Will They Stay or Will They Go?


In all deference to the seminal Clash hit, “Should I Stay or Should I Go”, the Astros are facing an off-season of even more uncertainty. The team’s performance in 2015 has raised the expectation bar for fans and front office alike and there will be many interlocking decisions made that involve Rule 5 protection, budget discretion, lineup improvement, promotions and free agent and trade acquisitions. Depending on path forward philosophy the 2016 team could be far different and even younger than the 2015 version. Who will stay and who will go – indeed!

Must Returns

The list of those who must return is not as long as one might expect for a team that led the AL West for 3/4 the season and came within 6 outs of facing the Blue Jays in the ALCS.  In no particular order…

Jose Altuve

Carlos Correa

George Springer

Dallas Keuchel

Collin McHugh

Lance McCullers Jr

These six players form a great core of both everyday players and starting pitching. They performed between solidly and spectacularly in 2015 and they are all under team control for the foreseeable future, though the team may start dangling some longer term contracts in front of a couple of this group soon.

Likely Returning

This group comprises those likely to return due to value to the club or due to contracts that restrict their mobility. It would not be a surprise to see anyone listed here packaged off in the off season, but is more likely they start the season in Houston.

Carlos Gomez

Jed Lowrie

Jason Castro

Luke Gregerson

Pat Neshek

Will Harris

Scott Feldman

Evan Gattis

Preston Tucker

Mike Friers

Josh Fields

Vincent Velasquez

Jonathan Villar

This is a hodge podge of players who are probably not easily tradeable or who the team likely wants to see more performance from before deciding their ultimate destination.

If the Price is Right 

These are players who the team would be interested in keeping – if they are not priced above their value point.

Scott Kazmir

Marwin Gonzalez

Tony Sipp

This will be an interesting area to watch to see the budgetary mindset of the team. Kazmir is likely gone and Sipp may be gone too.

Likely Gone

Some of this may be just fan perception and frustration.

Chris Carter

Luis Valbuena

Hank Conger

Chad Qualls

Oliver Perez

Most of this involves inaction by the club – the big question here is whether they will settle arbitration with Carter or Conger for instance and then try and trade them.

One disclaimer – this post was thrown together in a Hill Country hotel with a phone as the only resource – so any obvious omissions were not intentional.

So how do you see these grouping?

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124 comments on “Will They Stay or Will They Go?

  1. I would put Gregerson in the first group because he is the best reliever in the bullpen. If you are going to get help for your bullpen, you don’t get rid of the best one you already have. Get rid of the ones who aren’t as good as you need them to be.
    I would move Valbuena up into the second group and move Gattis into the bottom group. Valbuena can actually play a couple of positions.

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    • I agree…….but that’s Jeff Luhnow’S MO. Bring up a kid from the farm and sit him the ENTIRE season! because he “MIGHT” make a mistake. But oh boy, let’s put Villerror in there, because he’s been “good as of late” GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

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      • Jeff doesn’t decide who plays and who sits. That is Hinch’s decision. Who else has Luhnow brought up and ‘sit him the ENTIRE season!’?

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      • Tell me Tim……how man games did Preston Tucker start, and finish? I Can count on one hand how many he started, but was pulled after the 5-6th inning for Marisnick, or Rasmus. I’m not so sure Hinch makes all the moves……if he does then it might be AJ who doesn’t trust the kids they bring up.

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      • Becky, I think Tucker is not a good enough player defensively to play the last couple of innings, especially if the Astros are leading. And he doesn’t hit lefties well enough not to be pinch-hit for late in games the Astros are trailing. He has ability (mostly offensively), but taking him out late in the game is not a matter of trust on management’s part – it’s a matter of favorable match-ups.

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      • I would think the reference – ignoring the argumentative phrase ‘entire season’ – is probably to the following that come to mind as well as Preston Tucker:
        1. Michael Feliz
        2. Vince Velasquez
        3. Matt Duffy
        4. Max Stassi
        5. Jon Singleton

        Did each of these see some action? Yes – very limited. If they had been pushed to the bench by great performances by the veterans in their positions, it would have made some sense. But they sat on the bench to watch failing, flailing, ailing veterans oversee the loss of a 4 1/2 game lead and near elimination from the playoffs.

        Look, I do not know, but I suspect that the starting line-ups have some input from Luhnow and some from Hinch. And I suspect that the mid-game or late-game changes – including bullpen usage, pinch hitters, defensive replacements, etc – are primarily Hinch’s decision. I have no grudge against either. I just hope both learned their lessons – and don’t repeat them.

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      • Mr. Bill,

        VV and Feliz did not pitch well, Stassi and Duffy were September call ups and Big Jon was given 4 months last season as the primary 1B and bombed. I would have liked to have seen Stassi get more playing time when Castro was injured, but his minor league numbers were not good so I can, somewhat, understand Hinch’s hesitation in not playing him, except for the fact Conger was the worst defensive catcher in the majors last season. Very few teams are going to give unproven minor league players valuable playing time in a pennant race unless they have a strong track record like Schwarber. There is a process to getting regular playing time and those players will get their chance soon.

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      • Of course Feliz struggled – his whopping 8.0 innnings of MLB opportunity. But Veasquez Let’s see. VV had a WHIP of 1.28 – better than either McHugh or Feldman or Kazmir – much less Perez. And VV had 58 Ks in just 55.2 innings. His only problem was BBs/9 – and that cannot get better without innings under the belt.

