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December 2015: Crucial end to a great year for Astros


A year ago, the Astros entered December 2014 in a state of flux with very few of their many roster questions answered. At that time they had said goodbye to Jesus Guzman, Matt Albers and Jesse (we hardly knew ye) Crain. They had made the much maligned trade of Nick Tropeano and Carlos Perez for Hank Conger. And they had made a brilliant (lucky?) waiver pick-up of Will Harris.

Last off-season, December and January marked the great transformation period for the Astros’ roster. In that time period they:

  • Strongly pursued relievers Andrew Miller and David Robertson (reportedly)
  • Lost three prospects in the major league Rule 5 draft and lost one prospect in the minor league Rule 5 draft
  • Signed FAs Jed Lowrie, Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek and Colby Rasmus.
  • Traded for Dan Straily and Luis Valbuena
  • Traded for Evan Gattis and James Hoyt
  • Traded Carlos Corporan for fast, blooming prospect Akeem Bostick

So, in about a six week period they brought in four every day players SS Lowrie, 3B Valbuena, DH Gattis and OF Rasmus and eventual set-up man, Neshek and closer, Gregerson.

This brings up a number of questions for the good readers of this post (you bad readers can comment, too).

  • If the Astros made no moves from this point onward what do you think their 2016 record would be?
  • How many every day positions and pitching spots do you think will get filled in the next two months?
  • Which ones would you fill if you were GM?
  • Would you rather fill problem areas from outside or inside the organization?
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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

107 comments on “December 2015: Crucial end to a great year for Astros

  1. Roger
    December 3, 2015

    Without any changes, I see 85-87 wins, with changes— I see 88-92. I think one everyday position gets filled (hard throwing relief pitcher), with the rest determined in the Spring. That doesn’t mean no trades—it’s just I am not sure we can/will “lock” in anyone beyond the RP. The increase in wins projected will be due to the RP.
    Back to a couple of comments made at the end of the last blog. It is time to give Luhnow credit for recognizing a bad trade and basically “releasing” Conger— and to stop assuming that he will not give highly rated minor leaguers in the system a chance to win a job. The guy deserves a lot of credit for what he has accomplished–and is currently doing. No Carter, Villar or Conger—sounds like he was reading this blog.
    I hope we do not trade Marisnick, and I am still disappointed that we re-signed Rasmus.

    Liked by 3 people

    • sandy
      December 3, 2015

      I’m happy to say it’s beginning to look like I was wrong about JL. I couldn’t be happier about being wrong.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Tim
      December 3, 2015

      I don’t have a problem with Rasmus returning. Once he changed his batting stance in the 2nd half his power increased and his Ks decreased. He will still be a high K hitter, but if he hits somewhat close to how he did late in the season and playoffs he will b worth the $.

      Like

  2. 1oldpro
    December 3, 2015

    Without changes I see the Astros at 89-73. I’m not sure it’s enough to win the division.
    I think they will go out and find two relievers, a Lefty and a righty. I would look to fill problem areas from within the organization, because that frees up money to provide extensions to players we want to keep long term.
    I think the Astros will look for a catcher to add to their system.
    My eyes feel justified this morning. I passed the eye test that I took watching all of the Astros games last year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Devin_
    December 3, 2015

    – No moves – 83-79. After April and before Sept they were an average team despite sporting the Cy Young and Roy. In Sept they were about as bad as anyone else. In Oct, they good and almost great. Expecting regression from bullpen. Nothing has addresses the OBP struggles on the team and we are down Carter and Lowrie. Some see that as a positive…but only if someone is given a chance to step in and improve the numbers.
    – I think rotation is set due to budget. 1B should be filled from internal options. 3B is likely Valbuena’s to lose unless they can move him. Luhnow probably still loves Gattis.
    – I want to solve bullpen woes from within. I would try Geliz and Velasquez as 8th inning guys and see if they can be reliable. If so, see if they can handle some 9th innings.

