Today features a return to that favorite of party games Would You Rather? It is pretty simple: We give you a series of questions and you choose which of two scenarios you would rather. Through your choices it is clear how big an idiot – ahem – what type of life choices you normally make and how good those choices may be. And, of course, these are their choices based on the Astros being in contention as they close in on the half way mark of the season rather than being hopelessly out of contention like the last half decade.
Would you rather…..
- The Astros trade two prospects (e.g. Michael Feliz and Jon Singleton) for a rent-a-starting pitcher, who becomes a free agent at the end of the season, but leads the team to a Wild Card berth or…..the Astros forego the trade and miss the playoffs by two games?
- The Astros get Scott Feldman back for the stretch run and he posts a 4.00 ERA the rest of the way or….they trade Feldman upon his healthy return, and then call up Mark Appel who posts a 4.50 ERA the rest of the way?
- The Astros let Chad Qualls work his way through his slump or…..DFA Qualls and move Lance McCullers Jr. into his spot in the bullpen?
- Collin McHugh gets back to his 2015 form in the second half of the season or….Jose Altuve gets back to his 2015 form in the second half of the season?
- The Astros leave Luke Gregerson as the closer or…..give that role to Pat Neshek, Josh Fields Will Harris or LMJ?
- Dallas Keuchel wins the Cy Young Award or…. Carlos Correa wins the Rookie of the Year award?
- A.J. Hinch wins Manager of the Year or…. Luis Valbuena leads the American League in home runs?
- The Astros leave George Springer in the leadoff spot or…..move Jose Altuve to the leadoff spot in the lineup or…they trade an outfielder (Jake Marisnick or Colby Rasmus) call-up Tony Kemp and stick him in the outfield and the leadoff spot?
- The Astros trade Chris Carter and give the first base job to Jon Singleton or….leave Carter at first base and live with it?
- The Astros raise their 13th-ranked batting average (.240) in the AL, but lower their fifth best runs/game rate (4.47) or ….they keep their ugly batting average and their very good runs/game rate?
1. Go for the pitcher. He can always re-sign.
2. Keep Feldman. More maturity.
3. Keep Qualls, but I can’t provide a good reason.
4. Definitely McHugh. Altuve is doing well enough and pitching is more important.
6. Keuchel. Again, pitching is more important to wins, and if Keuchel wins the award he will have to have had a dramatic, ongoing impact.
7. Trick question. Neither is relevant to how the team does. But, I’ll pick Hinch as it is closer to meaning the team did better.
8. Trade the outfielder.
9. Keep Carter.
10. Raise the BA.
1. This is a very hard question for me because I want to win so badly. Trading two prospects for a rental means that in 2016 all three of those players are gone.
That means the team did not stick to the plan.
I’d rather trade Rasmus for a prospect and put Tucker in the LF every day.
If that rental is Kazmir we may be able to re-sign him since he is from the Houston area and we tried to sign him in the offseason. Of course, there are no guarantees, but I think the Astros will try to re-sign him. I would be open to the trade mentioned by Dan, if it landed us Kazmir.
Yeah – I was using Singleton and Feliz as an example; it could be Kemp and Velasquez or pick two….I know that would make a difference, but just wondering about where this might head. I would be more interested in a Kazmir for the signability reasons – but he might cost us more too.
2. Get Feldman back and have his 4.00 every fifth day. I like Feldman with a 4.00 and I don’t like Appel in the majors yet.
3. Let Qualls stay till the end of the season and keep Lance as a starter.
Reading between the lines of the Obie demotion I think they will bring someone up to help the overused bullpen first. They might be considering letting Hernandez fill in on Obie’s spot in the rotation.
Hernandez…. Noooooooooo!!!!!!! 🙂
1.The Astros trade two prospects (e.g. Michael Feliz and Jon Singleton) for a rent-a-starting pitcher, who becomes a free agent at the end of the season, but leads the team to a Wild Card berth or…..the Astros forego the trade and miss the playoffs by two games?