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      • Becky,

        I hate to ruin a good rant, but I think you’re remembering incorrectly. Defensively, Tucker played in 655 innings. He also played in 96 games while starting 74. Let’s assume — and this is being generous — that the 22 games he played but didn’t start, Tucker played 2 innings defensively. That means he had another 611 innings over his 74 starts. That comes out to 8.26 innings per game. Now, I as I said, we’re assuming he played 2 innings defensively when he didn’t start. More than likely, these were just pinch-hit assignments, so in his starts, he played more than 8.26 innings per game.

        By comparison, Jose Altuve — who was almost never removed from a game — played in 154 games and started 153, playing 1330 innings defensively. We’ll make the same assumption with Altuve. So, that’s 1328 innings over 153 games or 8.68 innings per game.

        So it would seem — and I recall seeing Tucker do the outfielders’ bow many times — Tucker was not pulled at 5 or 6 innings most starts.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Mr. Bill,

        In September/October regular season games Feliz pitched 7.0 innings and VV 10.1 innings. Feliz had a 7.88 ERA with a 1.71 WHIP. VV had a 7.84 ERA with a 1.84 WHIP. In comparison, Harris pitched 13 innings with a 4.15 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Neshek pitched 7.1 innings with a 7.37 ERA and 2.59 WHIP and Gregerson pitched 10 innings with a 4.50 ERA and 0.80 WHIP. The numbers show the young guys were given a chance late and failed miserably. So did Neshek, but not any worse than Feliz and VV and his chances were on par or less than those two. Hinch went away from Neshek in the playoffs, which is justified by these numbers. He also did not include Feliz or VV on the playoff roster, which was also justified by these numbers.

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    • I say Tucker needs to earn the spot by being more consistent and improving his defense this offseason. Look back at his monthly stats:
      May: 62AB .377OBP .516SLG .893OPS .306 Avg
      Jun: 74AB .259OBP .338SLG .597OPS .189 Avg
      Jul: 86AB .344OBP .570SLG .914OPS .314 Avg
      Aug: 46AB .188OBP .304SLG .492OPS .152 Avg
      Sep: 25AB .286OBP .400SLG .686OPS .200 Avg
      Oct: 7AB .143OBP .143SLG .286OPS .143 Avg

      Postseason: three plate appearances yielded 2 strikeouts and one walk.

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    • And while Feliz and VV were sitting and stewing, Neshek, Fields, Qualls, and Perez were getting ripped apart and blowing leads and opportunities in crucial game after crucial game – especially in the most critical serieses of the season. In hindsight, the bullpen choices made were predictable and easily countered by smart coaches on the opposing side. We had no surprises down the stretch. We didn’t show Texas or Oakland or LA anything they weren’t ready for by virtue of seeing it over and over again all year. We had fireballers they had not seen on the bench. We chose instead to use guys who throw in the low 90s at best that they had seen multiple times before. These mistakes can’t be undone – but the approach can get a different treatment next year if people in the FO will take a hard look at where – and how – our lead in the AL West was allowed by mismanagement and going to the same well way too often to fall completely apart. These are valuable lessons – if the FO will acknowledge and respond. If they just want to justify their failure, there will be more of the same next year – against better opposition.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Bill, I wish there was an applaud button, cause that’s what I was thinking the last 3 months of the season.

        It makes sense in a pennant race to not use unproven players if the regulars are getting the job done. But the regulars were not getting it done. It was like watching Ground Hog Day to see the same things happen every day without at least trying SOMETHING different.
        We played Oakland, Texas, and LA repeatedly the last month. We lost the division lead by not having any kind of strategy, just repeating the same mistakes.

        We don’t have any way of knowing who was responsible. I’m just a baseball fan. These guys make the big bucks to make big decisions and if they can’t see what we see…there WILL be more of the same next year, or worse.

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  2. Where is everybody? I guess I’ll get this party started. I think Valbuena and, unfortunately, Conger return. I think someone will pay more for Kazmir then the Astros. I would like to have Sipp back, but he may get a multi-year contract elsewhere. They may look to trade Feldman, but his injury history may make it difficult.

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  3. I like your list as of now, for the exception that I think Conger is staying. Remember Jeff Luhnow absolutely will not admit a failure of trading some pretty good prospects for this lame catcher. I’d keep Oliver…….for the time being, and keeping Marwin is a no brainer. As bad as Kazmir was in the last 6 or 7 games with us, I doubt he’s gonna get that “big” ticket he was counting on, but you need know…..he might have been unhappy here, and that showed in his starts. I’d love to keep Rasmus, but this is a busness, so I think he gets a better deal with someone else. Tony Sipp is another no brainer……pay the man. We were talking about Luhnow going out and getting a “flame thrower” for the bull pen, but I don’t trust him to trade for Chapman, or Kimbrel. The Padres have all winter to listen to other teams offers for Kimbrel, so they are in the drivers seat as far as Kimbrel is concerned. Walt Jockety won’t give Luhnow the time of day, so there’s no point trying to deal with the Reds. Sandy and a couple of others eluded to control problems with a true flame thrower……and I think we can all point to Dontrelle Willis as an example of that. So…….I think we are one BIG bullpen piece, another BIG starter…..and another good bat, and we can be 100% better that we were this year!
    So should I put my Christmas wish list in my stocking yet, or is it too early!!!

