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MMQB: Astros, Luhnow and the quandaries they face


Some scattershots on a Monday when rumors and speculation abound in an organization already beset with plenty of quandaries. The Astros suffered a double whammy over the weekend with the announcements on Nolan Fontana and Carlos Correa will have far-reaching ramifications. While fans and onlookers stay tuned, here are some quandaries that face Houston and GM Jeff Luhnow.

The shortstop quandary.

  • Correa is the top prospect in the Houston system — second in all of baseball by some accounts — and it’s likely he’s out for the season. Fontana may be out until August at the earliest. The injuries likely give Jio Mier a reprieve of sorts, but it also means the Astros will now likely not have a shortstop from its own system until 2016 at the earliest. The options are: 1. Stay the course with Jonathan Villar. 2. Trade for an upgrade, which will be unlikely since other contenders are also searching for shortstops. 3. Wait until the off-season and sign a free agent stop gap.

The Grossman quandary.

  • If you’re thinking the Astros may give up soon on Robbie Grossman, remember that it was two months ago that Jeff Luhnow was negotiating a long-term deal with his left fielder. Yes, Domingo Santana, Austin Wates and Preston Tucker may be chompin’ at the bit in Oklahoma City, but there’s plenty of room if one of those gentlemen knocks down the door. Expect Grossman to have every opportunity to make it in Houston. That may mean for a frustrating summer for fans.

The .500 quandary.

  • Houston gave its fans some hope recently with a stretch of winning. The team is obviously improved and it seems fairly evident Houston won’t be drafting #1 next June. You shouldn’t waste your time of your hope that the Astros will reach .500 for the 2014 season, but it is reasonable to expect the team (24-25 since May 1) to play .500 the rest of the way. That still puts the win total around the low-to-mid 70s and that’s enough to placate stressed out, wore out fans.

The trade quandary.

  • Only a fool would believe the Astros will stand pat between now and July 31. There may not be a blockbuster, but it’s simply not in Luhnow’s blood to keep his powder dry at the deadline.  Still, it’s clear the Astros need to add to the base and the core. If Luhnow wants to make a splash, there’s David Price, Matt Kemp (if the Dodgers picked up a significant part of the remaining $$), Jeff Samardzija, or Jason Hammel. But, perhaps more reasonably, there are Texas boys Huston Street and Ben Zobrist, who, incidentally could play SS. Interestingly, both San Diego and Tampa Bay will be looking for prospects in return.

And, to start your week, here are some either/or choices for you:

  • Which player most needs to go right now: Jesus Guzman, Alex Presley, Chris Carter or Villar?
  • Which player would you most like to see in Houston August 1: Price, Zobrist, Kemp, Samardzija or someone else?
  • Who — if anyone — is most holding back the Astros from winning this season: Luhnow, Bo Porter, Jim Crane, John Mallee or someone else?
  • The person most responsible for the Astros’ improvement since May 1: Jose Altuve, Brent Strom, Pat Listach, Luhnow, or someone else?
  • The most intriguing candidate for next MLB commissioner: George W. Bush (remember, he once was part owner of the Rangers), Joe Torre, Stan Kasten, or Ruben Amaro?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in beautiful Colorado Springs, CO, and wakes up each morning to the tallest spot in the region, Pikes Peak. He is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 50 years. A native of another picturesque city, Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. Pastor Bosman came up with Chipalatta, and it has stuck.

50 comments on “MMQB: Astros, Luhnow and the quandaries they face

  1. Dan P
    June 23, 2014

    Man a lot to chew on Chip.
    – SS quandary – another short term choice might be to bring up Petit who has a .300+ BA and a .800+ OPS at OKC. I’m still hacked that Correa was not promoted before this. Sure you can get hurt anywhere but I believe in the Butterfly Effect.
    – Grossman – yuck
    – .500 – they are a young team that needs to weather thus slump and get their mojo back. I don’t think they will end up at .500 – never did. But 70-72 wins would be good improvement.
    – I would like to see Williams and Farnsworth gone – but they don’t seem to bring up the best prospects as relievers so it may not happen.
    – Who I want to see Aug 1? Kemp 7 HR 28 RBI and Zobrist 1HR 15 RBI and both with trending down stats and trending up age are not doing it for me. Samardzija has strong numbers in everything but wins. That would be a good pickup. Price us an enigma – his WHIP is good (1.115) his K/ 9 (10.3) and BB / 9 (1.0) are outstanding – but his ERA is so so (3.81). Gives up a lot of HRs. I’d have interest in him though.

