Some things to talk about as we work through the fallout of an active baseball Monday...
1) Russell Martin to the Blue Jays
Dominos are falling around baseball, as Buster Olney notes. Multiple writers see the news of Russell Martin signing with the Blue Jays as a sign that interest in Jason Castro could perk up.
They're probably right, too. The same teams that were interested in Martin probably also can see Castro working himself into a top 10 pitch framer who is one year removed for an All-Star offensive season. Plus, he's younger with a little more team control.
With that said, it also raises the price for guys like Hank Conger and Carlos Corporan. As Evan Drellich astutely noted, Conger doesn't make the best platoon partner with Castro because of their handedness at the plate. Could the Astros flip Conger again now that the catching market is taking off? Or, do they get more from some team for Castro now that Martin is off the market?
The obvious match here is with the Cubs, who went hard after Martin and lost. The obvious piece coming back is Starlin Castro, as Houston has a hole at short and the Cubs have at least 120 shortstop prospects at Triple-A.
When was the last time you saw the Astros do something obvious, though? The only sure thing here is that Houston now has a glut of catchers in a market that doesn't have enough. That sets up for something to happen with the Astros catching situation by the winter meetings.
2) Jason Heyward to the Cardinals
The second blockbuster move of the day was the Braves trading Shelby Miller and Tyrone Jenkins to the Braves for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden. It's a great deal for the Cards in the short term and could be a great deal in the long-term for the Braves.
For the Astros, it creates a little bit of opportunity. For the time being, the Cardinals have too many outfielders. That's not to say they have more than three starting-caliber outfielders, just that they have a few different ones who are at or near major-league level.
That may get fixed by non-tendering Jon Jay, but this piece at FanGraphs suggested the Cards could flip Peter Bourjos for a starting pitcher to supplement the staff. Bourjos certainly would make an interesting addition to the Astros, if he could be had for someone like Brett Oberholtzer. He didn't hit at all last year, but he played excellent defense and could join with Fowler, Marsinick and Springer as a very good defensive outfield unit.
I don't see Bourjos as a likely addition for many reasons. I would, however, like to see the Astros go after Randal Grichuk. The Cards probably won't move the young, talented power hitter, as he's got a lot of control and they could have a starting spot open up as early as next winter.
Matt Holliday is signed through 2016 and if they lock up Heyward to a long-term deal, where does Grichuk play? Can they let him ride the bench for two years before giving him a starting job? More likely, he spends much of that time at Triple-A, but that could also hurt his development.
Notice in this other FanGraphs article, in a very small sample, Grichuk hit the hardest line drives at Busch Stadium last season. As Blengino notes, that's more a factor of his raw power than his "figuring it out." But, it makes him a very intriguing target.
Adding Grichuk to play left in some sort of time share with Marisnick could enhance the Astros outfield strength. It also sets them up if Fowler leaves in free agency after the season.
Again, this is a deal that isn't likely to happen, because the Cards have all sorts of team control left with Grichuk and could need a starter there before that control expires. But, if I'm the Astros, I at least make the call to check on his availability.
3) Stanton signs massive deal
That 13-year, $325 million deal sets the standard for young players getting massive raises. Expect Heyward to ask for something in that neighborhood (even if its a couple boroughs south of that number).
But, the Marlins showed just how expensive it could get in the future to keep young stars. The Braves showed a little of that last season when they signed Freddie Freeman to that monster deal. Players with MLB track records get expensive quickly.
That's why the Astros try to lock up George Springer, Jon Singleton and will likely try to lock up Carlos Correa to long-term deals. It may not prevent these young guys from getting Stanton-ian deals at some point. But, it does guarantee that the team isn't put in the "will they or won't they" situation the Marlins found themselves in with Stanton.
How much will Carlos Correa get if he meets expectations? If he hits for power and plays good defense at short? Stanton is a right fielder who got over $300 million. Heyward is a right field looking for $200 million. Elvis Andrus, who plays the same position that Correa will, got $120 million a year ago.
If Correa hits his ceiling and doesn't sign a new deal until 2020, he could be looking north of $400 million. There's a lot of "if" in that statement, sure, but you see why the Astros look to lock guys up early. If they can sign Correa to a seven-year, $50 million deal this summer, should they?