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  4. We want to think long and hard about this 2016 team. The team who came from behind and overtook us in 2015 is going to have Darvish and Hamels and Fielder for the entire year. Heck, they may even have a sober, in shape, Hamilton, also.
    We can’t keep the same team. We have to look honestly at the 25 guys we took to the playoffs and replace the ones who did not get the job done with better players who produce more WAR.
    So if we’re thinking about keeping all these .200 hitters in the lineup and pay them more money than we paid them last season, we need to think again. We need to figure out how to make every weak position deliver a lot more next year than last year. We were weak in, RF(because of Springer’s injury), LF, 3B, SS(Defensively), 1B, Catcher, DH and pinch hitting. We also were weak in the second half(when it matters) in the bullpen and weak at the #5 starting pitcher.
    It is going to take some effort to do this right and it is about being smart, not being rich, because, apparently, our club isn’t rich and isn’t going to be in the foreseeable
    future. We threw away three years of baseball to rebuild the farm. It is time to make those three years mean something.
    I ‘m saying it right now. I don’t care to see my team throw a bunch of lousy hitters out on that field and keep our prospects on the bench and I don’t want to see a bunch of soft throwing weird delivery guys out there trying to get the other team’s stars out with junk.
    We started rebuilding in the fall 0f 2011 when we dumped everybody. Let’s see what we got!

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    • Nope…….not gonna happen. Luhnow will keep those talented kids as trade bait, and you and I know it. They might make a mistake, and commit an error. But he’ll keep Villerror on the 40 man, thinking he might get better. Don’t get me started.

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    • Not only that, the As and the Mariners will be getting better. Angels? They are always competitive as long as they have Mike Trout. So to stay in the hunt the Astros have to improve. Overall BA and OBP must improve. BARISP must improve. Runs scored must improve. SOs must decrease. Basestealing efficiency must improve. RBIs by something other than HR has to increase. And that’s just on the offensive side.

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      • True, but many of those go hand in hand. If BA increases so will OBP and BABIP. In my opinion they need to cut down the Ks and increase the OBP and the rest, for the most part, will take care of itself.

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    • You are on the right track, OP. We must improve the bullpen where I think only Gregerson, Neshek, Harris and Sipp are the only “keepers”. We need a a number 2 starter to solidify the rotation. I don’t expect Rasmus to return, so, unless Marisnick improves his offense or Tucker improves his defense, we will need another outfielder. I hope the Carter experiment is over, and whomever replaces him is enough of an upgrade that he helps cover at least a portion of Valbuena’s offensive deficiency. I would be happy to get a bag of baseballs for Conger, and I pray Castro learns how to hit again. The real question is: do these upgrades come from within the organization or without?

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      • Lester, I wonder how many teams would love a 19 game winner who also won a playoff game on the road as their #2 starter. I think McHugh proved himself worthy to be called a #2.
        Now, I would love another #2 to add to the one we have.

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  5. It’s time to bring em up, let em play, and see what we have.
    This bargain basement shopping is getting old. We need some good veteran pieces to fill In. Upgrade the bullpen and another good starter would be nice.
    Conger, Gattis, Valbuna, Carter, Qualls, etc must go.

    No point in going through the misery of rebuilding if they’re just going to rot down on the farm, on the bench, or be traded for mediocre fill-ins.

    The biggest problem I see is trusting Luhnow to make the good choices.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, and those of you folks who are Texans fans……..your year looks about as dead as those frozen turkeys at the grocery strore. Either they have quit playing for this coach, or there just isn’t enough talent on that team. Pretty sad.

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    • Becky my classic Texans fan reply is – what’s the problem? We won the 2nd half 26-3!
      Whereas the Astros look like they have a bright future – the Texans look like they don’t know what they are doing at all.
      Like you would say – don’t get me started.

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      • I have not enjoyed a football game in Houston since Earl Campbell wore Luv ya Blue. No self-respecting Houston team would ever call itself the ‘Texans’. That name was borrowed from the AFL team that became the Cowboys.

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      • Actually, I suppose, the Dallas Texans technically became the Kansas City Chiefs. But the departure of the Texans paved the way for the Cowboy franchise to take over Dallas.

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      • The NFL wouldn’t give Dallas a team! The minute the AFL awarded the Texans to Dallas, the NFL gave Dallas the Cowboys. Then the Texans moved to KC and became the Chiefs.

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  7. I hope the bottom group is an accurate prediction. Tucker says he hates to pinch hit. Listen to him. Play or trade him. JL will shake up this list with a trade or three before ST. He can cover his behind with a trade of Conger for an A ball prospect that he can run to the press and claim they ALWAYS wanted the guy. Without a major shakeup, probably 3rd or 4th place next year and right at .500. Now is the tough job. Improving on a decent team. Finally, don’t be surprised if JL bolts to someplace (Phillies ??).

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    • Gattis:
      1. Can not catch anymore
      2. Can not play 1st base
      3. Can not play left field (been there, done that)
      4. Can only DH
      5. Nearly impossible to trade….we are stuck with him.

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  8. MLBTRADERUMORS.COM has Kazmir going at a $10-$12 mill a year next year, probably due to his poor play with us this year. I’m kinda on the fence about him.
    If he starts out with us, without the stigma of a trade hanging over him, he might just turn out to be a better pitcher for us. David Price I gonna want a multi year multi BIG bucks deal, and Crane isn’t going to sign off on a deal Ike that. The big names getting tossed around are Greinke, Cueto, Price, and Shields…….and they are ALL going to want big money…..So what do you guys think. Do you want Kazmir back at $12-$15mill a year??? Remember we still have Feldman who will be back in the rotation next year. And, do we go for what (who) for another bullpen piece. I think Velasquez is a bit confused, on his role with the Astros next year, same for Feliz.
    Think one of these guys could be a good arm for the bullpen? Hinch nearly pitched Will Harris’S arm off last year……Hinch needs another strong RHP to bridge to Harris, so he can be the true 8th inning guy. I’m ok with Gregersen closing, but like I said earlier….I’m betting Luhnow try to pry Kimbrel away from the Padres. And as far as Luhnow going to the Phillies……*WHO* in their right mind would want to go to the Phillies??? I hear Ed Wade is still working for them!!

