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What they said, what they meant: Winter edition part 2


Almost immediately after the completion of the last What they said, what they meant, there was a lot more to talk and write about. So, with thanks to chron.com (spit!!!) for the quotes, here is part two of WTSWTM: Winter Meeting Edition.

Astros’ owner Jim Crane commenting on Jeff Luhnow and the secret extension he gave him…

  • What he said. “I’ve managed a lot of people, not necessarily in baseball. I think we’ve all made some rookie mistakes, and we can all improve, and I think he would be one. I’d be one. We’re kind of three years into it, we should be getting pretty good at it by now. Yeah, I think he does a nice job. He’s good with the people and I like the things he does. His job is to keep the chemistry with his guys. And I think he’ll have some very good chemistry with A.J. (manager A.J. Hinch), you can already see that. A.J.’s been up in the room all day. We have very good input and very good feel for each other, so I like what I’m seeing now.”
  • What he meant. “OK – maybe Bo Porter does not think he is “good with the people”, but then again with my track record, why would you listen to my evaluation of Jeff Luhnow as a human being. Sure, AJ is up there in the room all day – I think it is the huge iced down vat of peel and eat ‘em shrimp keeping him there. Man that guy can chow down.”

Crane on the potential / additional $20 million in the budget…

  • What he said. “We’re not going to spend it just to spend it, I think definitely the money’s available if they need it, and we’re looking to fill some voids and improve the team. That could include spending the money and making some trades. They’re looking at all the options. Definitely that money’s available if they need it, and we could stretch a little if we need to and if something came in our direction we felt was the right piece that improved the team.”
  • What he meant. “You know how the big increase in gas prices from a few years ago makes us “happy” to pay $2.40 / gallon at the pump today? Well I have been doing the reverse with the Astros payroll. I slashed the payroll so much when I took over that everyone thinks my additional $20 million is the most wonderful thing in the world. Well maybe not the guys over at chipalatta – but most of the other fans….”

Crane after the signings of Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson by the Astros….

  • What he said. “You know, when you come here (to winter meetings), there’s no fire sales going on. It’s pretty much retail and retail plus. You’ve got to pay retail if you want to sign these guys or maybe a little more. We understand that, and I think we’re working on it.”
  • What he meant. “You know I got in this screaming match with JL (OK maybe he was not that good with people at that point) when I was balking at some of these salary offers he wanted to toss out there. Then he showed me some of the stats for the few fire sale guys out there and they made Lucas Harrell look good. So I acquiesced and we got a couple live ones.”

Chad Qualls recalling a very successful threesome of relievers that Qualls, Neshek and Gregerson remind him of….

  • What he said. “I just think a lot of it is you just get to know one another and everybody roots for everybody, There’s no negativity down there — everyone’s kind of happy with their role, whether someone’s throwing the ninth or someone’s throwing the seventh, they’re happy that they’re in that role. That was kind of how it was in ’04, ’05 and ’06 when it was me, Wheeler and Lidge. I didn’t want Lidge to falter. I was happy throwing the seventh, I was happy Wheeler had the eighth, I just wanted to win the game. And that’s kind of how we were at the end of the year, and with all of us being friends. And then having Gregerson, Neshek, who I know — great guys as well — obviously, there’s going to be competition for roles. But once we get into those roles, I’m sure everyone’s going to want the same bottom line, and that’s just come out of the game with a ‘W.’”
  • What he meant. “Folks, I was with the Astros last season when they lost 92, I was with the D’Backs for part of 2010 when they ended up with 97 losses. I also was with the Astros when they went to the NLCS in 2004 and the WS in 2005. I know what felt better and I know that if we win more games with me pitching the 7th than the 9th – fine – let me pitch the 7th. I want that feeling of being on top of the world in this town again.”

Luhnow on the two signings at the winter meetings….

  • What he said. “Last year, we had a lot done coming into these meetings. This year, we had one trade and that was it. So we knew that here was a chance we’d do more this week, and we feel pretty good about the progress that we’ve made, and there’s still a long way to go in this offseason. We’re unlikely to take too many hours off.”
  • What he meant. “The fans and even the media are hilarious – you miss out on a couple guys like Robertson and Miller and it is Armageddon. With 30 teams looking for help you are not likely to get your first couple choices, but the good news is that there were a lot of good relievers looking for a good situation and bucks and we think we offered Gregerson and Neshek a good opportunity and good contracts, Take that Evan Drellich….”

Luhnow on pursuing more pitching…

  • What he said. “We’re exploring starting pitching. The past couple days we decided to look at the market a little more closely. We’ve made contact with a couple of players of interest and also looked at a few opportunities potentially through the trade market. We like our rotation but feel like there is a room for one proven major league starter to write in there somewhere in the middle of the rotation. Something we’re going to explore. The reliever market, we feel we’re making significant progress. But it takes a lot of relievers to make it through a major league season. So we’ll continue to look there as well.”
  • What he meant. “I did not tell you much there except where I said ‘middle of the rotation’. So we are not chasing Max Scherzer. I think you knew that. But hey just like with Neshek and Gregerson there are some guys out there who could help us without making them part owners of the franchise….”

