Free Blog Weekend: Weird season all the way around


The Astros have been streaky all season. That same sentiment has transferred to fans and there are more fair-weather fans now than ever before. Even the most seasoned and die-hard fans have their moments of doubt, Astros’ depression or disgust.

To be fair, though, this has been a weird season all around the majors. Oakland has already bought, traditional playoff teams Boston and Philly may be selling soon. How many players out with TJ already in 2014? Replay is now accepted and has been largely uncontroversial.

Ron Washington may be fired before Bo Porter. The Yankees could be looking for even more pitching? What, don’t they have 2-3 of the top pitchers in the game? Oh yeah, injuries.

So here are some questions to kick off you weekend conversation. Dan will be along tomorrow morning with another thought-provoking entry, so check back then.

  • The Yankees will be looking to add pitching in light of the Masahiro Tanaka apparent season-ending injury. Would you be open to trading Jarred Cosart, Dallas Keuchel or Scott Feldman if the price was right and you could upgrade the team at shortstop, third base or outfield?
  • The A’s gave up some top prospects for a short-term pitching upgrade. Asked the question recently, but wondering if thoughts have changed. Which Top 20 prospects might you give up to get a huge return/upgrade for the major league roster?
  • Speaking of prospects, which of the major ones at AAA and AA do you think the Astros might well be advised to sell high on? In other words, have players like Michael Foltynewicz, Domingo Santana, Jonathan Villar, Rudy Owens and others reached their ceiling?
  • The calls for Porter’s firings have simmered somewhat since the team’s improvement after a horrid April start. What’s your latest perspective? What’s the biggest gripe about his managerial style?
  • Couple of simple, quick questions for your crystal ball. The Astros passed the Rangers in the AL West standing this week. Where do you think they’ll finish in the division? In which position do you think they’ll draft in 2015?

Anything else you’d like to discuss? Let ‘er rip. And be sure to check back early Saturday for Dan’s discussion on the puzzlement of Astros’ baseball!

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35 comments on “Free Blog Weekend: Weird season all the way around

  1. Gee Chip thanks for the shout-outs for tomorrows post.
    (By the way – for those that follow NBA – Lebron is headed back to Clevelan – just announced).
    – As far as trading from the three mentioned – I think my choices in this order are Feldman – Feldman – Feldman. He has done a solid job for us – but I’m for sending the older guy as my first position. I love Keuchel – I love that lefty control type style and Cosart has really good stuff and could be headed up towards a #1 spot – so they would have to give me something huge to move those guys.
    – From the top 20 prospects – I would consider trading Wojo, Deshields, Fontana and and Stassi. You have to give Appel time to improve – but it sure has started off poorly.
    – Due to their ages – Santana (21) and Folty (22) have lots of time in my mind to prove themselves and frankly Villar just turned 23. Owens (26), Wojo (25) and Alex White (25) are guys that are at the turning point or dead end career wise.
    – Porter – I’ll touch on tomorrow
    – I think the Astros will hang onto 4th place in the division and finish with around 70 wins (I am neither drinking kool aid because I don’t believe in suicide nor wearing rose colored glasses)

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  2. Yowser thats a lot. First I think we win 65-70. I would part with Feldman,Dominguez,, Wojo, Buchanan, Owens Deshields, Stassi,, White, one of the outfield young guns in Lancaster, I would say anyone in OKC except Tropeano, Folty has really struggled the last month.???
    In fact almost 80% of our good pitching prospects have struggled the last month UGH, Apple just Horrible last night, . I’m thinking Oldpro might be right on with pitcher development under Lunhow.
    As far as Porter goe,s i have never been a hate on Porter guy, I think he is a good man, learning his craft that was handed Crap.

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  3. The Yankees don’t have a top 10 Prospect that is major league ready. I would CONSIDER Feldman in exchange for Aaron Judge+?, because of Feldman’s contract.

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  4. We are too far into the season to continue with the tandem system. In theory, only having to target 4-5 innings should have yielded better than average results as our pitchers would see the lineup fewer times and would not have to conserve as much effort. Neither of those are positives in player development IMO, but do offer some protection from injury / overuse and ideally make our trade pieces more desirable. In practice, we are accustomed to short outings where someone got shelled and we then struggle to justify their status as a prospect.

