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Some New Year’s resolutions for Crane, Luhnow and other Astros


We know how New Year’s resolutions work – they are usually very important, very difficult to keep and abandoned faster than a ….New Year’s resolution?
So, this year rather than be the source of internal disappointment, I decided to take a different tack and choose resolutions for others.

A resolution for Jim Crane . Jim, I think your resolution for 2014 should be to watch recordings of Bill Belichick’s press conferences and to keep your answers to two or three word sentences. You should hire a lackey to stand next to you with a large muffin in his or her hand and stuff it in your mouth whenever you start to say what you really think.

A resolution for Reid Ryan. Reid, this may be a tougher assignment than any of the 773 starts of your dad’s MLB career. Your resolution

is to somehow come to an equitable agreement on the Comcast mess that provides reasonable income to the team (and not its lawyers) and most importantly allows the fans to actually see the product that we pray will be improving this year.

A resolution for Jeff Luhnow.  Jeff, you undoubtedly have watched the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” during the recent holiday season and no doubt you identified with Bob Cratchit when he asked Scrooge for another lump of coal. Well, your resolution should be to ask Jim Bob Scrooge Crane for more than another lump – to ask him for a giant lump of gold named Masahiro Tanaka.

A resolution for Bo Porter.  Bo, I know you are an aggressive sort and you have a football as well as a baseball background. But I want you to pull back the reins on the “running” Houston Astros. As a team they were successful only 64% of the time in their steal attempts. That is bad any time and in the modern sabermatic world that is statistical suicide. Your resolution has to be to reel in the stealing, especially for the guys like Brandon Barnes (11 of 22) and Robbie Grossman (6 of 13) who were only coin flips to make it to the next base. (Well, Barnes is someone else’s concern this season – but you get the idea).

A resolution for John Mallee.  John, baby, the Astros were last in the AL in hits, OBP, SLG, OPS and first in most K’s – a major league record 1523 strike outs or approximately 9.4 per game. It was likely one of the worst hitting exhibitions since the Amazing Mets were an expansion team. Your resolution has to be to help those hitters get out of the basement in something – anything – and save your job. I know you had a boat load of inexperienced and fairly low talent hitters last year – but I just saw very little improvement or change in approach during the season. Show us something – please.

A resolution for Brent Strom.  Brent, your resolution should be to channel your inner Dave Duncan. The Cards have been great in developing fine arms out of their own system – but what always impressed me was when some “guy” would end up traded to or signed by the Cards, like Jeff Suppan, Kyle Lohse or a string of others, and immediately improve.
Along with the obvious – developing the young guys – please make some pearls from sow’s ears, Mr. Strom.

I could go on and on with these resolutions for the players – but thought I would step aside and see what resolutions you loyal bloggers would like to contribute. What do you want to see from your favorite or least favorite Astros in 2014?

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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

66 comments on “Some New Year’s resolutions for Crane, Luhnow and other Astros

  1. 1oldpro
    December 31, 2013

    I have to comment on Mallee. What did Jeff give him to work with? Wallace was horrible! and Pena and Ankiel OMG. We traded a decent SS for Carter who started in LF! Altuve refuses to take, Dominguez refuses to take and we had Maxwell starting in CF after striking out an incredible amount in 2012. We had nothing, nothing for him to work with and have given very little else to start out this season either.

    Like

    • peschdan
      December 31, 2013

      Kind of with you old pro – but I just wanted to see some change in approach – some sign of improvement. To be fair – Castro who actually has talent was a good hitter and Dominguez was better down the stretch – but I just saw nothing that showed me anyone was listening to him. Or if they were listening he was telling them the wrong thing. Hey – I will gladly let him show us better in 2014.

      Like

      • rj1953
        December 31, 2013

        we signed crain for one year, no dollar amount reported as yet. i am glad to see this signing, he will probably be our closer.

        Like

      • peschdan
        December 31, 2013

        rj – yeah I heard that on the radio driving around. I like getting that 3rd vet arm in the bullpen. They say Crains injury was in his biceps not his shoulder – so hope to get him back in time for the season.

        Like

  2. daveb
    December 31, 2013

    If two of the three new guys signed for the pen remain healthy, then it will be hard not to have a better relief staff. Good work. I still suspect something will get done for the shortstop position, but it might be later on as remaining FA’s get worried about having a contract. As for Tanaka, I suppose that’s about as long a shot as Choo was. But how about Tommy Hanson as a reclamation project? Peace and good health all. Happy New Year!

    Like

    • peschdan
      December 31, 2013

      Thanks for the thoughts daveb – I like this signing and I agree that they may pick up another middle infielder as I guys start to run out of options.
      Have a great New year daveb and rj.