    Like

    • Dan P
      June 23, 2014

      Other questions
      – I think Mallee may be hurting the winning – too many guys (Castro, Carter, Villar, Grossman, Guzman, Presley) are looking clueless for extended periods of time with no positive adjustments.
      – Improvement – Strom seems to have brought stability and straight out better approaches to the starting rotation – their ERA is almost a run better than 2013. I give him an incomplete on the relievers with Crain, Albers, Fields and Bass missing so much time.
      – Commish – Anybody but Selig. I voted for W but don’t need a political circus tied to the office.
      Torre is about to turn 74 – can’t see it – he’s even older than George Will.
      I’m betting – it will be a pencil neck lawyer pulled from the MLB offices.

      Like

    • Devin
      June 23, 2014

      Dan, I agree. While watching Portugal score in the final seconds of stoppage time I could not help but think karma came back to bite the Americans. It’s the same thing with Correa. There was no legitimate reason to play his home games in the wring timezone.

      Like

  2. Chip Bailey
    June 23, 2014

    Hey guys, you can argue that Correa should have been in Corpus or that Tropeano or Folty should be in Houston or that the Astros should have never drafted Jio Mier, but I don’t believe it’s fair to blame everything on Luhnow. Everything happens for a reason. Heck, we can really blame it on former GM Bill Wood, who decided to select Phil Nevin instead of Derek Jeter in the ’92 draft! Now there’s a discussion. Can you imagine an infield of Bagwell, Biggio, Jeter and Caminiti?

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      June 23, 2014

      Chip, I’ve thought a lot about the Nevin/Jeter deal and I believe that is probably the worst draft pick mistake ever, because of the fact that the Astros main scout was so adamant about Jeter that he quit after the draft. Why do you have scouts back in the 90’s if you don’t listen to them? In looking at the main void in the Astros lineup for the next 15 years, you have to wonder what could have been. And that decision was not fate, but stupidity!
      And despite my feelings about Correa’s injury, that has nothing to do with a promotion or lack thereof. He was there and he slid and he’s hurt , so we deal with it. If he had been run over by the CC team bus at the airport Could you blame that on Luhnow for promoting him? As my granddaughter says: “What the heck, Grampa!”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chip Bailey
        June 23, 2014

        Yes, oldpro, Hal Newhouser was the scout and, indeed, he quit as a scout for the Astros. The reason the Astros didn’t draft Jeter? Supposedly, they thought he’d want to much money to sign.

        Like

      • Dan P
        June 23, 2014

        I know we have to deal with the reality of Correa’s injury – but I also am dealing with the reality that he should have been promoted and was not.

        Like

  3. 1oldpro
    June 23, 2014

    I don’t think we are going to trade for a guy who will end up being a high priced free agent, and I don’t think they would come here anyway if they were free agents.
    I think we still may be sellers at trade time.
    I don’t care who becomes commish. The one we have now sleeps in Ryan Braun’s guest house so anyone else except someone named Clinton will be an improvement.
    I don’t think Grossman, Villar or Carter are in trouble because the club wasn’t planning on competing this year, so they will stick to that plan unless someone offers them a recyclable trash bag for one of them in a trade.
    The player I would like to see most on August the 1st in an Astros uniform is Tanaka, but I would settle for Abreu. Well, you asked and I’m being honest here!
    The man most responsible for the Astros improvement since May1st: I’m going with Dexter Fowler. I think he has improved this club in ways that are unbeknownst to us commoners.
    Who is holding us back? Crane and Luhnow

    Like

  4. Devin
    June 23, 2014

    -We came this far with that group. I don’t see a need to dump any of them unless you give me a legit replacement. Putting Castro at DH is worse than Carter on many levels.
    -Price has lost too much velocity to give up the TB asking price. Kemp is a shadow of the player who should have won MVP a few years back. Whether it is the toll from freak injuries or the drop off is something less acceptable, it is hard to accept them taking on that salary when we have some options in the AAA outfield who might be more compelling in the 2015 lineup. How about someone else? Jemile Weeks might look really good in the blue and orange.
    – who is holing them back the most? I think the problem is there are too many guys who can’t hit with two strikes.
    – I think the Fowler / Altuve tandem should be recognized.