    Like

  4. Zanuda
    December 3, 2015

    Record 84-78. Not sure on the fill in spots. The closer spot is the only one I see as a fill in. Not sure if I’d be looking to fill in anything given what we have waiting in the wings in the Minor leagues. If the Minor Leaguer’s can do the job then give it to them.
    Good luck to CC. I agree that he is a good guy but we know what is said about nice guys and finishing last. If he could have hit 240 – 270 he’s still be here. Conger trade a no brainer. I wouldn’t have tended an offer to Gattis but I guess that’s why I’m not the GM (among other reasons). I also don’t know about Valbuena. He can play 1st but he’s got to get his average up too. Maybe they know something we don’t.
    Do you think we’re clearing the decks for the prospects to be given a real shot in spring training? And who will take Conger’s spot? Stassi, Heinerman?

    Like

  5. astrocolt45
    December 3, 2015

    With Sipp, Conger, Carter, Lowrie, Kazmir (and maybe someone I forgot) gone, the only one that needs a replacement quickly is Sipp. The youngsters may not perform well but have earned the right to try. The current team is no better in wins than last year UNLESS a guy like White or V V or Stassi step up and make us forget 2015.

    And it is apparent that JL puts the team ahead of his ego. We have to give him that. But he does not appear to be great at crafting trades. That may be because of his relationship with other GMs, or it may be something else.

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      December 3, 2015

      DanP, another well thought out piece. I normally number my answers but just did them in a rambling way. Hope I am not banned for not following the rules 🙂

      Like

      • Dan P
        December 3, 2015

        AC45 – I believe that the commenters need to meet the same rules as the 3 posters here – which means make it readable, don’t cuss and don’t get into Kindergarten type fights.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      December 3, 2015

      Why is Sipp and Kazmir gone?

      Like

      • astrocolt45
        December 3, 2015

        Tim, I read the question to be with no more moves. Sipp and Kazmir are no longer on the 40 man. They are free agents. That does not mean that I don’t want either or both.

        Like

      • Tim
        December 3, 2015

        My mistake. I just read into it that you felt they were gone. Thanks for the clarification.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Nance (@Bbfanlady)
    December 3, 2015

    I think the answers all kind of revolve around the question: is Colby > Lowrie + Carter + Conger? I think Luhnow was caught by surprise when Colby accepted the QO and moves had to be made to make the money “even” out. Still need to resign Sipp and a second lefty to be “even” with 2015 in bullpen. Any additional immediate improvement in record will have to come from trades or FA signing depending on budget. If we don’t resign Sipp, and Colby doesn’t come through, we could slide backwards, depending on what the budget allows.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Devin_
      December 3, 2015

      In other words, was Luhnow lying through his teeth when he said there was no budget constraint this year? The moves either free up spots for guys they like or were salary dumps. I think both positions are defensible.

      Like

  7. Kevin
    December 3, 2015

    A little bummed today who is going to do the Zombie dance? (-: So my question of the day to my dear friends here is Val Buena worth 5.8 Mill. I’m the GM I’m struggling with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      December 3, 2015

      I love that challenge. Valbuena’s Steamer Projections for next year show him returning to the norm of his career. Higher BABIP resulting in higher BA and OBP. They project his defensive numbers to move upward from last season closer to his career norm. They project his walk rate to increase slightly and his K rate to decrease slightly. All of this causes them to project him with a 1.9 WAR for next season with over 500 PAs. That is a figure that corresponds to a $5.8 mil salary for a one year contract and that is very reasonable for a 1.9WAR player who doesn’t tie you up long term, is popular with his teammates and when you have Colin Moran in AAA.
      The thing that surprised me the most about Valbuena is his throwing accuracy. His throws are always on the money.

      Liked by 1 person

    • sandy
      December 3, 2015

      Yeah, I’ll miss that.

