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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Articles tagged: Houston Astros

Report: Padres, Astros have interest in Dallas Keuchel

Dallas Keuchel

With MLB Opening Day less than a month away, Dallas Keuchel somehow has not found a job for the 2019 season. That could change now that Bryce Harper is no longer a free agent.

Jim Bowden of CBS Sports reports that the San Diego Padres have been in contact with Keuchel’s agent, and the Houston Astros also maintain interest in bringing the left-hander back.

The Philadelphia Phillies were previously linked to Keuchel, but that is unlikely to happen now that they signed Harper to a $330 million deal. Although, one report claimed they wanted to sign Harper, Keuchel and another top free agent.

In addition to the aforementioned teams, the Atlanta Braves have also emerged as a potential suitor for Keuchel with starting pitchers Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Gausman dealing with injuries.

Keuchel turned 31 this offseason, and his ERA jumped from 2.90 in 2017 to 3.74 in 2018. He made 34 starts for the Astros last season and threw over 200 innings, but his strikeout numbers were down a bit to 6.7 per nine innings and his 1.31 WHIP was his highest in six years. It’s possible teams view those as signs that he could be losing effectiveness, but Keuchel remains an elite talent who can be virtually unhittable when at his best.

Astros GM confirms team agreed to trade for Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper

Houston Astros fans are now thinking about what could have been.

Astros President and General Manager Jeff Luhnow confirmed on Thursday that the team had an agreement to acquire Bryce Harper in a trade prior to last year’s deadline.

The Washington Nationals made Harper available for trades last year and even placed him on revocable trade waivers. A November report said the Nats and Astros agreed to a trade that would have sent Harper to Houston for three prospects, but Nats ownership rejected it. On top of Houston, the Dodgers were another team that tried to acquire Harper in a trade.

Harper would have made for quite a rental for Houston, who ended up losing to the Red Sox in the ALCS. Harper remains unsigned as a free agent.

Report: Astros closing in on two-year deal with Michael Brantley

Houston Astros logo

Michael Brantley had a very productive season with the Cleveland Indians last year that went fairly unnoticed, and the Houston Astros are hoping he can give them more of the same in 2019 and beyond.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that the Astros are closing in on a two-year deal with Brantley that is believed to be worth somewhere around $32 million.

Brantley, 31, hit .309 with 17 home runs and 76 RBI in Cleveland last season. He’s a career .295 hitter who missed a significant amount of time with injuries in 2016 and 2017, but he appeared in 143 games with the Indians last year. He should provide Houston with a nice boost in the outfield.

Astros reportedly interested in Nathan Eovaldi

Nathan Eovaldi

The Houston Astros have been exploring ways to improve a starting rotation that was one of the best in MLB history last season, and one player they are interested in happened to pitch quite well against them in the playoffs.

Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Astros have shown interest in signing former Boston Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.

As Morosi referenced, Eovaldi grew up in the same Texas town as Hall of Famer and Astros executive advisor Nolan Ryan. In addition to having roots in common with him, Eovaldi also has an explosive fastball like Ryan did, so it’s no surprise Houston is infatuated with the right-hander.

Eovaldi has also been linked to other top teams in the American League, which is no surprise given his postseason heroics. He allowed just four earned runs in 22.1 innings during the playoffs and was one of the most important pieces of a team that won the World Series.

Astros reportedly among teams interested in James Paxton

James Paxton

The Houston Astros had one of the best starting rotations in MLB history this season, but they are still exploring ways to improve it heading into 2019.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Astros are among the teams who have inquired about potentially trading for Seattle Mariners left-hander James Paxton.

Paxton, 30, has a career ERA of 3.42. He was 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA in 28 starts with Seattle this season, and he is still under team control for two more years. While he has a lengthy injury history, the Astros and New York Yankees are both said to have interest in him. That’s good news for the Mariners.

In any other season, the Astros may have repeated as World Series champions. The Boston Red Sox were simply too good, and Alex Bregman shed some light on just how good he felt the 2018 Houston team was. Players have to like the idea of management trying to make big improvements even after winning 103 games.

Alex Bregman thinks this year’s Astros were better than last year’s

Alex Bregman

The 2018 Houston Astros were considered by many to be one of the best teams in MLB history, but they are headed home after winning just one game in the ALCS. Despite their surprising shortcomings, Alex Bregman still feels this year’s Astros team had more talent than the one that won a championship a year ago.

After the Astros swept the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, there were questions about how any team could possibly get the best of their starting rotation. Justin Verlander then went on to pitch six innings of two-hit ball against the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the ALCS, and some wondered if Houston would lose another game in the postseason.

It was all downhill from there, as the Astros lost Game 2 in Boston and then dropped three straight at home. The amount of potential Bregman believes the team had could make the 4-1 series loss even more painful for fans.

In the end, the Red Sox proved that their 108 regular season wins were not a fluke. They made an Astros rotation featuring Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Dallas Keuchel look mediocre, which is remarkable considering the staff had an MLB-best 3.16 ERA during the regular season. Houston’s bullpen also got knocked around after leading the majors with a 3.03 ERA this year.

Boston caught a huge break in Game 4 with a controversial fan interference call, but you don’t dominate a series and win three games on the road just because the umpires helped you out. In the end, the best team in baseball looked like the best team in baseball. Bregman could be right that the 2018 Astros were better than the 2017 team, but the 2018 Red Sox were not around when the 2017 Astros won the World Series.

Report: MLB teams ‘appalled’ at lack of penalty for Astros

Houston Astros logo

MLB teams are “appalled” at a lack of penalty for the Houston Astros in the face of sign-stealing accusations.

MLB announced in a statement on Wednesday that they considered the case against Houston to be closed.

ESPN’s Buster Olney says many team officials across the league are “frustrated” and “appalled” over the lack of a penalty.

MLB said in its statement that they received multiple complaints about sign-stealing and the use of video equipment surrounding multiple clubs, not just the Astros.

The Astros were accused in August by the Oakland A’s of stealing signs and communicating to their batters via hand claps. The accusations continued into the postseason.

According to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, security in Cleveland and Boston removed an Astros employee from an area where he was taking photographs of the opposing team’s dugout. Cleveland reportedly tipped Boston off about the man, who was removed from a media area where he did not belong during Game 1 of the ALCS.

Passan reports that the Astros have been accused of cheating by at least one team this season. Some with the Los Angeles Dodgers even felt the Astros were sign-stealing during the World Series last year. Houston has insisted one of their biggest advantages was discovering how Yu Darvish was tipping pitches.