If one organization is repeatedly making headlines during the months of October, November, and December, it’s generally a safe assumption that there is a positive reason for that. Those are the months in which teams are either winning titles, adding major talent, or both. The reasons the Houston Astros have stayed in the news, however, have been consistently terrible. Their assistant GM belittled female reporters. The players cheated. Their world-beating ace left to join the their ALCS opponent. And they’ve considered trading their franchise shortstop in an effort to — stop me if you’ve heard this before — gain payroll flexibility. Since the offseason began, there’s been a lot to talk about when it comes to the Astros, but most of it had nothing to do with actual roster moves that usually get a team attention in the winter.
On Monday, Houston finally changed that. The Astros signed 35-year-old right-hander Joe Smith to a two-year, $8-million contract, giving him a little more than half of the deal they gave him this time two years ago. It’s just the second contract handed out by the team this winter, the other being a six-figure commitment to backup catcher