If you could ask one question of these Astro-related folks…

Just for fun, here are people important to the Houston Astros’ organization and the one question this blogger would ask of each, if given the opportunity.

Owner Jim Crane

Q: If we are in contention in July, how much more would you be willing to spend at the trade deadline?

GM Jeff Luhnow

Q: Was A.J. Hinch your first choice for manager and why or why not?

Manager A.J. Hinch

Q: Lots of guys struggle or fail in their first attempt at being the manager (e.g. Casey Stengel failed twice). What did you learn from your first shot as the Arizona manager and what will you do different?

Hitting Coach Dave Hudgens

Q: Your first year as Mets’ hitting coach (2011) they were sixth in NL in runs scored, second in hits, second in BA, second in OBP and sixth in OPS. Your last year (2014) they were eighth in runs scored, 13th in hits, 12th in BA, ninth in OBP and 11th in OPS. Why did we hire you again?

Pitching Coach Brent Strom

Q: From 2013 to 2014, the starting pitching went from God-awful to above average. The bullpen went from stinky to….well, stinky. How would you dole out credit and/or blame for the starters and bullpen?

New Astros’ Relievers Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson

Q: You came from two organizations that have won 278 games (A’s) and 275 games (Cards) the last 3 seasons with playoff appearances each of those seasons and now join a team which won only 232 games the last 4 seasons and is a decade removed from the playoffs. Was it about the money or what???

New/Old Astro Jed Lowrie

Q: Are we going to get 2012 Jed Lowrie who played well but not often, 2013 Jed Lowrie who played very well and often (for the A’s) or 2014 Jed Lowrie who played often but not so well?

First Baseman Jon Singleton

Q: What are you doing in the off-season to assure that you are a better player in 2015? And this does not include relaxing in Colorado.

Outfielder Dexter Fowler

Q: What are you doing in the off-season to assure that you can play more than 120 games in 2015?

Second Baseman Jose Altuve

Q: Jose (this is a question reserved for you and JJ Watt) – how in the heck can you improve this season?

This could obviously go on and on, but… Who in the Astros’ organization would you like to question and what would you ask them?


33 comments on “If you could ask one question of these Astro-related folks…

  1. Outfielder George Springer

    Q: Where are your skills at stealing bases?

    Pitcher Dallas Keuchel

    Q: Was I the beard?

    Third baseman Matt Dominguez

    Q: Can you put squirrels in your shoes to help your running skills?

    Catcher Jason Castro

    Q: Where is your enthusiasm for the game?


    • My shot at answering the questions….
      Springer – Maybe I was hurt all along and just gutted it out until I could not run any more.
      Keuchel – My Beard is like Samson’s hair. I ain’t cutting it.
      Dominguez – I put in snails and they did pick up my pace a bit.
      Castro – Sorry I was yawning – could you repeat the question?


  2. Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel: You both had seasons that Cy Young would have been proud of. How can you make sure you don’t live down to what people thought of you before 2014 began?

    George Springer: At times you looked awesome at the plate. Other times you looked lost. What will you do to cut down on bad at-bats?

    Dexter Fowler: At best, you’re the third best centerfielder on this team. Will you move aside so someone better and less fragile can go running up Tal’s Hill?


    • McHugh / Keuchel – Just keep that horse whisperer Brent Strom talking to us and everything will be just fine.
      Springer – Hey sometimes you guys look lost writing the blog and some times you look awesome. And no ones throwing a 95 mph heater at your knuckles…..After I see more of these guys pitch I’ll improve.
      Fowler – In a little known codicile of the Faber by-laws it says if they pull me out of CF – I get 50% of the gate receipts


  3. Dexter Fowler can you please not mark on your 2015 calender ahead of time, the 50 days of the season that you will have a hang nail and need to be placed in the DL

    Matty D can you find a personal trainer, you have the money. You can lose some baby fat ( about 25 lbs) build some muscle, and even get quicker! What a concept.


    • Fowler – When you are a fine tuned centerfielder like me – you cannot play with those hang nails. My glove keeps catching on them and then I hurt so bad that I can’t see straight and I become the 4th best CF on the team….
      Matty D – I’m just big boned


  4. Owner Jim Crane

    Q: Jeff Bagwell is on record stating he is open to coming back to the organization. What are you going to do to get him back in??


    • Crane – Well I told him if he ponied up $10 million he could have some input on player moves. It has been crickets since then.
      I mean what were you thinking – that we would have our some-day H of F 1B help our with our raw / K-fest young 1B? C’mon man.