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  9. I tried to post this a few times yesterday. AJ Reed was interviewed after his two doubles on Saturday in the AFL and shared that he was in the AFL to work on his defense at first base. He said he made eight errors and that it was his job to correct it. I thought that was a pertinent comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I saw Don Henley tonight on Austin City Limits and he was amazing. So smooth and the music that has come from this guy is just like a long beautiful look at life.
    I was trying to think of who he compares with and Henley reminds me of Robinson Cano at second base and AJ Foyt behind the wheel of a car. Effortless precision and what you end up with is a product that is soothing to the eyes, the ears, the soul.
    Foyt, Cano and Henley are three of the very best I ever saw do what they do best.

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    • Henley, Foyt, and Cano – OP1’s version of ‘the Boys of Summer’.

      A.J.’s left the road; DH has lost the beat;
      RC is catching air; a DP is out of reach.
      Empty park; field is dark, Eagles already gone.
      We took a drive down Crawford Street;
      found out there’s no one’s home, but . . .

      But we can see you – your trophies shinin’ in the sun;
      You got your hearing aids in and your hairpieces on, baby.
      And we can’t help that our love for you will still be strong,
      long after the boys of this summer have gone.

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      • I have had that tune in my head ever since I saw the show. I flipped to it because five minutes of Philadelphia vs Carolina was all I could stand. So I found a totally different Eagle to watch on PBS.

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  11. Valbuena (4.2), Carter (4.2), Conger (1.1), and Gattis (.6) are all arbitration eligible. To resign these guys will probably cost us between 14 and 18MM based upon their current salaries of around 10MM. I would think we could bring up some fresh talent at the .5MM price to replace them and/or hit the FA to go get a genuine hitter for the aforementioned 14 – 18MM.

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  12. On another note Marwin is at a little over 1MM. I’d say he is definitely worth another Million in arbitration. Does anybody think he’s worth more than that or that he’d get 3-5MM from somebody else? If he goes, there’s always that Villerror guy that Becky is constantly berating LOL.

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    • I think Marwin has good value. I think he has played well enough that someone might be willing to trade a couple of good prospects for him to play SS for them.
      I know I’m not the GM, but if I can settle with Marwin for $2million, I would do it and then see if I can get some good players in a trade so that he might have a shot at a regular job, because he has value as a SS and we have our SS of the future.

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  13. OP…..As good as Marwin has been for us as a really good off the bench guy, he really does deserve a shot as a full time player. He’s still fairly young and would be a pretty good short stop for a rebuilding team. BUT……..we aren’t going to fill that role with the village idiot. I’d love to keep him, it would be good to see if we have another little “gem” in the minors that could fill that role. Can’t make too many decisions until the world series is over…..

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  14. It is all interesting speculation for us. It comes down to value and opportunity.
    – Who is worth their arbitration numbers
    – Who can be actually traded for something of worth
    – Who can be replaced by a cheaper option
    – Who do they have any hope of improving
    – Who do they think has peaked

    It will be a crazy off season for a team that wants to do more than hold serve

    Liked by 1 person

    • – worth the arbitration number is entirely subjective. It’s like asking whether Lowrie was worth more than Correa given his salary was 20x higher.

      Here’s the problem: baseball has become a sabremetric world, but we don’t appreciate the fact that budgets for each team are entirely independent from one another. Bopert may him Crane pegged, but to this point he has slowly increased payroll. What’s the ceiling?

      I heard/read that the going rate is $7 million per WAR on the free agent market. If that is accurate, Castro (1.3) and Valbuena (1.2) will be worth keeping. Conger and Carter would cost money to bring back exceeding their expected value. Rasmus (2.8) would be a steal at $15.8million. The problem is we aren’t guaranteed he or any of those players can reproduce the numbers.

      I would bring back Castro and hope he gets hot in a contract year. If nothing else, it makes the pitchers happy. I would offer Rasmus a contract but not get into a bidding war. I do like Tucker, despite my recent posts, and think he and Marisnick can hold down regular innings in LF if used wisely.

      Who can be improved and who peaked? I think Valbuena could be improved greatly, but he and Lowrie are too expensive to both share time. Carter is a cheaper version of Chris Davis. I think the right lineup and hitting coach gets a .230 avg and 35 HR out of him. I’m not sure we are equipped to do that. Conger…I just don’t know. We lost far too often with him on the field.

