CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

MMQB: A smorgasbord of conversation topics


As the playoffs continue — you are paying attention, right? — the Astros are planning for the next “season” when teams set their 40-man rosters and trade and free agency discussions heat up. Here are some thoughts and considerations as Jeff Luhnow and new manager A.J. Hinch prepare.

How ’bout that payroll?

  • The Astros are only a few years removed from having one of the top 10 payrolls in all of baseball. Yep, until Drayton McLane began stripping down the club to sell, the Astros were regularly in the top half of all teams. In fact, as recently as 2008, Houston was eighth in the majors with a payroll of more than $102 million. Paying the big bucks doesn’t necessarily win, however. This year, the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Rangers and Blue Jays all proved you can just throw money at the problem to make the playoffs.
  • Question: Considering the Astros have several players that are arb-eligible and Luhnow will likely add a free agent or two, pick a range for the 2015 Astros’ payroll?

Did the Astros really need to give up…

  • Many teams would have followed McLane’s and Crane’s sell-down, but clearly several players have flourished once leaving Houston.  Bud Norris, J.D. Martinez, Hunter Pence and Mark Melancon are a few of those who have played for other teams in the post-season.
  • Question: Which one causes you to cringe the most when you think about them playing for another team? Of course, you may have to research a bit to see how a particular trade is working out.

Take a look in your crystal ball.

  • Assume for a moment that Dallas Keuchel, Jose Altuve and Colin McHugh only regress minimally and that the Astros get full seasons from George Springer and Dexter Fowler. Also, for this exercise, let’s assume the Astros get better production from third and catcher and that Jon Singleton turns into an even average first baseman.
  • Question: How many key players is the team away from that 80-85 win target that many of you suggest would be a “success” for 2015?

Speaking of the minors…

  • Houston has passed over Tony DeFrancesco twice now for its manager’s job.  Interim manager Tom Lawless was also a no-go this season.
  • Question: If the Astros don’t like their make-up after seeing them in the Astros’ dugout, should they bring either of them back for the AAA or AA jobs?

Hinch: To be or not to be…

  • Many things hinge on the success of the Astros’ new manager. The roster makeup, the coaching staff, his relationship with Luhnow, the progression of prospects and the TV deal.
  • Question: What do you see as the single biggest factor to Hinch’s success in 2015 and beyond?

And some either/or to begin your first full week of October.

  • Who would you rather have at third base to start 2015: Aramis Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez, Matt Dominguez or someone else?
  • Which of these would you have preferred as manager over Hinch: Dave Martinez, Torey Lovullo, Phil Nevin, Tony D, Tom Lawless, Craig Biggio, or someone else?
  • Which of these, in your opinion, has been the worst GM for the Astros: Luhnow, Tim Purpura or Ed Wade?
  • Which team will reach .500 first: Astros, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Twins, Phillies, or Rockies?
  • And, here’s an off-the-wall question. Which is the best new show on television: Madame Secretary, Gotham, NCIS New Orleans, or Gracepointe?
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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in beautiful Colorado Springs, CO, and wakes up each morning to the tallest spot in the region, Pikes Peak. He is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 50 years. A native of another picturesque city, Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. Pastor Bosman came up with Chipalatta, and it has stuck.

