Thursday countdown: It’s pretty much been said, now just “do” time

Brian summed up thoughts well yesterday, but the remaining scenario in the AL West — and the entire AL for that matter — sort of reminds me of the old NBA 3-to-make-2 free throw rule.

There are essentially three teams battling for two spots in the playoffs: Houston, Texas and Los Angeles. Yes, the Twins are an outside, mathematical shot, but two of the top three would likely need to fall completely on their faces to open that door.

So, on a day off for Houston that will have the Astros watching scoreboards and televisions, what would you like to discuss? Yes, the Free Blog Weekend starts early.

Here are a few questions for you to ponder to help the conversation along.

  1. This will be a shocker. Would you consider trading George Springer this off-season for the right pieces? Think about it. Springer has an injury history and, while he could develop into the .300 hitter and 25 HR slugger some have predicted, he could also become that player who hits the 100-games played mark every season. A Springer trade would require a Herschel Walker-like return.
  2. If the answer to the above question is “yes”, then re-signing Carlos Gomez might move to the top of the list. Yes?
  3. What is the single, biggest need for the Astros to address this off season?
  4. The Astros hit the jackpot with the 2012 draft (Carlos Correa), but failed miserably with the first picks in the following two drafts. Where would this team be with Kris Bryant at third base (instead of Mark Appel) and either Carlos Rodon or even Aaron Nola in place of Brady Aiken. Of course, you’d need to add that Houston ultimately got Alex Bregman with the replacement pick for Aiken, so you’d need to consider him along with Rodon and Nola.

Let’s hear your other thoughts, questions and comments. Enjoy the off day!


56 comments on “Thursday countdown: It’s pretty much been said, now just “do” time

  1. I. Heck no!
    2.Field offers for Gomez at the deadline.
    3. Hitting
    4. Rodon instead of Aiken would have been wonderful. If we had had Rodon, we probably would not have traded Brett Phillips or Nottingham


    • For Stockton, after the trade, all Jake Nottingham did was hit .299 with a .356 OBP and a .974 OPS. In 17 games he hit 4 HRs, 6 DBLs, 1 TPL, drove in 14. and only struck out 10 times in 76 PAs. Yes, I think we just might miss this guy.


      • We may miss him, but Koby Clemens put up better numbers over a full season in the California League. This is the same league as Lancaster and we have seen many players put up staggering numbers in this ‘A’ league only to flame out at the higher levels. I’m not ready to declare Nottingham a missed prospect yet. I think he’ll be good, but I want to see him do it at the higher levels. Those numbers are rather pedestrian for this league.


      • Sure. But you know, I would consider a 2-6 record, with a 4.17 ERA, and a 1.38 WHIP, and 13 HR allowed in 13 games by the guy we traded Nottingham away for – with a corresponding paycheck of $13M per year – to be darned pedestrian numbers as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • His numbers, when we acquired him, were TOR pitcher numbers. You can’t predict how a player will perform going forward so you trade based upon what he has done most recently. If Kazmir pitched for us like he did for Oakland the trade wouldn’t even be questioned by most. It’s easy to question a trade after a particular player doesn’t perform for you. I wish Luhnow was a seer, but he isn’t. That is one fault he needs to address.


      • Not questioning the trade. Not impugning Jeff Luhnow. Not arguing with you. Just acknowledging the obvious – mid-season trades are risky, and seldom work out. We became the 2014 Oakland As because of trades that did not work out anywhere near as well as hoped. Now, we look to 2016, and at least Fiers looks like a keeper.


  2. I personally have seen George Springer change a game with a play, a swing, and a sparkling smile. I’ve seen Gomez run really fast and do a lot of unproductive mouthing and showboating. Maybe there is more to Go-Go than the piss and vinegar hype he puts off, but if so it certainly hasn’t manifested in Houston yet. So at this stage I believe in George Springer a whole lot more than I believe in Gomez. After all, Gomez now has a pretty significant injury history too – and the way he swings and plays, he puts himself at constant risk of a season if not career-ending injury. We needed him to step up and be a hero this year, and he did not. That counts with me. If the FO likes Gomez’ edgy fire, or can’t stomach giving up on ‘the trade’, they will pay him outrageous sums of money and keep him, and I’m fine with that as long as he doesn’t go all Chris Carter on us next year. But George is the better athlete and team-player. He is the guy that we will need in the future to play Jeff Bagwell to Captain Correa’s Craig Biggio.


