Crane may be PR-challenged, but he’s not stupid

There are many lines of discussion for the Astros these days, but one of the hottest and long-lasting topics of the year is the commitment of owner Jim Crane to build a winner.  Here are some Monday thoughts on that subject and others.

Jim Crane.

  • Not a fan. There’s been much written, much said about Jim Crane. While he has made many mistakes along the way, most of those have been on the public relations front. Where it concerns the on-the-field product, the ship is headed in the right direction. We may never know the real story about the Astros’ move to the American League. Did Crane have any input? Was it the only way MLB would approve the sale? That’s really irrelevant, since it is what it is. The important question is: Has Crane laid the proper framework to return the organization to respectability and contention. There’s still an incomplete grade on that one, too. But there’s plenty — yes, plenty — of evidence that indicates he’s committed. We’ll know more in 2015.

The attitude.

  • What’s up with the attitudes? First, it’s Bud Norris. Now, it’s Lucas Harrell. Is it the first chink in the armor as the team strides headlong toward another 100-loss season? Will others follow? For most of the season, Bo Porter seems to have had the clubhouse in order. Harrell may be in the doghouse, but it’s unlikely the Astros will be able to trade him now. At this point in the season, he’s also too valuable to release outright, but the Astros have certainly provided him some quality time to think about his future with the club.

The rotation.

  • With Harrell already headed to the bullpen, the Astros’ rotation could be in for a shakeup after the break. Remember, last year, Jeff Luhnow traded Carlos Lee the week before the All Star Game. Now that the Ricky Nolasco domino has fallen, Norris is one of the leading pitchers on the trade front. That could force Porter’s hand, either by naming a current reliever as starter (Brett Oberholzter?) or could bring on the promotion of Jarred Cosart. Few fans would object to the latter.

Either way, here’s predicting that Jordan Lyles leads the Astros out of the gate in the second half.

Here’s your Monday kick-starter questions:

  • Is it time for a roster shakeup?
  • If answer to first question is “yes”, then who should go?
  • Are Norris and Harrell correct in saying the shifts Porter uses are hurting the team?
  • How would you rank the rotation (1 through 5) out of the All Star break?
  • If Carlos Pena is such a steadying influence in the clubhouse, what are the odds the Astros will trade him this month? Should they?

Welcome to Chipalatta!

9 comments on “Crane may be PR-challenged, but he’s not stupid

  1. I’m here, chip. I not gonna lie, it’s been a while since I’ve chimed in on anything. Between Twitter and your stated change in chronicle format, I drifted from their forums. I’ve always appreciated the thoughts you put forth, however, if for no other reason than food for thought. Good luck on your endeavors! I for the hometown 9, I think it’s time to look at Cosart. With a projected front 3 including Appel and Lyles, I’d love to start getting the “tenured” system guys tested.


  2. The roster has been shaken up. The other day, the lineup looked like an Oklahoma City Redhawks game. Elmore, Paredes (please, aren’t we done with him yet?), Wallace, Krausss. That’s half your lineup direct from the land of red dirt.

    That said, I’m ready to see Springer when the All-Star Break is done. Send Paredes down and promote Springer. What, you’re worried he’ll strike out too much? Look at the guy Springer would replace. Oh, and a promotion would mean he gets too many at-bats to be a “rookie” next year, but not enough to impress ROY voters this year. Big whoop. Let’s see the kid play.

    I think Porter overuses the shift. Save it for that special player who cannot pronounce “opposite field” let alone hit it.

    Norris, Lyles.Bedard, Keuchel and whomever.

    The bigger question is, could they trade Pena. I don’t think anyone would take him. I know I wouldn’t. His OBP is OK, but he whiffs a third of the time and his OPS is below .700. Good luck selling that jaloppy.


  3. Lineup / shakeup time? – It has been shaken (not stirred) seemingly for the whole first half of the season. But – yes it is time to shake some more.
    What? Really want to start seeing some studs or prospective studs start to appear here – Springer and Cosart would be nice (but in the back of my mind – this is not happening until September with Luhnow).
    To shift or not to shift – I would say mental breakdowns in the field – running, defending, hitting and pitching are hurting the team more than shifts. Norris has risen above his early season complaining – Harrell has sunk into the swamp.
    1) Norris until / if he gets traded (and its a bigger chance it is him with Harrell going to the pen
    2) Lyles – a bit up and down – but could be turning into a top of the rotation pitcher
    3) Bedard – When he puts it where he wants it – he is good, when he puts it where they want it – not so good.
    4) Keuchel – Can’t break glass, so he really has to be on – he has improved to Not Bad.
    5) Can’t rank this one until I know who it is.
    If they hold onto Pena to help the younger guys – I understand that to a certain point – but if they get a decent offer for him… my understanding ends.

    Great to see you branching out, Chip.


  4. Chip so glad you’re still around

    Yes, shake up the roster, bring up Springer & Cosart and anyone else that’s not a retread.

    Way to much shifting. Bring back Tony D

    Lyles, Norris, Keuchel, Bedard, and ?

    Agree with Brian, no teams desperate enough to take him.


    • Chip, great to have you at a new home! Harrell annoys me most simply because he should be mad only at himself. This club picked him up off the scrap heap last year and gave him a shot. He’s returned the favor by becoming an obvious distraction. He leads the league in walks (defensive shifts won’t impact that stat), carries a 5.04 ERA and a 1.611 WHIP. Even on a last place team, those numbers are not good enough for a slot in the rotation.

      If we get good talent in return for any of our starters, I’d like to see moves made. At this point, I’d rather see several guys from the minors before a malcontent like Harrell. Keeping in mind that most of the guys in the system will be on a 140 to 150 inning count for the season, we might get to see four or five guys before the season is over. Looks like Peacock might get back first, but I’d most like to see Wojoski. Cosart is still walking too many guys. And then there’s a long shot in Martinez who will turn 27 in August. It’s hard to ignore his 0.94 WHIP or his 14 walks in 90 innings, even if it is AA ball.


  5. Shakeup — it’s been shaken all season, I’m anxious to see Springer etc, but why waste them this year. Maybe give them a taste in September.

    Shifts– I’m not a fan of overusing shifts. Just for an extreme pull hitting power hitter is enough.

    Rotation — Lyles , Bedard, Norris, Keuchel and Cosart is how I would go.

    Pena — I wish they could trade him, doubt we could get much. I’m fine with releasing him if we can’t trade him.

    Chip, like the look of your new blog. I’m not much on goodbyes so I just read the last week on the Chron. Put a different number with the deuce here to reflect my age since it was deuce50 over there..


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