3 reasons the Abreu non-signing is a good sign for the Astros


The recent “chase” to sign Jose Dariel Abreu had nothing but good news for the Astros. Even though Houston didn’t sign the Cuban defector, the Astros seem to be moving the ball down the field. In other words, the train has finally left the prospect-only station.

Here are three reasons even the “non-signing” should give Astros’ fans reason for hope.

  1. If you believe media reports, it reinforces Jim Crane’s comments that the Astros plan to increase their payroll in 2014. Some outlets reported the Astros offered $55 million. Yes, that’s short of what he eventually signed with the White Sox for, but it’s still a record amount for an international free agent (see Yasiel Puig‘s $42 million deal as the previous benchmark).
  2. The Astros are targeting the right area. GM Jeff Luhnow may believe he’s set at the three other infield positions, but first base continues to be a haven of under-performing, unattractive options. Sorry Brett Wallace and Chris Carter. Obviously, first base and designated hitter now are somewhat interchangeable, so depth at either position helps the other.
  3. The Astros will be better in 2014. Yes, Luhnow needs to add a player or two via free agency or trade, but the wheels do appear in motion for that. The proof is in the follow through, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, at least until Christmas. After that, I may begin to join the antsy crowd.

I also respect the fact that Luhnow apparently didn’t get into a bidding war. He knew where his limit was, what he perceived Abreu’s value to be and stuck to his guns. Of course, he may have to get out of his proverbial financial comfort zone to lure a free agent to Houston this winter, but it needs to be the right one.

Was Abreu the right one? There were enough knocks against him with things like bat speed and work ethic and since In Luhnow We Trust is still in effect, I’ll defer to his judgment on this one.

Yes, still waiting patiently and watching closely.

Advertisements

55 comments on “3 reasons the Abreu non-signing is a good sign for the Astros

  1. A lot of people said the Astros would have to overpay to get a top FA, but the White Sox are the ones who had to do that. The Astros were willing to pay good money but resisted crazy money and Chicago didn’t.
    I read this morning that Amador wants to add muscle and lose 20 pounds through workouts and diet and I applaud this. He said that he simply wants to get stronger.
    Now, if we can convince Singleton to do the same thing, who knows.
    -As far as DH goes, If I told you the Astros have a prospect who made it to AA Corpus in his first full year of minor league ball and his stats for that year were a .297 BA, a high walk rate, a low K rate 103 rbi’s 25 hr’s, 32 2Bs and an .872 slg%, you might say “who is this guy”. I would say he’s a slow runner, but only hit into 10 DP’s in 600 plate appearances and is a lefty hitter who hits lfties as good as he hits righties, hits the same on the road as at home and hits the same w/ RISP as he does without.
    People who say we don’t have any hitters in our system completely ignore Preston Tucker.

    Like

    • If anything is ignored its the pitchers, not the hitters in the system. I think even today most national outlets would name our big 3 as Springer/Correa/Singleton, and then might mention Appel or Folty or McCullers.

      Could we all agree that Lancaster would do absolutely no good to Carlos, and we would all like to see him in CC to open the year?

      Like

    • If Tucker ends up being a heck of a hitter, you still have to hide him somewhere. He’s slower than Wallace and will never be a solid outfielder defensively. He’s really slow. I’d like to see multi tool guys at all positions. And that’s a fair enough reason for not giving Abreu 11.3 million a year.

      Like

      • If he turns out to be a heck of a hitter, you can hide him at DH. Duh! Then, when another heck of a hitter arrives, who can also run fast you will have your multi tool DH, I mean, we had so many multi tool DHs this year we should maybe use Tucker for a dart board. Maybe a slightly faster DH with a .223 batting avg and 212 K’s is preferrable. Or maybe Paredes, a multi tool player who has RF covered like a wrestler.You slay me. Where is the sarcasm font?

        Like

  2. Preston Tucker syndrome is a product of having a season in Lancaster. I believe Altuve hit .400 there one year, and Kody Hinze had a full season there that made him like a superstar. Tricky place. The good news is while the average did drop off in CC, the walk rate did not, and while he didn’t have the same slugging in CC he still did well in that area also.

    I like the numbers. You are still looking at an ETA to the majors at 25-26 years old though, so he will have to be a late bloomer to be effective. Good visit.

