Tag Archive: baseball


So it would appear today that the Astros are making some quick, temporary fixes to weaknesses on their roster with two free agents. Former Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus has already been signed for $8M, and former Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong is likely to sign before long. Does this help the Astros in 2015? Probably. Let’s see. Remember, 2015 is not World Series or bust. It’s .500 or it’s okay; there’s always next year.

Outfield:
The trade with the Braves to bring Evan Gattis to Houston probably should have signaled the departure of soon-to-be free agent Dexter Fowler, who was traded to the Cubs. It made sense: he was one year from free agency, and was asking for $10.8M in his final year of arbitration. That’s a steep price to pay, and Gattis was going to be super cheap since he isn’t even arbitration-eligible yet. I didn’t really expect them to sign another outfielder though, and yet, here we are. So the outfield is probably going to look something like this:

LF: Evan Gattis
CF: Colby Rasmus
RF: George Springer

That’s not a bad outfield at all. It’s got 20-30 home run potential for each member, though the low batting average, high strikeout tendencies from Rasmus and Springer are troubling. Did we need Rasmus though? Well, here are the other options at their disposal (via the 40 man roster):

Robbie Grossman
L.J. Hoes
Jake Marisnick
Alex Presley
Domingo Santana

Marisnick is probably the best bet to get at bats, and was more than likely going to be the de facto starter in center (or right, depending on how they feel about Springer in center) before the signing. He’s still young though, and could definitely get time in the outfield during various injuries or if Rasmus flames out again. Of course, Jon Singleton could hit another roadblock at first and be forced back to AAA. In that case, it’s likely Gattis and his lead glove would head there, opening up left for Marisnick, who I find the most acceptable alternative in the fold.

Grossman and Presley were likely the backups, and neither of them are particularly that good. Their youth gives them at least one positive on their side (though you could say that about most Astros). As for Hoes and Santana, they performed so pitifully in 2014, I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them in AAA to start the season.

Is it a perfect outfield? Certainly not. Rasmus and Springer strike out a ton and couldn’t hit .250 in 2014, and Gattis’ glove is a major issue. Still, there’s youth and power aplenty here, and Rasmus, though he had an awful 2014, had good seasons prior to that, and could find himself again here in Houston. And as I was writing this blog, that $4M+ became $8M for one year. $2.8M saved over Fowler, I guess, but that’s still a hefty chunk of change for our little payroll team.

Starting Pitcher:
While the deal for Ryan Vogelsong hasn’t yet been completed, it’s possible this becomes a reality. If so, what then? Well, unlike the Rasmus deal, I have less reservations towards it, as long as it’s only a one year deal (or perhaps a one year deal with an option). Vogelsong is an aging, back of the rotation starter, but I have a feeling that’s exactly who the Astros are trying to sign. The front of the rotation is actually pretty good right now, and while Collin McHugh, Dallas Keuchel, and Scott Feldman aren’t names that are setting the world on fire, they’re certainly not an embarrassment to our fair city. The back of the rotation, though? Problems.

SP4: Brett Oberholtzer
SP5: Brad Peacock

I like Obie. While everyone was gawking over Jared Cosart in 2013, I was pulling for him. It didn’t work out for anyone, as Obi struggled (it felt like he got sent down four times) and Cosart was traded to the Marlins. Peacock was even worse, if you can believe that. A couple offseason trades have gutted the options we had all (and by all, maybe it’s just me) hoped would be fighting for a rotation spot, as Nick Tropeano was traded to the Angels and Mike Foltynewicz (first try!) went to the Braves. At this point in time, the main competition for Peacock’s spot as #5 pitcher (I just say Peacock because I secretly hope Oberholtzer will win the Cy Young award) are Sam Deduno (a Twins castoff) and Dan Straily (a new acquisition from the Fowler trade who had a horrendous 2014). Based on that competition, it would seem likely that Peacock would start the season in the rotation. Horrifying. Then here comes Vogelsong. As long as the contract isn’t ridiculous (and I suspect it won’t be), this is a good stopgap signing, and I think it’ll most likely be money well spent.

Overall, the two signings aren’t terrible, and they’re not going to sink the franchise into oblivion (we miss you, Folty!). While I’m not 100% convinced we needed to sign Rasmus (I liked the Gattis/Marisnick/Springer outfield), Vogelsong should be a good innings eater in the back of the rotation (assumedly as a #4 starter), and bring a veteran presence to the rotation with Feldman (for whatever that’s worth). I’ll update this whenever more information about the Vogelsong signing comes around.

