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Super Astros Crawfish Boil: January 18, 2015

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Astros news and notes from the past week.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning boys and girls. After this week it feels like baseball has turned a corner and is heading for the home stretch to Opening Day. I guess a trade will do, just ask the Reds, Orioles, and any other fanbase that has had a quite offseason. Here are this week's links, enjoy.

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow predicts winning season in 2015 | Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports
From Yahoo Sports: After three straight seasons of at least 106 losses, Houston improved to 70-92 in 2014. Luhnow sees them taking another big step forward in 2015.

Houston Astros gamble on Evan Gattis in trade with Atlanta Braves - MLB - SI.com
The Braves' housecleaning continued Wednesday with the trade of catcher Evan Gattis to the Astros for a trio of prospects that includes flame-throwing righty starter Mike Foltynewicz, third baseman Rio Ruiz and righthander Andrew Thurman. The Astros will also receive minor league righthander James Hoyt in the deal.

Winter Report Card: Houston Astros improve bullpen, but do little else - MLB - SI.com
The Astros will have a far better bullpen in 2015, but the rest of their roster is little improved after a quiet winter in Houston.

Correa, Appel headline Astros' spring invites | MLB.com
HOUSTON -- The Astros announced Tuesday they've invited 17 non-roster players to Spring Training, including former No. 1 overall picks Carlos Correa and Mark Appel -- both of whom will be at Major League camp for the second consecutive year. Including Correa, a shortstop, and Appel, a starting pitcher, the Astros added five pitchers, three catchers, seven infielders and two outfielders to their Spring Training roster.

Local sports briefs: Ex-Houston Astros manager, Exeter High alum Brad Mills joins Grizzlies’ Hot Stove lineup | Sports | FresnoBee.com
The Fresno Grizzlies continue to add to their guest list for the annual Hot Stove Gala, while Fresno State’s softball and baseball teams are lining up their own season kickoff events.

Houston Astros prospect Brett Phillips reflects on breakout year in Q&A | MiLB.com News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball
Brett Phillips put his tools together in a 2014 campaign that saw him jump onto the Astros' Top 20 Prospects list and earn Minor League Player of the Year honors. He looks back on his breakout season.

How Do Astros Fix Generation "K"?
The Astros lead the American League in 2014 with 1442 strikeouts, which represents 23.8% which is below average for a team. The Astros are a young team.

Lopez named Manager of the Year in Venezuela | astros.com
Omar Lopez, the manager of the Astros' Class A Advanced Lancaster affiliate, has been named the Manager of the Year in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League for the 2014-15 season. Lopez, who at 38 was the youngest manager in the league this season, led the Caribes de Anzoategui to a league-best 39-24 regular-season record in his first year as manager.

The Craig Biggio Memory Tour Brings Us to Art Howe | Houston Press
Craig Biggio's election to the Baseball Hall of Fame got me to thinking about Biggio's early years in the majors,...

Pat Listach To Manage Rainiers " CBS Seattle
Former major league utility player Pat Listach is going to be the new manager of the Seattle Mariners Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma, Washington.

Lapin: Biggio belongs in everybody's hall of fame - Houston Chronicle
Stem-cell transplantation was still cutting-edge medicine in those days, and my wife and I were soberly informed that our son would face a 40-percent risk of death under the best of circumstances, but our older son's journey made it clear that doing nothing was not an option.

Osceola News-Gazette - Official community newspaper of Kissimmee, Osceola County including Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Celebration, Poinciana, Harmony and surrounding areas
Kissimmee, Florida News Official community newspaper of Kissimmee, Osceola County including Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Celebration, Poinciana, Harmony and surrounding areas

Lowrie to travel to Colombia for 'Diamond Diplomacy' | astros.com
HOUSTON -- Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie will travel to Colombia next week to serve as a sports envoy in Major League Baseball's

Astros, Braves trade is understandable and baffling - SBNation.com
Guess which team gets the "baffling" label?