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?