      Like

    • peschdan
      December 31, 2013

      Oh, and daveb – Hanson is a reasonable guy to chase – very good pitcher his first three seasons and is only 27 in 2014. A lot better than taking some 36 or 37 year old …..

      Like

  3. peschdan
    December 31, 2013

    OK – I’ll throw out a player resolution.
    Jose Altuve – please resolve to take more pitches – you don’t have to be Nolan Fontana, but you were plain pitiful down the stretch – hardly ever walking. Get on base more often or bat in the 8th spot.

    Like

    • BrianT
      December 31, 2013

      The Astros had worked with him on pitch recognition in spring training 2012. They headset up drills to get him to better recognize his strike zone. I think they need to do that again.

      Like

      • peschdan
        December 31, 2013

        Brian T – I think his total philosophy is see the ball try to hit the ball. They need to get him to hit smarter and be a smarter base runner too.
        Happy new year to you BT

        Like

  4. BrianT
    December 31, 2013

    This will sound creepy, but …
    Can I be Jim Crane’s “Muffin Man.”

    Like

    • BrianT
      December 31, 2013

      Yeah, I regret saying it already. ;^))

      Like

      • peschdan
        December 31, 2013

        Wow that is as creepy as a Michael Bolton car commercial.
        But it would probably pay well.

        Like

  5. Billy Castillo
    December 31, 2013

    Glad they got Crain. Very good signing.

    Here’s a possible option at SS…Stephen Drew. Very good fielder, decent bat…has had injury problems but they have been fluke injuries as opposed to chronic pain. What say you?

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 31, 2013

      Billy C – Drew is probably the best middle fielder left on the market – the Yanks have said they are no longer pursuing Drew. The Mets have some interest and the Red Sox seemingly are waiting to see if he crawls back to them. With Boras as his agent – I’m sure he is wanting multi-years – but he is now over 30…He made $9.5 million last season.
      Maybe you could get him for 2 yrs $15 million and then replace him with Fontana/Correa???

      Like

      • becky
        December 31, 2013

        I would sign Drew in a NEW YORK MINUTE, if I thought the guy would be willing to come here! Talk about a REAL charge to the infield!
        And……I did a happy dance tonight when I saw Luhnow signed Crain!
        “Now ya going Astros”!! I want to wish everyone of you a healthy safe
        and prosperous New Year! I love this blog, and I thank you fellas for
        giving a girl a chance to add my thoughts about this club I love so much.
        Cheers! Becky

        Like

      • peschdan
        December 31, 2013

        Becky – the best to you and your family – especially health-wise in 2014.
        The ‘pen was obscenely bad last year – so Luhnow has moved the needle on re-making that dilapidated area of the club.

        Like

    • devin_
      December 31, 2013

      He might be an improvement over Villar. Defensively he should be steady. Offensively he’s just not very good right now…probably more comparable to Clint Barmes than the guys Bora$ would compare him to. If it’s a 1 year contract I wouldn’t mind taking a shot.

      Like

      • peschdan
        December 31, 2013

        He had a solid OPS last year .780 or so – pretty good.

        Like

    • Tim
      January 1, 2014

      Drew would cost us our 2nd pick in the draft as he received and rejected the qualifying offer from Boston. I don’t see it happening. I was skeptical with the rumor of signing Choo because of the lost draft pick and I surely don’t want to surrender it for Stephen Drew.

      Like

      • peschdan
        January 1, 2014

        Good point Tim – they won’t do it based on that.

        Like

    • Steven
      January 2, 2014

      For some reason anyone with the name Drew has durability issues. Enough to scare me away from 15-16 million.

      Like

      • peschdan
        January 2, 2014

        Another good point…

        Like

  6. peschdan
    December 31, 2013

    Another player resolution….Lucas Harrell.
    Lucas your resolution should be, if…if you get another shot at a starting spot that you will concentrate on your pitch location, not your defensive player location.

    Like

  7. peschdan
    December 31, 2013

    A Jason Castro resolution – Jason, if you are going to continue to play catcher – you have to do a better job locking those balls. I thought you made solid strides at the plate – this year make one behind the plate.

    Like

  8. devin_
    December 31, 2013

    Here’s one for Chris Carter: in 2014 you are going to realize you are so strong you can reliably punch the ball out to RF at MMP with a half-swing. Go watch tapes of Sammy Sosa from 1995 to 1997 as he transitioned to a player how sprayed power to all fields (forget the steroid years…stop at 1997). Attack right field and you’ll be in fewer two strike counts.

    Like

    • peschdan
      December 31, 2013

      I like that one Devin- he is a strong guy and did not have a bad stroke. He seemed to be a little slow with it sometimes. If he could hit .260 – that would be a big difference.