56 comments on “MMQB: A smorgasbord of conversation topics

  1. 1oldpro
    October 5, 2014

    I’m going with a payroll of $57million. Wandy’s $5mil is subtracted and they add seventeen million. Why not more? I think they will try to get similar guys to Qualls to add to their bullpen rather than sign a high paid one. I think they will spend bigger bucks on an infielder.
    If you assume a better Singleton and the others mentioned are back for a full year, they need a big time third baseman and the previously mentioned bullpen guys to get that 80-85 win target.. They need to score more runs and get Ober to a .500 starter, so some of those wins need to come from his improvement as a pitcher and the rest of it needs to come from them scoring him some damn runs, so that he doesn’t have to throw so many unnecessary pitches.
    The guy that makes me cringe when I think of him is Cosart, because he wasn’t traded from necessity. They didn’t save money, they traded him because they didn’t want him. He begged to be called up and when they called him up he was their best pitcher. They said he would regress, that he couldn’t keep that ERA while carrying that WHIP. He was right and the metrics guys were wrong. He kept winning. Then they traded him saying his command wouldn’t improve. He said it would. He was right they were wrong and the guys who couldn’t stand him before really can’t stand him now because he made them eat crow. It’s one thing to release a guy who just wasn’t performing and he goes on to excel somewhere else. It’s another thing to trade a guy who did everything you wanted him to but you trade him anyway. That is the guy who hurts you because he’s young, he’s successful and the last four top pitchers you drafted are Appel, Thurman, Aiken, and Nix. You just traded a 24 year old starter who won 13 major league games for two bad hitting teams who only makes $500,000 a year.

    Like

    • Flash
      October 6, 2014

      I tend to agree with you on Cosart, but I don’t think it was a bad trade. Cosart put up almost the exact season as Bud Norris did (but it took getting traded). I think that is what Cosart will be for the next 8-9 years, a solid three starter. They improved their odds at third base with Moran while shrinking the time we live with MattyD. If he becomes Dave Madagan, like he is projected to be, then he will be a clear net gain for the team.

      On a down note, MattyD might beat him in a foot race.

      Like

    • Steven
      October 6, 2014

      I don’t think Cosart’s performance to date is what will be missed – it’s the promise of what could be. Flash’s comparison to Norris is fair though – both are basically two pitch guys who lack command of that second pitch that causes them to walk alot of people and throw alot of pitches. Cosart throws his fastball 70% – 70%! Not sure where that ranks overall but it’s got to be amongst the highest percentages in baseball.

      I would be scared of what he can become though – because any guy that can be hanging around 95 on his 100th pitch means he has the arm to be great. It just becomes a question of better command on his curve, hitting his spots better, and he can go from being a 3-4 starter to a 2 and win 15-17. He will really need to work on developing that change if he wants to go beyond that. It was tough for me to get back Marisnick for a guy that has the arm of Clemens, even if so far he has demonstrated the work rate and attitude of Norris.

      Like

  2. Dan P
    October 6, 2014

    First – old pro – nice summary on Cosart.

    Answers to questions
    – The payroll will come in at exactly $62.375 million – take that to Vegas and bet the house on it (Please don’t – I was only kidding – my guess is never right)
    – I do cringe about Cosart – I cringe more about JDM because we got nothing for him and because I keep wondering how much we are missing with poor coaching of the hitters. I understand you will always have busts and people that struggle to hit at the major league level – but can’t someone be brought up and hit…..
    -How many key players are we short of 80-85 wins? Frankly we could get better production out of 3B, 1B and C and if we don’t get improved bullpen work – we will still be short. I think we need 3 key additions / improvements (It could be by someone like Singleton or Folty grabbing hold of the jobs). These would be 2 in the bullpen and one between 1B and 3B.
    – About Lawless and DeFrancesco – Just because they are not right for the super-hyper-sabermetric Astros’ manager job does not mean they can’t fill spots elsewhere in the organization. What they ask the minor league managers to do or the roving personnel men to do is far different than what they ask the manager up top to do.
    – Hinch’s single most important factor to success – getting good players – period.
    – I like what Hanley brings offensively – but we are not likely to get any of those other 3.
    – Not sure I have an opinion on managing preferences – not sure I know enough to say this guy or that one. I want the one who won’t gum it up.
    – Worst GM was Drayton McLane directing Tim Purpura and some of Ed Wade
    – I think the Astros and Cubs make .500 next year. (go back up and look at my Vegas advice above)
    – Have not seen any of the shows listed – but specifically have a problem with the Madame Secretary – Hillary for president connection.

    Like

  3. Steeeve
    October 6, 2014

    Great questions, will only add that Steve Pearce makes the short list of now-successful players who got away.

    Like

    • Flash
      October 6, 2014

      Um, he got away from Baltimore as well. Let’s not pretend he was on the cusp of greatness. He is a role player on a good team, making contributions.