These two particular prospects… yes, I would trade them. It appears that there are a few more “good” pitching prospects in the farm system to offset the loss of Feliz and there are a couple of good first basemen charging up the stretch. Anyone else to trade… get back to me on that.
2.The Astros get Scott Feldman back for the stretch run and he posts a 4.00 ERA the rest of the way or….they trade Feldman upon his healthy return, and then call up Mark Appel who posts a 4.50 ERA the rest of the way?
I would take Feldman and his lower ERA. Appel is a large unknown at this time whereas we know what the team has with Feldman.
3.The Astros let Chad Qualls work his way through his slump or…..DFA Qualls and move Lance McCullers Jr. into his spot in the bullpen?
As my wife and I say when we see Qualls, “Noooooooooo!!!!!!!!!” However…. in this scenario, I would let him stay at the END OF THE BULLPEN and pitch when the game is not on the line. McCullers needs to remain stretched out and shows a mentality to be a TOR starter.
4.Collin McHugh gets back to his 2015 form in the second half of the season or….Jose Altuve gets back to his 2015 form in the second half of the season?
I am assuming you are referring to their 2014 form, in which case I wish to see Altuve return to his 2014 form. He plays everyday and McHugh plays every fifth day. Additionally, as Altuve goes, so goes the team.
5.The Astros leave Luke Gregerson as the closer or…..give that role to Pat Neshek, Josh Fields Will Harris or LMJ?
Gregerson has shown signs of leaking oil but he has the big stat… saves, in his corner. Leave him there.
6.Dallas Keuchel wins the Cy Young Award or…. Carlos Correa wins the Rookie of the Year award?
Woe, this one is tough. I could go completely opposite of what I stated in #4 about playing everyday or go to my favorite pitcher for the win…. hmmmm… I suppose the everyday player wins out again. Correa as the ROY winner.
7.A.J. Hinch wins Manager of the Year or…. Luis Valbuena leads the American League in home runs?
Hinch as the MOY, hands down. Hinch winning means the Astros have earned the respect that they deserve now.
8.The Astros leave George Springer in the leadoff spot or…..move Jose Altuve to the leadoff spot in the lineup or…they trade an outfielder (Jake Marisnick or Colby Rasmus) call-up Tony Kemp and stick him in the outfield and the leadoff spot?
I believe Altuve belongs in the leadoff spot. He sets the table for the rest of the lineup.
9.The Astros trade Chris Carter and give the first base job to Jon Singleton or….leave Carter at first base and live with it?
Drat! Another toughie. At this point, Carter has worn out his chances and is no better than a Brett Wallace for us. Move him and give Singleton a chance for the rest of the season.
10.The Astros raise their 13th-ranked batting average (.240) in the AL, but lower their fifth best runs/game rate (4.47) or ….they keep their ugly batting average and their very good runs/game rate?
No brainer here, keep their very good runs per game rate. Runs win games, not batting average.
Yes thanks for catching that Sarge – I meant return to their 2014 form in the second half of 2015.
I am sure some have noticed our little spark plug in Fresno is slumping and his average has fallen to .292. He still has a good average and OBP, but maybe Kemp isn’t quite ready for the show. Let’s see how he rebounds from this slump before we have any further talk of bringing him up. I like Kemp, but don’t want to put any undue pressure on him while he is slumping at AAA.
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But you might consider that they don’t have Domingo, Singleton, Correa, or Tucker hitting behind him. So they can pitch around him and walk him orjust peck at the corners with off speed stuff because they can put him on base and there is nobody behind him to knock him in. They might be content to let him walk and die on the bases. Notice how Fresno has really fallen of in the hit and run department. Yesterday, they scored one run in two games if I’m not mistaken.
Also, I think the Singleton promotion was a signal to Chris Carter that he had better turn it around or he will be replaced. I don’t think it was a coincidence that JS was batting 6th and CC 8th. The Astros are trying to send a message to Carter and light a fire under him.
I think using Singleton to threaten Carter is like using a burro to threaten a goat.