    Figure out your top 5 staters at each stop and let them finish the year strong. Promote Appel to AA despite his results thus far and see what he’s got at sea level.

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  5. Chip, following your lead on chasing the Astros dream and the movement of prospects.
    Somewhere in that Ground Control of Luhnow’s Brain is a starting pitcher, or starting position player or a closer, or all of the above that he covets. It may be a list of three or four at each of those spots for flexibility’s sake. He has all the metrics, salaries, futures, deadlines and contract info for every one of them and you can bet he has a plan for what it is going to take to get them.
    If and when his lightning strikes, you can bet he will already know what it will take to get it into his bottle.
    I have no doubt that the three trades of minor league pitchers this week were something that was in his plan. Feed the system, Intake manifold. Weed the system, exhaust manifold. The names weren’t there, but the trades were going to happen according to the plan. Build the horsepower up and up and up, until he’s ready to race.
    There was a ton of info on that 25 page plan of his and he has spent the last three years expanding it. Things are going to happen. He has the plan made up. He is just going to fill in the names at the last minute. Sit back and watch. There is a ton of stuff to come.

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  6. One might argue that there are fewer fair weather fans than ever before. Most have left.

    Feldman is easy, especially since I’m ready to see what that Nitro guy might do and I’d also like to see an opening in OKC for Thomas Shirley. Sorry, I’m repeating myself.

    I’d let De Shields go without a second thought. Even if he became a poster child for the “team play” award, I think we’ll have enough other guys to play second or the outfield.

    Rudy Owens? You think we can get something for him? Actually, if he sticks around, I’d try turning him into a situational lefty out of the pen. He’s never going to make a rotation here. Check that. He’s got a 7.36 ERA against lefties. Oops!

    Santana is having the best season of his life at 21. Reached his ceiling? Chip, you’re not a rum drinker are you? My advice although I don’t always follow it: Wait until after dinner to have a nice old rum.

    I think Villar will be a very capable guy one day, after he’s left us. Who knows what’s going on with Folty? Maybe they’ve got him working on pitches he does not want to throw. And I want to see several months of a healthy Wojoski before I bail on him. I like that he came from The Citadel.

    I don’t like it when Bo yells at Carlos Corporan in the dugout. He slipped there. But somehow I don’t think the guy we see on the bench every night is the same guy we see in the clubhouse. Just my gut.

    I don’t care where the Stros finish, until they contend. Incremental gains in the win column do not impress me.

    Kevin, who takes over third for Dominguez? You ready to install Enrique at the hot corner?

    oldpro, Aaron Judge, Nate Freiman Junior? Aaron sure knows how to work a count for such a big guy.

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    • Reasoning on Judge. Constant upward ability. Drafted 31st round in HS and first round in college. Was hurt last year but has already jumped to high A in his 1st season and is doing it in heavy air on the east coast, not in California light air. Good numbers at both levels this year. Is 22 so he is in the 2016-17 slot.
      Sanchez and judge are the two top 10 Yankee prospects that would fit Astros long term needs and Feldman won’t fetch a #1 but might fetch the #7. Finally, he has a real good OBP for a power hitter. Does not appear to be an all or nothing swinger of the bat.

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    • I forgot to mention this before. I love it when Bo yells at Corporan. I loved it even more when Corporan yelled back at him. Why?
      Because it’s emotion, I want them to get angry when they lose and I want to see it. We don’t have a clue what those players are thinking but an angry exchange does tell us something and if Castro is gonna sit there like a statue, then I wouldn’t mind a guy like Corporan taking a run at Porter if he thought Porter should have gone after the lousy balls and strikes we were seeing from the umps.
      My guess is Corp waited and waited and when Porter didn’t take up for the team Corporan did. and when Porter challenged him, Corp probably shot back that somebody needed to get in the umps face.
      Then Porter says what happens in the dugout stays in the dugout, but that is not the way it was before, so maybe somebody told Porter to practice what he preaches and reminded him that his reputation was as a player’s coach and he needed to be reminded of that.
      Corporan said it was over the next day but he sure didn’t make any apologies and maybe he did what he thought he needed to do. All I know is Houston steamrolled into Arlington and acted like a different team.

