WTSWTM: Biggio to the Hall and Luhnow’s Roster Fever

This edition of WTSWTM (What They Said, What They Meant) begins with the immortal Craig Biggio (Hall of Famer forever, right?) and morphs into the crazed roster moves since our last editions. Just remember that what they said are actual quotes from Chron.com (spit!!) and what they meant was obtained through ESP by the Amazing Danskin.

Biggio on the wait and the call from the Hall of Fame

  • What he said. “I got a phone call at noon time that will forever change my life and my family’s life.  This is a very overwhelming and humbling experience.  I haven’t been this excited, antsy or nervous in any baseball game I’ve played. I was crying. I’m not going to lie. I was an emotional mess. You play 20 years in one city, fans become a part of your life. For them to be able to finally have a guy going in … an unbelievable feeling.”
  • What he meant. “I think back and I can’t believe this happened to a skinny little catcher from that college baseball factory Seton Hall. Nobody ever starts off as a major league catcher and ends up as a second baseman or outfielder. Almost nobody gets to play with the same team for 20 seasons. And so few get to love and be loved by a wonderful city and their fans so completely. I am so blessed and so happy for the fans of Houston.”

GM Jeff Luhnow on Expectations for 2015

  • What he said. “Before we even start playing games, it’s hard to put a win-loss on it. But I do think this team is very capable of being a winning team this year. I said it the other day (on MLB Network), I believe this is a winning team that we’ve got pulled together here. A lot has to happen, but we do believe that we’re in a good spot. Our division’s tough, the American League is tough. But we’re a lot better today to face those challenges.”
  • What he meant. “Jim Crane thought last year’s team was a .500 team so do you think he is going to allow me to talk down this team after he tossed in another $20 million (give or take)? He wants me to be nodding like one of those Astro bobble heads and after my extension – who am I to argue?”

Luhnow after being asked about dealing with division rivals relative to the Carlos Corporan trade with the Rangers

  • What he said. “We really don’t have any favorites or no-go zones.”
  • What he meant. “Oops – I really did not mean to somehow indirectly connect what we do in baseball to the terrorist attacks in France.”

More Luhnow on Corporan himself

  • What he said. “He’s been great. He and (Corporan’s wife) Stephanie and the family have been a great part of Houston and the community. He’s always the first guy to volunteer to go do something charitable. He’s been a great member of this community and this team. It is difficult. It’s part of our maturation process, and we really feel like Conger is ready to be that complement to Castro behind the dish. Corporan has done a nice job, and he’ll continue to do a nice job.”
  • What he meant “Some times players leave the team and it is good riddance, hope you suffer the worse slump known to mankind. But Carlos was a great guy, a terrific person. If he was as good a player as he was a person he would be joining Biggio in the Hall of Fame. He and his wife lost their baby here. And they just kept going and giving to others. This is sometimes a hard job and a hard business.”

A.J. Hinch on the high strikeout team being put together

  • What he said. “We haven’t struck out yet. … In January, I’m not too worried about it.”
  • What he meant. “Hey – strikeouts are not a death knell for a team. Last season the Twins had the 4th most K’s, but the 5th most runs and the O’s had the 5th most K’s and the 6th most runs. In 2013 the Bosox had the 4th most K’s but scored the most runs and the Indians had the 5th most K’s and the 4th most runs. Besides – what the hell can I do about it right now? Quit my job before I manage a game? Let’s revisit it sometime in June and see how it’s going.”

Luhnow on whether Castro will be with the Astros on opening day

  • What he said. “Absolutely. Jason Castro has been a big part of this team. We still have two years of control and we want to get a deal done with him. That left-handed swing if we get the defense from Jason (that he showed) last year and the offense from Jason (of) two years ago, we’re talking about not only an All-Star player but one of the best catchers in the game. I think that’s what we’re going to get this year.”
  • What he meant. “Please, would you open the door so my Pinocchio nose does not hit it.”

New OF Colby Rasmus on coming to Houston

  • What he said.“I’m from Alabama. I love being in the south and the country. Big trucks. I know everything’s bigger in Texas, so my big truck will fit in. Both places (Houston and Baltimore) I definitely I had interest in, and was liking both of what they had to offer.  For a while now, I’ve kind of wanted to play in Houston. … I’ve got some friends that live around the area, and I just thought it would be a good fit for me. I need a change of pace. I’ve played on a lot of older teams with guys that were a lot older than me.”
  • What he meant. “What can I say – I stunk last season and these guys want to give me $8 million, let me live in a place where every other vehicle is a big truck, oh and it does not have a state income tax. Did you ever see what size the garages are in Toronto or Baltimore? I can’t even store my spare tire in there. It will be a hoot to be the one of the older guys with this team. I just hope along with a big garage I can find my swing.”