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  15. -Preston Tucker. It’s no secret I was one of his biggest fans. He got off to a bang start, but scouts scouted and pitchers made adjustments. In every stop he had in the minors, he came back and improved. But, in the majors they don’t leave rookies in the lineup when they are struggling, so he is going to have to adjust faster by working harder, because it’s tougher in the bigs.
    -George Springer- George can get help with his swing if the Astros decide to change their love song from homer worship to run-scoring ballads. If he is encouraged to bomb away, he will and he doesn’t need to do that to hit home runs. He is like a golfer who swings as hard as he can because he mistakenly thinks the ball will go farther. It will, once in every twenty shots. George will be better defensively if he slows down once he gets to the ball, His errors all come from rushing everything once he gets to the ball.
    Marisnick- He had two good months, the first and the last. That’s an improvement. Jake has moved around a lot but he is only 24 and there is a good chance he will be a better hitter next season, because he is still learning to hit major league pitching. He worked on his arm throughout the season and lost the drift to the right his throws were taking early in the year.
    Jeff Luhnow- I am not going to condemn the guy because he might do something I don’t like. He is the man and, though I don’t have overwhelming faith in his vision, I want to see what he does to improve the team before criticizing. I am going to wait until opening day before I rant. Or at least I am going to try to.
    Correa- Carlos had 286 plate appearances in his age 20 season in the majors. So I went to Fangraphs and looked up defensive stats on major league shortstops who had at least 280 plate appearances. There were 27 shortstops in the majors with over 280 plate appearances and Carlos was #25 in defensive metrics amongst those 27. I’m pretty sure he is not happy with his defense and is going to work hard to improve it. That alone will make the Astros a better team. Correa made 13 errors in 99 games during the regular season.
    Pitching- The Astros have a lot of pitchers in the minors who could turn out to be major league pitchers. More than we talk about in this blog. They have arms everywhere in the minors, including 4 who reportedly had surgery this season: Tommy Shirley, Kent Emanuel, Tyson Perez and Kyle Smith.

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    • Carlos Correa’s ranking by blind statisticians is laughable. He is the smoothest, most athletic shortstop I have seen since Ozzie Smith. Yes, in his rookie year he made a few errors. But he is 21 years old, has an amazing head on his shoulders to go with his tremendous athletic ability and quickness, and will absolutely dazzle – and set a new bar for shortstops in the MLB – for years to come.

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      • It’s not a ranking. It is his statistics compared to the other 26 SSs who qualified.
        However, I don’t disagree with anything else you say.
        My point was that he was not great defensively and if he improves, which I am positive he will, then we will be greatly improved, because we had Lowrie, then Villar, then Marwin and then Correa at SS. Tell me that next year we can’t have a huge improvement at that position with him at SS the entire year. I expect he will improve his defense a lot, because that is the kind of player he is.

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      • OP1, I wasn’t ragging on you. I just saw that 25th among 27 placement for Carlos and my long-standing distrust of ‘defensive metrics’ flared up. Forget the metrics – there’s no one in the league I’d rather see penciled in at SS either for the Astros or the AL All Stars.

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    • I agree with everything you said here, including the Luhnow comments. Whether we like his moves or not we need to give him time to continue the growth pattern. The team has gone from 51 to 70 to 86 wins and still has a top-ranked farm system. I like what I have seen, so far, but I also recognize he has made some mistakes. I’m just not ready to say his trades have been failures yet when most of the players traded away have not done anything in the major leagues yet. The Luhnow bashing, for the most part, in my opinion, is unwarranted at this point. I also want to see what he does this offseason and, even if I don’t like the moves, will want to see how they play out going forward before I call them good or bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Think back to a year ago. We finished 72-90, we got ourselves hacked by somebody, the Brady Aiken scenario. The whole can of worms.
    One year later. 86-76, win the wildcard game and go five games in the playoff with the Royals, Rookie of the Year, maybe a Cy Young, Baseball America rates our draft class as #1 and our hacker turns out to be the Cardinals.
    The Astros have had a good year.
    Let’s be a lot better next season, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I wish we could have seen the look on his face when he found out about this!!!
    I’m a mom, and I just know how proud they are of their son!! You are sooo right
    OP…..my hope is that we start out on the winning foot, and end up the season on a winning foot!!! I’m happy, happy girl today!!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Like I OP– I was a huge Tucker fan when he arrived and still am. Not sure his fielding can/will improve, but it might—and I am still a believer that his hitting against lefties will get much better. As said above, he will adjust.
    I have mixed feelings about Valbuenna and Kazmir. Something tells me the former stays, that he improves average-wise, reduce his K’s, and also hits fewer HR’s. He’s a superb fielder.
    Perhaps they low ball Kazmir and he signs—but probably not. I thought the deal was initially great but he disappointed and no one has a good explanation. Could he be an effective # 4? Possibly, and maybe having the “veteran” presence is worthwhile, but he didn’t help when needed, so I would let him go. I’m not sure the players trust his abilities any longer.

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    • In watching Tucker and Correa this year, both had to make adjustments. In the case of Correa he came up and was hot. The pitchers then started pitching inside. He had a mini-slump but adjusted. They then moved outside and the last couple games they were back inside and he needed to adjust again. Tucker was not allowed that luxury. No question he was not the same hitter later in the year. Not sure if he ever got to adjust or is unable to adjust. But I would hate to see Tucker turn out to be the next JD Martinez.

      And Yes – he is a below average Left Fielder but he ended up with nearly the same batting stats as Gattis and he did that with spot starts.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I disagree with JL at times but don’t see him harming the club on purpose. So in the above list, Rasmus and Tucker – pick only 1. Villar and MGonzo – pick only 1. Lowrie & Valbuena – pick only 1. He has to turn over the roster just to have as good a season in 2016 as in 2015. Carter, Conger, Qualls, & Perez – thank them for all their hard work and say good-bye. Also on the 40 man – there is Grossman, Deduno, Peacock and a few others that will not be missed. If he has an actual increase in spending money, he can improve the club. But those listed will not bring anything in trade. Sorry, the other teams can see what we non-professionals see. They can sit it out and wait for either the picking in Rule V or the DFAs in the off season. If you were the GM on another team, would you give up anything for those listed? JL has a very difficult job this off season and lets hope again at the trade deadline in July 2016. He now has to improve a club that he has improved. He will earn his money if he is able to return to the playoffs next year – unless a rash of injuries hits all the other teams.