One more thing: Carlos Corporan was designated for assignment to make room for Rasmus. Hope you enjoy Arlington, Carlos. I’m rooting for you.

Now can someone explain to me why we needed to trade Tropeano for a backup catcher?

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(The following ‘blog’ is a faux sports post in the stylings of The Onion)

Image

As the season winds down for the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks, team General Manager Josh Byrnes has sent down Mike Hampton, who was signed in August, to double-A, where he will play with the D’backs’ Wii Sports unit. “Due to the spotty play of our recent acquisition, we have decided that sending him to play some Wii Sports baseball will do him some good,” said Byrnes, who had taken some heat for signing the oft-injured pitcher. Some have found this to be yet another sad chapter for the two-time All Star, but interim manager Kirk Gibson thinks this will help Hampton get back into shape.

“Ever since Wii Sports came out in 2006, we have used this baseball simulator to train some of our players so they can get a feel for major league hitting in a more comfortable environment,” Gibson said in an after-game press conference. “Occasionally, I even get into the ol’ batting stance and take a few cracks off of Voldemort. Man, that noseless a-hole can’t throw a curve!”

As of press time, Hampton has pitched one game in Wii Sports, allowing 5 runs in 2.1 innings. The D’backs are currently looking for suitors.

I happen to be an avid baseball fan. And by avid, I mean that I read lots of books about the history of the game and don’t watch any games actually playing now. So yeah, maybe passive fan would be a better description. Nevertheless, I know enough baseball to have scathing opinions about things that don’t affect me. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

NL DH

We’ll start this post with some good: the rumors of the eventual implementation of the designated hitter (DH) in the National League. Some people will bemoan this as the continued fall of a once-proud game and further additions of half-players (hitters that can’t field and pitchers who can’t hit). But pitchers never really could hit (there are always exceptions, but not enough). No manager wants a poor hitter in their lineup, and no fan truly wants to see a pitcher try to hit the ball (which is why Frank Thomas is my pitcher in Backyard Baseball).

Don't question it.

The point is that I like the DH rule, and having it in both leagues will be fine by me, plus it will alleviate a new headache, which brings me to my next point…

Astros in the AL and Constant Interleague Play

It’s been known for a while that when the new Astros owner, Jim Crane, bought the team, he was going to have to move the club to the American League. On the surface, it makes sense: there are 16 teams in the NL, and 14 teams in the AL. One team moves to the AL, and now we’re even at 15 all. But should it be the Astros? No, I disagree, and it isn’t just because I’m in Texas. The major point is moving a terrible franchise (Major League-worst 106 losses in 2011) from the 6-team NL Central to the 4-team AL West. But the AL is where the other Texas team (the Texas Rangers) is: what’s the point of putting them together? The other two-team cities have their teams in separate leagues: that’s how it’s always been (New York didn’t count pre-1957 because there were 3 teams, and California post-1957 doesn’t count because they have roughly 2,000 teams). And besides, the Milwaukee Brewers were previously moved from the AL to the NL: why not just move them back? Oh yeah, because Bud Selig owned the team and he’s commissioner now, so he’s going to make sure his precious team doesn’t get jostled around. What a joke. This now reminds me of the second part of this segment: constant interleague play.

CONSTANT INTERLEAGUE PLAY!

When the Astros move to the AL in 2013, there will be yearly interleague play (NL’ers vs. AL’ers). That’s fine in short bursts, but why the whole season? That’s lame. The true test of who’s better is in the world series, not these poser games. And that’s the reason for the NL DH, to avoid having to constantly go from having a DH in AL parks to having no DH in NL parks. Acronyms acronyms acronyms.

Colt .45 Jerseys

Looks like we’re back to the ‘Stros. In their final year in the NL, the Astros want to wear their old jerseys for a few games. When the Astros were first admitted into the league, they were known as the Houston Colt .45s (in 1962). After the 1964 season, they became the Astros. So the commissioner will allow these throwback jerseys, but with one condition: no Colt .45 logo on the Colt .45 jersey.

In a world where censorship nazis take away our freedom... what, that already happened? Darnit.

I’ve seen a lot of stupid things in my time (I went to high school, so I know stupid things when I see them), and this just proves my point that censorship and political correctness has gone way too far. They were called the Colt .45s: what’s the point of a jersey without the logo of the team? I’d understand if it used to be something racist or bigoted, like the Tampa Bay Slave Lynchers (the #1 seed team on Stormfront.org), but it’s just a gun, people. Can nobody be trusted enough to watch a couple ballgames with a gun on the uniform? There are much worse uniforms than that.