Luhnow on trading Dexter Fowler to the Cubs the season before free agency

  • What he said. “It helps our club immediately and it also helps our club in the long term for a player that most likely — who knows? — but most likely would be gone after this year.”
  • What he meant. “Who knows? Hell, I know! If he thinks he is worth almost $11 million for only 70-80% of the season – he will be holding on for 5 years $60 million next season. I think he will be holding on a long time….”

Luhnow on picking up Luis Valbuena in the Fowler trade

  • What he said.  “Valbuena will get a long, hard look at third base. It may be a platoon with Matt. It may be he wins the job, it may be Matt wins the job and Luis becomes the utility guy. I don’t know. But we’ve got options, and we’ve got depth at the positions where we were weakest last year.”
  • What he meant. “I couldn’t make my thoughts on third base any foggier if my name was Bill Belichick.”

Luhnow on the trade for Evan Gattis

  • What he said. “Unclear at this point (where they will play Gattis). “We have the luxury of having a DH spot in the American league and Chris Carter can play some first base and (both have) played left field. We did our due diligence. He’s had some issues in the past. We feel comfortable with what we’re getting and we feel like in the American League, it’s a better environment for him (with the DH spot available).”
  • What he meant. “OK – maybe I gave away how poorly he plays defense when I included him in a remark about Chris Carter and left field, but I am just happy to get somebody who hits the ball harder than I do.”


Jed Lowrie’s agent Brodie Van Waagen on his client signing with the Astros

  • What he said. “We were talking to some teams for Jed to play second base exclusively, some teams to play shortstop, some teams to play third, some teams to be an every day player at multiple positions.  I think (he saw) the opportunity to come here to play shortstop for 2015, with the recognition that there are uncertain variables coming around him — but with the willingness to slide over wherever the best interest of the team lies, beyond 2015 or whenever that time comes. He’s motivated to help this team win as an everyday player in whatever role he’s best suited to do it.”
  • Your turn: what you think he meant.


42 comments on “WTSWTM: Biggio to the Hall and Luhnow’s Roster Fever

  1. -What Luhnow meant about Castro: “I’ve already traded off two catchers. Did you think that was just practice?
    Jason told me that after I hired Hinch, that he and Springer started practicing that dugout dance. Jason has also been practicing a small grin in the mirror every night and he feels he has both of these routines down and is ready for this season.”
    -What Rasmus meant: “Houston is a County Boy’s Heaven, Toronto is ……Toronto!
    Texas has no income tax and a rifle season that lasts two months!!”
    -What Luhnow meant to say about Fowler: “$9.5mil is a lot for a guy who hasn’t played LF very much.”
    -What Luhnow meant about Valbuena: Yeah right, I didn’t make a trade for a part time third baseman to fill a full time black hole. Pencils out. Write his name down, AJ.”
    -What Luhnow meant about Gattis: “If I’m gonna have a bad fielding LF again, this one’s gonna hit home runs!”


  2. Vogelsong…….what he said “I just didn’t feel comfortable with the direction Houston was heading”.
    What he meant…..”The Astros were only going to give me a buck two ninety to
    sign with them, since you know I’m like 37yrs. old and my arm is shot” So I played them so the Giants would see what a valuable asset I am, besides…..I need another
    World Series ring to add to my collection…..even though I never get to pitch in any of those games”!


  3. What [Lowrie’s agent] said about Jed: “He’s motivated to help this team win as an everyday player in whatever role he’s best suited to do it.”

    Jed will even lay a bunt down the third base line to beat the shift for you when your are seven runs up in the second inning. He is a VULCAN MERCENARY. Consider him your personal version of Jack Bauer, Chris Kyle and Scotty from the engine room rolled into one.


      • I was the voluntary Vulcan Mercenary of every team on which I ever played, Dan P. I personally dislike the shifts and wish more people would bunt and opposite field slash against them. Jed gets no grief from me.


  4. What [A.J. Hinch] said: “We haven’t struck out yet. … In January, I’m not too worried about it.”

    “One thing you WON’T have to worry about too much is strike-out-throw-’em-out double plays. I’ll leave it to you to figure out why.”


  5. What [Jeff Luhnow] said regarding the Gattis acquisition: “We did our due diligence. He’s had some issues in the past. We feel comfortable with what we’re getting and we feel like in the American League, it’s a better environment for him (with the DH spot available).”

    What he meant: We probably won’t be using him as a late-game defensive replacement.


  6. What [Luhnow] said about the acquisition of Luis Valbueno:

    “Valbuena will get a long, hard look at third base.”

    What he meant: “Let me define ‘long, hard look’ for you. It means April, May, June, July, August, and September of next year for starters.” Next question?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What [Luhnow] said about expectations for 2015: “A lot has to happen, but we do believe that we’re in a good spot.”

    What he meant: “I can predict with absolute certainty, in light of the talent pool we have accumulated since last season, that we will remain undefeated until at least sometime in the month of April.”


