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Astros retract statement, apologize to Stephanie Apstein

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The Brandon Taubman saga has finally, mercifully come to a conclusion as Astros owner Jim Crane personally issued an apology to Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein and retracted the club’s statement which impugned her credibility. Crane’s letter to Apstein read, “On behalf of the Astros organization, I want to personally apologize for the statement we issued on Monday October 21st. We were wrong and I am sorry that we initially questioned your professionalism. We retract that statement, and I assure you that the Houston Astros will learn from this experience.”

The saga began when the Astros walked off against the Yankees to clinch a World Series berth thanks to José Altuve’s two-run home run. Closer Roberto Osuna had blown a save opportunity the half-inning prior, serving up a two-run homer to DJ LeMahieu. In the post-game celebration, Apstein reported that assistant GM Brandon Taubman targeted a group of three female reporters, one of which was wearing a purple bracelet for domestic violence awareness, yelling, “Thank God we got Osuna!“. Osuna was arrested in Toronto last year and charged with assault against the mother of his son. The Astros acquired Osuna from the Blue Jays two and a half months later, just ahead of the trade deadline.

The Astros responded to Apstein’s report by calling it “misleading and completely irresponsible,” and accused Sports Illustrated of attempting to “fabricate a story where one does not exist.” However, Apstein’s story was vouched for by several other journalists. Taubman himself even admitted the story was true. He was fired shortly thereafter, but it took almost a full week for the club to issue a retraction and an apology to Apstein and Sports Illustrated.

Crane claims the Astros “will learn from this experience.” Nothing the club has done since Jeff Luhnow took over suggests the organization should get the benefit of the doubt, but any improvement in behavior will be welcome.

In the meantime, the Astros are looking ahead to Game 5 of the World Series, which is now Max Scherzer-less.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.