David Stearns assistant GM (who is neither David Stern former NBA commissioner nor actor Daniel Stern of Home Alone fame) on losing 3 prospects in the Rule 5 draft – Delino Deshields Jr, Jandel Gustave and David Rollins……

  • What he said. “We’re at the stage in our organizational development where we’ve got a lot of players that other teams want. You can’t protect them all. This is a natural part of the process, and so we’ll move on from here. I think that we knew that there were probably a number of players we couldn’t protect of selection risk. So no, we’re not all that surprised.”
  • What he meant. “To everything (Turn, turn, turn) there is a season (Turn, turn, turn) and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to be protected and a time to move on…..”

Bonus question – Neshek on the process of the Astros signing him….

  • What he said. “I actually told my agent, ‘Hey, let’s do Pittsburgh. He said, ‘Hold on, I’m getting a call from the Astros,’ and he said, ‘Let’s see if they can do anything better,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, it’d change my mind a lot.’ And they upped it a little bit. And then they also said that they were going to sign Gregerson. Because I heard there were discussions that they might not get him, they might get him — and they said they were going to get him at that time.”
  • What you think he meant…..
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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

37 comments on “What they said, what they meant: Winter edition part 2

  1. Billy Castillo
    December 16, 2014

    Petit DFA’d. Hoes remains.

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 16, 2014

      Petit played a lot better than Hoes but he is a lot older. Maybe it points to an infield addition coming.

      Like

      • Devin_
        December 16, 2014

        This was the response to signing Lowrie.

        Like

      • Dan P
        December 16, 2014

        Sorry – on the road and did not hear about Lowrie

        Like

  2. Kevin
    December 16, 2014

    Hoes really geez

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 16, 2014

      A long ways to Spring Training and to the season for Hoes to hang on

      Like

      • Kevin
        December 16, 2014

        I still think they should have packaged Hoes, Krauss, and Clemens to the Cubs, for a _______ fill in the blank

        Like

      • Devin_
        December 16, 2014

        Goat? Autographed Bartman poster? The Cubs have a good bunch of prospects on the cusp and are really thin in pitching. Someone will sign/claim the guys we let go, but there otherwise might not exist a market.

        Like

  3. Mr. Bill
    December 16, 2014

    “What he said: “I actually told my agent, ‘Hey, let’s do Pittsburgh. He said, ‘Hold on, I’m getting a call from the Astros,’ and he said, ‘Let’s see if they can do anything better,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, it’d change my mind a lot.’ And they upped it a little bit. And then they also said that they were going to sign Gregerson. Because I heard there were discussions that they might not get him, they might get him — and they said they were going to get him at that time.””

    What he meant: “I pitch a whole lot better than I do interviews. Can I go pitch now?”

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 16, 2014

      Like it Mr. Bill…

      Like

  4. Mr. Bill
    December 16, 2014

    What he [Crane] said: “Definitely that money’s available if they need it, and we could stretch a little if we need to and if something came in our direction we felt was the right piece that improved the team.”

    What he meant: “Still waiting with baited breath for all the complainers out there to start chipping in money by the bushels-full to fund all the grandiose plans they have for this franchise. Checks and money orders should be made payable to “GoFund the Astros Three-Peat from 2017 through 2019”.

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 16, 2014

      In a way we do fund that.. Or would if it happens

      Like

  5. Mr. Bill
    December 16, 2014

    What he [Asst. GM Daniel Stearns] said. “We’re at the stage in our organizational development where we’ve got a lot of players that other teams want. You can’t protect them all.”

    What he meant: “Who exactly would you have preferred we left unprotected in the place of these guys, Einstein?”

    Like

    • Devin_
      December 16, 2014

      Hey, that may be a joke, but I think the problem is it’s too close to reality. In actuality, two of the three (DDJ, Gustave) had little chance to see the big leagues in 2015 if protected. They basically limit JL to a 38 man roster if protected, or force option years to be burned. I think they took the risk that the flaws in the players games would make it likely they will get returned before end of season.

      We’ll see if the gamble pays off or even matters…JL has a prospect crunch with too many not-ready-for-primetime-players and not enough milb affiliates to get them experience.

      Like

    • Dan P
      December 16, 2014

      I did not know Einstein was an Astro fan…

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        December 16, 2014

        What genius could not love Jose Al-TUUUUUUUUUU-vey?

        Like

      • Dan P
        December 16, 2014

        I must be a genius then.

        Like

  6. Becky
    December 16, 2014

    Jim Bowden says rumor is the Astros are willing to give up Mark Appel in a trade for Cole Hamels. That move takes a LOT of b***s. By the way, Hamels can (and will) block a trade with this organization. Stay tuned.