Feliz has been recalled to replace Obie. I am guessing he goes to the pen and Hernandez returns to the rotation, but this is merely a guess.
1. Stick with the plan unless JL has determined both are never going to pan out. 2. Feldman. 3. Qualls. Not sure that LMJ can not pitch into September. 4. McHugh. 5. Gregerson. 6. Correa 7. Hinch. 8. Trade both for a SP. 9. Trade Carter. 10. We need the runs.
It is very interesting when you look at the Team Pitching stats for teams with deep losing records. The A’s as a group, stat wise, are doing well. The rest (possible sellers) have more problems than the Astros. In fact, Fausto would the 3 or 4 in most rotations. I don’t see a lot of chances to “buy” in July. And Gray or Sale are not on the market. Do you want Cosart back?
1. I’d make that trade in a second. Something really needs to get done, especially since Oberholtzer lost his composure snd embarrassed his club. His actions yesterday must have Luhnow fuming. The bargaining position of our GM took a bit of a hit as the result of Oberholtzers actions yesterday.
2. Use the guy who performs the best. Appel can pitch in 2016. Why use a less effective guy?
3. If we sign a real life starter, certainly, put McCullers in the pen and hope he throws strikes. That allows him to be pitching in September, maybe in meaningful games.
4. I do not see Altuve making any real effort at being more selective right now. That’s the key for him. McHugh has to pound the strike zone. I think his improvement is more likely.
5. At some point, I think we will see several guys get shots at closing, including McCullers, who will get it up to 98, 99 at times.
7.. No and no.
8 At some point, Kemp comes up and leads off. Altuve hits second or 6th. Correa might be the 2 guy. Springer eventually goes back to 3 where he belongs. Right now, Rasmus is far more valuable than Marisnick. I know, Jake is almost free, but he hits like the Jake we knew prior to his happy month of April.
9. Tough call. I don’t think either guy is the answer, but I’d stay with Carter for now. That said, shouldn’t we find out about Singleton once and for all?
10. A non question. It’s all about scoring runs.
So I was wrong about them recalling a reliever (like Buchanan) and they went for Feliz unless they intend to use him in the pen. Today we need 7+ innings out of McHugh. He just needs to suck it up and go long today.
What we also need is an offensive statement to show the pitching that they have their backs. Put up ten runs and take the pressure off.
1. No trade
4. Altuve – 5x the games played of McHugh
5. Leave it alone
6. Keuchel wins the more meaningful honor.
7. Hinch. For Valbuena to win the HR crown we might have to watch his avg plummet to about .175 on all or nothing swings.
8. Springer…the trade scenario only works if we give up on Tucker…and why do that already?
10. Winning ugly beats losing pretty
Question #4. I would rather have Altuve back into his 2014 form, because if he does that and Correa, Tucker and Springer are hitting behind him and Kemp in front of him, McHugh would easily go 8-3 in the last half of the season the way he is pitching right now. There’s nothing wrong with 8-3.
Question #5. I would keep Gregerson as closer as long as he is not blowing games. That is absolutely fair. If we make the playoffs, management decides who they want to close in the playoffs, when you might be worried about Gregerson getting out all the best hitters in baseball with his repertoire.
Dan answers Dan questions and believe me your answers are as good or better than mine….
1. I would only do the trade if I thought there was a decent chance to re-sign the pitcher. But I would lean that way right now.
2. I would take Feldman pitching solidly, at least now I have hope that Appel may put it together, but I will let him show himself at AAA first.
3. I would see if Qualls can put it together – maybe he was hiding an injury.
4. I think they need McHugh being solid, because they have so much uncertainty especially if/when LMJ and VV hit the innings limit.
5.I am OK leaving Gregerson in the closer’s spot for the time being
6. Keuchel earns the Cy Young, but Correa comes close on the ROY.
7. I want Hinch to win the Manager of the year – more a team award in a way.
8. I’m afraid if they move Springer he will be swinging for the fences too much, but I would rather have Altuve leading off.
