Astros 2015: And end of season Would You Rather?

You know the drill. You will be given the option of picking from two appealing or perhaps non-appealing choices relative to the Astros going forward and asked to pick one. Some of these may seem tough, but frankly this is baseball, not Sophie’s Choice, so get over it.

Would you rather the Astros…..

  1. Sign Colby Rasmus for 3 years /$33 million or Scott Kazmir for 4 years / $60 million?
  2. Improve next season and miss the playoffs or repeat 2015’s win total and make the playoffs?
  3. Fill in 1B by trade or free agency or from the minors?
  4. Trade Collin McHugh or George Springer?
  5. Trade top prospects for a fireball closer (like Craig Kimbrel) or try to turn Lance McCullers Jr. into a fireball closer?
  6. Sign Dallas Keuchel to a long term deal or sign Carlos Correa to a long term deal?
  7. Keep Gary Pettis as the 3rd base coach or bring in a windmill from the local Putt-Putt to take his place?
  8. Have Scott Feldman or Mark Appel in the rotation next season?
  9. Trade for a starting catcher or trade for a backup catcher?
  10. Hit Roughned Odor in the back with a fastball or drop a bunt down the first base line and run over Edinson Volquez trying to field it?

57 comments on “Astros 2015: And end of season Would You Rather?

  1. If I had to:
    *I’d sign Rasmus because it’s less money tied up, he’s younger, we have less OF depth in the minors than pitching, and Kazmir is a terrible fielder, poor at holding baserunners, and less likely to be effective or tradeable toward the end of his deal.
    * Repeat 2015 win total with a younger team and take my chances in the playoffs.
    *I’d fill in first base from the minors. I think we have three guys who will be more effective than anyone we have had in the last four years in Duffy, White and Reed.
    *Trade Springer. Compare their Astros numbers. McHugh has just outperformed him. I’m sorry but I had to choose one.
    * This one’s easy. Make LMJ the closer and bring up Musgrove and give him the ball.
    *Sign your ace first because he has less club control. Keuchel still hasn’t been paid and Correa has his bonus.
    *Keep Pettis.
    *Scott Feldman because Appel hasn’t earned it. I want to see him dominate minor leaguers and he hasn’t done it. I’m not starting him until he gives me an indication he won’t suck.
    *If I have to pick, I pick trading for a starting catcher because I know what a catcher is supposed to look like and I already have two catchers in Stassi and Tyler who are good enough backups.
    *I’d run over Volquez because others will hit Odor with a pitch if he keeps up the same stuff.


    • As far as #5, I’m not trading prospects for a closer. I’m not trading any more prospects, period! I have expensive players right now who don’t hit, so, I’ll trade them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1. Sign Rasmus. If they do sign Kasmir, it should not be for much and only one year. I’m sure another club will give him a multi-year deal, so let him go.

        2. I think improvement should be the main goal. If we miss the playoffs, but fill some of the holes in our lineup and get rid of some like Conger, so be it.

        3. I would like for A.J. Reed to take over 1st base and be our big rookie for next season.

        4.No, but if they just have to trade one, it should be Springer.

        5. With another GM, I might consider trading prospects, but Luhnow scares me when he trades. I agree with old pro.

        6.If you can only sign one now, it should be Keuchel, but Carlos is our future and should be signed very long term soon.

        7. Bring in the windmill. I wish they could get Bagwell to do it. He was such a good base runner and would surely help all these gaffes that occurred this season.

        8. Good question. If healthy, I’d take Feldman for the beginning of the season. Appel is just a mystery to us all and if he doesn’t show a little dominance this spring, I’d trade him while there might be still some value.

        9. Get rid of Conger first and that will be an improvement for the team. He’s certainly not Yogi or Johnny Bench, but I like Castro now as a defensive catcher. I don’t see another catcher that could be reasonably traded for that would be better. Bring up one from the minors and draft one early in the upcoming draft.


      • Larry, I read it differently. To me, “improve” meant the wins and losses. I think we can have the same record but be a better team.