    • Perhaps, in fairness, I should confess that I am really unable to be very objective about this. The reality is that to me Carlos Gomez still looks, acts, talks and plays like a . . . well, a MILWAUKEE BREWER [*huge phlegm expectoration followed by nasty cough producing something that looks like bile*]. I know it’s really not Carlos’ fault that he had the misfortune of coming up with the MLB’s most disgusting organization. But every singe time I see Go-Go I hear the obnoxious Ryan Braun’s mouth flapping insults and visualize the evil face of Bud Selig. And I just can’t help feeling that unless he receives an exorcism Mr. Gomez will fit in much better on the Rangers playing alongside showy big-mouths like Odor and DeShields a whole lot better than he will ever fit in with our ‘Stros.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoy the day off? I’m forced ( gag ) to watch the game in Arlington, ( gag ) and cheer for the Rangers.
    How did it ever get to this.

    No, I wouldn’t trade Springer. He’s the heart of this team.


  4. No on the Springer trade. At least two reasons. (1) He is cheap for a couple more years and (2) I don’t trust JL’s ability to trade value for value. The draft is a crap shoot. I don’t fault him for Aiken’s arm or Appel’s lack of progress to date. A solid, dependable 1st base is at the top with a quick 2nd of back up catcher, followed at 2A – power arm in the bullpen.


  5. Trading Springer is on par with shooting oneself in the foot. I believe he’ll continue to get better as the years go by. Kind of like Hunter Pence.
    I did not like the Brady Aiken selection from the git go. I think they thought they would get another Correa only at the Pitcher spot. Rodon’s stock had dropped because his senior year was not as good as previous year but he had all the right tools. Aiken was not in my mind a proven commodity. I have no idea why we passed on Kris Bryant but maybe they thought we already had a future 3rd baseman. But then if that’s true why take Bregman as a SS. Word is he want’s to play only short and CC isn’t moving for a several more years. I’ve been baffled by all of this anyway.
    I would try to unload Gomez. He just doesn’t fit in with the nature of the team. I like his enthusiasm but not the showboating and mouth. He’s in two bench clearing brawls on you tube so watch those for entertainment.
    Our needs for next year to digress is in line with AC45’s observations. But get some guys who can hit for average and improve on that RISP category!


  6. 1. When they drafted Springer my first reaction was, “why did we just blow a pick on a kid from the Big East?” I very quickly changed my opinion. I think I said earlier this year he was the one player we couldn’t afford to lose. I still believe a healthy Springer gives us a ten game lead over Texas in the standings and Phillips is getting an apartment in Fresno next spring. I’d trade him for Goldschmidt. Not sure who else might tempt me…but the return would have to be in that level.
    2. No. We have a ton of outfielders in our system who might be ready in 2017. Gomez will be too expensive and Bora$ will seek a long term deal that is high risk given his age, attitude, injury history, and skillset being tied to his athleticism.
    3. I can’t answer this. Part of me thinks the coaching staff needs a fire lit under them. The mistakes this month have been glaring. Luhnow and friends need to figure it.
    4. I’m still OK with the Appel pick…but we all agreed Bryant was an intriguing pick that year. I’ve beat the Aiken pick into the ground. TINSTAAPP. Here’s the thing, though, given Appel’s struggles and inability to adjust, I can’t see any scenario where Rodon and the Houston system would have worked. He is every bit as bull headed as Cosart or Norris. Houston would probably have sent him to Lancaster and tried to get him to throw only changeup instead of letting him dominate his way to AAA in his first summer.

