While the Astros were taking on the cuddly Cubs I was putting together bare essential links for your reading needs.
The Decision Makers
Offseason In Review: Houston Astros: MLB Rumors - MLBTradeRumors.com
A good review of the Astros dealings this past offseason. Nothing new if you've been following the Astros all offseason, but still a good summary of everything that happened over the winter.
The Trend Towards Team Options | FanGraphs Baseball
Dave Cameron takes a look at the current trend of organizations locking up young players early. Maybe the Astros should of done the same with Hunter Pence, seeing as he's only going to becoming more expensive over the next few years. He's making $6.9M this year, the Rays won't be paying Evan Longoria $6M until 2013.
Clint Hurdle’s Excellent Decision | FanGraphs Baseball
Clint Hurdle dupes Jim Tracy, using the old hidden batter trick.
General draft trends
Steve Sommer of The Hardball Times takes a look at draft trends over the last ten yards. He breaks down high school verse college players and geographical location of draftees.
Better to Sign out of HS or College? Part 3 | FanGraphs Baseball
A look at the later rounds, as well as a dive back into the first round.
Michael Young = Derek Jeter? | FanGraphs Baseball
A very interesting comparison.
Ultimate Astros » Finding the goats and the almost-heroes from latest loss
Zach Levine puts WPA to good use in the Astros lose to the Cubs on Monday. I found it interesting that the WPA statistic backs up the quotes from the three players who took responsibility for the loss.
Around SB Nation
Houston's Front Office: The Godfather Parallel - SB Nation Houston
In which I compare Ed Wade to Tom Hagen and get to spell consigliere a bunch of times. A shameless plug for the cyborg, really well written. It compares the perception of Ed Wade to the Godfather. I'm sure I'll activate some termination code with the following confession. I haven't seen any of the Godfather movies.
Carlos Lee - Hot Corner - Baseball Nation
In case you missed it Ken Tremendous has begun posting at Baseball Nation. He made an April Fools day joke that I'm sure many of you will enjoy.