        Now if it’s your way, we aren’t any better, then no, I miss the playoffs.


  2. old pro and Larry – not much too argue with there.
    I think the catcher spot will be most interesting. Castro made $4 million in 2015 and you have to think, deserving or not, that he will get $5 or $6 million in arbitration or in settlement before arbitration.
    So do you keep him at that type of price?
    Do you keep Conger (after he gets his arm operated on – just guessing here) because even with arbitration he is not likely to reach $2 million?
    Do you package some of these mlb players that you are not thrilled with like Gattis or Carter or others and try to pick up a catcher?
    Do you trade Conger for Tropeano and Perez?
    Do you let youth be served and fill in from White, Stassi and Heineman?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I already gave my catcher opinion in the last blog. I’m going with my two young catchers and trading the two older, expensive ones for some arms. I’m going to try and trade Carter and Gattis for some arms. With the lineup I’m going to field I want a bullpen to protect my leads.
      We have carried three catchers on the 40-man for two years. Peddle the old guys. Play the two young guys and add Pena to the 40-man and start him at Fresno for insurance. It’s pretty obvious that Castro was exhausted by playoff time and we’re going deep into the playoffs next year so we need young guns behind the plate for crunch time. We drafted them, lets see what they have. We hit .220 at catcher in 2015 and had one horrible defensive catcher and on good one. We can improve on that with the youts.


    • In the 16 games in September that Conger appeared as a catcher, the Astros were 4-12, even though he batted .250 in those games with a very healthy SLG.
      I just don’t want him catching for me.


  3. 1. Rasmus. OP hit the nail on the head. Kazmir will slowly turn into an overpriced BOR pitcher. No thanks.

    2. It’s all about the playoffs. Once you’re in, anything can happen.

    3. Between Reed, Duffey and Singleton, I think we can find our answer in house.

    4. Springer. A TOR pitcher like McHugh has too much value.

    5. Neither.

    6. Can I sign the other one next year? Keuchel, but then I’m making plans for Correa and probably re-doing Altuve too.

    7. Too funny. But I think I’d go with the windmill.

    8. How about I trade Feldman for a reliever and give Appel a shot.

    9. How about we simply trade our backup catcher — along with Scott Feldman — then promote Tyler Heineman?

    10. Both. In fact, I say we have Gattis bunt and run over Volquez after taking some lessons from JJ Watt. Then we hit Odor every at bat in a game. Do it before an off day and just have relievers ready in the pen every time he’s about to come up. Throw and then have the pitcher walk off the mound before the pitch even hits him.


  4. 1. I can’t imagine a 4 year contract scenario for Kazmir that I would find appealing. Rasmus is the choice here.
    2. Make the playoffs
    3. Minors, trade, FA in that order. I can’t think of a FA to target.
    4. McHugh. The only player I would be more upset to lose than Springer is Correa. Keuchel comes in just behind Springer.
    5. Trade prospects
    6. Correa
    7. Pettis. The job market is stronger for windmills right now…could prob even get it a signing bonus in some states.
    8. Is this based on merit? I would love for Appel to deserve a spot based on his performance.
    9. Backup. The staff likes Castro.
    10. I’m not going to root for an injury. How about Odor is suspended for PED usage and gives up Volquez as his provider instead?


  5. Boy, this is like choosing between (a) hung at sunrise or (b) shot at dusk. 1. Rasmus as I hold my nose. 2. I’ll take the playoffs because they can not improve very much and miss the playoffs. 3. Minors. 4. Springer provided it is handled by someone besides JL. He should bring a ton of MLB ready players or at least one All Star. 5. LMJ if I have to choose. 6. Keuchel is 1st followed closely by several. 7. Pettis provided the Astros start hitting with RISP. 8. Feldman has earned it. Appel has not yet. 9. Tough to trade for a starting catcher without giving up multiple prospects. So trade a backup catcher for a ball of string. (It does not even have to be rolled up) 10 Volquez. But I want someone to go “Utley” on Odor.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 1). Kazmir can go be someone else’s overpaid problem.

