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The Forgotten Playoff
added 02/16/2019 by Bob Hulsey
The National League had some storied playoff series before 1969. Somehow, this wasn't one of them.

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February 17 - This Date in Astros History
February 17 - This Date in Astros History
February 17

1990 - Shortstop Andujar Cedeno is signed to a minor-league deal and placed on the Astros' 40-man roster, causing various national sportswires to misidentify him both as Cesar Cedeno and Joaquin Andujar. The 20-year-old fellow Dominican is not related to either former Astro.
1964 - Colts trade outfielder Carl Warwick to St. Louis for outfielder Jim Beauchamp and pitcher Chuck Taylor. Beauchamp would hit .164 and .189 as an Houston reserve. The 21-year-old Taylor was sent back to St. Louis where he saw his first big league action in 1969 and became a quality reliever.

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Date      Opp      Result
2/23     #WSH       ----
2/24      ATL*      ----
2/24     @NYM*      ----
2/25      NYM*      ----
2/26     @MIA*      ----
2/27     #WSH*      ----
2/28      MIA*      ----
3/01      STL       ----
3/02     @NYM*      ----
3/03     #WSH*      ----
3/04     @ATL*      ----
3/04      NYM*      ----
3/05      off        --
3/06      MIA*      ----
3/07     @MIA*      ----
3/08      STL       ----
3/09     @STL*      ----
3/10     #WSH*      ----
3/11      NYM*      ----
3/12     #WSH       ----
3/13     @NYM*      ----
3/14      MIA*      ----
3/15      STL*      ----
3/15     @STL       ----
3/16     @PHI*      ----
3/17     @ATL*      ----
3/18      off        --
3/19      PHI*      ----
3/20      NYY*      ----
3/21     @DET*      ----
3/22      NYM       ----
3/23     @MIA       ----
3/24     #WSH*      ----
3/25     $PIT       ----
3/26     $PIT       ----
3/27      off        --
* - day game.
# - at W. Palm Beach
$ - at Minute Maid Pk

Spring record:
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Houston Astros recap - 02/13/19 - Cole Wins As Pitchers, Catchers Report

Cole Wins As Pitchers, Catchers Report

Cole: Opens camp with raise
(c) Getty Images
The last arbitration case for the Astros was decided Wednesday as Gerrit Cole won his case against the ballclub. Unlike the old days where Tal Smith seemed to have a magic touch winning arbitration cases, the current Astros regime was 0-2 this year - losing duels with Cole and shortstop Carlos Correa.

The Astros wanted to pay the righthander $11.425 million for 2019 and Cole countered with a demand for $13.5 million - a difference of more than $2 million. Cole, a client of Scott Boras as are several Astros, had a strong 2018 season, winning 15 games, striking out a career-high 276 batters and finishing fifth in the Cy Young Award voting.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, the estimated Opening Day payroll would be approximately $158 million, about the same as the Astros opened with in 2018. This includes the additions of free agent signees Michael Brantley, Robinson Chirinos and Wade Miley.

Salaries for pre-arbitration players have yet to be resolved but the players are largely given take-it-or-leave-it deals. The only one who might see a noticeable raise is 2018 team MVP Alex Bregman who could see his pay spike to over a million. If Bregman has another year like last season, I could see him starting a Go Fund Me page.

Meanwhile, pitchers and catchers reported to spring camp in West Palm Beach, FL with the Grapefruit League opener set for February 23rd against the Washington Shutdowns.

A common game on the internet this month seems to be predicting who will make the Astros roster. With 20 players currently under contract and two pre-arbs (Bregman and catcher Max Stassi) locks to make the team, it's not a very tough challenge despite two pitchers (Lance McCullers and Joe Smith) jumping straight to the Disabled (excuse me) "Injured List" for several months.

The questions boils down to the fifth starter role (Josh James, Framber Valdez, Cionel Perez, Forrest Whitley or veteran Brad Peacock), the back of the bullpen (Peacock, Valdez, Perez or Reymin Guduan) and the backup outfield spots (Jake Marisnick, Tony Kemp, Kyle Tucker, Derek Fisher, Myles Straw). Peacock will make the club somewhere and Kemp is out of options. IF-DH Tyler White is likely to stick as is new utility man Aledmys Diaz. Therefore, most of the remaining players still with options are likely to start the year at AAA Round Rock and wait their turn to contribute.

Another topic this spring will be any attempts to coax contract extensions from Cole and pitcher Justin Verlander who will both be free agents next winter if not re-signed. In fact, all four certain starters (including Miley and Collin McHugh) become free agents after the World Series if not retained.