  5. “He’s still an effective player. He works for a team thats on the verge and on a team like the Cubs or Astros who need a veteran presence.” – anonymous GM on the question of Jonny Gomes.

    Now thats not from the Astros obviously, and not from Gomes.

    New question though – would you take Jonny on a 1 year, 5 mil deal to play some LF and DH? He has a tremendous walk rate and some power, but is very limited defensively, strikes out a bit, and almost seems platoon-y in his splits, absolutely killing lefties.

    Pros – Can fill a late-middle spot in the lineup at 6 or 7, even 5 in a pinch, probably 3rd against lefties. His warts are known – you don’t discover them as a manager, you already know he is limited defensively, he struggles against right handed pitching, you already know what he is going to do, making it easier to manage around.

    Cons – He has a ton of warts.


    • I’m guessing you are asking us about this one so….
      Dan P – Steven – I don’t see a point in giving $5 million to a 34 year old whose numbers have been falling the last 3 seasons and whose line last season .234 BA / .327 OBP / .657 OPS I basically got with Grossman for league minimum. On top of that he seems to come from the Fowler school of injuries with 99, 116 and 112 games the last 3 seasons. I say nope.


      • I don’t think it was injuries – I think he really is a part timer, and treated as such. His struggles against righties are real – .222 lifetime average. His excellence against lefties is also real.

        His numbers are very meh in seasons where he has been asked to go outside his comfort zone and giving much more playing time.

        5 million is steep, I threw that number out because thats what he made last year – but I think he is more of a 2 mil part timer. If I can get him for 2 mil, and I know he is going to hit .270s with power and OBP on lefties, I might take it.

        I asked just because it came up. I don’t see him as an upgrade over Grossinick, and maybe even an impediment to their development as with Presley’s contract it likely puts one of them in the minors. I would agree on the nope, but is it Gomes or a Gomes like signing the Astros cleared the roster spot for?


      • I see where you are coming from on Gomes, Steven. I could swallow $2 million a lot quicker than $5 million for him – especially if you could lean him towards hitting lefties.
        The last roster spot is interesting. Maybe they thought they had a good chance of passing Downs and Petit through waivers and sending them to AAA on assignment when so many other teams have fairly full rosters. Maybe it was to open a spot for a month from now or in case a waiver wire player attracted them. I guess we shall see.


  6. OK, now that we’ve broken ranks, allow me to continue the tangents:
    Gary Sheffield somehow hit 500 HR in his career and made 9 AS teams. He is HOF eligible in his first year next week. Does he make it? Does he get more support than Biggio and/or Bagwell?


    • He put up some very good numbers, but if the voters did not vote in Bagwell based on mumbled PED rumors – why would they put in Sheffield who was mentioned in the Mitchell Report?


  7. Jim, your team has lost over 300 games in 3 years and is going to be the lowest paid team in MLB this coming year. Do you realize a pile of dung smells so sweet when compared to your stench?
    Jason, do you realize how many runs you left on the bases last year? Do you see any way that your hitting improves this coming year and do you really care? Did all the other pitchers on the team feel about Porter the way Keuchel did and was your feelings toward Porter the reason you mailed it in last year?
    Mr. Hudgeons, did Jeff promise to get you some more bats to work with or are you just a masochist?
    Dexter, since you obviously are the third best defensive CF on the team, is this all about your perceived market value for free agency as a CF vs a LF next year or is your thinking on defense as lackadaisical as the way you catch a damn fly ball? Is playing CF for the Astros more important for you than helping the team win by playing LF?
    Robbie, you do realize the actual season begins in April, right?
    Jake, you do realize that if you get a pitch that isn’t in the strike zone and don’t swing at it, that pitch will be a ball and four of those is a walk, right?
    Jonathan, when a pitcher grooves a fastball to you, just how many baseballs does it look like, because that funny weed can play tricks on you. Are you seeing multiple balls coming down the pipe and are you trying to guess which is the real one?
    Jed, does playing lousy on a good team last year make you feel like you can play good on a lousy team this year?
    Jose, can you play 3B? Jose, can you play 2B and 3B at the same time if they let you bat twice in the lineup? Jose, did Bo porter tell you that the rules let you bat twice in the order if you play two different positions at the same time?
    Brent, when you want to talk pitching with someone else who is knowledgable in our front office, do you just stand in front of a mirror?
    Hank, is framing a pitch as important as being able to hit one? Did Luhnow tell you that? If we could find a catcher that can hit, could you teach him/her to frame?