      Like

    • Chip Bailey
      October 6, 2014

      Pearce is nothing more than a journeyman. At 31, he played in excess of 100 games for the first time in 2014 (102 games). IMO, he’s not in the same discussion as the others who are in the playoffs this year. Or even Cosart…

      Like

      • Steeeve
        October 6, 2014

        Woah, there! A little love for Steve Pearce. Offensive WAR of 4.0, third on the Orioles behind Jones and Cruz, would have been 2nd on the Astros behind Altuve. 21 home runs would have been 2nd in the Astros. .930 OPS; Altuve led the Astros with .830. Had Pearce done this for the Astros he’d have been lumped in with Altuve/Keuchel/McHugh as the Astros breakout stars of 2014, the black hole at first base (or left field) has been filled for 5 years. All of this at age 31…whoda thunk it?

        Lifetime OPS of .768. Arbitration eligible in 2015, free agent in 2016. Making $850k. Let’s watch and see whether the Orioles lock him up.

        Like

      • Chip Bailey
        October 6, 2014

        Steeeve, yes, if — IF — Pearce had “done this” for the Astros or any other organization he’d been part of over the past seven years, things might have been different. But he hasn’t. And, let’s don’t lump him in with Keuchel or McHugh and certainly not Altuve. Pearce has “performed” only in 102 games this year, the most he’s ever played in a season! By far! Last year, he played 44, the previous year 61 and the year before that 50. I’ll agree with another writer: If the Astros let him “get away” so did other organizations.

        And, you can’t assume he would have the same results with the Astros. Might have been better than some other options, sure, but he has much more protection in Baltimore than he would in Houston too.

        If he finishes up his career in similar fashion, then great, he’ll be a huge find for Baltimore!

        Like

      • Flash
        October 6, 2014

        Yep, he had a pretty good year. Astros could have used that production in LF/1B, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as useful as it was to the Os. Plus, it would only serve to delay the certain pain of Singleton learning to hit ML pitching. I’m glad he had a good year, but I don’t regret that it is with the Os.

        Like

      • Steven
        October 6, 2014

        Wait a minute – Steeeve, Steve Pearce, hmmmm……

        Like

    • Steven
      October 6, 2014

      Well he certainly makes the list. I think every major league club has a list of guys they let get away at some point – TBH the Astros list isn’t really that impressive and none of them makes a tremendous difference in Houston – Pearce’s season was certainly more valuable to the O’s than it was maybe helping the Astros go from 70 wins to 74 wins.

      Like

  4. Devin_
    October 6, 2014

    – Ugh. You got me, I’m a hypocrite. Look, the draft hauls have been so bad they did not have major league caliber players in the system. We weren’t going to win with the best of what we had, so it made sense to trade them for filler. Ultimately, the Pence trade and Lowrie trade(s) were both winners, but I could all end up being smoke and mirrors. I say that bc we are speculating that Carter is soon too expensive for our FO and we don’t know whether the return from Miami will contribute to a winning team. Meanwhile, Hunter Pence already has two rings and a shot this year, and just missed out with Philly. Cosart now gives Miami a rotation worth drooling over.
    – When I want to look smart, I tell people the NFL team that makes the SB is often the team that stays healthiest. For Houston, I think the key is keeping the MLB group healthy and minimizing AAAA appearances. That means Dominguez needs to bounce back and Singleton needs to find his groove. My advice is for them to instruct him to try to hot rockets at the SS instead of trying to pull everything. As I said last week, a LHH 3B to take away half Dominguez’s AB against RHP would help…if he is still here. Alternayely, if you keep Petit or Villar you can consider Marwin for more 3B action. I think Castro bounces back. One more consistent bullpen arm is probably needed for a shot at .500 too. If that doesn’t work, I vote we sign JJ Watt.
    – Offensive consistency will determine if Hunch succeeds.
    – Purpura had such a bad run it may never be topped.
    – Which team to .500 first? This is tough because the West divisions already have teams looking at runs to the postseason next year, and the NL Central was also really competitive. I’d pick the Phillies, but the arms in WAS, MIA, and NYM next year look daunting. Let me be GHF guy and choose the Astros behind more Springer and deflations in OAK and SEA.
    – I haven’t caught any new shows this year. My budgeted TV hours are entirely spent on sports right now. I’ll read other people’s recommendations here, though.