It seems the Astros are content to wait until this summer to consider any trades or personnel moves outside their own active roster, content in the likelihood they will lead their division when the July trade deadline approaches. It seems a fairly safe bet as the AL West landscape is surveyed. The Las Vegas betting parlors rank the Astros tied for second in Worlds Championship odds (7-1) with Boston, behind the Yankees (6-1) who get the benefit of baseball's largest fan base.

- Bob Hulsey

Houston's Team Houston's Title (click to order)

Breathing Orange Fire: Jose Altuve
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Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961
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RSS Feed | News Archives
The Forgotten Playoff - Astros Daily
Osuna looks past 2018, ready to close for Astros - KTRK-TV
Hinch teaches, catcher-to-catcher, with Chirinos - Houston Chronicle
Cole, Verlander rip Raysí use of the opener strategy - Tampa Bay Times
Osuna will close for Astros - Canoe
This is how close Astros were to trading for Harper - New York Post
Astros ready to go - KLTV-TV
Astros can still win the offseason - Astros.com
How does Altuve rank on Top 100 right now? - Astros.com
Whitley throws first bullpen session of spring - Astros.com
Cole, Verlander push back on 'opener' concept - Astros.com
Astros moving Aledmys Diaz around field in spring training - Houston Chronicle
Springer back to normal for Astros - Houston Chronicle
Brantley eager for change - Houston Chronicle
Osuna entering first full season with Astros - Houston Chronicle
Verlander sees his MLB career stretching into his mid-40s - KTRK-TV
Verlander concerned about state of MLB and all the unsigned free agents - Palm Beach Post
Astros pitchers hit field for first time at Spring Training - KPRC-TV
Bregman on Verlander's leadership - SportsRadio 610
Expiring contracts of Verlander, Cole hover over Astrosí future - Houston Chronicle
Astros on prep at camp - Astros.com
Bregman doesnít see problem with comments about Red Sox - NESN
Astros have unfinished business this season - Astros.com
Astros' rotation is ready - Astros.com
Back in rotation, McHugh able to draw on relief - Astros.com
Verlander on free agency: 'Rebuilding' teams misleading if stars aren't signed - Houston Chronicle
Luhnow confirms Astros almost added Harper in 2018 - Houston Chronicle
Astros pitchers and catchers start Spring Training - KTRK-TV
Cole wouldn't pay to watch an opener - theScore
Bauer and Cole are the same pitcher - Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram
Back in rotation, McHugh able to draw on relief - Astros.com
Cole says record arbitration deal a 'win for players in general' - Houston Chronicle
McHugh relishes starting role - Houston Chronicle
Astros skipper sees silver lining in ALCS defeat - Palm Beach Post
Astros report to spring training in West Palm Beach - KPRC-TV
Great expectations are routine for these Astros - Houston Chronicle
Astrosí first official workout of the Spring set for Thursday - KPLC-TV
Berkman surprised to be off Hall ballot in first year - Houston Chronicle
Peacock focused on refining new pitch - Houston Chronicle
Exciting battle for rotation spots puts Astros future stars on display - SportsMap
Unrest in Venezuela catches up with Altuve - Houston Chronicle
Bregman stokes rivalry with Red Sox in latest comments - 12up
Keuchel claps back to fan who questioned his contract demands - 12up
Source: Cole wins arbitration case vs. Astros - Astros.com
Astros open camp with bar 'set incredibly high' - Astros.com
Altuve still hoping Astros find way to bring back Gonzalez - Houston Chronicle
Cole wins salary arbitration case with Astros - Houston Chronicle
Cole Wins As Pitchers, Catchers Report
- Astros Daily
3 things to know as Astros pitchers and catchers report - KHOU-TV
Astros should open 2019 season with Whitley in rotation - 12up
5 burning questions as Astros open 2019 spring training - KPRC-TV
Raspas, Bregman stare bobblehead highlight 2019 Hooks promotional calendar - Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Bregman showed up to Spring Training with a farmer's tan most golfers dream about - Golf Digest
Astros, Cole go through arbitration hearing - Sporting News
Bregman plays football with NFL's Jarvis Landry - Astros.com
Morton happy to be with Rays - Tampa Bay Times
Astros Preview: Houston seeking second title in three seasons - Forbes
Uniform patch to mark 150 years of pro baseball - Astros.com
Verlander says free agency system is 'broken' - Sports Illustrated
2019 ZiPS Projections – Houston Astros - FanGraphs
Reddick swishes Rockets' 'First Shot' - Astros.com
Predicting the Astros' Opening Day roster - Astros.com
How Astros players spent their offseason - Houston Chronicle
Rockets, Astros now available on streaming, but it will cost you - Houston Press
Astros 2019: Scouting, projected lineup, season prediction - Athlon Sports
Springer makes special appearance at Woodlands Church - KTRK-TV
Naskedov helping Astros pitchers get back on track - Longview Daily News
James predicted for 5th spot in Astros' rotation - Astros.com

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- Bob Hulsey