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  20. Astrocolt45….I’m still waiting to see if Tucker, and Marisnick and a couple more go to play winter ball somewhere. I know Tucker would benefit from it, as well as Marisnick. I don’t know how that works exactly, so maybe one of you geniuses can tell us! And….no, I don’t want to end up losing Tucker, only to watch him turn into another J.D. Martinez. They (Sporting news) will announce the AL, and NL managers of the year…..let’s keep our fingers crossed it’s Hinch!!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I guess what was frustrating was that it sure seemed like there was offense for the taking on certain match ups that even an amateur statistician would see.
    – Tucker vs rightys should have been exploited
    – Valbuena against leftys should never have happened especially with Duffy here
    – Conger should have DHd against rightys occasionally especially after Stassi was here
    They were in the playoffs with a short bench hand two guys – Conger and Gattis that they dared not stick in the field

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    • DanP: I agree. But me personally, I am ready now to get 2015 behind me. I was ready to eat glass for a few days.

      So in looking at 2016, unless JL makes some major changes, I just don’t see the Astros returning to the playoffs. And unless he dumps some of his AAAA (at best) players, he will damage the future of the team. The versatility that we all talked about in ST vanished. We ran the same ole tired group out and just switched places in the batting order. I am still not one that would say “In Luhnow I trust” but he is the only person we have that can effectively change the 40 man. One would hope he consults with Ryan and Biggio. But that may just be a “hope.” We still have almost a month’s wait, and then time will tell.

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    • Don’t get me started either……..someone is responsible for sending the same the same guys out there to fail game after game. It’s Luhnow or Hinch and since neither one is going anywhere, I don’t see the playoffs happening next year.
      I expect to be disappointed.

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      • Did you expect the playoffs at the beginning of 2015? I am fairly certain you didn’t as no one one here, that I recall, predicted the playoffs this year. Why abandon faith before the Hot Stove League has even started?

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      • No Tim, the playoffs never entered my mind at the beginning of the year. I didn’t even believe it during April. The division as a whole was weak, we had a new manager and a few new players that the other teams had to figure out, and they did after a few weeks.
        But that’s not the point. The point is that we did see the fall coming and predicted it. In the last month we let first place disappear without replacing some of the weakest veterans with September call ups that were sitting on the bench. We never gave the kids a chance. We let the opposition get familiar with our relief pitchers, hitters, and defense while they changed their strategy against us.
        We as fans could see it, why couldn’t the FO?
        There will have to be some changes made going forward. That’s what worries me.

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  22. Tim’s right. Last year at this time Dominguez was our choice at third, We were arguing between Grossman and Marisnick, Carter was our DH and Reed, Correa McCullers, White and Duffy were being viewed through glass like we were proud parents of newborns.
    This year the hot stove league is like being let in ten minutes before the Buffet is to open. All that beautiful food is hot and fresh and piled high.
    When I mentioned above that the Astros had grown up in the eyes of the baseball world, I meant that other players will now view us as a destination of desire.
    Grab a couple of plates and let’s load up. Come on! Let’s make this off season fun and if things don’t work out perfectly that is ok because this is our game. Baseball, and we’re here to play it over and over. The guys who spent the most money at it aren’t even playing for the prize. As top spending contenders, they are the one’s who suck!
    Alright, lets go get a bunch of pieces of that fried chicken.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. With love and all due respect to my fellow Chip-a-Latta family. I sincerely hope the issue on this fun baseball blog never degenerates into who is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. First of all, no one really knows what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’. There are just too many variables.

    More importantly, however, as I understand it, and have experienced it over the past decade or more, the purpose of a blog like this is to welcome serious fans of the same team to the virtual table to discuss things of interest to the team – and to even give the people that come to the virtual table room to let off a little steam if necessary. Perhaps I am over-reacting. Perhaps I am just an old fool who doesn’t have time or energy to either scold or reprimanded fellow bloggers or give any credence whatever to anyone who does. But over the past few weeks i have been getting the unpleasant sensation that with the Astros’ relative success in 2015 came a shift in the atmosphere on Chip-a-Latta for the worse. There is much less light-hearted fun – when one would think, there should be more. There is less encouragement of expression of opinion, and welcoming of other opinions, and more ugly, arrogant, self-righteous cyber-bullying. It seems we now have a lot less Chip in our Chip-a-Latta brew.

    As the Astros FO goes through the soul-searching necessary to determine where the team goes from here, perhaps we on this blog may also want to do some soul-searching ourselves, about what the tone and purpose of this blog should be going forward. It’s just a thought. Go ahead, smack me down if you wish.