    • Interesting concept on Altuve. Perhaps if we employed the statistical shift for all three outs in one inning – moving Jed and Matty to the 2nd base side, and moving Altuve to the SS position – would he be eligible to bat twice in the bottom of the inning?


    • Crane – Hey OP – I pretty much doubled the payroll from 2013 to 2014 and then this year I added another 40+%. Of course any number times zero is zero – but still. Talk to you later – Barrack is waiting to tee off.
      Castro – I went to Stanford and even though it is a big number I can calculate my LOB numbers. But this year – now that the President has recognized my Uncles Fidel and Raul – I can play clear headed.
      Hudgens – I do enjoy pain. I play audio books narrated by Fran Drescher (the Nanny) just for the way it shoots pain up my spine.
      Fowler – I don’t know what anyone is talking about. They never asked me to move to LF.
      Grossman – This season I am starting spring training on January 1st. It is kind of lonely down here in Florida – but I do go to Disneyworld after working out by myself every day.
      Jake from State Farm – I have psychological hitting damage from when my dad would throw to me in coach-pitch games. He would yell at me for not swinging at everything he threw to me even if it was in the dirt and now I can’t overcome that.
      Jonathan – The hitting coach told me to study film on Chris Carter to fuel my improvement, but he loaded up the first 1/2 of 2014 instead of the last 1/2 of 2014 to watch.
      Jed – I think this team will be better or I would not be coming here. And even if they are not I missed the Tex-Mex when I was in Oakland.
      Jose – I once read where my namesake Jose Oquendo played all 9 positions in one game. He is my hero.
      Brent – My problem is there is a good Brent and bad Brent – the good one talked to the starters last season and the bad one talked to the bullpen folks. I also have periods of paranoia and blackout often….
      Hank – My only problem is that sometimes I forget that I am batting instead of catching and I try to apply that damn framing crap when I am in the box. It does not work.


  8. Crane: How long will you continue to make Bopert look like a soothsayer of note?
    Luhnow: How long will it take for “the Plan” to work? (Hint: We were in WWII for only 4 years) Hinch: Do you plan to have everyone run around in ST and congratulate themselves on the win BEFORE the game? (If not – why not in 50 words or less) Hudgens: Does your contract allow you to shadow Altuve and repeat what you see? Strom: Are you the one that thinks we need 4 catchers? (Again, explain in 50 words or less. Swear words do not count toward the total of 50) Relievers N & G: Do you guys think that maybe – between the 2 of you – that you might be able to pitch in 9 or more games this year? Jed: Is it true that you sent a photocopy of your signed contract to Bo Porter along with a copy of the rule book? Jon Boy: Talk to Hudgens. If he asks you to choke up and lean over the plate – will you give it a try? It can’t hurt your OBP. Fowler: We need you in the lineup. Are you willing to “sulk” for the next 60 days and put that behind you? Altuve: Man, you answered all my questions. I was rooting for Aspromonte, Staub, you name it – and after 50 years – guess what – YOU CAN HIT. No questions here. Bonus Question to the Stratosphere: Who will be the next prospect that will get buried in the minors until he is willing to sign a “team friendly” contract?


    • Crane – Bopert said we would never be more than a mediocre team. I think never comes in the next couple of years.
      Luhnow – Hey in WWII you had everyone sacrificing for the greater good – rationing goods and food so that the war machine could supply the front. Here – the baseball budget was the only thing that was sacrificed….
      Hinch – If the computer tells us we will win a certain ST matchup – why not celebrate before the game? Why even play the game?
      Hudgens – I have to be careful with Altuve ever since he filed that restraining order.
      Strom – Again – since I did not pony up $10 million – I do not have a say on how many catchers we have.
      N&G – We did not follow the Matt Albers training plan this off-season so we think we are safely going to pitch in more than 9 games. We bet the over in Vegas at 15 games…
      Jed – Bo and I are best buddies – but you know sometimes it is good to not work with your best buddy
      Jonathan – I never heard of Hudgens. I’ve been too busy ignoring that Malle guy.
      Fowler – When you have sulking in the blood it just rises to the top when you least expect it – or about 40 -50 games a year
      Altuve – Thank you sir
      Stratosphere – Great question – I guess we will see.


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