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Thursday's Three Astros Things

Talking about trade rumors, MLB's financial tiers and Lancaster raffling off championship rings...

Some things to talk about while you totally aren't watching March Madness while at work...

1) Trade winds blowing?

Multiple reports have surfaced recently indicating the Astros are still considering trades. MLB Trade Rumors posted a note last night that Jeff Luhnow is asking for deals that involve at least two players when shipping out one Astro, while Nick Cafardo tweeted this morning that teams are still swirling around Bud Norris.

Wanting multiple pieces back in any deal is just smart, by the way. I'm not sure why most GMs wouldn't say that, because it raises the probability that one of the players will hit.

But, do you want to know the conspiracy theory hidden in this?

What if the reason that the Astros named Bud Norris as Opening Day starter instead of Lucas Harrell is they know that Harrell will be traded in the next week. That's why they kept three guys for the final two rotation spots, because they're gonna move Harrell.

Think about it...Watch the skies...

2) FanGraphs' Financial Snapshot

Wendy Thurm over at FanGraphs is in the middle of a series breaking down the different tiers of baseball teams in financial terms. The Astros showed up at the top of her bottom tier for three reasons:

Debt, attendance and payroll.

It's a pretty well-done article breaking down all the factors that lead Houston to the bottom of the financial pile right now. But, good gravy, look at that TV revenue! That's a higher number per year than any team in either the bottom tier or the middle tier. If Houston can get the attendance fixed (by winning games again) and pay down the debt far enough so it's not a problem, the Astros should be a top tier team financially in short order.

(This is the point when all you Crane doubters chime in that he's broke and will never spend money. Go.)

3) Lancaster raffling off championship rings

Pretty cool story out of Lancaster, where the team will raffle off two customized Cal League championship rings. From the release:

LANCASTER, CA – The Lancaster JetHawks have partnered with two local little leagues to host a special raffle giving two individuals the opportunity to win an authentic customized 2012 California League Championship Ring. Proceeds from the raffle will be donated to West Lancaster and Quartz Hill Little Leagues.
Raffle tickets are on sale now and will be sold through June 10. Tickets will be available for $5 each, or five for $20, at every JetHawks home game as well as at the JetHawks front office located at The Hangar and online
As an added bonus, each raffle ticket sold will be eligible to be used for a complimentary game ticket to any of the JetHawks home games scheduled for June 20, 21 or 23.

From the Dept. of Things I Didn't Know: The JetHawks get rings made for Astros front office and player development personnel too. That's pretty cool. Does Mike Fast get one? He totally should.

Otherwise, this seems like a fantastic idea benefiting a great cause in local little leagues. Kudos to Lancaser for setting it up.