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 16, 2014

      Interesting thought there Becky – hard to see it happening

      Like

  7. Steeeve
    December 16, 2014

    Fangraphs 2015 projections are out. They have the Astros at 76-86, which is probably less meaningful than they project them to finish with the 24/25/26 best record.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=Standings

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 16, 2014

      Can’t see how anyone can predict anything at this point – I know generally you can but there is a lot that will happen between now and ST and during ST to show what kind of team will be on the field,

      Like

      • Steeeve
        December 16, 2014

        You can if you want to attract traffic to your web site 😉 Kidding aside, Dan, point taken. I picked it up from the Detroit Free Press where the discussion was around trying to predict the Tigers’ 2015 not knowing whether they would resign Max Scherzer.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      December 17, 2014

      Isn’t it interesting that no team projects to have as many as 90 wins and that a team projected with 81 wins and 81 losses projects to a .497 winning %.

      Like

      • Dan P
        December 17, 2014

        Who knows old pro – lots of times they make wrong predictions at the end of July.

        Like

  8. Becky
    December 16, 2014

    Peter Gammons just tweeted the Astros settled with Jason Nix fir $1.5 million, which is what he was offered when the whole mess with Aiken went down. The front office will never admit any wrong doing over this……..you can take that to the bank!

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 16, 2014

      So does he take the money and reenter the draft?

      Like

      • Becky
        December 16, 2014

        Yes……..he’s going to go to a Jr. college for one semester, then enter next year’s draft.

        Like

  9. Steeeve
    December 16, 2014

    Oh, and last week’s Sports Illustrated had a very nice feature article on Jose Altuve. The hook was, of course, that he is short. However, there was some nice discussion about how he revamped his plate approach for 2014 under John Mallee, that he has mad skills, and is a very pleasant and endlessly modest fellow.

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 17, 2014

      Sounds like a nice piece – will check it out when I make it home

      Like

  10. Dan P
    December 17, 2014

    I’m kind of out of the loop right now. Is Lowrie SS only? Is he going to play some 3B? Is he trade bait again after 2 seasons when Correa shows up?
    What is the buzz?

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      December 17, 2014

      I have been out of the loop also, so I have been reading up. Apparently they plan on him playing SS this year, thus the highest salary. Next year he may play 3B depending on the Astros 3B situation. The 3rd season and the option season are a wait and see situation.
      Lowrie is open to this and is happy with the plan.
      This is how I foresaw the Hanley Ramirez situation, only now it is with Lowrie at less than half the money and with a guy who wanted to be because he likes the Astros and lives here.
      It appears that they really do want Correa to be the starting SS in 2016.

      Like

    • Devin_
      December 17, 2014

      Yeah – it gives us insurance that Correa can progress normally without being rushed.

      So here’s my question: what should our roster look like after ST?
      – 12 pitchers
      – 2 catchers
      – 1 DH (Carter)
      – 4 starting inf (Singl, Altuve, Lowrie, Dominguez)
      – 3 starting OF (Grossman, Fowler, Springer)
      That leaves three open spots. I’m thinking Marwin and JFSF get two of them. Do they take a third OF (Presley @$1m) or another INF (Sclafani / Villar/ ???)

      I’m concerned that the answer is that Marwin + 1 catcher from our trio will get traded, and then Stassi starts in Fresno to resolve that logjam.

      Like

  11. 1oldpro
    December 17, 2014

    Fascinating article about Brent Strom in TCB.
    There are things that the Astros want their young pitchers to perfect in the minors and they take preference to winning games only in the minors. If you stop and think real hard about what Strom wants pitchers to learn how to do to be a good pitcher by the time the prospects reach the majors, you can see why pitchers like LMJ and Brady Rodgers and Luis Cruz might be fooling us with their stats as they move upward.
    It is very likely they are focusing on what they are supposed to be adding and not on throwing their two best pitches, just to get batters out.

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 17, 2014

      Yeah we had read that on McCullers so it makes sense – now if we can start having some hitters come out if the minors who are not K machines…..

      Like

  12. 1oldpro
    December 17, 2014

    Since half of the quotes in the post involve what Jim Crane says, I just can’t get into the heart of the matter. No offense, Dan, when Crane speaks I have the exact same reaction as others have to chron(spit), Yankees(spit). Jim Crane makes my stomach turn.

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 17, 2014

      Well start in the middle and just comment on the last 4 quotes and the bonus.

      Like

  13. 1oldpro
    December 17, 2014

    What Pat Neshek meant: Let’s hold off and see if anybody offers anything close to Pittsburg! I really don’t want to pitch in Pittsburg! OMG, is that Houston on the line? Hey honey, guess what? Yep, no sales tax on groceries, no state income taxes, good housing rates, retractable roof, locker room toilets that flush.
    Let’s call Jed and see if they can recommend a good neighborhood with a golf course and good schools. OMG, Jed’s calling me! What’s up, bro? You’re kiddin’, right?

    Like

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This entry was posted on December 16, 2014 by in Astros.
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