    Like

  5. kevin
    June 23, 2014

    Correa,Wow I was thinking 2015 now maybe 2017 for a winner. My glass is pretty empty right now. Starting Pitching is sliding back, We have Altuve and Fowler, hopefully springer and singleton, Bull Pen sucks, I don’t see a significant trade being pulled off. I didn’t even watch yesterday, first time all year. When I saw the line up Carter, Guzman, and Grossman, sprinkle in a struggling Domingo clean up. I wrote down an L on my calender

    I’m not even sure anything in OKC will make much a difference. Folty’s last 2 starts have not been good. I’m gald they are off today maybe some home cooking can get us a couple wins.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      June 23, 2014

      Kevin: Mike Foltywhatever is 4.9 years younger than the league avg he is facing. and he has good stats AND a winning record. That is wonderful! I can’t stress enough how great he is doing at the league level he is pitching in. I also want to point out that his reliever stats for his 3 back end tandem appearances were bad, as we can just imagine how he felt about that system.
      Now, Josh Hader. Josh Hader’s numbers in a pitcher’s hellhole where his average competition is 3.2 year’s older are terrific. But that is not all. If you take out his numbers as a reliever in the tandem system, then his stats are practically unbelievable. Can you imagine how he feels about pitching in relief on three days rest with the numbers he puts up as a starter? Hader has only pitched to 8 batters all year younger than him.
      Nick Tropeano is 3.9 years younger than his avg competition in AAA which is the highest minor league level he can pitch in. The guy is only 23 years old! he is playing on a team that has had it’s best hitters and best pitchers taken from it to go to Houston and what is left are prospects who are way young or scrubs who get sent down. He has a winning record, good stats and has actually pitched better in the back end of the tandem. But he hasn’t learned how to pitch yet because he is way too young and hasn’t had much seasoning. There is no way that his current status justifies him getting brought up to the majors. Why bring the kid up just to have major league hitters hit him hard because he has not become the pitcher yet that he will become by 2016.
      I know it is hard for me to wait, which is why I am always looking for the Astros to fill holes from outside the org with decent major league players like Fowler, not to rush guys to the majors to fill holes when they are still too young. That is why I am all for bringing a 25 yo Wates up and leaving a, still, 21 year old Domingo Santana down in a AAA league where he is 5 years younger than the average pitcher he faces.
      I absolutely don’t want Folty, Wojo, Nitro, Domingo and Torreyes called up and yoyoed between AAA and Houston like we have done to Owens, Clemens, Ober, Wallace, Martinez and Grossman. None of those guys were ready and they were brought up because the Astros would not spend the money to bring quality major leaguers to fill their holes. Instead, they brought has-beens and won’t-be types, like Cedeno and Greene and Pena and Guzman and Leblanc and Presley.
      Correa is going to be great, broken bone or not, he is 19 years old and not ready for the major leagues, so this injury is not the end of anything. It is part of his path to the big leagues and he will take it, move past it and be in CC next year at age 20 and four years younger than the league.

      Like

      • kevin
        June 23, 2014

        Old pro great perspective as always I like Folty Trop etc I just don’t see them coming up this year and if so I don’t want them Yoyoed either. I’m just not seeing much we can or will do the rest of the year.

        Like

  6. drbill14
    June 23, 2014

    The only guy I would like to see here in August would be Price IF AND ONLY IF he could be signed to a reasonable long term (3, maybe 4 years) and IF AND ONLY IF we gave up no more than two of our top tier prospects. Since the chances of that happening are slim and none I’m OK with standing pat on the trade scene.

    As for who is most responsible for us winning I do have to go with Altuve with Fowler playing a very major supporting role. On the flip side the one player I think is most responsible for us losing is Castro with no one else even close. We have zero consistent run producers after Fowler and Altuve set the table. I think Springer and Singleton will become those guys but Castro has no excuse for not being that guy right now.

