Here in Houston the school year for most kids begins on Monday – so it is not a bad time to stop and reassess things as the Astros creep within 5 weeks of the off-season. If you were running the Astros – how would you prioritize these chores headed into the off-season?
- TV Deal – How critical is it to escort this huge elephant out of the room?
- Setting the 40 Man Roster – As oldpro was talking about – can this team afford to protect players from the Rule 5 draft like Luis Cruz, Vincent Velasquez and Michael Feliz, who are a couple years away from the majors? Or can they afford not to protect them?
- The Chaff from the Wheat – Some of the decisions on who to allow to be free agents will be easy – such as Jesus Guzman. Others – such as Matt Albers, may be a little tougher – but the team has to decide who it actively wants back and who moves onward or gets a NRI invite to spring training.
- Evaluating the Manager and Coaching Staff – At this point it would be a surprise if Bo Porter or any of his staff gets shown the door (which may be one of the biggest surprises to occur this season). Brett Strom looks like a real keeper and even John Mallee seems to be slowly getting results – I just read where the Astros had scored the most runs in the AL since the All Star game. But an evaluation process must occur.
- Line up a new AAA affiliate – Articles have just been published saying that the OKC team will become the LA Dodgers AAA team this off-season. Do we try and get the Rangers to let Round Rock out of their agreement two years early? That would seem to be a dry hole. Do we make a two year agreement with the Dodgers’ AAA team at Albuquerque and then chase RR for 2017?
- Fix the Bullpen – Maybe the step before fixing is deciding on a better plan than 2014 had for fixing the bullpen – picking up non-closers including one coming off an injury he has never come off of and throwing them at the problem. It is not likely the Astros can get a real closer to come here as an FA unless they are damaged goods or way over paid – so do you package a young arm with a Matt Dominguez and/or Robbie Grossman and/or (fill in the blank) and go after a closer?
- Get FA Help at ??? Position – Most of us would point at SS as a position requiring help right after the bullpen – but both Catcher and 3B have been problematic this season. Jon Singleton has been very spotty at 1B, but you have to believe they think he has the potential to do a Chris Carter over time and start to hit more consistently. And he is so young….
- Promotions for 2014 – Which prospects are bumping up a step in 2014 and which ones need to start the year at the same level to prove themselves?
So how would you rank these chores, what do you think about the questions facing them on the Astros management team on these chores and am I missing any ones you would like to add to the list?