The terrorists may have won this battle.

You PC-toting censor nazis really need to find something else to do with your time, because you’re wasting mine.

Instant Replay

I’ve talked about instant replay so much (to myself) that I get tired of it, so some quick points. Instant replay will not slow down the game (advertisements have already done that). Instant replay will make sure boneheaded mistakes (see: Denkinger, Joyce) are corrected. Instant replay will prove the good calls of reputable umpires and will hopefully overturn the sickening displays of such arrogant pricks like Joe West. We get it, you’re a jerk. You get paid less than some players do to sit on the bench and do nothing, so quit the acting and get back to umpiring.

Extra Playoff Teams

Our final talking point will be the new playoff teams. This year, two more teams will be added to the playoffs (making a grand total of ten). There will be a one game elimination, and then… I actually have no idea. Regular playoffs, I guess. But why? Why would they do this?

Oh yeah, that.

There are already eight teams vying for the chance to reach the world series (who actually reached the playoffs), we don’t need any more. It’s a small slope to getting to the exorbitant amount of teams the NFL and NBA allow. Baseball, you’re better than that. Why not just let every team in the playoffs? Except for the Mariners of course. Not even baseball is that stupid.

So what have we learned? Baseball is being ruined by a bunch of greedy pigs. So in conclusion…

Run this man out of town on a rail.

In the news this week, a 41-year-old teacher is dating his 18-year-old student. This is just… no. Bad teacher. This is almost as bad as Na’Onka (from Survivor). This is barely a part of the blog, but I wanted it to have a barely-tangible part of the title.

Now on to what we’re really talking about: the Wii U. Yes, the Wii U is probably coming out around the time the world ends (December), so we’re all wondering what games will release with it. And by we, I mean Chase and I (or maybe just me). So there are some franchises that haven’t had much love in recent years, and it’s time to bring it back.

Star Fox

Fox McCloud: he was so boss, that people didn’t even care he was a god-danged furry. He shot people with lasers: that’s all I ask of my protagonists.

Why don't you shoot lasers, stupid dog?

The last time Fox was in a new release was Star Fox: Command back in 2006 for the DS (Star Fox 64 3D is a re-release of a re-release and does not count) and hasn’t really been any good since Star Fox Assault for the Gamecube. But back in the day, there was an idea for a new Fox game: Star Fox 2. The idea is old hat, but it doesn’t matter. Going back to this game and giving it a go would be a good way to bring in the Wii U AND bring back good ol’ Fox McCloud back in the game. Just look at those graphics!

Better than most Wii graphics.

This would bring a great return to one of Nintendo’s most venerable franchises: great action, great shooting, great story.

Great character development.

Timesplitters

This is not a Nintendo franchise, but it does not matter! This was my favorite FPS I ever played ever (until TF2). The shooter genre is pretty same-y, but the trio of games (specifically Future Perfect) stood out with its hilarious dialogue and the ability to shoot allies.

"I never liked you, Cortez!"

There was talk of a Timesplitters 4, but nothing has come out yet. Where you at, TS4? It’s time to split, now more than ever!

Ice Climbers

What’s that you say? Ice Climbers aren’t hardcore? They only had one game that was bettered by the same gameplay a year later with Kid Icarus? You don’t know hardcore, 5 people who are reading my blog. Nana and Popo put Master Chief and Nathan Drake to shame erryday. They hear your pleas of saving the polar bears, and they screw you and beat them to death!

I can't hear your animal rights laws over my freaking hammer!

Alright, that’s all. Well, the MLB expanded the playoffs so there are 10 teams instead of 8. This is stupid, and you are a terrible commissioner, Bud Selig. You are diluting the playoffs with lesser teams… and would you add instant replay already?! When is this guy gonna quit already? Probably gonna make an all-baseball blog post sometime. See you later, blog reader(s)! Let’s make fun of John and Ben, since I know they aren’t reading this.

And just so you know, here’s the song that my blog post is titled after (it’s gonna be a recurring trend):

Today’s blog post is dedicated to former Major League Baseball catcher Gary Carter, who died of brain cancer yesterday. One of the great catchers of all time, it’s a shame he had to go.

That’s all I got. I’ll get a good blog post in next time, full of excitement and my inability to drive virtual cars.