    Small moves that I think may help a little would be to send Grossman back to OKC and bring up Hoes who is playing well right now. Santana and Krauss are the only other guys on the 40 man who could be promoted. Krauss has had his shot and I think Santana still needs more time at AAA but should get at least a cup of coffee in September. That would leave you with a platoon of Hoes and Presley in LF which is really unexciting but probably a lot more productive than Grossman. The roster shuffling that it would take to send Villar down to AAA just doesn’t seem worth it. Too bad there are no other competent middle infielders on the 40 man. I would also like to see Buchanan given the opportunity to be a long reliever. Clemens has disqualified himself from that role and I bet if anyone asked Buchanan if he would rather be a major league long reliever or a minor league starter his answer would probably take about a nanosecond and I don’t mean “send me back to OKC”!

    As for Mallee I can’t make up my mind. I really don’t see anyone improving in the making more contact area but the weekend article in the Chronicle gives him a lot of credit for Altuve’s huge improvement. It does alarm me how often Springer and Castro swing through fastballs in good hitting zones. I’ve gotten to the point where my expectations for Carter are somewhere below zero and frankly think he is a complete lost cause and his power is a siren song that ought to be ignored.

    Correa’s injury goes in the stuff happens file for me. Yes he should have been promoted but grousing about that sounds like the worst kind of sour grapes and 20/20 hindsight. If the kid is out for the season I can guarantee you that he will come back like gangbusters and probably break down the door to the big club by the middle of 2015. At his age and in his condition I expect he will heal quickly and he will just as quickly put this hiccup behind him and press on.

    Like

  7. daveb
    June 23, 2014

    There are not enough ML caliber shortstops to go around right now. Any help we get will likely come from within. I note that Enrique Hernandez has played all over the field in OKC, with just 10 starts at short. At 22, he’s still a project, but if he has potential at short, I’d put him out there every night, especially with Correa and Fontana now on the shelf. Hernandez has very solid offensive stats.

    I think the only outside help at short would come via a trade with Fowler or some of our pitching that none of us wants to give up. And the shortstop help would probably come in the form of a AA or AAA guy. So I’m not excited about the prospect of prospects.

    I hope you’re wrong about Grossman Chip. I’d like to see a change at the break if he’s still hitting .160 something. I think we’ve got a couple of guys in OKC that might well produce more, and Grossman is no Gold Glove out in left either. I don’t see the appeal.

    The “Correa was playing in the wrong place” angle is too foolish to comment on.

    The scouts determining that Nevin was the guy to take over Jeter must not have evening bothered to consider how big a bleep hole Nevin was. Lazy work if you only consider on field information.

    Appel got hit hard again last night. Tropeano did not have a great outing, but held his own. I’d like to see guys like Hader and Shirley moved up.

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      June 23, 2014

      daveb, my observation on Grossman is just that. The fact that Luhnow apparently wanted to sign him to a long-term deal indicates to me that HE sees a lot in Grossman and is not likely to give up soon. As for Appel, I don’t know that he is/was hurt. If you remember, he just had a very short spring training due to the appendectomy in January. By the time he came back, he just wasn’t ready and probably should have gone to extended spring training instead of Lancaster. But, that said, he does seem to be taking some positive steps in his road back.

      Like

  8. 1oldpro
    June 23, 2014

    daveb, can I respectfully disagree with your assessment of Appel last night. He gave up 3 ER in 5 innings on 6 hits and had no walks. He has improved every start since returning and if his next one is a little better than this one, it may be a trend. I think Appel was hurt. The team he was facing last night is 10 games over .500, whereas the teams he faced in his previous two outings were not very good.

    Like

    • daveb
      June 23, 2014

      Good points oldpro, and I’m always up for being disagreed with.

      Like

  9. Dan P
    June 23, 2014

    OK – I’ll admit it – I’m being a sour grapes – Bopert-esque – I told you so brat about the non-promotion of Correa.
    I feel better for griping though – but I’m off it.

    Like

    • Dan P
      June 23, 2014

      You are right of course Kevin. We moved here in ’66 – so I guess I’ve earned some slack after 48 years.

