So maybe it’s just this simple: Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow want their guys in the key positions. That means players, coaches, managers and the stat geeks alike.
If you joined the organization before Luhnow, the key for you is adaptability. Can you hang with the plan, the numbers and the philosophy?
Clearly, players like Dallas Keuchel, Jose Altuve, Marwin Gonzalez and perhaps even Brett Oberholtzer and George Springer have made the transition. Obviously, Lucas Harrell, Jarred Cosart and perhaps Jordan Lyles and J.D. Martinez did not.
Apparently, Corpus Christi manager Keith Bodie didn’t either. The jury is still out on Oklahoma City manager Tony DeFrancesco, shortstop Jonathan Villar, catcher Jason Castro and even prospect Michael Foltynewicz. And how much more patience will Luhnow have with Domingo Santana and Jon Singleton, both acquired in trades prior to his arrival.
What is very clear is that Luhnow has specific expectations, both from his managers, coaching staff and players up and down the organization. That he would want his own team in place isn’t novel to a major business, it happens all the time. That he would want that team on the same page isn’t unusual — or unreasonable — either.
But with such a unique plan by past baseball standards, finding key people willing to depart from norms may be a more difficult task than usual.
Nearly 30 of the 44 players currently on the 40-man roster (including the 60-day DL guys) were acquired after Luhnow became general manager in December 2011. Last year at this time, the number was about half. By mid-summer 2015, those remaining from the pre-Luhnow days will be part of the core of the future.
No questions to start this week. Only opinions and observations for you to agree/disagree or expound upon.
- Luhnow has every right to have his own guys in the dugout, on the field and in the office. If my butt was on the line, you can bet your best cigar every key role would be filled with people I trusted and/or knew would toe the company line and not only follow, but champion, the plan.
- Luhnow says he’s satisfied with his major league coaches. That means the next manager may have to roll with John Mallee and Brent Strom, though it’s possible someone like third base coach Pat Listach may be moving on. Maybe to manage OKC or Corpus Christi?
- Clock is ticking on pre-Luhnow players Singleton, Villar and Jason Castro. No hit/high K rate/inconsistent defense will be their undoing. Will they survive the winter?
- Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett won’t last the season (snuck that one in there).
- This will be the busiest off-season for Luhnow since joining the Astros. Using a similar vein as the National Hurricane annual predictions, I’ll predict two named storms (major trades), two depressions (minor trades) and five other acquisitions, including free agents, waiver wire pickups and Rule 5 draft. NRIs not included.
- All of the leading candidates for the Astros’ managerial position would be first-time MLB managers. Except for Tom Lawless and Tim Bogar who are both interim managers today, all others mentioned thus far have never managed at the MLB level. Question: Can/should the Astros go with another inexperienced manager?
- Prediction: Neither Singleton nor Dominguez will be at their respective corners for the Astros on opening day 2015.