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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.