    Like

    • Great visit. Tucker is following the exact Springer path: Tri City after the draft. First full year 500 PA’s in Lancaster and then promoted to CC.
      Now look at their stats. Tucker did almost exactly what Springer did at Lancaster, with the exception of more rbi’s due to less strikeouts, but lower slg than Springer because of Springer’s triples. Hitting wise they had incredibly even numbers at Lancaster.
      Now look at CC. Springer did not adjust to Texas league pitching in the two months after his promotion. He struggled at CC. Then his second year he got with it and hit terrifically at CC.
      Tucker also struggled for a month after getting to CC but then hit .333 in August with 7 HR’s to finish out the season in style.
      So now Tucker is where Springer was at this time last year , but has matched Springer or excelled so far in hitting..Since I was speaking only about DH, Tucker, so far, has produced just as well as a DH as Springer did as a CF. To me that is exciting. Can Tucker continue his hitting at this rate, and by next August have people clamoring to “Free Preston Tucker” ?

      Like

    • PT has a lot of supporters. I saw somewhere that John Sickels was considering him in his top 100. I think at the time he was in the next thirty or so.

      Like

  3. WOW……what do you do with a kid like Puig???!!!!! Two VERY costly errors
    in tonight’s game. Granted Kershaw didn’t have his best stuff……..but D A N G,
    Puig REALLY gave it to the Card’s. Mattingly has his work cut out for him with THIS KID.

    Like

  4. You slay me? Old Pro, I am guilty as charged though. When I got in last night, rather late, I did not read the posts thoroughly. I missed your suggestion that Tucker might be a good DH candidate and indeed I also missed your acceptance of the fact that he is the equal to Brett Wallace in the speed department. I hope you’re right about the guy. I might be asking for too much though in that I’d like to see a high .OPS lefty bat, one that also has speed and is a solid outfielder.

    Like

    • Dave, we have a guy in the system who is going to move up to AA CC this year who has some of the qualities you mention. Andrew Aplin is somewhat of a star in California, but at age 22 has to do some maturing this year. He has speed, He has a fine glove, and a good arm and has a Brandon Barnes-like flair in center field. But his bat showed some weak signs in Lancaster. He has a great OBP and a low strikeout % and hits very well in the clutch, but his splits are wacko! He hit well at Lancaster, but poorly on the road. He hit lefties well but did not hit righties well, which is weird for a lefty. He hit older pitchers well but did not fair well against the younger studs with good stuff, apparently because he has a long swing. Finally, at 6’0 and 190 he is a little on the small side and didn’t show much power, considering where he played. I think he is really going to have to step up and even out those splits to show more promise in AA. If he doesn’t have a good year 23 in Corpus, he may lower his ceiling too much.

      Like

      • oldpro, I’ve followed Alpin, but have not seen him play. As you note, it’s pretty clear that he’s a more toolsy player then Tucker. And I like his 107 RBI’s from only 139 hits. If he starts hitting righties, his good numbers will really swell. My biggest concern is the .694 .OPS on the road and the .927 .OPS at home. The Hanger is a hitters park. Nobody wants to pitch there. We’ll have to see what he does in CC. I’ve got to figure that he’ll get better against righty pitching. But I don’t think we’ll see much power out of him.

        In the meantime, Jon Heyman is reporting that the Astros might make a run for Shin-Soo-Choo. Believable? I don’t know, but it would solve the right field issue with a lefty bat, excellent on base percentage, good speed and some pop.

        Like

      • Choo would definitly improve our outfield and it is not my money either. With Springer coming in do you move him or Choo to RF? I like Hoes’s bat but his arm sure is wild from what I’ve seen so I’m still going with Grossman over Hoes. Choo would not be blocking anyone but DeShields and DDJ worries me as a centerfielder in MMP.
        Signing Choo gives you a lineup of Choo, Altuve, Springer, Castro, Amador, Singleton, Dominguez, Villar and Grossman. That eliminates some guy who have shown me they don’t fit and blends a little experience with some prospects.
        Yeh, yeah I know. I just like speed at the top, power in the middle and speed at the bottom. Let’s keep talkin’. I’m sure my eliminating Carter will stir some pots.

        Like

  5. It’s okay. In 274 chances Tucker has one error for a .996 fldg % and 18 outfield assists. He ‘s not gonna run down a lot of balls but has played good RF when asked.