      Like

  10. kevin
    June 23, 2014

    Dan it fine to be sour grapes at Times ! It has been brutal the last 4 years for us forever die hard Astro fans on this blog. 44 years for me

    Like

  11. Becky
    June 23, 2014

    According to the Ray’s……they aren’t trading anyone anytime soon. They think they might have a chance to finish strong, and judging from this last series, they might be right! Who get’s the ax first, probably Presley but who knows. I guess it depends on how many of these guys still have options…..Guzman has played long enough at this level he probably does not have options left. All I know, is the entire fan base has had enough of 12-13 strike outs from this group. Does Luhnow have to fire the hitting coach to make a statement? I would for sure look around to see if there’s a
    better replacement for Mallee. Luhnow sure has kept Correa’s status close to his vest, but if the kid has something broken…..it needs to be taken care of ASAP.
    The next series is against the Braves, and our old friend Aaron Harang will be
    on the mound……and he’s back to pretty dang good form. *YIKES*

    Like

    • kevin
      June 23, 2014

      Harang That dude always reminded me of someone that could have been a star on the Munster’s series. I hope we beat his butt!

      Like

    • devin_
      June 23, 2014

      Luhnow said on Sunday that Correa would be sent to winter ball, so they didn’t anticipate the injury setting him back as he’ll still get his reps.

      Like

  12. Tim
    June 23, 2014

    Considering Correa’s injury and our lack of organizational depth at SS would anyone want the Astros to do the Lowrie trade if it hadn’t happened? Carter and Peacock don’t look to be much and, despite his power, Stassi is hitting below .250 in AAA. On the other hand, looking at the numbers Hader is putting up I think the Norris trade will work out for us. Also, is it just me or does it seem the Astros have, sort of, given up on Hoes? If they decide to send down Grossman and bring up Hoes I hope Hoes plays everyday and not platoon with Presley.

    Like

    • devin_
      June 23, 2014

      The only ones who probably would still want to do the Lowrie trade are Billy Bean and Jed Lowrie.

      Like

  13. Chip Bailey
    June 23, 2014

    For those who believe Luhnow is somehow be secretive regarding the Correa injury, I think he’s just waiting for the proper evaluation. He said *Sunday* — not Monday as the Houston newspaper reported — that Correa is going to miss a good bit of time, but said they would “…make up for it in the fall” in the Arizona Fall League.

    He said *Sunday* that Correa would be evaluated by the team’s ankle and foot specialist this week and that “we’ll know more in a couple of days”.

    There’s been a lot of speculation and guessing, but my hunch is they’ll evaluate to see if surgery is necessary or if they can rehab it. Either way, they couldn’t do surgery until the swelling goes down and that would take a few days anyway, so there’s no rush from that perspective.

    Since the Lancaster season ends on Sept 1, the team will likely focus on getting him in shape for the AFL…if he’s able.

    The key is that this injury could — read: COULD — put Correa back a full year in his development, especially if he’s not able to make it back for the fall season. That makes Fontana’s development even more significant.

    Like

    • Kevin
      June 23, 2014

      Someone help me out here Is Fontana someone I should excited about ??? What have I been mIssing about him The last 2 years?

      Like

      • Tim
        June 23, 2014

        He draws a lot of BBs and is a decent defensive SS, but otherwise not much to see here. I think those BBs he draws now will not pan out in the majors as the pitchers can locate better. He will have to hit better to be a decent prospect, IMO.

        Like

      • Chip Bailey
        June 23, 2014

        He’s a consensus Top 20 prospect in the organization. He has a .400+ OBP at every level he’s played, an .800+ OPS and he can steal a base now and then. He would probably be a better second baseman than shortstop, but I think the Astros have their second base position pretty well secured for the foreseeable future.

        Going back to his days at Florida, he just finds a way to get it done. And that goes a long way with the scouts apparently.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      June 23, 2014

      As far as I’m concerned, Lancaster’s season really “begins” on September 1st!
      Lindauer got promoted to SS in Quad Cities six weeks ago.
      Jack Mayfield got promoted to Lancaster before Correa even got hurt.
      Perdomo and Mier in CC. Petit and Torreyes in OKC.
      We got Sclafani, also
      Fontana and Correa hurt but we are still fine at SS in the minors.

      Like

  14. 1oldpro
    June 23, 2014

    Man, does OKC have a battle on their hands tonight at Tacoma. The Raniers lineup is almost entirely made up of major league players and Rudy Owens has given them six runs in three innings of relief.
    OKC with five home runs thru 8 innings tonight. Petit, Krauss, Santana,Hoes and Duffy. By the way, that is Petit’s 9th HR. Not bad for a SS.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      June 23, 2014

      Stoffel blows save in the 8th and losses in the tenth. Tacoma with 7 position players in their lineup with major league experience, Including Cory Hart, J Smoak, X Nady ,
      Michael Saunders, H Quintero and Nick Franklin.
      OKC loses after hitting 5 HRs. Ummm, BULLPEN!!!!

