Few Astros’ positives to cite on a Free Blog Weekend

Well folks, here we are again. The Astros are apparently set to trade some of their better players. No, it’s not Roy O or Lance or even Hunter or Michael.

Even on another probable 100-loss team, this team has marketable players with names like Bud and Erik or Jose. They don’t hold places in the record books. Unfortunately, they don’t even hold valuable places in our memories.

They could, however, be answers to trivia questions one day.  Just like Jarred Cosart or Jonathan Singleton or perhaps even Jonathan Villar. As in, how did the Astros acquire . . . ?

Still, the Astros are where they are: On pace for 108 losses at this point.  Six losses in the last seven games. One win — eight losses — since the All Star break. Few teams in the majors — nevermind just the AL — are more anemic at the plate: .234 average, .293 OBP, .666 OPS to go along with a major-league leading strikeout total (934).

But here’s the primary question for the weekend: Will the Astros be better after the trade deadline passes? After all the speculation and rumors end and the uncertainty settles into the “rest of the season”, will the team actually improve. There is historical precedence for a “yes” answer.

But this time, if players like Norris, Bedard and Veras are gone, there will be few veterans remaining.  At least “veterans” of more than just a season or two.

It’s a free blog weekend, but wondering also about where you are on the Astros? Have you given up hope? Are you still paying attention? Losing faith in Porter and Luhnow?

The Astros have blown through 41 players already this season…with one third of the games left to go in 2013. The record: 50. With trades, injuries, callups and other probable moves, 50 doesn’t seem that far off.

Here are some Free Blog Weekend conversation starters:

  • If Veras indeed is traded, who becomes the closer? Maybe the “Jose-in-waiting”, as in Cisneros?
  • Time to shake up a little more and send Lucas Harrell and Travis Blackley to OKC? Who else should go?
  • Early, early thoughts on Jonathan Villar?
  • Take a look at this roster and remove Norris, Bedard and Veras (if they’re traded): When Jason Castro, Justin Maxwell and Brett Wallace are among the oldest players on the roster, that has to be a concern, no?
  • Will Alex Rodriguez (hard to call him “ARod” anymore) every play for the Yankees again? For that matter, will/should he ever play in the majors again?

17 comments on “Few Astros’ positives to cite on a Free Blog Weekend

  1. – I think Harrell is trying to get released. This is a far cry from our early season discussions on whether he would be moved for prospects at the deadline. They may give up on him…OKC is pretty crowded already.
    – We don’t really need a closer. We need guys who can finish the 7th and 8th innings with the lead. Cisnero as closer seems like a good trial should Veras find greener pastures though.
    – Villar is more likely to be a major leaguer than Marwin Gonzalez. He has warts, but I like the potential. The true test will be defense. 0 errors in 4 games thus far.
    – There are plenty of old guys you can sign. Without pharmaceutical benefits it is becoming more rare for them to contribute at high levels though.
    – The contract the Yankees gave ARod was just as much a disgrace as his PED usage. The Yankees should be forced to play a clean ARod for the duration of the contract as punishment.

    Becky – are you suggesting the Braves would give us back Chris Johnson for Norris? I think if they were really interested in Wesley Wright the deal may have been done already. It’s possible we could give them Norris and Wright together as a package deal, but suspect we’ll get about 50% of the quality we got for Bourn.


    • The Braves are stocked on the farm, but Ed Wade got screwed in the Bourn trade.
      We *NEED* a catcher, and that’s the first guy I would ask for. No…….we don’t need
      the CJ experiment again ( I know you are joking)………right?? Becky


  2. We don’t need Johnson back. He’s still a crappy third baseman and was not a great guy in the clubhouse. I don’t care if he does hit, however streaky. No time to go backwards. I think the problem with Harrell is Harrell. The guy is durable and is capable of showing ML stuff. He proved that last year. A shame that he’s a malcontent. It shows in his demeanor on the field and certainly his performance. Some guys just don’t get it. If he had kept his act together, he could have been pitching for a contender right now.


  3. Closer? Not that it matters – you could throw Cisnero at it or maybe even somebody like Peacock (though they are grooming him for starting with some good performance at OKC). Chia-Jen Lo is still on the 40 man – but not doing well at Corpus.
    Harrell – Gotta think he might get released instead of sent down. He has fallen fast.
    Blackley – Since my son just moved to Melbourne where Travis is from – I was hoping the Aussie would make it. Plus it was always interesting to see how much his tats clashed with the various Astro uniforms – but I think he is running out of opportunities to give away leads in the late innings.
    Villar – Like his speed – he probably would lap Marwin Gonzalez going around the bases and if he can hold his fielding together may be a nice contributor.
    If the vets are traded – it is just not the age of Castro, Wallace and Maxwell – it is the lack of mlb experience on the roster.
    A-Rod will probably play – but he needs to get sat down for awhile as part of the PED investigation. Maybe he can be Ryan Braun’s golf buddy.


