Some things to talk about while we meditate on Morgan Ensberg's harrowing spring past...
1) Peacock, Barnes make the club, Laird reassigned
Houston's management told both Brad Peacock and Brandon Barnes that they'd made the 25-man Opening Day roster, while Brandon Laird was reassigned to Oklahoma City. With this, it appears all that's left to decide is how the bullpen may shake out.
We don't know what role Peacock will be in, but it appears he might have the edge in the rotation battle, since he found this out so early before camp breaks. As for Barnes, Houston's got its defensive replacement in the outfield and a backup center fielder they can spot in for Justin Maxwell with Ankiel starting in right.
Laird's reassignment isn't surprising, considering how tight-fitting the roster is and that Matt Dominguez was named the starter at third this weekend.
Now, the roster for position players seems set, with two catchers, six infielders and five outfielders. There is still an outside chance that Trevor Crowe could make the team over Fernando Martinez, but it sounds like that's the longest of shots.
Still some questions to answer, but I like that Houston is rolling out answers as this week moves, instead of waiting until the end of camp.
2) Jim Crane clarifies things
"It's the fans' team; it's the city's team," Crane said. "I am the custodian. I'm backing it with my money and my partners' money. I've got to be a good custodian of their money. But I'm also the custodian for the city and the fans."
At the same time, he says he's spending money when the Astros have money. They do not have it at the moment, according to Crane. Harvey at least acnowledges that this is impossible to independently verify, but like Maury Brown points out, Houston will have NO excuse past this season. That's when the new national TV money kicks in, along with that nice chunk of change from CSN Houston.
So, yeah, we're kind of in the same spot we were before. I'd have appreciated more of a challenge from Harvey in the article on Crane's assertions, but at least he brings up the Gammons criticisms, y'all. Do we think that Richie would have let Crane skate on these comments? Really?
3) Danny Knobler on the Astros
Hey, did you know we're in a cold war with the scouts this season? We "bloggers" love the Astros so much, we think they're going to the playoffs. One side will be wrong at the end of the year, says Danny Knobler, and guess which side he's thinking it will be.
Someone's going to be wrong about the Astros. Someone's going to be very wrong.
Maybe it's us. Maybe it's them.
Maybe it's the baseball bloggers who love them. Maybe it's the traditional baseball men who hate them.
The scouts who have watched them all spring take turns predicting how bad it will get.
Craig Calcaterra has a nice takedown of the article over at Hardball Talk, so I won't repeat what he said better than I could. I guess it could be worse. Knobler could have accused the Astros of impugning the integrity of the game.