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Tuesday's Three Astros Things

Talking about Yoan Moncada, grading the Astros offseason and SportsCenter stopping by Osceola County Stadium...

Some things to talk about while

1) Moncada and the Astros

Yoan Moncada signed with the Boston Red Sox on Monday for about $30 million. As such, the BoSox blew through most of their international budget and will not be able to sign players for more than $250,000 in the next two July 2 signing periods.

Before the move was announced, Jeff Luhnow spoke to Evan Drellich about signing an expensive player like Moncada.He reiterated many of the same points he told Chris back at FanFest.

"I wouldn't say that," Luhnow said when asked if financial constraint was keeping the Astros away from the likes of Moncada. "It's more - obviously we'd all like to have an unlimited budget, but we're going to spend $17 million in the draft this year. We're going to spend $4 million internationally, that's a big chunk of money."

Investing most of their budget in one player was never going to be the Astros style. That's why I argued that you can forget about them signing an ace (or a Heyward) next winter. They just don't spend money like that, not because they don't have it available, but because it's a bad investment (in their eyes).

That's the same logic Luhnow uses to justify their international strategy. They've rarely spent big in the July 2 market, preferring to sign many players instead to more reasonable deals. They even have the numbers to back it up.

The Astros' director of international, Oz Ocampo, said last summer that in general, international signees make the majors 5 or 6 percent of the time, while drafted players are closer to 11 percent.

That's why quantity over quality makes sense.

It's just not a theory I buy into all the time. True superstar players are rare. Most prospects bust, but the top ones usually have decent MLB careers, even when they don't reach superstardom.

Moncada presented a unique way to add talent. He was a top 10 prospect who could be had by any team willing to spend the money. He may have chosen the bigger city over Houston's better offer (if it existed).

For that, you take the chance of missing on that 5 percent hit rate the next two years to land a guy who could be a franchise cornerstone.

That's not how the Astros think, though, because it's a risky strategy. If Moncada turns out to be Andy LaRoche, they not only lost out on that money, but also all the talent they could have signed.

P.S. - Drellich followed up on the national crosschecker position. Turns out it will be filled with multiple scouts and that Charlie Gonzalez will fill in a few different roles. It's a good clarification by Drellich and lets us know some updates on the scouting side.

2) SI grades the offseason

Cliff Corcoran updates the grades for Houston's winter of moves, bumping the Astros up from a C to a B-. That's almost a full letter grade increase. Now, the Astros can go home for Christmas break without being ashamed.

Here's what Corcoran had to say about the team:

I'm still not sure I like Houston's plan to move Gattis out from behind the plate or to start free-agent addition Jed Lowrie at shortstop, but they did well to add some upside bats to their lineup in Gattis and Rasmus.

Nitpicky, but my only problem with Corcoran's writeup is that he hated the Hank Conger trade. Mr. Corcoran is obviously not familiar with pitch framing and has been dutifully sent all 63 articles written on TCB about the Conger trade. He should be updating the piece any minute now.

3) SportsCenter to feature Astros

Lastly, the Astros won't just get the preview treatment on MLB Network. SportsCenter will also be stopping by Kissimmee on Thursday to talk about the Astros spring. From the ESPN release:

SportsCenter Anchors Join Baseball Tonight Commentators On Site: Jay Crawford, Bram Weinstein, Sara Walsh, Britt McHenry, Curt Schilling, John Kruk, Aaron Boone, Mark Mulder, Karl Ravech, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian, Pedro Gomez and More
Full Slate of Spring Training Games Highlighted By Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Braves, Tigers, Angels, Phillies
Sunday Night Baseball's Dan Shulman, Schilling, Kruk, Olney to Call Spring Training Game
ESPN will swing into spring with comprehensive coverage of 2015 Major League Baseball Spring Training from Florida's Grapefruit League and Arizona's Cactus League, starting the week of Feb. 23. Coverage will include the SportsCenter Spring Training Tour, which will visit all 30 MLB Clubs. SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight commentators will provide insights and analysis on each MLB Club, plus interviews with key stars and managers.
Additionally, ESPN reporters Pedro Gomez and Britt McHenry will visit several Spring Training sites each in Florida and Arizona, respectively, for on-site reports. All SportsCenter Spring Training Tour updates will begin each day during the 9 a.m. ET SportsCenter.