      Like

      • Steven
        January 2, 2014

        Going to be very difficult to hit .260 unless he gets that K percentage below, say, 27%. He spent most of his minor league career in the mid to low 20’s, so I am surprised he is striking out at such high rates so far in the majors (both seasons over 30, with this years astronomical 36). I think its possible, with more experience, he improves some, but I would be prone to buy what steamer is selling as a projections for 2014 – .235 off a .311 BABIP and a somewhat improved 31.9% K rate.

        Like

      • peschdan
        January 2, 2014

        Steven – I think Carter has the potential to be better – it was not like he had a long loopy swing – he just seemed to swing too late – maybe he needs contacts.

        Like

  9. BrianT
    January 1, 2014

    Anyone ever find out how much Crain’s deal was worth?

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 1, 2014

      Weird thing Brian – cannot find the terms anywhere.

      Like

  10. becky
    January 1, 2014

    I just changed my calendar…….I got an Astros one for Christmas!
    Am I ever GLAD to see 2013 gone! I’m getting excited, ’cause in less
    than 6 weeks, the pitchers and catchers report to Spring training!!
    YAAAAAA HOOOOOO!!!

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 1, 2014

      So who is on the calendar Becky? Any surprises month to month?

      Like

  11. becky
    January 1, 2014

    Norris, Lyles, Barnes, Gonzalez, Wallace, Harrell, Wright, Corporan, Castro, Carter, Dominguez,and Altuve. Kinda made me sad when I saw Barnes and Norris’s pictures.

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 1, 2014

      Wow 4 of them are gone along with Lyles and Wright. You would think that they could at least not include the ones who got traded during the season.

      Like

  12. peschdan
    January 2, 2014

    Jonathan Villar – your resolution should be to learn you have a hip pocket and place some of those balls you get to into that pocket rather than throwing it away. Oh and just because you are fast and the base is open in front of you – you don’t have to try and go there every time.

    Like

  13. becky
    January 2, 2014

    Bo Porter should start fining guys $500-$1000.00 for every “stupid” error
    they make. THAT should start cutting down on them REAL quick!!

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 2, 2014

      Yes, I can see the following message left in a player’s locker.
      “Dear Mr. Villar –
      We know that even at the minimum salary you make approximately $10,000 a week. However we would like to point out that that is gross pay and after taking out your federal taxes, social security tax, union dues, agent cut and United Way contributions – your net pay is quite a bit reduced from the gross number.
      On top of that last week you accrued $7000 in fines, due to ridiculous base running, ignoring signs and trying to make impossible fielding plays resulting in throwing errors…
      The bottomline is … you owe the team $4000. Please make the check out to Mr. Jim Crane and reference “Mindless Plays” on your check.
      Have a nice day.”

      Like

  14. becky
    January 2, 2014

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!

    Like

  15. cloud
    January 2, 2014

    New years resolution for Singleton. Please carryover your winter league stats into spring training and make such an impression, mgmt will have no choice but to start you over Wallace opening day.

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 2, 2014

      Amen – Cloud!

      Like

    • devin_
      January 2, 2014

      That makes me wonder…do you think any of the clubs have spent time this offseason educating their players about a certain hazard of games in Colorado from here on out?

      Like

      • peschdan
        January 2, 2014

        “The Astros have been particularly mellow in the field today. Their traveling secretary has had to order twice their normal food for the post game meals – catered by Jack in the Box”

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        January 2, 2014

        Singleton is probably begging to be traded to the Rockies now…

        j/k

        Like

  16. peschdan
    January 2, 2014

    Funny as heck Billy C.

    Like

  17. becky
    January 3, 2014

    Billy C.——–“Up in smoke”!

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 3, 2014

      Yes, Becky – we could have a whole new movie series with Cheech as the manager and Chong as the team “doctor”. When the team comes out of the dugout they are playing John Denver singing “Rocky Mountain High”……

      Like

  18. becky
    January 3, 2014

    HA! HA! HA! HA!!!!! You guys are making my day! On to Astros “news”
    Crain was signed for $3.25 million………if he’s healthy that’s money WELL spent!
    Cheech knocking on the door….”Hey man is Dave there”!!!!

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 3, 2014

      “Dave – Dave’s not here….and Choo isn’t either.”

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        January 4, 2014

        lol

        Like

  19. 1oldpro
    January 4, 2014

    Villar is a reckless ballplayer. Will he grow into a responsible one?
    Can a guy be suspended for inhaling second hand smoke in Denver? Crain 1yr at $3.5 mil

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 4, 2014

      Villar was only 22 – it is not like a 28 year old with habits,,, but still – he has been consistently bad in the field at all levels and all ages….
      2nd hand smoke question… better figure out what everybody is smoking at thos road poker games.
      Yeah – sounds like you have Crain with an extra $250K – that does not sound like much to a ball player – would be a big difference to most of us.