    Missed chance to comment last night, but Ashby deserves a raise.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. NONONONONONONO!!!! Do not trade Springer. He’s the heartbeat of this team, and his strength will be back next year. Hard to come back after two months with wrist in cast. He’s doing all that can be asked of him. Not a better outfielder in the League.
    Gomez is fine and a sparkplug even if over the line and obnoxious at times. Know I’m an outsider here regarding him, but I love him and his approach (maybe toned down a bit). If there are internal clubhouse issues regarding him that we don’t know about, then field offers.
    First base (Reed!?!?!) and third (Valbuena? Moran?)
    Would be great to have Bryant, but I think Appel will turn out to be very good – maybe next year. Bergman will be big for us, as will Tucker and Cameron – so even though we missed on Aiken (due to not being able to conduct physicals before drafting at that time), and lost the two we had because of that, I still think these guys will be of substantial value to us.
    Glad you’re back Chip. Will be in your hometown this weekend for nieces wedding. Love BR!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My wife is so happy we have day off and my BP will be fine for a day. I keep building around Springer, tuve and Corrrea.

    Everyone raise their mouse that wants Kazmir next year. So I’m going F on Conger and Kazmir trade, C so far on Brewer trade.

    GO Lun whatever!


  9. If Luhnow traded Springer….Jim Crane would never get the fan base back again….so
    Not NO… but H*LL NO!! I’d be first in line to give my blessing for trading Gomez, and
    First in line to slap the glasses off Jeff Luhnow for trading so much talent for him. I’m still furious over that, but not as angry as I am for trading for that other catcher.
    I’m not saying his name, because he’s on the same disgusting list that the idiot Villerror is on. These guys didn’t deserve to win last night, BUT I’m certainly glad they did. I was exhausted last night after that debacle!! I’m leaving this morning for Dallas, because my sister and I are going to the Women of Faith conference this weekend.
    My family in Dallas are *HUGE* Rangers fans, so I will have no choice than to watch them play. Does that mean I will root for them?? No, but I don’t want the Angels to win EITHER!! Everytime these guys have a day off in between games….they don’t do very good……let’s hope they break that habit Friday!! I’ll check back with you folks over the weekend…..think good thoughts, these guys are going to NEED it!!! ⚾⚾⚾

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think its a good thing you are going to the Woman Of Faith conference , That is a perfect place to be, being an Astro fan with 3 games left of cut bait or fish baseball


      Liked by 2 people

  10. We don’t have enough outfielders that can both hit and play defense as it is right now. I can’t find any good rationale for moving Springer. And I would not call him injury prone yet. That shot off the wrist could have happened to anyone. Now Lowrie is another story.

    I keep hearing that guys love playing on the SAME team as Gomez. I think he’ll get off to a solid start in 2016, and could well be worth ML ready talent in a trade at some point during the season, assuming we have an outfielder ready to make the move up. God bless Tucker, but his future is as a DH, primarily against righthanded pitching, unless he learns how to play first. Sad to say, but he’s another of our limited tool guys. And Jake, in spite of all those tools, has to hit consistantly, not just in April and September.

    A closer would be nice. A 150 game .800 plus OPS third baseman would be nice. But a legitimate first baseman is essential.

    Yep, good points on those drafts. The GM gets the credit for Correa. Just the same, he should take the heat for wiffing badly on others.

    Seems that Kazmir has unreinvented himself. Did he empty his tank in Oakland looking for that trade to a contender? Last night he was throwing his fastball at 86. If somehow we get into the post season, he might not even get on the roster as a lefty out of the pen.