    2)Make the playoffs…that’s the goal of every team.

    3). I don’t trust Luhnow’s trading ability.

    4) McHugh, but man that’s a close one.

    5) Neither.

    6) Jeez….Correa, just because he is younger , and is a once in a life time typle player.

    7) Windmill.

    8) Feldman.

    9) Either, as long as Stassi is on the 25 man.

    10. Both.


  7. Trade Springer and watch this city go ballistic on Jeff Luhnow. He wouldn’t be able to show hs face at the dry cleaners without someone trying to go Shawn Chacon on him.


  8. I should clarify:
    – I’m not pushing to trade Springer or McHugh, but thought it was an interesting conundrum
    – I totally made up the numbers for both Kazmir and Rasmus, I am probably low because every season I can’t believe what really happens
    – i don’t think Appel is even the next youngster up
    – Pettis is better than a windmill

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The Seattle mariners have shelled out $48 million to Robinson Cano for the two youngest years of his contract and did not make the playoffs either year. They owe him $192 million for the eight oldest years of his career still to come.


  10. Albert Pujols has been paid $75 million for the youngest four years of his $240 million contract. In those four years the Angels made the playoffs once and lost all three games of that series.
    Puhols is still owed $165 million for his age 36-41 years. After his retirement he also gets $1 million a year for 10 years personal services.


  11. 1.Rasmus
    2.make the playoffs
    4.Trade McHugh, he had a great win loss record but his ERA was not that impressive and Springer is an everyday player that everyone loves and brings such energy to the team
    5.Prospects, I think LMJ has to much value as a starter and think he has what it takes to be a TOR
    6.Keuchal first and then work on a deal for Correa
    7.Pettis but the windmill is tempting
    8.Appel, with Feldmans injury history I would get rid of him
    9.I would go with a quality back up catcher that can play twice a week or so
    10. I would not want our players to be brought down to their level so I am going with neither


  12. 1. Rasmus
    2. Playoffs
    3. Definitely the minors
    4. It would kill me, but trade Springer
    5. I like McCullers as a starter but JL scares the Heck outta me trading. So make LMJ the closer.
    6. DK
    7. Windmill ( they work cheaper)
    8. Feldman
    9. Neither ( see # 5)
    10. Put the hurt on stinky.


  13. Good topic Dan!

    1. Rasmus, that’s an easy one. Kazmir might already be regressing back to where he was a couple of years ago.
    2. The whole goal is to make the playoffs. But do it with a younger more athletic club. That means no Carter or Gattis or even Conger.
    3. I don’t care how we get first base resolved, that’s not my job. But the GM sure better fix it finally, one way or the other. But somebody already said, I’m pretty sure we can do better with guys already in the system at the minor league level.
    4. This is the tough one, but really, who do you think might have hit his ceiling at this point? That’s why I would have to keep Springer. If given the chance, we can ooh and aah over him and Correa for the next decade. 2016 is the year of Springer. And I hope he finally gets to go back to the place he played his whole life before getting stuck in right once entering the ML.
    5. No! McCullers is already becoming a top of the rotation starter. Don’t change that.
    6. Try to sign them both. However, I think both, on the advice of their agents, would say no to a Houston long term deal, at least right now.
    7. I’ve seen worse than Pettis.
    8. Appel deserves nothing at this point.
    9. We already have plenty of back up catchers.
    10. Odor is a good young ballplayer. He just needs his clubhouse to rub off on him. A kid from another country might well be taught another game than we learn here. Volquez has a team that likes him like that. He’s learn much quicker in a league where he has to go to the plate.


  14. I’m not actually a proponent of #10. Other teams may take offense to a cocky guy like CarGo, or Rasmus’ bat flip or the Astros uber home run celebrations up and down the dugout. We don’t need to get into bean ball wars with teams who almost all have harder throwers than we do


    • Volquez doesn’t play “bean” ball…….he hits a guy on the elbow, or hand so they will be out for a long time. He absolutely knows what he’s doing. That’s why I said I hope a ball finds HIS hand so he can sit on the bench for two or three months.