      Like

  20. Brian_T
    January 4, 2014

    In non pot-smoking news:

    Over at Baseball Think Factory, they tabulate the published (and some unpublished) Hall of Fame ballots. With more than 20% of last year’s total ballots collected, Biggio is sitting at 82.2%. He’d have to do worse than 72% on the remaining ballots (the other 80% of voters would have to really hate him compared to the folks we’ve heard from thus far) to NOT get in.

    Bagwell is at 65.3%. A big improvement, but not there yet. Thus far it looks like Maddux, Glavine, Thomas and Biggio are in. Piazza is literally on the line at 73.7%. If 75.5% of the remainder vote for him, he’s in. That said, don’t count on it. They really analyze the vote over at BBTF, and it looks like his total (and Bagwell’s) will go down not up with the other 80% of voters.

    So … yea for Biggio.

    Like

    • Brian_T
      January 4, 2014

      Last year, Biggio polled at about 70% and ended up with 68 point whatever, so he dropped about two points. If Biggio only drops 2 points again this year, he’s in.

      Like

    • peschdan
      January 4, 2014

      That is good news Brian T – Bidge should get in and that would be great. Sounds like Bags may get there next year.

      Like

      • BrianT
        January 4, 2014

        Probably two years for Bagwell.

        Like

      • peschdan
        January 4, 2014

        Just as long as it happens

        Like

  21. cloud
    January 4, 2014

    I don’t profess to know much about the HOF, so I’ll ask a stupid question. What gives the BBWAA the credentials to vote in the first place? I know there are some very knowledgeable writers out there, but not all are created equal.

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 4, 2014

      Basically a writer has to be a member of the BBWAA for ten years and be a writer who covers a team or the majors nationally to vote for the Hall. Once they vote they never have to give it up even if they no longer cover baseball. So you could say that most people are given the vote at a point where they should have good knowledge.
      My real problem is the agenda guys – the ones who think no one deserves a first ballot.

      Like

      • Brian_T
        January 4, 2014

        Cloud,

        Dan has it pretty much nailed there. They are experts because they cover MLB teams for a living and see these guys play every day. The problem is the HOF, which is NOT owned by MLB, doesn’t give clear guidelines on voting. Furthermore, every so often they have a veterans committee that gets together to vote in people overlooked by the writers. In the past, this has led to some less-than-stellar Hall of Famers.

        To call the whole thing an imperfect system would be an understatement. For example, my favorite argument against Biggio is, “Well, he only got to 3,000 hits because he hung around an extra year or two.”

        Really? If all it took was “hanging around,” wouldn’t everyone do it? He had to be good enough to hold an MLB roster spot. And he was. Oh, I know, he had negative WAR his last year. Whatever. So he wasn’t in the top half of MLB second basemen. He was still good enough to be one of 30.

        Like

      • peschdan
        January 4, 2014

        Yes Brian – not only is there no direction – it is also up to each voter how to consider the steroids era and those fully or partially brushed by that scandal.

        Like

  22. cloud
    January 7, 2014

    Ken Gurnick should be stripped of his HOF voting privileges. Refusing to vote for any PED area potential Hall of Famer is beyond ridiculous. That’s why I said all writers are NOT created equal and some should not be allowed to vote.

    Like

    • cloud
      January 7, 2014

      Maddox is not a HOF’er? Yeah right.

      Like

      • peschdan
        January 7, 2014

        Thanks for pointing this out cloud. This guy should not only be stripped of his H of F vote – they could consider taking away his Dodger’s beat. I mean voting for Jack Morris (who is a marginal H of F er) and not voting for Greg Maddux (all time great) whose numbers were hurt – not helped by the steroids era is asinine.
        Also, it is lazy and disingenuous to punish all those who played in the era including ones where there is not even a whiff of steroids (Biggio).
        Shame on him.

        Like

  23. cloud
    January 7, 2014

    This is getting quite a bit of well deserved negative feedback from across the country. Can’t say I’m surprised.

    Like

    • peschdan
      January 7, 2014

      I would not have a problem with a writer saying they won’t vote for Clemens or for Bonds based on what has come out in public. But this appears to be either lazy or….someone who knows that getting any kind of publicity, twitter hits, blog posts, etc. is better than being a good journalist in the modern world.
      He may be laughing all the way to the electronic bank.

      Like

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This entry was posted on December 31, 2013 by in Astros.
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