. The pitch, which looks to be the off-speed variety, appeared to graze his uniform as opposed to hitting him flush, so it was likely unintentional on the part of pitcher Nick Ramirez.

Other Astros to have been hit in spring training thus far: Alex De Goti, Aledmys Díaz, Osvaldo Duarte, Dustin Garneau, and Jake Meyers. Not exactly a who’s-who list of Code Breaker operatives.

Will some pitchers intentionally throw at the Astros this year? Almost certainly, despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s warning. Have they been doing it from the moment exhibition games began earlier this month? Certainly not.