Monday's Three Astros Things

Talking about Jason Castro, Tanaka-Mania and Jerry Coleman...

Some things to talk about while we marvel at the players who hit over Japhet Amador's weight...

1) Jason Castro may or may not be available

Thanks, Ken Rosenthal, for stirring up this debate again. In his Sunday column, Rosenthal speculates that Jason Casto may be available via trade:

The Astros' Jason Castro, a first-time arbitration eligible, is another catcher who could become a trade candidate, depending upon the development of Max Stassi.

Rival teams have inquired on Castro, according to major-league sources. If the Astros cannot sign him to an extension, he could become the team's best trade chip. The 'Stros also could move him to first base.

Here's the point where we'd usually break it down from both sides, get at the truth in the noise and generally come up with answers.

But, Evan Drellich already did it.

In all, the decision to trade Castro is both layered and significant, not to mention fluid. A strong first half this year could alter the outlook, and so on.

Let's break it down from a few angles. First, the extension possibility.

I'm fighting a losing battle here. As his life force gains strength, mine dims. There can be only one, except I'm like the Egyptian guy who dies within minutes of being introduced and no one remembers now. Oh well. At least you all get quality Astros content from someone outside the rest of our fine TCB writing crew.

2) Where would Tanaka rank?

Over at Baseball America, they're getting in on Tanaka-Mania in the Ask BA feature. There, J.J. Cooper answered a question on where Tanaka would rank in most team's top 30 list. His response:

It's easier to list the teams where Tanaka wouldn't jump to the top of the list. Tanaka would rank behind Byron Buxton on the Twins' list. He'd rank behind Xander Bogaerts on the Red Sox' list and you could go either way with him or Oscar Taveras on the Cardinals' list. But besides that, he'd rank No. 1 on 27 of the 30 teams Top 10 lists.

I'm so over the Buxton love, but hey, we're not here to rehash that. Let's talk about Tanaka. If he'd really be the third or fourth-best prospect in baseball, how much would he be worth?

Well, based on prospect valuation, he'd be worth $15 million. Which isn't a lot, especially when he'd be making $120 million over the next six or seven years.

But, that valuation is based off a guy who may not even make the majors. Tanaka will be birthed, fully formed, into whatever system gets him. He'll essentially be paid right off the bat for his performance as its happening, instead of after he's been good in MLB first.

It's a scary scenario, since it's so different. Did we know Evan Longoria would succeed when he signed the big deal? Haven't people freaked out about Elvis Andrus' contract extension? Neither of those guys are even pitchers, who's injury risk ups the danger of such a long commitment.

Let's say that Carlos Rodon were a free agent and Houston had to negotiate a contract for him this June. How much would he get? How much would you feel comfortable giving him? Same goes for Appel? What's the optimal contract you'd give to a big-time prospect like that who can change a franchise?

Teams always look for surplus value, but what if they just tried to pay for face value? It's just one of the fascinating points in the Tanaka bidding. Most $100 million contracts are mistakes as soon as they're signed. But, if a young enough player signs one, can it work out?

3) Remembering Jerry Coleman

Some really nice tributes to 89-year-old Jerry Coleman, who died Sunday. He's no relation to me (neither is Dave Cameron (how long am I going to continue using that joke (how many nested parentheses can I use?)?).), and the connections to the Astros are tenuous at best. Coleman was just a pretty swell guy and Richard Justice and Rob Neyer both wrote elegantly about him. You should check both articles out.

To wit, here's RJ:

Baseball fans have a unique relationship with their team's broadcasters, and that's especially true of men like Jerry Coleman, who established a credibility over the years. His style, without ego, driven by the game itself, made him seem like a member of the family.

His death leaves a void that won't be filled. Those who knew him will be forever comforted by the memories of his decency and wit. To everyone else, his core values of service and sacrifice reflect the values of our country at its very best.

"He's one of those special people you thank God you got to meet," former Padres broadcaster Mel Proctor told the Union-Tribune.

And here's Neyer:

But last night I was leafing through Coleman's memoir, looking for information about his time in the Marines. Or rather, his times. Coleman was by all accounts the only major-league baseball player who saw combat in both World War II and the Korean War. In the former conflict, he piloted dive-bombers in the South Pacific against Japanese positions; in the latter, he flew ground-attack missions in North Korea. These were dangerous duties, and he lost friends in both wars.

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