Some things to talk about while I worry that George Springer is now jinxed...
1) Free agency in retrospect
Did you want the Astros to make a splash in free agency last winter? Do you want them to do the same this year? Do you not heed Mike Fast's advice about looking for realistic deals for what Houston spent?
Well, SB Nation's Grant Brisbee has a helpful look back at last winter's free agents. He goes through the top 10 richest deals and sees whether teams would pull the trigger on them now or hit the eject button.
Spoilers: most teams would push the button.
Now we're going to show you the 10 biggest contracts of the offseason. If you hit the button, the contract is void. The player might or might not fall into a scorpion pit, but that's not your concern right now. Your concern is the contract. Knowing what we know now, do you still give the contract out?
Pay special attention to Houston's preferred Valentine, Shin-Soo Choo, who probably, maybe should be jettisoned. But, by all means, let's bring on more big-ticket deals! They need an impact bat in left field, after all!
2) Top GM candidates
Okay, now that you've got free agency nailed down, you're nigh on your way to become a big league GM. Who might be your competition for one of these 30 spots? Who do you need to take out so you can shine in the spotlight?
Well, Baseball Prospectus has a (free) article detailing the top 10 non-GM candidates for GM openings. It's a good group, even if no one on it has any Astros ties. I will point you to the lone Cardinals representative on the list:
Candidate: Michael Girsch
Current role: Assistant General Manager (Cardinals)
Skill set: Girsch will get looks because of the Cardinals’ run of success, but the 37-year-old AGM with an MBA has the goods to back it up. He's run the Cardinals Baseball Development division, which oversees the team's impressive data management and analytics efforts. For as much coverage as "The Cardinal Way" got as a magic book of sorcerer's spells, the reality is that it's a boring technical manual on player development, but one that starts with the question "What do we know about what actually works?" In the front office, where understanding the process is key, Girsch's background fits beautifully with what's expected of the new breed of GM.
So, basically, what the Astros are doing is very similar to what the Cardinals are doing. And soon, teams around the league will be emulating them. Good thing Houston got in now, before their crazy methods will be copied so much as to become obsolete. Hopefully, they have a trick up their sleeve for then. All I ask is that they win a World Series ring first.
3) Our spirit animal
What's it feel like to have been an Astros fan for the past four years?
This. Exactly this.