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      • I was pleased to see Corporan go right back after him too. But I don’t like to see the boss yelling at one of his guys in front of everyone.

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      • I may be wrong, but I thought Porter was upset because Corporan forgot he was the only available catcher. Hard to tell, but Altuve pushed Porter aside. The ump appeared to give Corporan a little extra time to settle down. But was an interesting exchange. We have seen guys get tossed for a whole lot less.

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  7. I’m going to the game tonight…….keep your fingers crossed for a win. I’m excited to see these young kiddos in real life, as opposed to listening to Steve Sparks try to lull me to sleep on the radio. Who would I trade? Deshields, Feldman, Villar and Stassi.
    If this team is *trying* to win more games this year, Luhnow had better not trade Qualls or Sipp, since they are the only real reliable arms in the pen right now.
    I’m going to try and get a couple of autographs for Tanner……..he has continued to get better, and is off to camp next week! Chip……I love free blog weekends!

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    • Well, Becky, they lured you to the ballpark and never mentioned that Springer couldn’t play. I love the Astros, but at times like this I hate them so much for being lowlife dumbasses. I’ll bet you were dying to see Grossman play CF.

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  8. Stassi would not be my first choice to go – but Carlos Perez the same age – is hitting slightly better and throwing a higher % of runners. Maybe Stassi has not fully recovered from getting hit in the face.

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    • Well, Dave, I’m glad you asked that. Two catcher’s interference, one misplay on a bunt, three overthowing on steals, one dropped popup, one missed catch on a play at the plate, and a couple on throws to bases not involving stealing.
      Perez and Stassi have almost the same games and chances at catcher. Perez with more errors and Stassi allowing a ton more steals. It’s two different catchers and two different styles.

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  9. Wouldn’t move Cosart without something like the pick of the litter, and I don’t think the Yankees would have what it takes. I think Feldman for Judge would be OK, but not necessary. Pitching is at a higher premium than hitting in our system overall – keep the pitcher while you have him under contract. If it was year 3 of that deal and we aren’t contending, so be it.

    Same for Keuchel. Team control for a long time. Still young. That makes him valuable and would make him expensively hard to pry away. I do think he is over his head right now, and some regression is coming, but regression to a mid to upper 3 ERA guy that pitches a few games over .500 and appears to be durable is a nice thing to have. So no, I don’t trade any of them. The three of them are probably responsible of the entire roster at our improvement from this point last year.

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    • Steven, I know I jump in way too often, but since the Feldman for Judge was my trade, here is why I did it:
      We traded for Fowler and he helped us and we can keep him another year til somebody is ready. But we needed Feldman while we gave Folty or Nitro a chance to break out. But now we need Feldman’s salary to invest in another guy like Fowler to make us better in 2015, like we are better this year than last year.
      We know what we were getting with Feldman and he bought us time. But we have Cosart, Keuchel, McHugh, Peacock, Ober and Folty and Nitro(Wojo, Weiland, White?) for next year CHEAP! So we take Feldman’s money and get us a ten million dollar shortstop or a ten million dollar closer for next year, which is the year we are buying time for Tucker, Villar, Kemp Correa, Stassi, Santana, Ruiz, Appel and Velasquez to get ready. In the meantime we add Judge to the mix in AA next year.
      So basically we are using the Feldman money to fill another hole next year while we groom the next wave. We were gonna spend it on him next year anyway, but we don’t need him next year because our young guys are ready to replace him. So use his salary to fill another big hole. Let’s let the Yankees pay him in 2015 while we take the money and try to get to .500 next year with another outside addition.
      Then we are ready to contend for the playoffs in 2016 and the Sports IIlustrated Guaranteed World Series in 2017.

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      • The key for me is if they were willing to sign Feldman for 3 years, they need to open the wallet in years 2 and 3 regardless what happens. I mean that if he is here in 2015 then his salary should not be a reason for passing on a $10 million upgrade to another position. Under the hypothetical situation he gets moved, they need to be willing to spend what they would have paid him + $$$ to upgrade another spot if the opportunity presents.

