Stop the streak! It’s time to build the house.
For the past four seasons, the Astros have been sellers at the trade deadline. In fact, two different general managers have traded away more than a full roster trying to find the right combination to create a winner. Bereft of real veterans in the organization, Luhnow is now moving younger players, still seeking to assemble the foundation for an organization in decline since reaching the pinnacle in 2005.
Stop the bleeding, it’s time to build the house! As any contractor will tell you, it takes 2x4s and bricks to rebuild a house. You can spend only so much time on the foundation. It’s time for the Astros to put the “build” into the “rebuild”.
No, this isn’t an indictment on either Luhnow, owner Jim Crane or their ambitious reconstruction plan. While most baseball savvy fans are in the GM’s corner and are patiently watching the blueprint slowly come to life, the Astros should throw fans a few crumbs along the way. Maybe sooner than later.
Locking up Jose Altuve is nice. Bringing up Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Villar is a good start. George Springer in a few more weeks would be great too.
With Jason Castro approaching arbitration, perhaps it’s time to buy out a few of those arb years in inexpensive fashion. It wouldn’t take an Altuve contract.
Perhaps more importantly, the Astros need to begin to build around those players. Add some key veterans who aren’t of the low-risk, high-reward, release-in-midseason group. They shouldn’t necessarily be free agents. But, with much pitching in the stable and with John Ely and Alex White working their way back with a good young core, it may be time for a well-placed addition or two in the lineup.
Let’s see how Luhnow fashions a trade from the “other” side. In other words, not just selling off the major league roster. But can he put together 2-3 low-level “prospects” for a major league third baseman or outfielder this winter?
He’s proven he can do well in the draft. He can negotiate contracts. He’s shown evidence of being shrewd at signing low-risk, high-reward players (e.g. Jose Veras) in hopes of flipping them later. Say what you will about Rick Ankiel, Carlos Pena or Tyler Greene, but he’s wasted little money in the big picture trying to find a diamond in the rough.
Yes, the Astros have proven very good at one aspect of the rebuild project. The minor league system is now among the best in all of baseball. For his next act, Luhnow will try to put some meat on those bones.
Indeed, there’s a strong foundation, it’s time to build the house.
Here’s a list of those traded over the past few years.
- Carlos Lee 1B.
- Jeff Keppinger 2B.
- Jed Lowrie SS.
- Chris Johnson 3B.
- Lance Berkman LF.
- Michael Bourn CF.
- Hunter Pence RF.
- Humberto Quintero C.
- Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, Brett Myers, J.A. Happ.
- Bullpen: Wilton Lopez, Mark Melancon, Brandon Lyon, Jose Veras,
- Bench: J.B. Shuck, Justin Maxwell, Jason Bourgeois.
So with one third of the season remaining…
- Has the team reached the bottom yet?
- Will Houston actually play better now that the deadline has passed?
- Which position should Luhnow target this winter?
- How should the Astros proceed over the next 18 months?
- Have the Astros done well in trading those players listed above?
- Astros acquire OF Vasquez from Detroit (khou.com)