9. I would like to see Carter do what he did in the last half of last season.
10. I take the higher run count – I don’t care how they get there.
Dan: My thoughts almost to a tee. On number 6, why not both? That’s actually not hard to envision. With regard to Obie being optioned, with the off day Thursday we don’t need a fifth starter the next time through the rotation. If the other starters hold their own then Hernandez could get the next 5 spot start and then hope Feldman comes back strong. Feldman had a short DL stint last year and came back strong. A repeat of that keeps Obie and Appel in Fresno which may be OK.
As for trade candidates, I can see us keeping Rasmus. His contract would only be palatable to a contender and why would a contender part with a starting pitcher for a rental center fielder? If we want even MOR help it is going to cost us at least one and maybe two top 5 prospects. I don’t think Singleton has much value and although yesterday was a short sample he sucked. I will give Carter a lot of credit for his work to become a competent/good first baseman. It’s not apparent to me that Singleton has worked hard to improve any phase of his game either physically or between the ears..
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Only my silly premise of Would You Rather is the reason behind why not both on #6.
That is a good point on Rasmus. The only possible trade partner I can think of is the Mets as they are in need of offense and have pitching to trade.
The Greeneville Astros have committed four fielding errors, thrown a wild pitch and given up 1 hit through four innings against Danville today, without giving up a run. I hope they can score a couple of runs, because that kind of luck doesn’t hold out forever. I love Baseball. It’s incredible.
I would have to give credit to the pitcher for not collapsing from the lack of fielding support.
I just got through telling Mrs. 1oldpro that we have been walking way too many batters and you should never walk the #9 hitter. Then I told her that McHugh was throwing everything up in the zone and was going to get burned.
So, he walked the #9 hitter, threw a wild pitch and gave up a hit and a run on a high fastball. That’s just lousy baseball. How do you get all of those good hitters out and then walk Drew?
I’m going to give McHugh a little slack – 1 run and 1 hit through 5 especially if he can get us 7 solid IP today
Alex Bregman with his first professional HR this afternoon for QC.
Jacob Nottingham not in the Sunday afternoon lineup. Hmmmm.
My version of bad baseball is continuing to try and steal bases as McCann guns down runner after runner.
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Correa is so dang fun to watch (hear) that kid can create soo much havoc on the bases!! Collins McHugh is raking today..he has all of his pitches working, but so does the Yankees pitcher. You want to know why he wears his cap cocked. To the side?? To confuse the hitter. The bill of his cap is pointed to the on deck hitter, not the guy standing in the batters box. Oh yeah..Brian McCann *will * throw your butt out in a “new York minute”.
So Gattis is able to leg out a triple but we pinch run for him. What if we need his bat in the 10th?
I don’t agree with this.
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I don’t either. We burn our dh..for singleton? We need another run right now because McHugh is going to go out for the 9th. To go hitter to hitter.
Thank you becky!! We just got that other run!
Nice job by Tucker and Castro to get an insurance run – good situational hitting.
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Really a great and important win. McHugh gave the bullpen the type of start they needed. The Astros showed they could go nose to nose with the Yanks and not blink.
Do the Yank fans see Jeter 2.0 playing for the Astros? I say no because Correa is a better fielder…..
Probably going to be a better hitter too. But Jeter had it between the ears. The good news is that Correa seems to be pretty sharp in that area as well. Perhaps not the best analogy, but Correa looks like a Michael Jordan type talent; the basketball Jordan and not the baseball Jordan.
Here’s the play by play:
I got it, I got it!
I got it, I got it, I got it, you get it!
You got it?
I’ll go get it!
You kicked it!
I’m gonna get it!
Lemme bounce my tthrow to the cutoff man!
Lemme bounce my relay to the catcher!
“I got this” said Carlos.
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Classic description old pro. My favorite part is where the OF runs to retrieve it and tries to grab it and stop on a dime by sliding and slides into the ball instead. Correa just ran so quick and smooth. You look up 5 tool in the dictionary and you find his picture and find out he wrote the dictionary too.
