Stars were out in bunches at Reggie Jackson’s Mr. October Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic. Legends of the past like Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell and Jackson himself were there. Rappers Bun B and 50 Cent were in attendance. Current Astros players Michael Brantley, Lance McCullers Jr., Kyle Tucker and Jeremy Peña.
Both Brantley and Tucker offered intriguing soundbites when speaking with the media at the event. Brantley gave an update on his health and whether or not he believes he will be ready to go for Opening Day.
“I’m doing great. Just following the process, following the schedule we have planned out. All is going well. I’m excited where I’m at. I’ve been hitting, running and throwing and I’m very excited where I’m at in the process.”
– Michael Brantley
Brantley added that the plan is to be ready to go for Opening Day and that is what he is working towards, though he may be slightly limited when Spring Training begins. Uncle Mike will take BP for the first time on Monday.
If the Astros can get a healthy Brantley back, their lineup becomes arguably the best in baseball. He’s a virtual lock to hit .300 and will likely post an OPS around .780. His left-handed bat would also help balance the lineup.
Brantley spoke with a great deal of optimism in his tone. Kyle Tucker’s tone about his contract wasn’t quite as enthusiastic.
““My focus is just preparing for the season, letting the other stuff play out…We’ve got Spring Training coming up pretty soon and I’m trying to get ready for that.”
– Kyle Tucker
That’s a pretty standard answer for a player heading into arbitration, specifically one that was $2.5 million apart from the team. It was his answer when asked about a long-term extension that was slightly eye-opening. First, a pause, followed by this.
“We’ll see how it all works out. I’ve got three years of arb anyways, so we’ll just see how it plays out.”
– Kyle Tucker
Ideally Tucker would have expressed a greater deal of interest in signing a long-term extension.
Now, plenty of players say they want to stay somewhere and then bolt at the first opportunity in free agency. But fresh off of a World Series, Gold Glove and his first All-Star appearance, it would have been slightly more comforting to hear Tucker say he loves it in Houston and would like to stay.
Rumors have floated about the Astros and extension talks aroudn Tucker and other young talent. Dana Brown said one of his priorities was to extend young, homegrown talent. Here is hoping Tucker is top of that list for an extension.