    Lucky to win last night. For the most part, it just seems like the Stros are playing tight, tight baseball. They need to go out and have some fun this weekend. Damn the torpedos!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. * What is the single biggest need for the Astros to address this off season? *

    Here are the top 5 needs I see, in order of priority:

    Critical Need #1: We need to fix the middle of the order. That means either:

    a. put Tony Kemp in LF and lead him off ahead of Altuve, then move Springer to 4;
    b. groom Tucker and Sclafani to be our 2016 DH combo. Tucker can hit 6th against righties; Sclafani can hit 7th against lefties; and
    c. forget making Tyler White a catcher and put him at 1B, batting 5th behind Springer – at least til mid-season when A.J Reed is ready; and
    d. let Matt Duffy, Colin Moran, and J.D. Davis fight it out for the 3rd base spot and slot the winner in batting behind Tucker against righties and ahead of Sclafani against lefties. If somehow neither Duffy or Moran look ready in the last half of ST, give the position to Lowrie if he’s healthy and don’t look back at Valbuena. If Lowrie isn’t our regular 3B, he and Margo become our supersubs. NOTE; Kemp and Sclafani are also versatile, so we shouldn’t have any major holes in get-away games and in case of someone going for a stint on the DL.

    Critical Need #2: We need to shore up the Bullpen. We need at least two younger, stronger arms in the bullpen to replace Neshek (Feliz? Jankowski?) and Qualls (Hoyt? Minaya?). We need an upgrade over Fields, we need to cut ties with Perez, and yes, Virginia, we need real flame-throwing closer (possibly VV). Gregerson needs return to the set-up guy and occasional closer when needed role for which he is better suited.

    Critical Need #3: We need a heavy emphasis on baserunning discipline. Altuve is a keeper, but he has to learn that getting picked off or thrown out over 10 times due to inattention or trying to steal is just not acceptable.

    Critical Need #4: We need a competent third base coach who will not send runner after runner on suicide missions.

    Critical Need #5: We need to make 100% sure neither Jonathan Villar or Hank Conger ever puts on an Astros uniform again.

    Necessary corrollary: Gomez, if he stays, bats 9th for his ‘2nd leadoff man’ speed and his very rare bottom-of-the-order power boost. The catcher [Castro and Stassi or Castro and Heineman] will bat 8th. When Gomez is injured – as he tends to be – Marisnick fills this role.

    Note: I assume Kazmir is gone and that Feldman stays unless/until Appel or Devinski is ready to take over a rotation spot. We have Keuchel, McHugh, McCullers, and Fiers – one spot to fill between Kazmir, Feldman, VV, Devinski and Appel.

    If the above things were all to happen, the ones we have to lose from the 40-man, one way or another, other than FAs Kazmir and Rasmus are: 1. Conger, 2. Villar, 3. Carter, 5. Valbuena, 6. Gattis, 7. Neshek, 8. Qualls and possibly 9. Fields. I figure either Grossman or Hoes will also have to go to make 40-man roster room. I assume we’ll keep Singleton, Fontana, either Heineman or Stassi, either Grossman or Hoes, and Aplin at Fresno for insurance against injury.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Discover: Three for Thursday « Blogs

  13. I have a differing opinion of Springer than the others and it does not involve his physicals tools but his emotions. Recall, if you will, how Luhnow treated Springer last year, holding him in the minors until the club achieved the rights to hold bind him to the club for monetary considerations only to “insult” him with a contract along the lines of what the club gave to Singleton. I have not heard any public discord from Springer or his management group about the outcome of these maneuvers but I would be upset about them and would hold it against the club when the first free agent year came up. So, what would Springer’s emotional status be towards the club, specifically Luhnow, when the new contract time arrives? If I were running the team, I would be approaching Springer’s agent and asking about a new contract and, if spurned, then I would consider trading Springer for a haul right now.

    I would not resign Gomez. I compare his type of all out play to be the same as Pence’s except, Pence was more under control. So yes, trade Gomez for a huge haul also.

    The biggest need for the club is to find a genuine, slam-the-door, closer. Thus farm the club has 20 blown saves. Reduce that by 10 or more and the club waltzes into the playoffs. LMJ matches that profile but I want a Nolan Ryan type starter in the rotation more.

