It's not about me. This is more about the Houston Astros organization. We're playing our first American League game. It's about the players in this clubhouse getting an opportunity to allow the entire country and the baseball community and the fans in Houston to have an opportunity to be on ESPN, the only game in baseball. It's a great stage and great platform for everyone to see the many changes that have taken place in our organization.
-- Bo Porter after his first win as the Astros' manager
I heard a lot of comments about the payroll, the payroll, the payroll. We'll spend the money when we're ready to spend the money. This year wouldn't be the time to do it.
-- Astros owner Jim Crane
I think there have been some people who have been disparaging in their analysis of their talent level, but this is the major leagues, and any team is capable of beating any other team on a given night.
And the money continues to flow...
Sources: Andrus, #Rangers close on eight-year deal, believed to be for $120 million.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 1, 2013
Now this may be an April Fools' Joke, but if it's not, Willie Bloomquist may be the best SS FA available next year.
Diamondbacks in the News
D-backs pitching expectations are high, but will they live up to them?
It's no surprise that going into this 2013 season, the D-backs understand they will need a solid rotation and bullpen in order to return to the playoffs. With free agent signee Brandon McCarthy joining Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin, the expectations are high to perform. Ian leads the NL West with the most wins in the past two years (36) and is looking to rebound from last years disappointing season. Cahill lost 20 pounds in the off-season and Gibson hopes he'll pitch 200 innings and win 20 games from the 25 year old. McCarthy needs to stay healthy for once in his career in order to live up to his contract. Miley will look to fight off regression and the sophomore slump while Corbin will fight to prove he belongs on the MLB roster. The ability is there to lead the D-backs back to relevancy, but ability is only the first step to wins.
16 Facts from Diamondbacks Opening Day History
16 - Monday will be the 16th Opening Day in Dbacks franchise history.
15 - The total number of Opening Day strikeouts for Brandon Webb in his 4 starts.
14 - Amount of earned runs allowed in 2005 against the Cubs.
13 - The D-backs have 13 players on the active roster who weren't with the team for last year's Opening Day.
12 - The total number of games played tomorrow. (I had to cheat, there is nothing about the number 12)
11 - The total number of different Opening Day 1st basemen.
10 - The D-backs have never reached 10+ runs in an Opening Day game.
9 - The total number of Opening Day victories in franchise history.
8 - Luis Gonzalez started eight Opening Days in a row from 1999-2006.
7 - Total amount of errors committed by D-back players.
6 - Since 2007, the D-backs have an Opening Day winning streak of 6 games.
5 - Number of home victories (out of 9 chances)
4 - Barring any injuries, Miguel Montero will start his 4th Opening Day to take the D-backs franchise lead for catchers.
3- Ian Kennedy will make his 3rd straight Opening Day start, behind Randy Johnson (6) and Brandon Webb (4).
2- Including Monday, total number of Opening Day opponents outside of the NL West.
1- 3 of the last 4 Opening Day games have been decided by 1 run.
Adam Eaton reveals all (well, mostly what he likes to eat)
Mike Oz: What is your favorite pastime not related to baseball during spring training?
Adam Eaton: Fishing. Yeah, definitely. There's some great fishing out here in Arizona. My wife and I go out frequently, my financial guy also. It's kind of one of those things where you can relax, take your mind off the game a little bit and enjoy the outdoors.
MO: What places would you want to give you …
AE: Chipotle! For sure, Chipotle. I can't get enough of that place. We had a Chipotle in college where I went to school and we at that every day or every other day. You don't get tired of it because you switch things up.
To read more, make sure to read the rest of the interview.
Kevin Towers Interview with Nick Piecoro
If you haven't read soco's article on The Plan yet, go do that now before reading this interview. It's a great read, and will get you in the mood for this Q&A with the current Diamondback GM, Kevin Towers. This is another awesome piece from Nick and I think I speak for everyone when we're lucky to have him covering the D-backs. I won't spoil the article for you so just click here and get a glimpse into the mind of our GM.
Today in Baseball
After 51 years in the National League, the Astros start the new American League era with a win over the Rangers.
Looking spiffy in their new uniforms, the Astros beat the Rangers 8-2 in Houston. Bud Norris carried a shutout into the 6th, with veteran Eric Bedard coming in to pick up the 3+ inning save for his 1st career save. Rick Ankiel hit an Opening Day pinch-hit, 3 run homer off of Derek Lowe to put the game out of reach for the Astros.
Payrolls up again this year as total salaries top $3 billion
Very interesting Infographic created by Yahoo which gives a breakdown of each team's total salary for 2013. The D-backs come in 18th with $87 million.
Fangraphs: The Game 2013 Edition
While news about Pick 6 from last year has been non-existent, FanGraphs hopes to fill that void with their very own fantasy game. First you create a player, using their team name and position to differentiate between the up-to 8 players you can have. Then, you are given a budget of $1,000 for the entire season and after that, well, I'll let them tell you.
Each day you may make one pick for each of your players until that player's game limit is reached. The real-life baseball players you may pick qualify at the same position of your player and range in value from $0 to about $15. You can only make a pick if you have at least the same amount of money available to you. The entire stat line for your pick will be attributed to your player once the games for the day are completed. This includes everything from standard stats (such as home runs and strikeouts) to advanced stats (such as pitch speed, etc.).
To read the full rules or actually play the game, click here.