    Like

  6. 1oldpro………I’ve been watching those lower minor league clubs, and Preston Tucker
    just might be “the” one, in 2015. He has superb plate discipline, and in Lancaster
    it’s difficult to get a ball outta there! I think he will get a whole year at CC, before making the jump to OKC, but we might just see him by the end of June 2015! Good
    hitters in high A and CC Hooks! THAT is where our future is! Glad you brought up
    Tuckers stats, good conversation!!

    Like

  7. During football games today the scrolling ticker stated the Dodgers offered Kershaw $300M earlier in the season. He was fantastic this year, but that’s the craziest rumor I’ve read in awhile. Add it onto the Robinson Cano wants $300M stories and I don’t know what to believe here.

    Like

  8. Since Veras sent Boston to the world series, maybe the Astros can bring him back as our closer! Because you KNOW he won’t be with the Tigers next year! OPPS!!

    Like

  9. If we’re looking to really remake the pen, Veras would be a good set up man. We should still aim higher for a closer. I don’t really care too much about cost. It’s about time we started spending some money. Jesse Crain, who we’ve already talked about, has averaged 11.3 K’s per 9 over the last two seasons. He might be closer material. And there are others out there.

    Like

  10. oldpro, I’d put Springer in center and leave him there for the next ten years. And, yes, I’d put Grossman in left, Choo in right and let Hoes and Barnes fight it out for playing time. And you won’t hear any complaining from me when Carter loses his job with this club.

    Down the road a year or two, we might have to find a place for Santana too. But that would be a good problem to have to deal with. Still just 21. And he sure looks like a ballplayer.

    Like

  11. Been very busy lately – a bunch of folks in town to celebrate my father-in-law’s 80th birthday – and I have a new job assignment which has been taking up my “leisure” time – so I’m real late to the party here.
    Seeing some activity in bidding for talent is a positive – but I will wait for judgment based on who they actually can get in the front door.
    I was pushing for Choo a long time ago – but I know it is tough to get somebody in here with the dim results the team has been having.
    That would be a nice OF daveb with Springer, Grossman and Choo. We’ll see what we end up with in the spring.

    Like

  12. They’re not getting Choo for reasons mentioned above. He’s wanted and needed by too many contending clubs. He’ll probably wind up with the Yankees. Also, I’d like to just add one thing about “In Luhnow we trust.” I love the fact that he’s in our front office, but let’s remember one thing: His success has come in scouting and player development. He’s hit on quite a few up-and-comers, obviously. But how’s he looking in the few major league trades he’s made so far? I could not have traded Jed Lowrie for the obvious piece he wanted — Chris Carter. Yes, Peacock looks like a keeper. And who knows about Stassi? But the major league guy he wanted in that deal was Carter. After watching Carter’s slow bat and laid-back demeanor, I just don’t think he’d have been on my wish list. His HRs don’t offset all the shortcomings. And he wasn’t the least bit clutch. Get me some gritty players who refuse to lose — like the Red Sox did last winter. And find me some players who put the ball in play or walk the majority of the time. So sick of strikeout artist wannabes and neverwillbes.

    Like

    • Eric, you’re most likely correct on the Choo front. But as Joaquin Andujar once summed up in one word, “you never know”.

      As far as the Lowrie trade goes, it’s still too early to say. I think Stassi is going to help us forget all about Lowrie. He was a very mature looking backstop when I saw him in CC this past August. And who really knows which guy Luhnow was highest on?

      Speaking of Corpus, it’s a great little road trip for a weekend at a neat little ballpark. And on the way, a stop in Fannin at hard to find McMillan’s Bar-B-Q is worth the detour.

      I’ll also add that it’s time for Luhnow to put a competitive team on the field, whether he is able to sign a top flight FA’s or not.

      Like

      • i agree. carter was not the only piece to that trade and he only now has a full year of at bats under his belt. lets see what he does next year before we give up on him. carter, peacock and stassi for an injury prone lowrie who would not have made a difference this season, i like our side of that trade.

        Like

  13. This guy was the perfect storm for a team to overpay. And the White Sox did. He may have value, but not that much.

    That said, we need a corner outfielder who can play defense rather than El Caballo Jr. So, look for that corner guy instead of another DH-1B.

    And, yes, whether it be through free agency or a trade, we need to make some moves in the outfield and the bullpen.

    Like

    • The only thing that bothers me about the contract is the length. Houston is in a position where taking risks almost can’t hurt their overall record, but the risks can’t extend into 2016 and beyond.

