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Astros Crawfish Boil: February 23, 2018

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Houston Astros news and notes from around the league for Monday, February 23, 2018.

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Houston Astros Photo Day
Alex Bregman has his eyes fixed on more playing time at shortstop this year.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Ladies and gentlemen, we have seen our last sunrise without Astros baseball until November.

Let’s start off by continuing our shiny new “Tag’s Tweets” mini segment, shall we? Go follow Brian McTaggart on Twitter, if you don’t already, by clicking this blue button:

Tag’s Tweets

Astros News

Bregman among 3 regulars slated to start Friday

Evan Gattis and Jake Marisnick are also in line to play; Astros working on baserunning; Brian McCann is not taking BP.

Astros have quartet of dark-horse candidates

Tyler White, AJ Reed, Max Stassi, and Rogelio Armenteros are quietly battling for a precious roster spot this spring.

Prospects still abound but spots on Astros roster are harder to get ...

The Astros are scary-deep, which can make it an extraordinarily hard team to break in with.

Astros’ Alex Bregman to play more shortstop

The Astros will deploy Alex Bregman at shortstop more often in 2018.

Consistency will be key in determining whether Derek Fisher can lock down role in Astros outfield

Derek Fisher is entering a sink-or-swim phase of his career with the Astros. (Paywall Article)

Why does AL MVP Jose Altuve perform better away from Minute Maid Park?

Tyler Stafford’s name once again graces the pages of TCB with this piece he wrote (paywall article) for the Athletic.

Around The League

Pirates Acquire Corey Dickerson From Rays

Breaking down the biggest transaction of the day, Steve Adams of MLBTradeRumors dives in headlong to the Corey Dickerson trade.

Projecting the Impossible: Pitcher Wins

Jeff Sullivan takes a granular deep dive into projecting pitcher win totals for those who care, like Fantasy Baseball enthusiasts.

Cold Takes: Rules Aren’t Meant to be Broken

Baseball is clumsily seeking to add to its rulebook.

Alex Cora Is the Very Model of a Modern Baseball Manager

A New York Times profile on new Red Sox manager (and former Astros bench coach) Alex Cora.

The Issue at the Heart of MLB’s Free-Agency Debate

Baseball’s labor rules are at odds with the larger, evolving understanding of the worth of aging superstars.

MLB Home Run Derby VR lets you launch dingers from your house

Coming to PlayStation VR and HTC Vive this spring

Take a tour around baseball on Photo Day with a look at familiar faces in new uniforms

The first weeks of Spring Training offer a fun annual tradition in baseball known as Photo Day. Some of the best pictures to look at are players who changed teams -- donning their new uniforms and looking swanky. The offseason brought a number of changes, but it’s especially intriguing to see these 15 players with their new clubs.

Why are we dreaming up insane baseball rules in the first place?

Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post is opposed to the rash of rule changes being foisted upon the sport recently by a meddlesome commissioner.

MLB wants to break ties — in spring training baseball games

Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price said Major League Baseball is moving toward removing tied games from spring training.

PODCAST: Andrew Zimbalist Explains How Analytics Are Driving Baseball’s Free Agent Market

On this SportsMoney podcast, top sports economist Andrew Zimbalist delves into how analytics is changing the way team’s value players and the impact it is having on baseball.