WISH LIST

John Granato: All I want for Christmas...

John Granato: All I want for Christmas...
A bionic knee for Deshaun Watson would be great. Tim Warner/Getty Images

All I want for Christmas is:

Deshaun Watson’s knee to be bionic, not just perfect, bionic.

James Harden to be hypnotized to think that the Warriors playoff series is just a regular season game against the Suns.

Rick Smith to take his annual vacation right after the first round of the draft. No need to wait. Much easier to drive late Thursday night than over the weekend.

The Coogs and someone else to join the Big 12. Ten teams in the Big 12 is just stupid.

Someone to give Gilbert Texans club level season tickets so he doesn’t ask for them every day on the show.

A clean lie in all my sand traps.

The Astros to add Yu Darvish to this rotation.

Yu Darvish to stop tipping his pitches.

Poker as an Olympic sport.

Kevin Sumlin somehow able to overcome the heartbreak of getting paid $10.4M to do nothing this year. Keep your chin up coach.

Tiger Woods to be in contention on a Sunday at a major. That would be sweet.

David Quessenberry, who was just added to the Texans roster, plays great and gets a long term job in the NFL.

The Astros bullpen to have a playoff ERA somewhere below James Harden’s average points per game.

Colin Kaepernick to find work, and no not at the drive thru window at McDonald’s, as a quarterback in the NFL, so every time a QB gets hurt I don’t have to watch ESPN spend four segments on how unfair life is for Kaep. Please, please, please someone give him a job. It’s the most tired conversation in sports.

A Premier League game that ends 22-20. That would be watchable.

Concussion-free football helmets for everyone.

LiAngelo and LaMelo to be the greatest Lithuanian basketball players ever. Then I’m sure Lavar will move there so that he can sell his crappy shoes and be on ESPN Lithuania every day and have his own reality show called Big Baller Brand Lithuania and change the logo to BBBL and never come back here again so we won’t have to see him for four segments on our ESPN every time Lonzo scores 8 points and dishes out 6 assists.

Blue mountains every time on everyone’s Coors Light.

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Extremely positive Yordan Alvarez update from Astros opens door for landmark year

It's a new year for the Houston Astros as they return to action for their first game of the spring against the Washington Nationals on Saturday.

Every season we see some adjustments to the roster which means we also see some changes in leadership. As Astros fans, we're all aware of Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker's contract situations. Breggy could be gone after the season, and Tucker could follow one year later.

Which means it's pretty clear who the leaders of the team will be for the foreseeable future. Not only are these guys two of the best players on the club, but they're also under contract for several more years. In Altuve's case, through the 2029 season. For Yordan, he won't sniff free agency until 2029.

While these guys aren't your typical vocal leaders, they are both highly respected and lead by example. Leadership is something that's front of mind for Yordan this season, according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome.

Another way to be a leader is to do everything you can to be available for your team. Alvarez changed his diet in the offseason hoping it will help him stay healthy this year.

Manager Joe Espada said Alvarez is fully healthy and he plans on playing him earlier than normal this spring.

Currently, Yordan is trending down in games played for three straight seasons. But he's such a great player that he needs fewer games to put up massive numbers.

He finished 3rd in MVP voting in 2022, and he only played in 135 games out of a possible 162.

So with that in mind, how many games does Yordan need to play this year to win an MVP?

Plus, who's going to protect him in the lineup? With new manager Joe Espada in place, it's hard to know what the lineup will look like.

One thing we do know, Espada immediately named Josh Hader his closer when spring training began. He also told the media that he wants Jeremy Pena to know where he's going to hit every day when he comes to the ballpark.

Espada values players knowing their roles, and getting comfortable in their routines. Something very different from last season when manager Dusty Baker moved Pena all over the lineup throughout the season.

So what does all this mean for Yordan?

Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!

Catch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Monday on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel.

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