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    • As Dan Akroyd would say to Jane Curtin on the original (and best) SNL “Jane (Mr. Bill) you ignorant slut.”
      I think everyone is a little grumpy – I hope after people get the worst of their feelings out from the disappointment of missing a chance at the whole enchilada that things will settle down.
      I am the first to say that what I write is my opinion and not for gambling purposes – lol. I have missed on stuff and hit on stuff and I respect the fact that there are a lot of deep thinking going on around me here.
      Yes, we want to keep our discussions at a higher level – that is what makes us uniques.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The previous post was on Astroholics and there were lots of humorous and light responses. I’m not seeing the tension. I can remember a year ago we were really going at it about which players were doing what and what they would do in the future.
      When this particular post was set up and there was no way to comment on it Saturday and Sunday, I was starving to hear from my friends at Chipalatta.
      All I need to do to verify how great this blog is, is to go to other blog sites and see what is there. That is all I need to remind me how much I like everyone here. I don’t share anywhere, the things I share with you on this site.
      Family. That’s what I have here. I have seen a lot of people sharing a lot here recently that were only sharing every once in a while. That tells me we are creating a welcome environment for Astros fans to come aboard. Every time someone like Diane or Zanuda share multiple comments with the group, that tells me there is an air of comfort and acceptance on this blog that is growing.
      Mr.Bill I love what you lend to this blog. If it is me who is messing up, I ask
      Forgiveness
      Forgiveness
      Even if, even if, you don’t love me anymore.
      Soar like an Eagle, Baby.

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      • In the [almost] words of little Bobby Zimmerman, OP1:
        1. It ain’t you, Babe! No, no, no, it ain’t you, Babe. It ain’t you been makin’ war, Babe!
        2. Don’t think twice, It’s all wrong!
        3. Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, [please don’t ya] show yer thong to me!
        4. They’ll stone ya when yer ridin’ on yer hawg. They’ll stone ya when yer walkin’ with yer dawg. They’ll even stone ya when yer writin’ on yer blawg! So I would not feel so all alone – everybody must get stoned!
        5. It’s a nerd . . . it’s a nerd . . . it’s a nerd .. It’s a nerd. It’s a nerd’s brain’s a-gonna squall!
        6. [We’re all tired of] knock, knock, knockin’ on Luhnow’s door.
        7. You’d better start agreein’ or you’ll be cut to the bone, fer the Times, they are estrangin’!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Mr. Bill,

      When you have a blog you’re going to have different personality types. Some are more passive and non-confrontational while others, like myself, have strong opinions and are not afraid to express them or even engage others in a spirited debate. From what I’ve seen there have been no personal attacks toward another person. I’m of the firm belief that if you can’t have a debate without personal attacks then you lose the debate. I won’t apologize for my strong opinions and expressing them. It’s the way I’m wired, but I won’t ever make it personal. I’m as passionate about the Astros as anyone else on this blog and I come here to give my opinions and will engage others in discussion when we disagree. It doesn’t make their opinion right or wrong, but what’s wrong with a good debate? It provokes thought, which I think is a good thing. You don’t have to reply to me if you don’t want to and if you ever feel my replies are personal please call me out, but I don’t think they are.

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      • Tim, I think each of the people who post on this blog are passionate about the Astros. I can see – and appreciate – that you are. I hope you have figured out that I am, and that Becky is, that Sandy is, that OP1 is, and that Dan, Brian, Chip, ac45, daveb/uncleknuckle, Devin, Lester, Zanuda etc. etc. – including Bopert – are as well. Otherwise, we wouldn’t keep showing up here. So I start from the proposition that we are all on the same side. There is no animosity on my part. I keep my tongue firmly planted in my cheek – and most people here tend to do so as well. This is not the CDC. We are not saving the world from the next outbreak of Ebola. That is why Dan and I can exchange Jane Curtin and Dan Akroyd insults without the slightest tinge of negative emotion. Moreover, I come to the table realizing that every person who drops by to contribute here even once is a fallible human being who has several unique aspects/elements of personality, some of which are bound tend to rub at least one other person on the blog the wrong way from time to time. Since we are not each other’s boss or superior officer, however, we don’t get to demote, attack, or demonize a blogger whose post or personality gets under our skin. Historically on this blog we have learned to laugh with each other and to shake our heads and marvel at the fact that though we may have radically different – and diametrically-opposing – positions and emotions about certain players, coaches, trades, and in-game decisions, we are all still valuable human beings who all still root for the same team with passion. Insulting each other, playing ‘gotcha’ semantics games, question each others’ intelligence or baseball acumen levels, and picking each other’s posts apart, is just so . . . well, so TCB.

        We have a long hot stove season coming. Some people’s favorites will probably be traded away. Some people’s least favorite players will be kept in house – or even given big raises. Some FO personnel – or coaches – will say or do things that some of us think bode very badly for the team’s chances in 2016, 2017 and beyond. All I am suggesting is that all of us be proactive instead of reactive as to the direction and quality of interactions we will have in the coming days.

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      • I come here to read about and discuss the Astros. I know we are all passionate about this team, but some of us express our passion in different ways. Becky is very passionate about certain players and the front office. I agree with her at times, but definitely disagree with her as well. If I just wanted to read about the Astros and sing Coom-by-yah (sp.?) with everyone I would go elsewhere. I find it boring when everyone has the same opinion and agrees. What fun is that? I’ve made several enemies over on the Chron for vehemently disagreeing with others and I’m fine with that. I won’t roll over and just accept something if I disagree. Sorry, but it isn’t happening. If I disagree with you and you don’t want to continue the discussion then don’t reply back. Again, I won’t make personal attacks, but if I disagree with your post I will reply and engage you. It’s up to you to decide if you want to engage back. I also read and post on TCB, but less frequently than I do here. I respect everyone’s right to have an opinion, but I don’t have to agree with that opinion. You may recall I was virtually a lone wolf after the Cosart trade with my opinions. Almost every person disagreed with me and we had a diatribe that lasted most of the day. I didn’t have a problem with everyone disagreeing with me and I enjoyed the lengthy debate. My thought is that if you have a problem with my posts then that’s more of a ‘you’ problem.