    Like

  5. 1oldpro
    October 6, 2014

    With all the hype about hiring a manager, the one comment that stays with me was the comment from the anonymous guy who basically said that Hinch was the worst managerial candidate the Cubs had ever interviewed in their search last year.
    I do think the Astros would rehire Lawless or Tony D if they choose to return. How many chances do the Astros really want to take releasing too may guys back out into the wolfpack of MLB who know how really incompetent the front office is?
    The biggest single factor in Hinch’s success is if “The Plan” really works because his own competence isn’t a factor here. He’s being told how to manage a team by people who don’t know how to manage a team.
    I guess if I have to pick a player for third it would be Hanley.
    If had to choose a manager from that group, I guess it would be Biggio, because he might have had a chance to win the final battle that will come with Luhnow. That’s why, in my opinion, he was never a candidate in the first place.
    Worst GM ever, Purpura. What was McLane thinking? That was when I knew I was an Astros fan for life because I should have found another team to root for and didn’t.
    I watch Madame Secretary because I have learned to accept and control my gag reflexes from being an Astros/Texans fan.

    Like

    • Flash
      October 6, 2014

      This is incomprehensible.

      “How many chances do the Astros really want to take releasing too may guys back out into the wolfpack of MLB who know how really incompetent the front office is?”

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 6, 2014

        Yeah, I could have been clearer on that, sorry:
        1. The Astros would rather keep Tony and Tom in-house because they know a lot about the team.
        OR
        2. The Romulans don’t let their people leave and write books about their experiences.

        Like

      • Flash
        October 6, 2014

        Gottcha. Thanks.

        Like

  6. Flash
    October 6, 2014

    Payroll: I really have no idea. Unless you are spending money to actually contend, then don’t spend any money at all (unless you are extending your own players).

    Former players: I wouldn’t say any of them are flourishing beyond what they did here (‘cept JDM). Pence is playing on a team that includes Posey, Panik, Bumgardner…all home grown stars. If he’d have been retained he would be playing with Bogusevic, Paulino, and Tommy Manzella (or would Jio Mier beat him out? Hard to say.) So yes, they had to give them up because they had no one in the minors, and teams that win, win with their own players, primarily. By the time they developed players strictly through the draft, these players’ windows would be closed.

    Players Away: For two separate full thirds of a season, not overlapping, the Astros played at least .500 pythagorean ball, the final third at .512 and a peak of .544. They also played a full third of a season at .376. That is a pace of between 60 at its lowest to 88 at its peak. I think 70 wins was their most likely outcome. For 85 wins to be the most likely outcome will require much more than just improvement from the current players. I’ll go with 6 players replacing current players, two bullpen, one starter, and three position/bench players. I think we all know who those are.

    Lawless/DeFrancesca: Just because they weren’t hired for The Show doesn’t mean they don’t like their makeup.

    Hinch: To presume that any of us know the first thing about managing a ML team is naive.

    TV: There was a time that a surprising number of (voting eligible) people in this country believed the Martin Sheen WAS our president.

    Like

    • BrianT
      October 6, 2014

      I thought the guy on SNL was president. And Jon Stewart is the new Walter Cronkite. (And I weep for our future.)

      Like

  7. Steven
    October 6, 2014

    Range on payroll – I’ll take the 55-65 mil. Wide range I know, but it’s going to be fairly unpredictable. If they move Fowler early in the offseason all bets are off and I would guess Crane is going south of 50 mil again.

    Cringing – JDM. Even more so because LF is a black hole that was there to be grabbed, and it’s not like he was Kraussing/Singletoning it up at .180. It was even public knowledge that he was playing hurt last year. Now I do think he swayed too far the other way this year in Detroit, and he isn’t THAT good – but he should settle into a major league career and be a decent player for a few years.

