Some things to talk about while the Texas high school football playoffs begin in earnest tonight...
1) Astros want a closer
Not many tweets could set off a rather lackadaisical Astros offseason like this one from Brian McTaggart.
Hear the Astros are going hard to get one of the top closers on the market. Among those on the wish list: Miller, Robertson, Romo.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) November 14, 2014
If you follow Tags on Twitter, you'll know he's not prone to speculate. If he's saying these names (along with others he didn't mention), he's heard them from his sources.
What's interesting is that each player comes with questions. Would Houston spend on a player with a qualifying offer like David Robertson? In a conversation with Evan Drellich earlier this week, GM Jeff Luhnow indicated that they would.
Which makes sense. The pick Houston would give up is the one they got from the Marlins. That is a valuable pick, but how much value is it? The latest estimates are about three times the slot amount. That means they're looking at $3-$5 million, depending on the actual value of the slot.
How much value would someone like Robertson be for Houston over the next three seasons? Even if he pulls a Papelbon, there's still a very good chance he's worth more than the one win above replacement (about what $5 million gets you).
That difference between the value of a pick and the value of a potential player has everything to do with bust rates. Specific players may be safer than others, but the overall odds are against a pick that low making a big impact. At least, no bigger than a player taken at the top of the second round.
You might be tired of me writing this, but relievers are volatile. You can't trust them. You have to find value where you can. If Houston determines that Robertson is the safest reliever on the market, they'll make a play for him. If they see Sergio Romo's slider as being elite, they'll sign him. Either way, they won't ignore bullpen help. That's clear. And a welcome sign.
2) Astros interested in Korean pitcher?
Another day, another spin of the rumor mill. This time, the grist is this report that Houston may be interested in Korean pitcher Hyeon-jong Yang. After receiving the Korean equivalent to the Cy Young award, it appears Yang may be posted by his team.
Yang, who projects as a No. 3 starter in the majors with No. 2 potential, is expected to fetch a higher posting fee. A scout that has seen both pitchers in action said Kim's violent delivery might cause him to break down quicker than the smoother Yang, who throws four pitches and has a fastball that sits between 92-95.
Once Yang is posted, major-league teams will have four days to submit posting bids to Kia, which will then decide whether to accept. If a team's bid is accepted, the club will have a 30-day window to negotiate a contract with the southpaw.
This process is very similar to the posting process for Japanese players used to be. Which means, Houston would have to provide the winning bid and have enough left over to sign Yang to whatever contract he'd expect.
Is this the kind of player Houston would go "all-in" for? A No. 3 starter doesn't seem like that kind of talent, but Yang does have the advantage of not costing a draft pick like players with qualifying offers. He also wouldn't cost players in trade lie some of Houston's other possible targets.
What do you think? Should Houston go after Yang? Does he make sense on this team?
3) Matt Purke released
If you follow the draft like we do at TCB, you'll likely know the name of recently released Washington pitcher Matt Purke. The lefty out of Dallas was taken in the first round by the Rangers, but failed to reach an agreement with Texas. Instead, he headed to TCU, where he suffered through injuries and ineffectiveness.
Eventually, he got drafted in the third round by the Nationals, but signed a massive major league contract to avoid going back to school again.
Well, injuries continue to follow him. The Nationals released the lefty, according to MLBTR, after he underwent Tommy John surgery this year. Since he went through the surgery in May, there's a chance he could pitch for much of the 2015 season for someone else, but the 24-year-old likely won't be ready for spring training.
Purke is a great example of why prep pitchers should take the money and run if they're drafted high enough. Injuries to pitchers happen all the time. Would Purke's career have turned out differently had he signed with the Rangers? Maybe, maybe not. He still got paid, but plenty of guys never get that second chance.
Some team will sign Purke and he may go on to pitch well again. Until then, he'll serve as a cautionary draft tale for another young pitcher.