      Like

  15. daveb
    June 24, 2014

    Bullpen, that’s one area that Luhnow has not been able to develop a base in the minors. At some point he’s going to have to start converting quality starters to the pen.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      June 24, 2014

      That’s because the best eight pitchers at each minor league level are called “starters” even though they start one day and come into the next game four days later as “scheduled middle relievers”. The other five pitchers on the team are told they are toast in our system because they will come into a game if the other eight “good pitchers” aren’t so good. So the last five pitchers on each roster are the ones with the least stuff, the least work, the least confidence and the least chance to improve.
      Meanwhile, our best pitchers don’t learn to go beyond five innings, they pitch around jams with walks, because they are on a pitch count, and get pulled after five innings, even if they have a no hitter or a shutout going. They also come into a game as a starter in the fifth or sixth inning the next time out and they may be up by five runs or down by five runs but are supposed to act like they are starting out even because they are, technically, “starting pitchers”.
      Then, every pitching prospect in our system looks up to the AAA and major league level and sees no relievers who can relieve, no starters who can pitch late into games consistently, and pitchers being yoyoed up and down and never getting a good chance to get traction, get good or perform at a playoff level, because the words “playoffs” and “Oklahoma City” are never in the same sentence. And the only thing they hear out of Houston are the words “top draft choice”, “no tv deal” and “trade em”!

      Like

      • daveb
        June 24, 2014

        Yes, oldpro, I’m with you, my comment was made to express the same opinion in perhaps a more subtle way. And really, the no TV deal thing has become a farce. Don’t think that MLB is not concerned either. At some point soon, the other owners are going to gang up on Crane. MLB wants their product to be available, and if it’s not, they’ll get involved, if they have not already.

        Like

  16. videoidget1
    June 24, 2014

    There is no trade quandry.

    For the third year in a row, Chip dreams in vain that the team will ADD quality pieces to the equation, when the reality is they will have to punt for money reasons (again.)

    Look for Fowler to go bye-bye. And perhaps even Keuchel, even though he is super cheap.

    And payroll matters not, right??

    Like

    • Devin
      June 24, 2014

      Wait, what? Normally I can make sense of your postings, but why would you think Keuchel is going anywhere? The only scenario that makes sense is selling high ( like jeriome Robertson). Fowler will be dangled and few would be surprised to see him change uniforms either before the break or at the winter meetings.

      Like

      • kevin
        June 24, 2014

        I still will be amazed if they trade anyone why? We need to win some games and give the guys down on the farm more time. The only thing we should do is Dump Guzman, Willimas,. Send Villar and Grossman down, give Petit and Wates a shot,
        Albers, just forgot the other guys name, should be back soon along with Fields will help the Pen. Let’s really try and win 75 games and build some momentum for 2015

        Like

      • videoidget1
        June 24, 2014

        Yes, I could see Keuchel being moved not to save money, but to maximize return for a guy that is likely overvalued. Can Keuchel keep his good run going? I don’t see it.

        So my apologies for watering down the point. The point is don’t expect Luhnow to try and improve the team, as per Chip’s yearnings.

        Like

  17. 1oldpro
    June 24, 2014

    Dear Mark: Welcome to Houston. I have a plan for you. Find a place to live in Houston in five days. Then you will go to Weiland Island in Florida to bond with all our young GCL players who don’t speak English. Find a place to stay there but you won’t be pitching..
    Then I am sending you and an entourage to Troy, New York where you will pitch twice and bond with the college guys you mowed down for years at Stanford. Make sure you say only this to the media: “I can’t wait to get to Houston and help my team win multiple championships.”
    Next I am sending you to Davenport, Iowa. Find a place to stay. You will be pitching there every fifth day but when the playoffs arrive you will sit on the bench and not play. Bond with your teammates and sit in the dugout in Iowa and watch everybody else play and clap a lot when they win the Midwest League Championship. Be a big part of that winning tradition.
    After sitting on the bench in Davenport you will need rest so don’t do anything in the winter. You will get a letter from me outlining next year’s plan. I can’t tell you what that is but you might want to drink plenty of fluids.
    Welcome to the Astros, Mark, this is the way we roll!
    Locked into the plan sincerely,
    Jeff