    Key players – too many holes right now. I think they need a 3B, and better production from C, the outfield spot not occupied by Fowler and Springer, and 1B. The bullpen is a guesswork of hodge podge – needs to stay healthy, get the roles defined, and get those guys comfortable. SS may be fine with Petit/Gonzalez if we get better production from other places.

    I don’t really know much about Lawless or Tony D, except that every club in baseball is passing on them, just not the Astros.

    Hinch’s success – I would have passed on Hinch also – but Hinch is known as a numbers guy more and manager of people less – so I am guessing he fits Luhnow. Personally I am fine with my GM being a geek, and having a large staff of geeks working for him breaking down minutia that fans can’t even fathom, but give me a manager that manages people, looks guys in the eyes before he uses some chart to send them up to PH because the chart says it favorable, and put them personally in spots to succeed. Sure, he should be aware that his lefty pinch hitter struggles against certain type pitchers, he should be situationally aware of what the stats say about this matchup or that matchup, but managing the people comes first. I don’t see Hinch being the guy that stops the merry go round of managerial candidates. I’ll be surprised if he is here past 2016.

    3B – If you just ask me what player I would like to see there in 2014 – probably Sandoval. If I am a GM having to make the decision to give out what will amount to a short term answer on a long term, expensive deal, I am guessing I would take none of the above and try and patch work my way through 2015. At worst I would Dominguez an opportunity to improve, though I am skeptical of it and it would be on a very short leash.

    Manager – Biggio. I don’t prescribe to the conspiracy theories much, I just don’t think Craig wants the job at this point. Right now he is sitting on a decent salary as an “advisor,” he makes profitable public appearances, he doesn’t have to go through a crazy and hectic travel schedule, he doesn’t have to stand in front of a camera and answer questions daily from the stupid “sports” writers Houston attracts, etc. I think the day will come that he will be the Astros manager, but it might be another decade.

    Worst GM has to be Purpura. He gave some really bad contracts. Wade also gave some bleh’s – but at least he made some decent trades at the end.

    .500 first – I’ll take the Diamondbacks – historically they and the Rockies have been known to have crazily good seasons from nowhere.

    I don’t watch any of those shows – my favorite new show has been The Last Ship – though its season is now over. The only show I watch right now is Sons of Anarchy – though Walking Dead starts back up on Sunday.

    Like

    • Yeah Buddy
      October 6, 2014

      Purpura’s time as GM was awful, but he still has whiplash from Drayton pulling his strings so hard. Not so sure the worst of those decisions were Tim’s alone.

      Like

      • Steven
        October 7, 2014

        I could spend 5 minutes with a calculator and scratch pad and tell that Williams was in decline and that Jennings was awful. It may take me another 10 minutes to explain the formula to Uncle D. I don’t disagree that Drayton kept pressure on Purpura to field a winner, especially after that near miss 05 season, but replacing Clemens and Pettitte with Siskel and Ebert was a mistake for the ages.

        Like

  8. 1oldpro
    October 6, 2014

    Drellich had an article in the poor boy version of the Houston paper today on Correa.
    The article was based on a press release issued by Carlos’s new agents, Legacy, and not the Houston Astros.
    Apparently it was not the message that was notable, but who was delivering the message, which basically was: Carlos is recovering nicely and looks forward to being back to 100% healthy as soon as possible.

    Like

  9. daveb
    October 6, 2014

    Sure, I’d take Sandoval in a flash……even if it came in the form of a four year deal. It’s still not my money. And if Moran or Ruiz progress to the point where we have a logjam at third, well that’s a good problem to have. Some folks are already talking about “when” Moran is ready. But both Moran and Ruiz remains “ifs”. They are both prospects. It is too darn early to pencil either guy in. Sandoval remains valuable in that he can also play first, DH or get traded…..or Moran or Ruiz can get traded too. So sure, I’d overpay Sandoval.