Am I the only one who noticed that Correa didn’t run it out? He was lucky the ball bounced behind Gardner allowing him to reach 2B. He was even luckier Gardner kicked the ball allowing him to score.
Can’t say I totally blame him – it looked like it was going to be easily caught. He did turn it into high gear from 1st to home.
Thank you for cleaning up the likely four-letter words in that conversation. This is, after all, a family blog.
Do you remember Greeneville playing Danville? After committing four errors in the first four innings, the Astros go on to win 1-0 and they had only one hit!
In the seventh, they scored on a single, an error, a wild pitch and a groundout.
1 run, on 1 hit and four errors for Greeneville. Give us a big “W”!
And here is the Fresno lineup that is getting hammered again today:
Kemp has two singles, Duffy has two singles and the rest of the team has two singles. Not much pop in that lineup!
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In looking at that line-up, all I can say is Thank God several of those are playing in California these days.
That was just huge by McHugh.
And your Astros leader in triples is … Evan Gattis? Yep, it’s a bizarre season.
We should not be surprised by that. You know, with all the speed that Gattis possesses.
And then he’s pulled for a pinch runner (as Dan has already complained about). That’s just insulting.
Frankly most of the time Gattis does not run hard but when he decides to he is quicker than you think – much faster than say Carter is.
Lost in some of the despair of the Fresno offensive slide is Appel’s AAA debut. 3IP, 7H, 7R, 7ER, 2BB, 1K. Ugh! Of course Appel gets promoted after mediocre results at Corpus. He might do great for another team. Change of scenery could do him good, especially if we can fool another team into giving us a player who might have a REAL MLB future.
Of course results like this will probably assure a promotion to the Astros.
It is always good to win. McHugh came back strong.
But I see that while Correa is making his case for ROY, and Keuchel is making his case for the Cy Young, Valbuena and Carter are quietly headed for the Guinness Book of World Records for worst ever combined BA for a corner infield tandem.
While Carter has actually been better than his overall in high leverage situations he is still pretty awful but Valbuena is downright abysmal. Hope Lowrie helps with that by taking ABs from them both. A shame he won’t be able to take them from both of them in the same game.
Angels win, 4 games back.
Rangers lose, 5 games back.
Mariners lose, 9 games back.
Athletics lose, 10 games back.
We had not been less than 10 games above .500 for quite some time until the loss yesterday. Another good test coming up with the Royals. I hope we are 13-15 games above .500 at the All Star break and then continue steady progress from there.
Interesting note you made. Astros are playing .564 ball right now. 6 of the 2014 playoff teams had a lower percentage. Only 4 were above that. I say we go 44-34 for the next 78 games and take our chances.
The astros are the only American League team that has two pitchers that have 9 wins! I really like the way hinch manages this team. And for all of you who can’t wait until jed. Lawrie comes back, remember his thumb injury may cause him trouble holding the bat and hitting. This next series is gonna be pivotal, if we can win 2 outta 3 we will be sitting mighty pretty! Tuesday is Dallas k e u c hel day at the park! Keuchel’s. Korner will be full!! Who ever thought up that was a genius!!!!
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Going back to the original questions, I’m on #6.
I think I would prefer to see Correa win the ROY, because McHugh could get hot like he did in the second half of 2014, and also be in the running for the Cy Young.
#7. I would prefer Hinch to win manager of the year because it would be an indication of success for him and the team, because there is an actual award for that, and because if Valbuena hits the most homers he’s going to be very expensive for all the reasons that I don’t care for. Strike out, pop out, ground out into a shift and hit a homer is not my kind of player. We’ve got 4 or 5 of them.
#8. Move Springer out of the leadoff spot, bring up Kemp, put him in LF leading off, Marisnick in CF, Springer in RF, Tucker/Gattis at DH and Lowrie at 1B. Trade Carter and Rasmus:
Tucker /Gattis DH
Keep Singleton, Marwin, Conger
I think we’re a better team with Rasmus than with Marisnick.