  15. 1. Rasmus
    4.niether one!!!
    5.McCullers, I absolutely think Luhnow WILL trade for a closer.
    6.Dallas Keuchel….PAY THE MAN!
    9. Both of our catchers will be back, but only until they can pay someone to take Conger off our hands.
    10. BOTH….I want one of our relievers throw one right at Od…ors head,
    And slap Volquez with a come backer right on his pitching hand.
    I’m feeling evil today…..can you tell??!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The BEST thing that’s happened to Tulo was to get out of Colorado. That kid is so talented, and watching him today just made me grin! Pitchers are gonna learn, you do NOT pitch to him with the bases loaded! THAT my friends is situational hitting!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. 1. Definitely Rasmus. I am not sure I would even sign Kazmir to the contract you proposed for Rasmus.
    2. Definitely playoffs. I don’t care if the Astros go 81-81 if they make the playoffs.
    3. I will say combination of all 3. I want to see Reed or White given every opportunity, but I would like to sign a free agent as a stop-gap measure in case either is not ready. I would also look to trade Carter and/or Valbuena to open up a spot.
    4. I would trade McHugh. I don’t see him as a TOR, but more as a MOR, which can be more easily replaced than a Gold-Glove caliber OFer with 25+ HR power and the ability to get on base.
    5. This is a tough one for me because there are certain top prospects I don’t want to trade, but I also think LMJ will develop into a TOR. I guess I will take my chances with a trade.
    6. Keuchel because he is closer to the Astros losing team control and we need to lock up our ace.
    7. Pettis, but keep in touch with the windmill in case he is needed around the trade deadline.
    8. I am going with Feldman for the same reason as most has stated…Appel hasn’t earned a spot in the rotation yet. However, I would be open to trading Feldman and giving Straily, Peacock or Obie a chance to earn that 5th spot.
    9. I am going to say trade for a back-up because if we trade for a starter I am concerned they will keep Conger as the back-up.
    10. Odor is like Gomez in that other teams hate him, but the players and fans of the team they play for, for the most part, love him. I don’t have a problem with Odor. He plays with emotion and that works for him. Also, I don’t think Volquez was throwing intentionally at Springer so I am not going to hold a grudge against him either.


  18. Also, A.J. Hinch comes on MLB Network Radio every Wednesday around 11:30 A.M. They asked him what changes he would like to see the Astros make next year. A.J. said they will, obviously, keep the core players (Altuve, Springer, Correa), but they need to replace some of the high strikeout hitters with more contact hitters. Man, that was music to my ears and is getting me even more pumped for the Hot Stove League to see what changes are made for next season. It appears he and Luhnow see the deficiencies on this team like the majority of us.


    • Wow, Tim, wow! That is so great to hear. I just can’t imagine any one of them coming right out and saying it because they are so closed.
      I think we have some of the players right in our own system who can put the ball in play with authority.
      And then you mentioned Zobrist.
      It’s so early, I just don’t want to get my hopes up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hinch mentioned the Royals and how tough they were to beat because they keep coming at you up and down the lineup. Luhnow usually drafts high contact, high OBP players, but built a high power, high K, low to average OBP team in 2015. Earlier, someone on here mentioned Luhnow really didn’t go all in to win until around the ASB this year and I’m starting to buy into that thought. It appears to me he built a team in 2015 to be better than 2014, but I don’t think he even thought they would be a playoff team until July and then decided to make a push for the playoffs. This offseason will tell us what direction they intend to go. As you mentioned, we have several high contact, high OBP players in the minors so it won’t take a complete overhaul, but just some tweaking. Most of us agree that a shutdown closer must be added. I’m very high on Hoyt, but not ready to make him a closer yet. I think he can be a very good 7th-8th inning pitcher and, along with a legitimate closer, can really improve our bullpen, Between White, Reed and Valbuena I think we will be fine at 1B. This is where someone like Zobrist would be a perfect fit. He can play any IF position or LF. He is exactly the type player the Astros should be looking to add via free agency. He won’t require a long-term contract and won’t break the bank.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, Dave, there’s reason to be dubious. However, we really didn’t have our top prospects ready to contribute in 2015 and the high OBP/high contact hitters aren’t easy to acquire either via trade or free agency. The Astros, according to rumors, were in on Shin Soo Choo,but Texas just wanted him and over-paid for him. Choo fits the Luhnow type player, but he wasn’t worth the contract Texas gave him. This is the offseason I expect to see the ‘Luhnow Plan’ start to take shape. Unfortunately, I think Gattis remains because of his modest salary and I don’t think we can get any real value for him in a trade right now. Carter is almost definitely gone and I think they will look to trade Valbuena. Personally, I would rather trade Gattis over Carter or Valbuena (I want to trade all 3, but Gattis is my first preference to go). I can’t emphasize enough how much I want Ben Zobrist. He is so under-rated as an everyday player and is so versatile on where he can play. He is a rich man Jed Lowrie without the injury history and more power.