    Back to Cosart for a second. I’m willing to wait this one out and see what happens with Moran and Jake, and who we might get with the extra pick, but I would at this point suggest that Cosart is going to be a better than middle of the rotation starter. I’m still upset that we took a step back, by getting more prospects but giving up a major league starting pitcher. At this point, I do not want to see us trading away todays talent for tomorrows maybe’s. We’d be looking at a heck of a rotation in 2015 with Cosart in the mix.

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      October 6, 2014

      I do not want to see us trading away todays talent for tomorrows maybe’s.

      *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

      daveb, I’d agree wholeheartedly. Think this particular deal was as much about the 40-man roster as anything else. Unfortunately, we may see another similar deal or two between now and next month.

      That’s why I’ve written recently about a trade that could/would make you cringe. Remember when the Astros kept Hildalgo and let that “other” guy go? His name was Bobby Abreu. Yes, it was an expansion draft, but it demonstrates how decisions on players, including prospects, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

      Maybe it was makeup or coachability or attitude or perhaps the Astros just felt his ceiling wasn’t the same as say Folty or Appel or someone else further down the list.

      Either way, it is a gamble and Houston can’t afford to do too much of that. If anything, it’s time the pendulum shifts and we see another Randy Johnson-type trade, if you know what I mean.

      Like

    • Flash
      October 6, 2014

      Okay, I’ll play third. But you are not getting me on a home-town discount. I want my full market value!

      Like

      • daveb
        October 6, 2014

        Flash, I certainly would not expect a hometown discount!

        Like

  10. BrianT
    October 6, 2014

    And here we go:

    * I’m expecting a payroll on opening day between $55 million and $65 million. Wandy’s money comes off, so that can be spent for the hometown nine. Money saved on Crain can go to his healthy replacement. A corner infielder with a bat (preferably at 3B) and a few arbitration cases will see this uptick. It’d be almost impossible to spend more than $75 million because Houston has too many young, cheap players that are part of the solution.

    * I bet I’m on record somewhere saying we should J.D. Martinez should not have been cut. … Hey! I’m a genius! Or a broken clock is right twice a day. Between his revamped swing we kept hearing about and his health, I thought he deserved a longer look. Ooops!

    * If Singleton steps up to become a .250/.320/.400 hitter, I think we’re a closer and another quality arm (replacing Albers) away from 80 wins. A good third baseman, the addition of subtraction of Marwin and Petit over Villar and better play in right field (No more L.J. Hoes!) gets us closer to 85 wins.

    * I hope Tony D and Lawless get their choice of jobs in the organization, and both get raises. That’s all I know about that.

    * How to succeed? Don’t manage the lineup and bullpen like Bo Porter. Don’t air dirty laundry to the press. Keep Strom. If you keep Mallee, tell him to focus on contact.

    * Lightning round: I’d take Hanley Ramirez. I don’t think he’ll come here. I would have taken Tony D as my manager, but I’ll reserve judgment on Hinch until some time in May. Purpura and his puppet master were the worst GM in club history. Any other answer is dead wrong. I think the Cubs get to .500 three days before Houston does. And I’m looking forward to “The Flash.” Madame Secretary looks like a political ad for Hillary. As much as I love watching Tea Leone do anything, I don’t think I can watch something so blatantly in violation of campaign finance laws. What’s next, a show about a curly-haired eye surgeon who runs for office because he’s evil?

    Like

    • BrianT
      October 6, 2014

      Oh, I need an editor today. Hoes in left, not right. (Well, either, really.) I won’t even mention the other oopses.

      Like

    • Steven
      October 6, 2014

      I would agree on Purpura. As bad as the Feliz’s of the world were – Purpura brought doom to our pitching staff thinking Williams was an answer and Jennings would easily replace Pettitte. Wonderfully jolly guy, kinda boring interview but thoughtful, but in the end you are graded on results.

      Like

  11. Flash
    October 6, 2014

    I’m not convinced that the odds of Singleton getting to 250/320/400 are better than 50/50. so, the more corner IF the better.