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  10. As for ceilings – simply no. I think Villar will end up getting himself waived, catch on somewhere else, and find some success around 26-27 when he “gets” it a little more. Folty is actually my pick for most talented pitching prospect we have, this years performance be damned. I think he will be here but it may not be quite as fast as we first thought. Santana is so young that I am not expecting him to grab the starting job until ST 2016, until then he still has some mechanical issues to work on to limit the Ks.

    There are a few others that I don’t want to throw out yet either, as unpopular as they have been on chipalatta.com – Krauss and Grossman. Krauss has hit at every level of baseball in his entire life so far except 1 – and we haven’t even given him 300 plate appearances yet to show it. Now he got in the type of funk that he gave the Stros no other option but to send him back down, but he could end up a better DH option than Carter. I’m not convinced that Grossman swings the bat hard enough but the guy is so patient a hitter that he has had articles written about him for it. He looks the closest to the AAAA player we have, but we owe ourselves a better look than a bad first half.

    The Astros are not in a position to care if they improve, even a little, by trading away any of them. Some prospects will hit, some will miss, but boy you don’t want to see them go all Abreu or Santana on you.

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  11. Sometimes I wonder what is a larger distance the combined distance of Chris Carter’s home runs or the combined distance he misses pitches by when he swings and misses.

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  12. for the right deal i would trade feldman. for a much better deal, keuchel. for an offer i cant refuse, cosart. i would trade deshields for a power hitter, though not an older one. owens is the only one on that list i would trade until i have seen quite a bit more of them. porter is still learning his craft, he makes mistakes, i hope he is learning from them. i dont like how he handles the pen. where they end up and where they draft has alot to do with the moves made before the deadline. if we get a power hitting LF for feldman, i think we finish 4th as that would upgrade the lineup and i feel we have more than enough candidates to start in feldmans place without much of a drop off. if we trade for prospects we finish 5th. under power hitter scenario we draft 6th, prospect scenario 3rd.
    but sometimes my crystal ball fogs up a bit.
    dan, i think the true winner is the combined distance of words written about carters homeruns and strikeouts.

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  13. One of the things that Luhnow did well in the Feldman signing is front-loading the deal. As you know, most deals are back-loaded. But Feldman is getting $12 million this year, $10 million next season and is due $8 million in 2016. His contract will be easier to move when the young kids start to mature over the next couple of years. If he pitches decently, Luhnow won’t have to eat any $$$ either. Did he overpay for the entire deal? Perhaps, But, he structured it correctly and provided the team flexibility down the road.

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  14. I can just imagine what Becky is going to say about the team we put out there tonight. There will be blood! I wonder if she asked for a refund.
    Oh yeah, she was getting those autographs for Tanner. At least she didn’t have to watch Villar!

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  15. Castro missed all three games of the Ranger’s series. How did we do up there again? But he was back tonight. How did we do?

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  16. Take away’s from tonight’s game:
    Feldman had NOTHING.
    Grossman……yeah, you know my very colorful language about that debacle.
    Hoes can’t play right field.
    Castro fired a screaming bullet to Matty D, to get that out.
    Lackey and the ump behind the dish nearly went to town on each other.
    NEVER, NEVER, NEVER walk the bases loaded when Ortiz is on deck to hit.
    Boston fans are a$$’s
    Leaving Feldman in to pitch well over 100 pitches, is ALL on Porter. PERIOD.
    cHRis Carter can hit homeruns when he wants to…..and I’m going to go to Chick-fil-a
    for a chicken sandwich tomorrow.
    Springer is gonna figure out what happens when you hit a wall going full speed.
    I think we all figured he was gonna be in a world of hurt, after he hit that wall in Arlington.
    There were about 100 Elvis impersonators at the game, since the fire works were a tribute to him tonight, and………no I didn’t stay to watch them.
    Fowler had BETTER be in center tomorrow. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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    • Becky, please send your resume to the Chron. You can describe the ballgame as if the reader were there. Can’t pas this up – “Chick’s did the Chic-fil-a?”

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  17. The JD watch continues. At the All Star Break he is *** leading the major leagues *** in batting average (.346) and slugging % (.654) for players with over 180 AB’s. He’s 2nd in OPS behind Troy Tulowitzki, 1.048 to 1.035.

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