    Under Luhnow’s guidance, the club would still be near its present level with Kris Bryant and with Rodon and/or Nola. Luhnow’s philosophy is team control of players so the mentioned players would still be in the minors. Current examples are Tyler White and AJ Reed. I do not see Bregman on the big league team. Realistically, Duffy, JD Davis, or Colin Moran will be the everyday third baseman in the future and Correa will remain the shortstop. No move to third base for him. Bregman makes big leagues as a utility man or a stop gap if Correa is injured.

    On another note, why are the Astros firing so many members of their minor league staffs after the great year that they all had?


    • I’m not following the blown saves comment.
      HOU – 20 BLSV 59 SVO

      David Robertson has 7 BLSV
      Gregerson 5
      Street 5
      Kimbrel 4
      Neshek 3
      Chapman 3
      Sipp 3
      Miller 2

      I would like a guy you could call on whenever a K is sorely needed, but a lot of the blown saves are coming earlier than the ninth inning. Also, other teams are blowing saves at similar rates. The one that surprised me is that Andrew Miller has so few BLSV and our other off season target has so many.


    • Sarge, I agree with all of the above about Springer. But he is under control until 2021. So lets cross that bridge when we come to it. I do believe that JL has some credibility issues. I don’t believe that Cole Hamels dislikes Houston over Arlington. I think he had some problems with the Astros organization. He is not alone in that sentiment.


  14. Has anybody else noticed that Nick Tropeano is slated to pitch against Cole Hamels in the Rangers/Angels’ season finale? I hope the Astros’ play-off hopes don’t come down to that game, because it will be impossible, in my present state of mind, considering that match-up, for me to root [a] for Hamels or [b] against Nitro.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. – I would give George more time to show who he is. I remember how Drew Brees was “injury prone” after suffering a few injuries early in his career. He ended up in New Orleans as an iron man. I like the energy and the whole aura around George and he is a better player this season than last and I like him being under control for a while (Arb eligible in 2017).
    – They have CarGo signed thru 2016 – I think you continue the audition and make some decisions at next trade deadline
    – Single biggest need???? A real hitting coach? Or real hitters instead of whiffers?
    – There are a lot of hits and misses in the baseball draft, but out of a 1-1, it should be at least mlb contributors. Maybe A.J. Reed will make us forget that we did not sign Mr. Aiken from that draft.


    • Not understanding why everyone is saying Springer is “injury prone”. Last year, yes, he pulled muscle so there’s that. This year he had nothing to do with injury except “failure” to get out of the way of an intentional bean ball. Not his fault.

      Stop with that term guys. Not applicable.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I don’t think you trade away Springer potential. You won’t get the same thing back. You just roll the dice on the health.

    I wouldn’t resign Gomez. I would spend next year getting the best you can from the guy, he will be playing his FA season, so hopefully its a career year. If it is, he likely demands something probably outside the bang for the buck long term. I think you take advantage of his great season and move forward. If you REALLY want to sign him long term you will do it now, before he has 5 other suitors bidding at 15-17 a year, which he is not really worth. My guess is he ends up yet another Yankee/Tiger mistake at 16 mil a year seriously underperforming that contract. Just take advantage of the season next year, solidify CF and your outfield defense, and make your run. If by Jul 15th you are under .500, move him along for something. If you are in contention, he will one of the reasons why, roll with it.

    Drafts are full of guess work. I was all in on Rodon. I felt like that should have been the pick. I am not convinced Bregman has impact player in his future, but I could see him becoming a starting middle infielder. Nola, Rodon, Bryant, all will likely be impact players.


    • I agree with you on Gomez. I see many on here advocating trading him at the deadline next year, but those many also seem to question Luhnow’s trade history. Thus, why would you want Luhnow to trade him if you don’t trust him to get quality in return? I would prefer keeping him through next year, giving him a qualifying offer and take the supplemental pick when he signs elsewhere. Luhnow has done very well in the draft (and I’m not ready to give up on Appel or blame him for Aiken as Aiken was the consensus top pick) and he should find top talent with that sandwich pick, probably better than he can get in a trade for a rental OFer.


