You loyal readers know the drill for What They Said What They Meant – Astros’ related quotes from chron.com (spit!!!) are analyzed for the not-so-secret true meaning behind them. This installment hits on off-season action and non-action by Jeff Luhnow and a bit on the new manager A.J. Hinch.
For a change of pace, here is an interview by Evan Drellich of Jeff Luhnow. Luhnow is being questioned about a “potential” trade he used as the reason for not protecting Michael Feliz on the 40 man roster until the last minute, when other players such as Ronald Torreyes had already been protected. In this case there will be an interpretation of the questions as well as the answers……
- What Drellich asked. “But a trade held you up?”
- What Drellich meant. “I don’t think there was any frigging trade that should have affected Feliz – you had a couple extra spots open on the 40 man already.”
- What Luhnow answered. “Yeah, we had some discussions with some other clubs and didn’t come to fruition.”
- What Luhnow meant. “This answer is so vague – even Sherlock would struggle to disprove it.”
- What Drellich asked. “What would the benefit of keeping Feliz off the 40-man roster be in a trade?”
- What Drellich meant. “Come on – admit it – leaving Feliz off was an oversight and you only rectified it after reading my column about it.”
- What Luhnow answered. “You’ll have to figure that out, I’m not going to get into what the discussion was.”
- What Luhnow meant. “Your so d*&n smart – why do you need me to explain anything.”
- A little aside that Drellich wrote. (Theoretically, if a trade were large enough and Feliz was not a part of it, the Astros could have needed the roster space. It would have needed to be a very large trade, however, and the question would still remain: why would Feliz go unprotected while other players regarded to have a lesser upside were protected?)
- What he meant. (The SOB is lying to me and I don’t even care if he reads this on chron.com (spit!!!) or not)
- What Drellich asked. “So the trade talks won’t come to fruition?”
- What Drellich meant. “I don’t believe in Santa, the tooth fairy or these imaginary trade talks.”
- What Luhnow answered. “Not necessarily. Obviously, there’s a lot of deals going down right now, there was two deals done in the last hour. So there’s always discussion intensified by the fact that teams have to make decisions on rosters. And we were involved in some of those. They affected some of our players, but the end result was we added three guys to our roster today (Feliz, Torreyes and Velasquez).”
- What Luhnow meant. “Yo mama!”
Luhnow talking about the catcher situation…
- What he said. “Because we have three major league catchers, I’ve had clubs inquire about all our catchers quite frankly. So we need to figure out some resolution prior to Opening Day. There’s no urgency.”
- What he meant. “Man, I would gladly part with Jason Castro or Carlos Corporan, but every time I call the Dodgers about Clayton Kershaw, I go straight to voice mail. Haven’t they seen his post-season stats?”
A.J. Hinch at the winter meetings.
- What he said. “I’ve experienced winter meetings in different ways. Different front office jobs, also as a manager (with the Diamondbacks in the 2009-2010 offseason). It’s certainly a little easier from the manager’s side, (but) we have our responsibilities. … The intensity of the meetings is down a notch in this job than it was in my previous job, which is good for me.”
- What he meant. “JL has kind of made it clear that I am the test pilot for this experimental plane and not the architect. So I will just sit back and collect the big pay checks until they fire me. No pressure.”
Luhnow after losing Andrew Miller to the Yanks despite a reported higher bid…
- What he said. “Well we have a closer. Chad Qualls is our closer. We’re looking for good pitchers to pitch in close games. What exactly how the roles get determined, that’s really up to A.J. (manager A.J. Hinch). But we’re trying to get him as many weapons to add to the pitchers that we have. Certainly Qualls and (Josh) Fields and (Kevin) Chapman and the rest of the guys. We just want to have depth in the bullpen, because last year our depth wasn’t there, especially at the beginning of the year.”
- What he meant. “Yeah we were offering $40 million for 4 years with a 5th year option for Andrew Miller, long reliever. C’mon….Miller signs and we would have a closer and his name would not be Chad Qualls. And just for fun I did not mention Sipp or Folty. It is kind of like when Gilligan’s Island premiered and the original theme song did not mention ‘the Professor and Mary Ann…’. They just sang ‘and all the rest’. I like playing with everyone’s emotions when I do talk.”
Andrew Miller on the Astros and their offer…
- What he said. “They made a heck of a pitch. I know they got thrown out there in the rumor mill. But top to bottom, they were really impressive. They’ve got some really smart people. They’re going in the right direction. This was a decision that was not made lightly. And it was not only two teams. I was very — not surprised — but excited to see who was interested. I felt I pitched well enough to put myself in this position. But it was hard to even dream about it turning out the way it did.”
- What he meant. “Sure they are a bunch of smart guys, but so are the nerds on the Big Bang Theory and I’m not trusting them anywhere near a baseball organization or my career.”
Anonymous player’s agent on the Astros
- What he said. “(It’s) difficult to gauge intent and interest they have.”
- What he meant. “I keep hearing these rumors about the crazy money they offered Miller and Chase Headley. All I can say is that when they talk to me and my clients it’s like they took the Hot Tub Time Machine back to the 80’s offer-wise.”
Scott Leventhal, David Robertson’s agent on the Astros’ involvement in losing Robertson to the White Sox.
- What he said – “No comment.”
- What he meant – “It is just so upsetting to hear a man crying, you know. Luhnow was pleading that if he lost this gig he would never have a respectable job in MLB. He said he might have to go back to Mexico City and coach some guy named Amador. I felt for the guy, but this is a business. Or it should be.”
New Bench coach Trey Hillman talking about Hinch bringing all his staff together.
- What he said – “First and foremost it’s just been great to be in the same room. AJ’s got a special way about the way he leads. It’s great because I think everyone can see now that it’s playing out in person that he’s going to empower the coaching staff to coach. There’s no doubt that he’s our boss and he’s going to be the manager of the team. But with his leadership skill set he’s got a nice way of bringing guys together very quickly.”
- What he meant – “I sure hope the second time is the charm for Hinch, because if he gets fired the bench coach usually gets the interim spot and then I have to deal with Luhnow when I should be looking for a new job.”
Bonus Question from Jose Veras talking about his cup of coffee with the Cubs before returning to the Astros and his prospects for 2015….
- What he said. “I really made the mistake to sign with the Cubs instead of to sign with Houston early in winter time. But that’s the way it is. You learn by mistakes. It’s like I told you, I’m available to do anything. Be it closer, throw the eighth, throw the seventh. I just want to be on the team (where) I feel like a family, like I feel here. That all these guys respect me, I respect them, I love them, even though we don’t win 100 games like we maybe want to do. At the same time, it’s not about just being in the World Series or playoffs, it’s play baseball and the right thing and right spot where you can be free to do things and free to do your job. And people, you know … they trust you and support you to do your job.”
- What you think he meant.