  4. Was really disappointed by the lack of FA singings last winter, but nothing Luhnow/Porter can do right now. The Astros record should improve with “disgruntles” gone and “exciteds” arriving – played .500 ball last September. Please, no more waiver pick ups. I really don’t see any team giving up much for Norris or anyone else. Hope I am surprised. Who is ARod? (Please pardon my tone, but the losing is getting to me!)


  5. There has to be something going on in the clubhouse. Difficult to believe Harrell, Norris, Altuve, etc all regressed from last year for no reason.
    I was there Tues. Only Villar, Cosart, & possibly Barnes looked like they wanted to be there.

    Arod needs to retire.


  6. Sandy…….I’ve had the same feeling for a while now. Bo Porter would
    get on my last nerve. A Rod won’t retire……….he MIGHT get banned
    from MLB for life, though.


  7. After tonights game, I doubt any other team would want *ANY* of our players.
    AND……why on God’s green earth did Luhnow call Ambriz back up?????????
    Simple really, we don’t have ANY quality players…..and that INCLUDES Altuve.


    • I disagree about not having quality players. I think Altuve IS a quality player, but not star level. Our issue is our pitching more than anything else. I think our offense would be better if we weren’t always down 5-0 at the end of the second inning; I think a lot of it results in them always swinging from the fences.

      I agree about Ambriz, though.


  8. It seems obvious to me with the recall of Grossman instead of Springer that the prospects who could make a difference are going to do their developing in the minors. That especially includes the pitching. Not sure why Luhnow is willing to bring up marginal prospects (Krauss, Grossman, Elmore, etc) for position players but won’t do it with pitchers. Our outfield sucks with the lone exception being Barnes defensively yet the best outfielder in the organization sits in AAA smoking everything thrown his way. We have all these hot arms in the minors and not all of them are going to be starters unless we go with a 7 or 8 man rotation so why not let Folty with his 100mph heater and/or Wojo with his presence come on? Of course if Norris and/or Bedard are traded we will see some of the OKC guys as starters.

    Veras is the only competent arm in the bullpen. Cisneros put up some nice numbers when he was brought in during non-stressful situations but when he has come into the games when a lead is in jeopardy or the score tied he’s wilted in the bright lights like the rest. The guy who really disappoints me is Wesley Wright but some of that may fall on Porter and how he chose to use him early in the season. In late 2012 Wright became more than a mere lefty specialist and was getting significant innings and was effective. This season he was typically brought in to face a single hitter. Hard to develop any consistency being used that way.

    After the game tonight I was listening to the post game show and literally no one called in for several minutes and then those who did call in were drunks and skunks. Refusing to give the fans a glimpse of the highly touted prospects has turned the entire town not only indifferent but approaching hostility and total apathy.


  9. I am not advocating Porter be fired, but he is continuing to manage like Mills. He has few choices, but if he continues to use the entire pen every night, he will continue to have a burned out pen. My advice to him would be “Don’t do something, just sit there.”


  10. Oh, folks, it’s tough. They can’t just lose. They have to have a lead late in the game and then give up winning home runs. Even today Keuchel throws a quality start for a little while and then gets bit by the American League staple, the three-run HR. Amazingly, the bullpen’s most tradeable commodity manages to hang on to the lead, staving off elimination one more day.

    I truly understand the “appeal” of the junior circuit. Love those homers, baby! It’s just that after a short honeymoon (to fans of National League ball), they feel watered down, like maybe the pitching isn’t supposed to be the focus. The fans want high-scoring donnybrooks, and fall asleep during 1-0 pitching duels.

    It could be all those seasons in the sixties when the ColtStros were not built for power but for pitching, helped along by the Astrodome, one of the most spacious parks in the majors. I was led to believe that was done by design, as “good pitching always defeats good hitting.”

    It’s still looking as if meaningful games for the Astros are in the fairly distant future, as each of the division opponents salivate at the prospect of getting 19 freebies every season. I hope I’m mistaken, and I do trust that Luhnow has a time-tested plan. But the season is almost two-thirds done, and I continue to feel like biblical Jacob who got ALeah, the bride he didn’t want to marry, instead of his beloved RacheNL.


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