    Like

  12. Becky
    October 6, 2014

    Quote from Roger Clemens today, “the learning process is over, it’s time to win”.
    Didn’t he say that LAST year?! Next year’s payroll had better increase to at LEAST
    $65 million, or you’re not getting anything done. I expect Luhnow to do a little Ed Wade dumpster diving for extra bull pen arms, and “try” to talk a free agent 3rd. baseman to come here………good luck with that one. Of the guys who were traded, my remorse is Cosart, but most of us know WHY he was traded, and it had nothing to do about pitching. Luhnow won’t stand for a “rebel” in the clubhouse, and he made that point very well, by trading Cosart. If Singelton doesn’t go play winter ball, and does nothing to improve himself over the winter, then you gotta punt. The Crawfish Boxes had an interesting article about the comparison with Aybar, and Villar……….the difference with these two guys are Aybar *LISTENED* to his coaches and managers, Villar either can’t, or won’t do that. I have a feeling Lawless will be retained somewhere in the organization, not too sure Tony D. has a foot in the door, or maybe his health will dictate his spot with the Astros. Prupura was only
    doing what Drayton wanted him to do, but it’s a toss up on who was worse, Ed Wade or Tim Purpura………BOTH were disasters.
    I don’t watch television shows that are political……..I’m an ultra right wing conservative, married to a democrat…….and we agree to disagree, MOST of the time.

    Like

    • Dan P
      October 6, 2014

      Can you imagine Roger Clemens as the manager of the Astros? It would be kick butt every day

      Like

      • BrianT
        October 6, 2014

        I can imagine Biggio with Bagwell as his bench coach. “Do it right, or get the f%&# out.”

        Like

      • BrianT
        October 6, 2014

        Which brings up my next question: When will Altuve be named the team captain?

        Like

  13. Chip Bailey
    October 6, 2014

    @BrianT. Can you imagine “Biggio with Bagwell as his bench coach.” And Clemens as pitching coach. And Jeff Kent as third base coach? Of course, Berkman would have to coach first . . .

    Like

    • Yeah Buddy
      October 6, 2014

      I’ve always thought about Berkman on first and the animated conversations he had with runners there. Wish he had been mic’d up all those times. Many times when Albert Pujols and Berkman were on the bag you could tell a good conversation was happening.

      Like

    • BrianT
      October 6, 2014

      I’d love it.

      Though I do miss Cheo Cruz down at first base.

      Like

      • Steven
        October 7, 2014

        I can’t remember what chron writer it was – I am thinking Justice – but they wrote a hit job piece on Cruz right after he was dismissed – basically saying he was the last one in, the first one out, and didn’t work with the hitters or fielders at all. It made it sound as if he really thought he was hired to just stand down at first base and pat guys on the rear. Not saying it was true, but it had enough fire to make the paper, I can’t imagine the editors at the Chronicle are just letting hit job gibberish be published on Astro greats. Then again, meh, maybe.

        Like

  14. Astro45
    October 6, 2014

    The only question I choose to answer is about the GM. Only Harry H. Frazee the owner and GM was worse than Timmy Poo Poo in all of MLB History. (PS: I love watching the Royals. Not because they are winning, but they are having fun. It is still a game with them)

    Like

  15. Becky
    October 6, 2014

    It’s pretty clear that Clemens has lost patience with “the process”, in other words, if you’re not playing to win……..WHY BOTHER! I wish he would get in Singelton’s face and tell him to quit thinking he’s the next Barry Bonds, and start doing what’s expected of him. End of conversation.

    Like

    • BrianT
      October 6, 2014

      Becky, I’d be happy if YOU got in Singleton’s face and told him to quit thinking he’s the next Barry Bonds, and start doing what’s expected of him. In fact, I’d pay damned good money to see that. I bet we’d all take up a collection to get video of that and a conversation with Jonathan Villar about using his brain on the field.

      Who’s with me?

      Like

  16. 1oldpro
    October 6, 2014

    Well, I still have the dollar Becky lost the other night. I can contribute that back to her for help with Singleton. But I’d rather just by him a bus ticket to Fresno.