I don’t disagree with Dave B that the team, as currently constructed, is better with Rasmus than Marisnick. The only reason I suggest trading Rasmus is he is one of our few expendable ML players who might appeal to another team, simply because he is doing well right now. To get a pitcher we might have to give up a ML’er who is actually performing, and to me he fits the bill. His defense can be replaced, and if others suggest installing Kemp in LF, I would rather have Marisnick as a late inning defensive replacement.
I agree with both of you on Rasmus, except for the fact that Rasmus is a one year player. We were told when Rasmus signed that it was to provide us an outfielder for a year and a chance for Colby to get a longer term deal next year somewhere. The guy makes $8 million and Marisnick is five years younger making a half million.
The object is not to trade Colby for the starting pitcher. The object is to trade Colby for the replacement prospect we will need to replace the prospect(s) we have to give up for a starting pitcher. It’s the same with Carter or whoever else we trade away. We need to get back some prospect for them to replace the guys we’re going to have to give up to get that pitcher.
While you might get more for Rasmus if talent and performance alone were the prime considerations, I think his one year $8 mil contract makes trading him unlikely. He’s essentially been a full season rental for us. Not sure there is much of a market for him for the rest of the year.
It’s pretty clear the Astros aren’t sold on Singleton since he was benched yesterday against a RHP in favor of Carter. Granted, Carter hit a bomb and a 2B the day before so one can make a case for keeping him in the lineup. Carter hitting 6th or 7th and playing a competent 1B defensively is OK with me. It’s just gut feeling but I think Carter has a better work ethic than the physically more gifted Singleton. I still think a lot of his hitting problems are visual and he’s just not quick enough to adjust to pitches that start in his happy zone and then break out of it. You seldom see him lunge for a ball, he just swings at the spot he initiates and when the ball breaks away from that location he misses by 2 feet whereas a guy like Altuve might foul off the same offering or even get a hit. I could actually go along with trading Singleton as I’m not sure how he is going to fit into this clubhouse. Peter Gammons had a piece on players who play with their hair on fire. He cited Springer, Altuve, Marisnick and Correa as guys who play with superior intensity. I doubt Singleton will ever join that group.
Here’s a link to the Gammons article. It’s mostly about Kevin Kiermaier but the Astros references are near the bottom. http://www.gammonsdaily.com/peter-gammons-hair-on-fire/
I like Rasmus as depth myself – can play all 3 OF positions, seems ready to do anything and a decent bat with decent power. We need some proven mlb folks around for the stretch run and he probably would not fetch us much. If we crashed and burned by the end of July then I would consider it.
I think you each make sound points about Rasmus. I think dr. bill is right on about Singleton. Unfortunate, but accurate.
I still feel that we will “hear” from Alex Presley at some point, and that was also part of my trading Rasmus idea, as Presley is LH and I am always pro-LH. But, Presley himself may be part of a package.
Presley is much more likely to be a trade piece. He is not on the 40 man roster. If we have to clear a roster spot Kemp makes a lot more sense.
DanP, stop it. We are not going to crash and burn. You are infected with the Bopert virus. We are going to get to the playoffs this year. Also by October, there may be a cure for cancer and old man’s baldness. Think positive. However, I don’t hold out much hope for erectile dysfunction. 🙂
I really don’t think they will crash and burn – just saying that is the circumstance I would make the trade.
I found a few interesting 2015 Tony Kemp facts:
Appearing in 68 games, Kemp has failed to get a hit in only 14 of them, one of them being an 0 for 1 pinch hitting appearance.
He has 29 multi hit games.
In 68 games he has 40 walks and only 35 Ks.
He has failed to get on base in only 8 of 68 games.
He has hit in the #1 spot exclusively but has 29 RBIs in 68 games. One reason for that is because he is hitting over .350 w/RISP(in AA and AAA)
In 313 plate appearances he has grounded into only 4 DPs.
He is hitting over .300 against lefties, against righties, at home, on the road, during the day, at night, against older pitchers, against younger pitchers.
He had a slump recently where he had four games out of ten without a hit but came out of it Sunday with two hits.