  8. Lowrie: “Well, in the end, I just wasn’t comfortable with what all those other teams were doing and saying. Negotiations just kinda broke down with those other teams and all roads were leading back to Houston. Now, you all know that Jeff, he’s a straight shooter. When he told me that Correa and Fontana and those other guys would move positions to let me play wherever I wanted to, well, I said ‘Count me in!”. Ya know, Jeff said he’d be keeping those guys in the minors for another couple of years anyway, so it was just me and Villar and I think I can handle him Becky.”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is why Vogelsong signed with the Giants again:
    $4 million……with $3 million worth of incentives.
    Glad the Astros cut bait with him.


  10. Brandon Beachy is being pursued by a mystery team right now. After his second TJ surgery he won’t be ready until mid-season. Any chance the Astros are interested or was last season’s Jesse Crain experience a deal breaker on signing any future injured players?


    • Considering the 1B we have Dominguez can’t be any worse defensively, but can he hit enough to warrant a spot on the 25-man roster? If he can’t get his OPS above .700 then he should not take up space on the major league team.


    • Tim – I think he needs to be hitting in the mid .600’s for OPS, if he is on the bench. Look at the 1st place Angels – they had 14 guys who cycled through their bench and only 1 of them – had an OPS over .700. Big thing is Matty D has to hit better to have a spot we can disagree on how much.


  11. Biggio: “Whew. I just knew they would look at my size and 291 homers and think I was on the juice.” JL on Expectations: “Finally we are seeing some results of the work of Ed Wade. Ask me in 3 more years how my guys are starting to do.” JL on Corporan & the Rangers: “Look they can pick from Corporan, maybe Soto, and that guy Chicharonnes. Do you think I care.” JL on Corporan himself: “Look we need a couple good major league catchers. He is not one of them. If I get to vote for Time’s Man of the Year, he gets my vote. I have shown you my vote on the two catchers.” AJ on Ks: “Look if a guy strikes out, he will not Hit Into a DP. Look at that guy Biggio, -0- GDP in 1997 and it took him two years to get into the Hall of Fame. In case your have not heard, hitting is way over rated these days.” JL on Castro: “Look we have a For Sale sign on his photo saying “Make Offer.” and to date, no one appears to want an indifferent catcher coming off a Matty D type year. So YES we will probably be our opening day starter.” JL on Fowler: “It was NOT a salary dump. We just got a player with less talent for less money. That is how I meant it will help our club long term and short term.” Rasmus: “Simple, don’t stick an $8 Million offer in front of me unless you want to see my PickemUp Truck in the players parking lot.” JL on Valbuena: “Jesus Christ. Am I the only one that can read a stat chart. Matty D would bat 8th for the ’62 Mets.” JL on Gattis: “You bunch of whiners kept saying “Get a Bat, Get a Bat.” So I go and get a bat and you want him to be able to play in the field too. Do you have any idea how many 2-3-4 tool players you can buy with Jim Crane type of money? Come on.” BVW: “I am an agent. We get paid by the word. You ask me what time it is, and I will tell you how to build a watch. I heard an interesting story once………………………………..”


  12. Look, Brandon Beachy is (was) a very good pitcher, but the guy is coming off his SECOND tommy john. We saw how the Jesse Crain debacle played out last year, so I would not want to pay another guy a few million to sit on his butt and not see
    the inside of Minute Maid park. As for Matty D. trying to learn 1st. base? Some things never cease to amaze me, so who knows he might be pretty good over there.
    Why is all the chatter about who else can play 1st. base? Have they given up on Singelton BEFORE spring training even starts?


    • They haven’t given up on Singleton. They want a right handed bat who can back up Singleton at 1B. If Matty can play first base, then he provides a RH backup at two positions, because Valbuena is a LH hitting 3B. That might save them a spot if they chose to trade Marwin.
      Matty backs up two spots, Torreyes backs up 3 or four including some OF, Conger backs up C and somebody is a backup OF, maybe Presley.
      Or maybe they trade Torreyes and keep Marwin. Or maybe Matt is worth more in a trade if he can play 1B and 3B.


    • I just thought it would be interesting if the Astros showed they re not scared off by one bad experience.
      I think this all signals that they want other options if Singleton does not improve.


      • I really think Singleton has got to show something in spring training or Luhnow will not hesitate to send him to Fresno. Look, he has the guaranteed contract no matter where he plays and he still has options left. Luhnow has shown he wants to win this year and he has too much riding on this to have Big Jon continue to struggle in the major leagues. We all want Jon on the Astros, but not if he continues hitting below the Mendoza line. We have plenty of other options.


      • Singleton is at an age where he can still develop – so he certainly could be sent to Fresno to do that. I think you are right – he needs to show a better contact rate in ST.


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