    Like

  17. 1oldpro
    October 6, 2014

    Buy……. Sheesh!

    Like

  18. Astro45
    October 6, 2014

    If we are going to get the best use of Becky, she needs to take Luhnow’s job. Go straight into Crane’s office screaming “JUST SIGN THE DAMN CHECK.” That would get this team off center.

    Like

  19. Becky
    October 7, 2014

    Pony up fellas………I’d take that job everyday, and twice on Sunday! By the way, any of you guys watching the division series? The Royals/O’s is going to be fun to watch, and those pesky Cards are not going down without a fight. I think the Dodgers are going to be hard to beat……pitching, pitching, and pitching. Lord, I miss the NL. *sigh*.

    Like

  20. 1oldpro
    October 7, 2014

    I have HUGE news and it is relative to this particular blog post!
    According to a Houston Spit article, the same owner who saw a .500 record as a possibility this past season, now sees a $20mil dollar payroll increase as a possibility for 2015. You can take that Jim Crane statement to the bank and cash it.

    Like

    • Devin_
      October 7, 2014

      So, we should expect to add $12 million in payroll then. Does that account for just arbitration increases?

      Like

  21. 1oldpro
    October 7, 2014

    It could mean that a player or players that we are expecting arbitration from might be dealt.
    It could mean that payroll could actually get to $65mil.
    Keep in mind that Luhnow defenders don’t count 2011 as a rebuild year, even though they eagerly point out that it was Crane who asked McLane to divest us of all our possible high salaried players in 2011. What that means is that the Astros truly are entering year five of their rebuild but Luhnow isn’t accountable for year one. What it really could mean is that Crane might be ready for the rebuild to be over and the reload to happen.
    I think the most important thing to remember is that what we see with our eyes on the field doesn’t mean spit when compared to what the front office sees with analytic projections and, therefore, the positions we see as relevant to change may be very different to what the club sees with their computer models. Their models can create scenarios of roster makeup using projections of players to be obtained at the value the club puts on them based on the entry of a spending limit into the equation.
    So, if your makeup has a spending limit of $65mil then you enter values of available players and get tons of different rosters and try to build it getting the maximum values that fit into that amount of spending. If it turns out you can’t build the type of team you want for the amount of money you want to spend, then maybe you have to get rid of a player that is going to cost you $10mil to keep and substitute someone your computer tells you has similar or slightly less value for only $6 mil.
    If your computer gives you a Jesus Guzman as a valuable piece that fits the puzzle and Guzman doesn’t provide his appropriate value, then you blame Guzman, the computer, the manager, or all of the above. If the computer gives you a McHugh as a valuable piece, the GM is a freakin’ genius.

    Like

    • Dan P
      October 7, 2014

      So this is where fantasy baseball and real baseball coincide?

      Like

    • Steven
      October 7, 2014

      Hello, is this thing on?

      Like

    • Flash
      October 7, 2014

      So then you agree, Luhnow is a genius.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 7, 2014

        I agree that he is close to being a genius at economics and engineering, but not at baseball.

        Like

  22. Becky
    October 7, 2014

    DanP……..It might be time to start a new discussion on the subject of payroll, and who, we might see leaving because they became “too expensive”. I’ll belive a payroll increase when I SEE it!

    Like

  23. daveb
    October 7, 2014

    So basically, we’re going to have to make things work in 2015 using mostly existing resources, along with a cheap, risky pick up or two, much like the type that improved our bullpem so much in 2014. And quite possibly too, a guy like Fowler will disappear one winters night for a cheaper alternative(s).

    Here’s a question: How would you folks feel about Dominguez and Singleton starting for this club on Opening Day? I ask, because I think that will be the case.

    Like

    • Flash
      October 7, 2014

      MattyD, no. Singleton, yes. MattyD was given his 1000+ PAs. He is consistently far below .300 in OBP. Given in-house alternatives, I’d go with Marwin/Villar on the left side. Singleton needs ABs. I’d let him have them.

      Like

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This entry was posted on October 5, 2014 by in Astros and tagged .
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