  17. Quote about Carter. “There was a drumbeat from fans and media to cut him loose,” Luhnow said Wednesday. “It was especially loud in August. I (and others including our coaching staff) believed he would help us in September and it was worth withstanding the criticism.”

    So get ready to watch Carter next year. Games in April, May, June, July, & August do not count. 126 games – 146 K;s. Not important. 93 ABs with runners in scoring position – 35 of those K’s. Not Important.


      • I think Lunwhatever is just playing Gm games , keeping Carter focused. I mean he has been the MVP this month on a big stage, and this is awesome he will never have a better trade value if he can keep it up. He isn’t back next year.


    • Great logic, right. No pressure, Chris – you’ve got the job locked up because once every 100 at bats or so some pitcher is bound to hit your bat. But wait – if Carter, why not Conger? If Gattis, why not Valbuena? If Qualls, why not Perez? If Gomez, why not Villar? Horrible performance all year, leaving team-mates twisting in the wind of swings and misses throughout the heat of the summer, being major culprits in the great collapse of 2015 – all are suddenly 100% unimportant.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t believe they bring Carter back next year. I could be wrong, but I think his arb number will prove to be too much for his production (or lackthereof). Luhnow is a stats/numbers guy and I believe he will see Carter is not worth what he could receive in arbitration. If they can’t trade him then I expect he will be non-tendered.


  18. I’m not advocating trading him, and I will probably get slammed for saying this, but I would trade Altuve before I would trade Springer. I think the haul we could get for Altuve with a serviceable replacement (not saying equal to Altuve, but serviceable) in Kemp we could, possibly, be a stronger team.


    • With you, Tim. Bregman could man second better defensively until/unless he is moved to SS when/if Correa is moved to third. Plus, yes with Kemp.


    • Don’t forget, you’d be trading a two time All Star and batting champ for someone who might not even turn out be a serviceable replacement. I get where you’re coming from, but I’d rather get to the point where we have two proven second basemen before moving one. Let’s fix present issues and avoid creating a potential new one for now. I don’t think breaking up the best SS/2B combo in the game would be wise at this point in time. And it would piss off so many of the few remaining Astro fans left.


      • I’m not advocating trading Altuve. I’m just saying if it came down to trading Springer or Altuve I would trade Altuve. I would like him to develop more plate patience, but that might detract from his hitting prowess. However, Syd makes some good points that we have potential decent options, down the road, for Altuve. It’s much easier to find a speedy, defensive with high OBP 2B, than it is too find a power hitting, gold glove caliber, speedy OFer.


    • I am not advocating trading Altuve either but he is signed (with options) through 2019 with very cheap contracts.

      And he is a year or two younger than when the Astros made the decision to trade Joe Morgan (and others) for Tommy Helms, Lee May and Jimmy Stewart (not the actor, well maybe acting like he was a ballplayer). That trade turned out very well for the hometown nine.


  19. 1. Definitely keep Springer
    2. Probably No/ No to re-signing Gomez.
    3. Hitters with higher B.A’s.
    I’d like to be more positive about Fiers, but I am just not sure. Velasquez should be a RP, but needs better control. Kazmir is a true puzzle, and I can’t imagine they will resign him. We do need a harder throwing closer.


      • The good thing is the Astros game starts later than the Rangers/Angels game tonight so Texas won’t know if the Astros win or los until after their game. However, those peskyTwins keep winning and we need them to lose as well. The good news there is they are playing KC, who is in a dogfight with Toronto for the best overall record in the A.L. and have strong incentive to win. I think both Toronto and KC would prefer to avoid Texas in the ALDS and secure home field for the ALCS should they both meet up.


  20. I found comfort in not watching any baseball to night and got my updates from Chipalattans. This way I don’t have to pull for any other teams. I just wait and see what crumbs there are left to chew on. The Ranger’s win hurts our minute chance at the division title and helps our chance at a wild card.
    Crumbs. I feel like a pigeon.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Scott Kazmir and Brent Strom agree that execution is Kazmir’s problem. As far as I know, that sentence has not yet been carried out, but there appears to be no shortage of volunteers.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s