MMQB: Porter, 120 losses, contracts, buyers
Our weekly Monday morning quarterback meetings are heating up. We’re not even out of the first month of the season, but the Astros have plenty of controversy. There’s enough rehashing, wailing and gnashing of teeth to go around every TV network, radio talk show and every blog that even remotely follows the Astros.
As Brian Todd points out, it’s just been awful. But here are some Monday morning starters.
What is it they say about hindsight?
- With Robbie Grossman back at Oklahoma City and third baseman Matt Dominguez on the bench — at least for a game — wonder how Luhnow feels about those long-term, arbitration-eating contracts now? Still want to tie up those average or above average players in an effort to buy cost certainty later in the decade? Perhaps the Astros should stick to the Springers, Singletons and Jarred Cosarts for now.
Is Bo Porter on the clock?
- Brian touched on this yesterday, but I can’t leave it alone. Only a few days ago, GM Jeff Luhnow said: “Guys that don’t produce aren’t going to stick around.” The question is: Does that apply only to players or to managers and coaches as well? Whether it’s the bullpen, the lineup, not bunting when you should, fundamental errors or other head-scratching moves, Porter has made plenty since taking over the reins last year. For me, however, it’s more of the “feel” than the x’s and o’s. Challenging Jed Lowrie over the weekend was curious to say the least. Throwing an ice chest in the dugout was still even curiouser. We’ve all discussed his penchant for in-the-media discussions regarding player discipline. But here’s the bottom line and the tell-tale: Luhnow will know the state of the clubhouse, and he will have to judge the progression of the young players who will be the next generation (Jarred Cosart, George Springer, Jonathan Singleton, even Jason Castro and Jose Altuve). If he deems that isn’t moving forward effectively, he has a choice to make. Whether or not that choice is in-season or this fall may determine the speed of the rebuilding project. Indeed, Bo is — or should be — on the clock.
120 losses? No way!
- Look, there’s no disagreement: The Astros’ season to date has been awful, terrible, even horrific. Through the first few weeks. But there is absolutely no way that Luhnow can allow the status quo to continue throughout the year. Yes, it may have been fine for 2012, even 2013. Not in 2014. Singleton is the obvious next addition and Austin Wates shouldn’t be far behind, but there will be others. Mark it down. Without significant improvement, Luhnow and the Astros will lose that little foundation of support that remains.
All Star break: Buyers or sellers?
- The Astros don’t have to make the playoffs or even have a winning season in 2014. What they must do is show improvement. As the season progresses, the core of the Astros’ future will continue to manifest. If the right deal comes along in a couple of months, there is no reason the Astros should not be a buyer. Not talking about an over-the-hill retread for a stretch run type of player, but a player that fits into the mix for the future. Not talking about a series of trades, just one, perhaps two, key upgrades that address a specific need.
And, some Monday questions to help you start the week:
- Would you rather have Singleton and Michael Foltynewicz on the Astros’ roster by the end of April or Porter fired as manager?
- If you could make one change to the Astros’ lineup for this week’s games, what would that one change be?
- Porter has made scores of mistakes. What bothers you most about his style or approach to the game?
- Which one of these recent Astros would you most like to have back right now: Bud Norris, Jordan Lyles, Chris Johnson or Jed Lowrie?