Just two wins shy of the entire 2013 total, the primary question now for the Astros is how much improvement the team will realize over the next 44 games. With the talent on the roster now, the team should avoid a repeat of the horrific August/September (15-41) from last year.
And that will be the ultimate tell-tale of the 2014 season, the overall improvement and how big a step the organization will take.
When George Springer and Dexter Fowler return, just where will they fit in the lineup and in the outfield? Apparently, Bo Porter plans to plant Fowler back in center, flanked by Springer and newly acquired Jake Marisnick. No more Robbie Grossman and no more Chris Carter in the outfield. Not to mention Alex Presley who should also return soon from the DL. In other words, logjam outfield. The Springer/Fowler/Marisnick OF might be refreshing, especially when you consider that they are three center fielders covering the spacious Minute Maid Park. If everyone returns healthy soon, the Astros’ lineup suddenly becomes a little more potent, if not consistent.
How’s that trade looking now?
On February 4, 2013, the Astros traded Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez to the A’s for Carter, Brad Peacock and Max Stassi. Until recently, the trade was even at best, though most Astros’ fans believed the A’s had won the deal. But with the recent breakthrough by Carter, the trade is suddenly swinging back at least toward the middle and perhaps to the Astros’ side if Carter finishes the season on his current path.
Remember back when…
Sometime during the off-season I posited that Michael Foltynewicz might be a future closer for the Astros a la Brad Ridge or Billy Wagner. As I recall, I was shot down. Any takers on that thought at this point?
Playing for his Astros’ career?
To be sure, Jason Castro hasn’t lived up to his first round potential and his future as an Astro could be dependent in part on how he plays the rest of the season. The tenth pick of the 2008 draft (yes, 2008!) has hit .249/.323/.409 over 367 games with the Astros. He’ll be due another significant raise in arbitration this spring, but could also be a huge trade target at the winter meetings. The big question: Who catches for Houston in 2015? No one is waiting in the wings.
Anything left in the tank?
The Mets signed Chris Young this off-season hoping he could revive his career in New York. Didn’t happen, but many teams still feel he can turn it around. Yes, he’s a Houston native and some wanted to see the Astros bring him in over the past couple of years. Since the Mets DFA’d him last week, he could be had on the cheap. A $50,000 audition in August and September might be worth it.
Manager for a day.
With Fowler, Springer and perhaps others returning soon, what lineup would you like to see the rest of the way? Here’s the 40-man roster, so you can take your pick. Try this one:
- Matt Dominguez.
- Jon Singleton.
- Marwin Gonzalez.