        Liked by 1 person

      • OK Tim. Here we go again. I disagree with who needs to leave first. Carter is it. The Singleton experiment has “turned the corner” and walked straight into a brick wall. But right now we have two 1st basemen that are taking up roster space.

        We can work around Gattis as the DH if the FO/Hinch is willing. I can’t get excited about Valbuena nor Lowrie unless you promise me Jed plays in over 120 games again. They are serviceable players. But I just see our key need is the same as we started with in 2015 – 1st Base.


      • If 2 players are going to hit roughly the same number of HRs give me the player with the higher OBP. I can live with the Ks if he can get on base more frequently and can give you a positive WAR.


    • Tim, I wanted to discuss a few players with you.
      Villar- Can Villar be the super sub? Marwin is going to get close to $2 mil in arbitration. Marwin has proven himself and deserves a chance to play full time somewhere, as he has improved so much in the last two years. I think it’s time to check out his value in the marketplace, because he will keep getting more money every year. We’ve been grooming Villar and, other than his savvy, he has more tools than Marwin and I think Villar can feed off someone like Correa and see what being level headed can mean to a player with skills. Villar is league minimum next season and then goes to year one arbitration in 2017, right when Bregman is starting to be ready. What do you think Marwin’s value is to us and to teams who need an infielder? Marwin is still young, but has done nothing to show he is a mirage. He is very prone to chasing balls out of the strike zone when batting from the left side and he gives up too easily with two strikes on him.
      White- Doesn’t he look like a DH? His swing looks short and powerful, quite a bit shorter than Tucker’s. Am I too high on him? I thought he blossomed suddenly, but his hitting in the lower minors was good, too. He just wasn’t a top prospect so he was just ignored, until his 2015 just got right up in everyone’s face.
      Reed- I went back and read an interview of him in May and he said he didn’t know what to do with his body last offseason. He lifted and hit and that is it and he showed up to ST out of shape and overweight. Could you have imagined a guy who had the year he had being poorly conditioned? What is AJ Reed capable of when he is in good condition? Drop some fat and add some muscle and work on that diet and all of a sudden you have an honest to goodness stud at 1B. He said being a pitcher has helped him tremendously at the plate because he knows what they are thinking when they are trying to get him out.
      Singleton- Where do you think he is in Luhnow’s world?
      That’s enough for now. I realize everyone is not retired, like I am.


      • I will start with Villar. This is going to upset Becky, but I prefer Villar over MarGo. He has the ability to draw a BB more than Marwin and he can be a nice PR late in the game. In addition, he will cost less and has more tools. He and Marwin are both switch-hitters with about the same power. I have nothing against Marwin, but I think Villar can help us win more games and with Correa he probably won’t see SS, which is a good thing.

        It is very difficult to ignore White’s numbers throughout his minor league career. Rarely do you see these out of someone drafted so low (33rd round), but he doesn’t appear to be a fluke. He has been an OBP machine. Defensively, he is weak and I agree DH is the best spot for him with an occasional start at 1B.

