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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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