    Like

    • kevin
      June 24, 2014

      Now Thats funny Thanks Old pro

      Like

  18. 1oldpro
    June 24, 2014

    Dear Mark: Core Surgery wasn’t in the plan. What to do with you? OK, since you haven’t pitched in six months I’m sending you to the Major League Spring Training camp where you won’t pitch. Bond with our future stars like Brett and J. D. and find out what makes them tick. Don’t talk to Springer!
    After a couple of weeks I will send you down to the minors where you won’t pitch. When the seasons begin you will report to Lancaster. Find a place to live. Bond with the teammates that you didn’t get to play with last year in QC. Since you haven’t pitched much you will start and relieve in a tandem every fourth day. Don’t try sinking the ball because the infield is concrete. Don’t throw up in the zone because the wind howls out and fly balls are home runs. When you talk to Carlos, mention those future multiple championships in Houston. Don’t talk to Hader or Vasquez, They have been in other systems and will be confused.
    Embrace Lancaster and don’t tweet with Folty or Buchanan’s wife. If you struggle I will ask Nolan what he thinks and I will come up with a plan. Do you still have that place in Florida rented?
    Good Luck with all that,
    Jeff

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      June 24, 2014

      PS. Mark, please ask Rodney Linares for some extra drills on sliding into a base on concrete. We need to work on that.
      The Man, the Plan,
      Jeff

      Like

    • Chip Bailey
      June 24, 2014

      Dear Jeff:

      Just keep the checks coming. I check the interest daily on that $6.35 million. Looking good bro. I love seeing America! As long as you’re payin’ the way and the airlines and the doctor bills, we’re good. Tell Nolan “hey!” We talk often, mostly about tandem rotation, adapting to a new general manager who’s learning the ropes and the good ol’ days when pitchers used to pitch nine innings every four days.

      Oh, and just to put your mind to ease, several of us have a rotating system with houses. There’s one house in Lancaster, one in Kissimmee, another in Davenport and we’re looking into that thing you mentioned about Alaska. We share the cost and figure that the “rotation” happens so regularly that no more than 2-3 of us will be there at the same time. It’s great for making new friends and it’s easier on the pocketbook, if you know what I mean.

      Thanks for the notes, Jeff. You’re da man!

      P.S. Hope to see ya sometime before 2019.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1oldpro
        June 24, 2014

        “Alaska Bush People”
        starring Mark Appel, Brady Aiken, David Rollins and Jake Buchanan.
        All promotional considerations paid for by the Houston Astros Mickey Mouse Pitching Club.(Any resemblance to real pitching is strictly coincidence. Hardly any pitchers were injured or lost in the filming of this disaster.)

        Like

  19. Becky
    June 24, 2014

    Oldpro, you and Chip have given me my daily cup of laughs for today! Thanks!!

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      June 24, 2014

      Becky, the whole idea for this series of posts came when I saw a picture of Brady Aiken arrive in Houston to greet the media in shorts and flip flops. My first thought was “Boy, do we have a plan for you.” I thought to myself “He got drafted into the perfect organization, because he doesn’t have a clue!”

      Like

  20. Becky
    June 24, 2014

    Old pro………he will have a clue shortly! When I first saw this kid, I thought DANG…..he sure doesn’t “look” like any 18yr. old I know! I assume his agent has done some digging about how this club treats their young pitchers……

    Like

  21. Dan P
    June 24, 2014

    Old pro and Chip – laughing big time on your “Mark” riffs.
    Great stuff!

    Like

  22. Tim
    June 25, 2014

    What I want to see (or not see) from Bopert is for him to go away as he said he would several posts ago and return when the Astros have another winning streak. From around the end of May through the middle of June your silence was deafening, but you reared that cynical head once the tough times returned. You are not a person who would eat crow when he is wrong, just someone who likes to gloat during tough times. Come back in a year when the Astros are playing competitive baseball and let’s see your stance then.

    Like

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This entry was posted on June 23, 2014 by in Astros and tagged .
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