      Like

      • I have no faith that the Astros would eat $20-30 million in bad contracts when the time came given their reluctance to spend money in 2013. Unless they were trying to guarantee the worst record in the league there is no excuse for the 25 man rosters we had from April to August.

        Like

  14. How ’bout George Springer winning the Minor League offensive player of the year!!
    Good for him…………he deserved it!!
    Oh, and by the way………*GO RED SOX*!!!

    Like

  15. Devin, there is always going to be risk. Altuve’s extension is a small risk. Even the Cards, with a great farm system, take risks. They signed Holliday to a 7 year deal. At some point, we’ll need to sign guys for more than two years if we have any chance to get deals for quality talent done. I don’t think we can count of getting back to the playoffs with all in house guys, and one or two year FA deals. I say let Crane spend some money. We deserve as much. And I’m pretty confident that Luhnow is not going to drop a 100 mil on another one dimensional player like a Carlos Lee.

    Like

  16. OK, with this morning’s eye-opener that the Angels would be willing to trade Trumbo and Bourjos for young, cost-controlled pitching, would anyone be willing to give up a Cosart, Foltynewicz (or Lyles), Wallace package for those two? Bourjos would move into CF, sliding Springer to right. Lots of other good pitching on the way for Houston and keep in mind that Rodon will likely be the No. 1 pick. Cosart looked good, but I’m not sold he’s a top-of-the-rotation guy just yet. If Singleton is for real, Trumbo becomes the DH. If Singleton isn’t ready, Trumbo plays 1B with Carter as the DH. Carter, however, will eventually go to someone for a couple minor leaguers with upside in my opinion.

    Like

    • Heck, I’d give up Lyles and Wallace in most any deal. But what’s the point of picking up Bourjos or Trumbo?

      We’ve already got plenty of soft hitting guys in the organization that can play outfield defense. If we want to get better, we need to aim quite a bit higher than Bourjos.

      Trumbo is as bad as Carter defensively. And there is no real difference in his bat either. In fact, if Carter can figure out how to hit in Minute Maid, he’ll give us as much or more than Trumbo offensively. Looking a 2013, it’s pretty much a wash.i

      Trumbo .234/.294/.453/.747
      Carter .223/.320/.451..770

      Like

    • I don’t know a lot about these players except what I see in the stats. They are both arb eligible in 2014. Bourjos’s 2013 hitting stats are similar to Grossman’s but Grossman is 2 yr’s younger with half a year in MLB whereas Bourjos has been in his fourth year of mlb. Trumbo had a year like Carter with 184 K’s 32 HR’s and 18 more Rbi’s than Carter, but had better players hitting in front of him.
      Cosart and Folty currently have the best “stuff” in our system. Do we want to face that stuff for the next four or five years in our division? Not for these two. I don’t want Springer moved out of CF for a light hitter. I don’t want a high K-low BB guy at DH. We already have that without treading two pitchers.
      As John Dunbar would say: “bad trade”. Dances with Wolves.
      I like Grossman as a lefty better than Bourjos as a righty.
      This is just my opinion. I appreciate your idea and your time. We definitely needed something to chew on.

      Like

    • My first instinct was that I’d consider such a trade, but reconsidered based on the fact the Angels had an obscene lineup on paper and Trumbo seems to be regressing towards a Mark Reynolds like bat. With less protection and RISP opportunities I’m not sure whether he would provide enough value.

      Like

  17. Here’s another one: If the White Sox pick up all the salary, would you have any interest in bringing Adam Dunn home for the last couple years of his career to be DH against righties, maybe play a little 1B … of course this is assuming Wallace is gone (which he should be I’m sorry to say).

    Like

    • Eric: Two questions. 1. Are you going to Spring Training this year to be our eyes and ears? 2. If Dunn platoons with Carter, do you know what the record for strikeouts in a season for two guys platooning? Because there will be a bunch.

      Like

  18. No, because I believe Amador will hit for a higher avg next year than Dunn and will produce good power numbers.
    Shoot, if you want power and strikeouts you already have Carter and Singleton and you won’t have to trade anyone to get them.

    Like

  19. 1) Oh yes, I’ll be at Spring Training if all goes as planned. 2) Yep, a lot of K’s. Btw: I wouldn’t bring Dunn home. Was just asking …. I’m expecting another Houston guy to be brought home though — Chris Young. … more strikeouts! Ugh!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s