        Reed is going to be a complete hitting machine. He does need to get in a little better shape, but being a 1B doesn’t require a Carlos Correa build, just be a bit more agile and leaner than White is now. I think he will be our 1B for many years. I have very little confidence in Singleton and think the Astros should look to trade him this offseason.


  19. First ya gotta convince a guy to play here, and I’m not sure Zobrist would want to come here with all the youth on this club. I know money talks but…..he’s going to be on more than a few teams radar looking for a guy who can play so many positions. And..he’s going to want a multi year deal. A two-three year deal is what he’s probably going to get….and I have NO idea what kind of money he’s gonna want. I would LOVE to have him with the Astros!!
    Don’t you know these GM’S cant wait until the world series is over do they can get that hot stove going! Dang I wish Bagwell would join this team as the hitting coach, these guys would flourish with him as a coach.


    • It’s true that the Astros have youth, but a Cy Young winner and maybe a Rookie of the Year at SS and the starting 2B in the All Star game is I good place to start convincing him. A 19 game winner #2 starter who added a 20th win against the Royals in the playoffs doesn’t hurt either. The Astros have one of the best defensive teams in the league and one of the lowest ERAs in the league.
      If Luhnow can show Zobrist that he is moving the team from the strikeout phase and into the hitting phase and also share his plans for the pitching in the next few years it may just convince Zobrist to look at our money.
      The Royals were impressed by the Astros and Yost and Hosmer were very complimentary of our team, so I believe our stock is rising around the league.
      Zobrist has played on the East Coast, the West Coast and the Midwest. Maybe he might want to try Houston.
      It doesn’t hurt that Vogelsong tried to smear the Astros and then fell flat on his ass in SF. It doesn’t hurt that the loudmouth Norris turned out to be a flop either. The Astros critics are dropping like flies.
      I don’t think baseball people are laughing at the Astros anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t watched any of the championship series but just looking at the scores it appears the Astros played the Royals better than the Jays have.
        I think all of baseball is looking at the Astros with interest these days.

        Poor Cubs lost four straight.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We’ll see what a guy like Zobrist wants for a contract, before we pencil him in the lineup card. I have a feeling there are going to be more than a few teams looking at signing him. I guess we’ll see how serious Crane is about winning this winter if he let’s Luhnow get the pieces we will NEED to make the jump into the post season.
        I almost commented on your post about Jonathan Villar, but I want to stay your friend so I kept my mouth shut.

        Liked by 2 people

  20. If the Royals end up winning the Series, it makes the Astros look that much better.

    As a Yankees fan, I can’t root for the Mets.


  21. I think free agents should show some interest in Houston – young team on the rise. But that and a dime (oh heck that and $5) will get you a cup of coffee.
    We need to be willing to spend money in the right places and more than they are offered elsewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I vote to…

    Sign Rasmus and perhaps look to trade him later if needed. Kazmir has not been able to pitch effectively for an entire season.

    Repeat the win total of 2015 and make the playoffs. Anything can happen in the playoffs.

    Let the youngsters play first base for the club.

    Trade McHugh for some high grade, minor league talent. I am of the opinion that the Astros have some good pitching in the minors now and can continue to blossom in the majors. Springer still has a high ceiling, he just needs to prevent that ceiling form falling on him every year and putting himself on the DL.

    Trade for that fireball closer. I want a fireballer or two in the starting rotation. I remember Ryan, Richard, and Forsch in 1980.

    I agree that Dallas is closer to arbitration than Carlos is. Sign Keuchel. NOW!

    Be sure to keep the power plugged in on that windmill.

    Feldman hits the DL every season so let us see if Appel can stay healthy.

    I do not believe the club could trade for a defensive catcher who can also hit by the way. No one would trade a catcher like that. We have a couple of these possibilities in the minors. Bring them to ST.

    Act like a leading fullback and run Volquez over like he is a small cornerback.


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