Some things to talk about while Jason Castro becomes Houston's second-ever American League DH...
1) Zephyrs to The Woodlands?
Great work by Astros County on an excellent rundown of all the reports on whether the Astros might be purchasing the New Orleans Zephyrs and moving them to The Woodlands. Here's the gist:
Obviously, the Astros can't buy the Zephyrs and leave them in New Orleans, if they're currently affiliated with a team in Oklahoma City. The current Professional Development Contract with OKC ends in 2014. And, hey, so does the Zephyrs agreement with the Marlins. So you could have the Astros purchase the Zephyrs, sign up for a two-year PDC for 2015-2016 in New Orleans, build a stadium in north Houston, and move them for the 2017 season.
That makes a lot of sense, especially with that timeline. By 2017, maybe Carlos Rodon will be ready to pitch in The Woodlands, too.
Since the path has been laid out a little more clearly, what say yet, TCBers? Would you like Houston's Triple-A affiliate to be so close to the big league club? How much might an affiliated team up north affect a team like the Sugar Land Skeeters?
2) NO CSN Houston deal in sight
Sadly, many of you will open the season's second game tonight with no deal in sight for CSN Houston on many local cable providers. Owner Jim Crane and the CSN Houston team are still working to get a deal done, but as we've discussed so many times, there are reasons to be upset with both sides in these negotiations. The only real losers? The fans.
Here's an update from Brian T. Smith from Monday:
"Maybe something will work out by (Tuesday)," said Crane, following a charity softball game between Rangers and Astros ownership groups at Minute Maid Park.
Astros president George Postolos and Crane have said in the past they believed a deal would be reached in time for the start of local Astros broadcasts. But the Rockets have unavailable in the majority of the Houston TV market since the 2012-13 season began and, as of Sunday, there was little momentum heading into the final 48-hour window.
"I know they can switch (the station) on fast, so we’ve got to get them to cut a deal that will work for us," Crane said.
Does that sound like a situation that will be resolving soon? I'm not hopeful. At least I've got to work tonight, so I won't feel too bad that the game isn't on TV. Anyone going to the game because they can't see it on TV today?
3) Astros draft pool set
On Tuesday, Jim Callis of Baseball America published the list of baseball's 2013 draft pool. Houston leads the majors in money this season, clocking in at $11.68 million for 10 picks in the first 10 rounds. Callis also points out that the bonus pool as a whole has increased over last year's numbers.
Assigned pick values for the first 10 rounds of the 2013 draft have increased 8.2 percent from last year’s numbers, according to documents obtained by Baseball America. The total value for those rounds is $202,501,600.
Houston has over one million more to spend than the team with the No. 2 pick in the draft, the Chicago Cubs. We already saw what an advantage that was for Houston last season, when they creatively used the cap to bring in some serious talent. Since they don't have the extra pick, that might not be the case this season, but give this front office the most money and you can be sure they'll make the most of it.