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      • Shhh! One of these days we’ll get together and swap stories about that song, another one called ‘Pass it On’, a guitar, a beach or two, a bonfire or twenty, and a whole slew of hard hearts melting into a pool of hope, mercy, forgiveness, and lovingkindness.

        Someone’s singin’, Lord; Someone’s cryin’, Lord!
        Someone’s prayin’ Lord; Someone’s healin’, Lord!
        someone’s laughin’, Lord; someone’s livin’, Lord! Kumbayah!

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  24. Well…….poop. A.J. came in second for AL manager of the year😟😟. Paul Molitor with the M’S won. Oh well…we still have Keuchel who might be the AL Cy Young!!
    I know I’m guilty of griping about Villar, and if that offended anyone I’m sorry, but I’ll keep my mouth shut about the little creep. DEAL?? Since I don’t have a husband who enjoys or even LIKES baseball…..my only safe place to vent, or be happy for our guys, is here. So, love me or not……I’m staying!!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hey Becky, I always enjoy your Villar rants. I think most of us agree more with what’s said than those who disagree. But don’t they say, healthy debates are good for the soul.The point is that we all want the same thing, we just my not agree on how we are to get there. I believe that if given the “stays”, most of the “likely returns” and a combination of the possibles with a free agent and the “likely gone list is really gone I think we can return to the playoffs. This is based on a continued or improvement in play in the established players and the “new guys”. I like everybody else is anxious to see what happens during the “Hot Stove” process.
    BTW is it March yet?

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Pick and choose who’s your biggest dissapointment of a player….we all have that one that either doesn’t have what it takes to earn a spot on this roster. What I think we can all agree on, is that there are only 3 or 4 who we have our doubts about. Those choices have some very valid points. Some make us shake our heads at why they were traded for, or why they are still here. I see the Conger, Gattis, and sometimes an occasional Marisnick name coming up in a lot of the posts that Chip, Dan, and Brian let us vent about, but really….there are only a few spots on this roster that need to be tweeked. I bet money just about ALL of us want to see the young talent we have down on the farm, come up and take their place with the big club. Speaking for myself, I want to see Stassi behind the plate. I want to see Tyler White at first base, until A.J. Reed is ready to make it up next summer. I want to see Matt Duffy at 3rd and watch a guy who was the MVP OF AAA get after it at the hot corner. I want to see what we have as a DH in Preston Tucker. Like OP said earlier today…..we are going to be first in line at the home grown buffet I want to pile a heaping plate of good young players on my plate,and I’ll pass on the stale cake down at the end of the table. It looks real good on the outside, but it was baked about a year ago, and the cook keeps bringing it out trying to sell it. NO. THANK. YOU!!!
    P.s. you notice I didn’t even put MY nemesis on that list, but I figure someone much smarter than I am will take care of that guy. I hope.

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    • Becky, I’ll play! The player that disappointed me most in 2015 was . . . .was Carlos Gomez. Not because he isn’t talented, driven or gutsy – all of which he is – but simply because when we needed him most – indeed needed him desperately – he didn’t give us anything. And while others didn’t do much better, I expected less. Go-Go was billed, touted, and paid as a superstar ready to come in and save the Division championship for our struggling and injured ‘Stros. Ah, well,

      Of course, I still rooted for Go-Go every time he put on orange and blue and stepped to the plate or took off running after a fly ball. If he stays on this team another year – which appears extremely likely to me based on the personality of our GM – I will do the same next year. But that does not mean Go-Go’s .242, .288, .670 with 4 HR and 13 RBI in 41 games did not disappoint me severely in the critical days when our young team held our destiny in our own hands.

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      • Well….there ya go Mr. Bill!!! That’s a name I haven’t heard that much about, because he was out with an ingury for the great part of the last 5-6 weeks. But I agree he needs to show me more next season, especially since he’s being paid $9 mill for 2016.

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    • Hands down it was Conger for me. I expected an adequate defensive catcher that could throw out 20-25% baserunners attempting to steal. He could not have been more of a disappointment.

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  27. It’s gonna be a looong winter…..we need to support each other. There are going to trades and moves in the off season that are not going to make us happy, but I don’t own the club, and it ain’t my money. So I’ll just trust the powers that be to improve this team without trading away the farm to do it. Now…….whose going to watch the world series tonight? I’ll probably watch a little, because some of my favorite shows are on tonight!! NCIS!!! Sandy, Diane and I prove that girls have just as much to offer on this blog as you fellas do, so let’s hear it for my girlfriends!!! Becky⚾⚾

    Liked by 2 people

  28. I think I was disappointed most in Chris Carter, for his failure to sustain the improvement he showed the second half of 2014. I thought he would be decent and frankly in the clearest sense he was indecent in 2015.

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    • Becky – there were others who thought his end of season was a mirage and advocated him being traded in the offseason. They were right and I was wrong. However I was right when I wrote early season posts about how this could be a special season – so there is plenty of room for us all right or wrong.

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      • He blackmail MLB Umpires about being gay, having extra marital affairs, and gambling addictions….ect. He spent $500,00.00 on a private investigator to blackmail the Umps to give him walks nearly every time he came to the plate.
        What a scum bag

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