It’s a tradition here: Free Blog Weekend!
- There is a myriad of players who will receive qualifying offers this year under the CBA. Players such as Nelson Cruz, Victor Martinez, Ervin Santana, Max Scherzer, Hanley Ramirez will be extended or get the estimated $15 million QO. With some appealing possibilities and the likelihood the Astros will increase their estimated $50 million 2014 payroll, it doesn’t seem likely Jeff Luhnow will wade into that territory this off-season. Yes, the top 11 picks are protected, meaning both the #2 pick and the next one (probably sixth-to-eighth ultimately) are untouchable. Signing a player who receives a QO (then declines) would require the Astros to give up the 31st pick recently obtained in the Jarred Cosart trade. With the Luhnow Plan in place, that doesn’t seem plausible.
- Would you consider signing one of those big salary players and giving up the #31 pick?
What have you done for me lately?
- Folks, streaks are inevitable in baseball, especially over the long haul of a 162-game season.SeveralAstros are notoblivioustothisstreakiness. Consider:
- After threatening to pass the 40 HR/100 RBI threshold in recent weeks, Chris Carter doesn’t have a single HR or RBI since September 5. Moreover, he’s hitting only .256 in that time frame, though he has maintained his OBP (.408). Talk about an about-face.
- Meanwhile, how ’bout that Scott Feldman? He’s streaking the other way, turning in six consecutive quality starts and a 2.00 ERA over the last six games. He has only two wins in that period but he’s joined Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh to solidify the rotation down the stretch.
- You have to go back to the summer of 2010 to find back-to-back .500+ months for the Astros. Following a 15-14 August, the Astros are 8-7 and, despite all the warts, the team is playing fairly well, though not consistently. Obviously, the rotation is carrying the team a long way and providing opportunities for those wins.
- Houston is 10-6 in its last 16 games, 16-12 in its last 28 and 27-29 since the All Star break. Tom Lawless’ club is on pace to finish 71-91.
The greatest hope!
- Dan wrote eloquently about the greatest fears for 2015. On the flip side, fans, management and even players must have hope! My greatest hope is that your greatest fears aren’t realized! 🙂 Seriously, the greatest hope is that the Luhnow Plan begins to take firm root and flourish. I still believe in the overall plan to build from the minors, in the draft and with key acquisitions. My hope is that the budget pushes upward toward $70-$75 million and that Luhnow keeps the key cogs (Jose Altuve, McHugh, Keuchel, George Springer and, yes, perhaps even Dexter Fowler, Michael Foltynewicz and others) to build around as the nucleus of the future.
- What’s your greatest hope?
And a few questions for you to start the weekend.
- Can the Astros catch the White Sox and the Cubs in the standings?
- Picking up on the “hope” theme above, what are your three greatest hopes for 2015?
- As of today, the Astros have a 16-game improvement over 2014. That’s second…in the American League! Which team has a better improvement?
- The Astros named their minor league players of the year recently. Which Astros would you name winners of: MVP, Pitcher of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, Inspiration of the Year? Any other awards you’d like to dole out?