We did it, everyone. We got through the first big day of the Winter Meetings. I'm still trying to figure out how to best handle the daily news. Right now, I'm going with a recap post each afternoon with FanShots when appropriate through the nights/mornings. What did we learn Monday?
Jeff Keppinger and Matt Lindstrom are available: That's right, two of the Astros arbitration-eligible guys can be had for the right price. This isn't exactly news, since Wade has been on record that he wants to upgrade at second base. Lindstrom was not very good and is due for another raise in salary, so he's likely expendable if the right deal comes along. Again, all this is stuff we probably knew before today's report by Ed Price over at AOL FanHouse.
Astros cutting payroll: The thing that sticks out about that report is Price sources unnamed front office personnel saying the Astros are trying to pare salary down further to get it around 70 million. That's in preparation for the team being sold. Why is that news? well, it flies directly in the face of Wade's very public comments at the time of the sale, that it would not impact baseball operations at all. I'm sure he can spin it all he wants that trading Kepp is a baseball move and has nothing to do with his salary, but the fact is Kepp has value. Unless they get a younger player to man a hole in the lineup or starting rotation, the Astros would be making this move based on money.
After the big annoucement by Drayton, I wondered if this payroll slashing would be a consequence. Clack convinced me pretty effectively that it wouldn't, but now I'm not so sure. I hope the payroll will not be dictated by the sale and the Astros can have a competitive team for the next few years. *PS. 70 million was the payroll at the end of last season, according to Baseball Reference. It'd be the first time since 2005 the Astros had a payroll that low.
Interested in left fielders: Well, that's not news. What is newsworthy is the list of names that have been bandied about. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweeted that the Astros might have interest in Ryan Church or Jeremy Hermida while the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted that they might look at Matt Diaz. So there you are. Might I point out, Mr. National Media Member, that I already made a case for Ryan Church, waay before you came in and big-timed the link...
Corpus Christ wins award: The Hooks were named the Double-A organization of the year on Monday. Good on them. That place has a first-rate ballpark and a standup front office. Remember when I went there this past summer and didn't get the bobbleheads they were giving away? Well, it took them a few months, but our Nolan Ryan bobbleheads showed up in the mail. Thanks, Hooks front office, for being classy!
Jordan Lyles a candidate for fifth spot in rotation: Yep, not surprising, though it is a little sad. If Lyles breaks camp as the fifth starter, I might have to stay away from my laptop for a few days (to avoid smashing it into pieces). Exciting young pitcher? Check. Future of the rotation? Check. Sure, why not unnecessarily risk arm injury...
Carlos Lee to 1B, Wallace not ready: Yeah, we've already covered all these too. Brett Wallace has a hole in his swing/mechanical issue he needs to work out. Carlos Lee has been asked to prepare to play first base. Before we get all hot and bothered by this news, let's remember what Brad Mills said earlier today, "It's meaningless to project who will play where in December. Let's let them play some games first." Wallace will get a chance to win the first base job in spring training, as will El Bufalo. What's new about that?