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Monday's Three Astros Things

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Talking about the new spring training home, catching depth and Kris Bryant's service time...

Some thoughts while we weep for the future of humanity...

1) West Palm Beach spring training site

Wait, I thought the entire state of was a garbage dump. Or is it just the people there who are garbage?

(I kid, Florida. I kid because I love.)

The Houston Astros and Washington Nationals hope the past stays buried when they open their proposed $135 million complex south of 45th Street in 2017 or ‘18. Just to play it safe, they're preparing a massive cleanup chore later this year — getting rid of as much trash as possible at the 160-acre site before construction starts.

Although officials believe most of the remaining trash is confined to about a third of the property, clearing the land so it can be used for a two-team spring training complex will be an expensive undertaking — possibly as much as $10 million to clear and sift some 473,000 cubic yards of soil (more than 31,500 dump truck loads), according to preliminary estimates.

That's right. To build this new spring training facility, the Astros and Nationals will have to navigate piles and piles of garbage.

No doubt, they knew about the garbage before the payed all that money, but I have to ask. How much would the site have cost if it didn't contain mounds of garbage? Was it a smart investment because of garbage-related price depression?

Feel free to make your own MMP sno cone jokes here. Go ahead. I'll wait.

2) Catching depth chart

FanGraphs breaks down their ZiPS projections for catchers on the depth charts, showing which teams have the best catching depth in the majors. Depth depth depth depth.

Here's what Mike Petriello had to say about Jason Castro:

After increased progress in each year of his career, Castro totally collapsed last year, and now what he is remains a huge question mark. He was probably never as good as he looked in 2013 — how about that .351 BABIP, from a catcher — but the decline in both his walk rate and his power were real. The projections split the difference, and while that's maybe disappointing because it's too easy, it's the best we can do right now. After last year, the Astros would happily take even that, because it would leave them with a league-average hitter on a roster that still has holes, though he's hardly going to do much to stem the tide of massive contact issues the team has.

Those tears leaking out of your screen right now? They're the tears of Chris Perry.

I'm also putting this here despite its sort of disparaging comments on the Patron Saint of Pitch Framing, Hank Conger. I'll gather the TCB team and we'll publish four articles tomorrow ripping apart the validity of those three sentences.

3) Bryant, Springer and grievances

Once again, there's talk swirling about service time. It centers around Kris Bryant, but just as easily could have centered around George Springer last year. Evan Drellich speaks some knowledge on the idea that the union could file a grievance on behalf of Bryant.

That's in response to Ken Rosenthal's column calling for a grievance, something that Craig Calcaterra (and Drellich mortal enemy) also shut down.

I agree with all of it, too. The union will talk big, because it has to protect its clientele. But, it won't act very far, because netiher the union nor baseball have any interest in setting precedents with minor leaguers.

I do love this Keith Law idea about the loophole to use for players with exactly six years of service time who debut in the majors on an Opening Day roster.

He calls for a system that basically becomes restricted free agency, like what happens in basketball and football. A player could become a free agent after that sixth year, but the team that he just finished played for would have the right to match any offer.

I'd be complicated, especially with traded players. I'm sure teams would also want to cap the salaries possible in that next contract, so someone doesn't give Max Scherzer money to a player who is restricted.

But, the theory itself is sound and gives teams an out to keep exciting players on the roster. It didn't change anything last year for Springer to debut in May instead of in April, but maybe the Astros win a couple more games because of it. Or, maybe Springer gets hurt earlier.

I'm not sure the system is broken, but it certainly is broken for prospects like Springer and Bryant. Law's addendum to the rules works pretty well to fix that.