      Like

  8. 1oldpro
    December 3, 2015

    My take on Rasmus is that he made the biggest physical change in his swing and setup than any Astros player did all year in September and he was much better in September, and was a force in the playoffs. If the 2016 Colby Rasmus is more like the late 2015 Rasmus he could be a star. Mark that down as an improvement in the team if it happens.
    Villar is gone and Carlos Correa is our starting shortstop. How can a full year of Correa not make us better? I don’t think Correa will make all the defensive errors he made in his rookie season.
    If Springer stays healthy all year, how could that not improve our team? And Springer, who never got hurt in the minors, is due for a change in luck.
    We started off with Valbuena at 3B last year. At the very least, we are as good there as we were last year, with a chance that he will rebound from the worst BA of his career.
    Call me crazy for thinking that Springer, Gomez, Rasmus aren’t a better OF than Springer Marisnick Rasmus of last year.
    Convince me that the 5-man rotation that we have right now, is not a whole lot better than the one we had on opening day 2015 with OBER and Fausto in it. And tell me that having Devenski, Appel, Feliz, Vincent Velasquez and Joe Musgrove all starting in AAA doesn’t get your socks warmed up in anticipation of what is to come.
    Put Tyler White at first base with that bat and tell me that we aren’t a better hitting team at that position.
    Put James Hoyt in the bullpen in place of Chad Qualls at one seventh of the cost. I think Hoyt is ready to make the jump.
    There are so many areas we can improve our team from last year. Tell me that Stassi isn’t a better defensive catcher than Conger. Sorry, I’m not listening to that.

    Liked by 3 people

    • astrocolt45
      December 3, 2015

      Let me be the glass 1/2 empty. The 2015 team was over .500 by 11 games in early May. Villar and Fausto were playing. With the multiple improvements during the year, the team stayed at .500. Is the 2016 team better on paper than the one starting in 2015 – YES. But it is going to require improvements at the MLB level for a few guys and a drop in key injuries. That being said, with those that are gone – Gone – the team has to be slightly better even with AAA players (except for Sipp or another Lefty).

      Like

    • Roger
      December 3, 2015

      Your first paragraph, 1 op, is absolutely right on, but, unfortunately, I am not optimistic that the last three words (“if that happens”) will happen.

      Like

  9. 1oldpro
    December 3, 2015

    Jake hit like a monster in April and all but disappeared in May and June
    Jose was a beast in April and a kitten in May.
    Those two were responsible for the hot start and when they faded there was nobody to pick them up.
    I think the 2016 team will be a steadier one at the plate and will have more talent from the very beginning

    Like

  10. Robert
    December 3, 2015

    As usual Dan P you have done a great job of putting a ton of information out there. I’m excited for 2016! I echo what OldPro says that how can a healthy year from Springer and a full year of Correa not improve the club. It’ll be interesting to see what JL does the next couple of months. I still believe that it’s a great time to be a Houston Astros fan! Really enjoy reading everyone’s thoughts.

    Like

  11. Dan P
    December 3, 2015

    Some thoughts about the Astros in 2015:
    – Along with JFSF and Altuve, Jed Lowrie also had a hot April that ended in injury. But of course in the end that injury brought them Carlos Correa earlier.
    – They were a very young offensive squad in 2015 about a year and a half younger than the next squad. That youth probably helped lead to their flattening and consistency along the way. Of course they have the potential if they give ABs to White, Reed, Fontana, etc. of being younger in 2016….
    – They played in September like the very inexperienced team they were. They seemed to benefit from that and played much better the last week of the season and the playoffs. That experience has to help them play better on a game to game basis I would think
    – They have a lot of room for bounce back in their offense in my mind. Correa is the only offensive player that I look at for last season and say, well that will be hard to improve on. But again some of this may be addition by subtraction – taking away some of these really bad ABs.

    Like

  12. SargeH
    December 3, 2015

    Ahhhh…. baseball…. I could talk baseball everyday and not tire of it.

    Last year, I predicted 92 wins and missed it by 6 games, 6 games in which the bullpen or manager chose not to show up. So for the upcoming season, optimistic here, 95 wins for the Astros! I base this on a better showing from first base, center field, left field, designated hitting, and from the superior offense from the shortstop position. I just hope the bullpen does not get overworked again.

    About positions being filled, obviously they will be filled but with whom? Afterall, pitchers report in February!!!! Hooray!

    Combining the last two questions into one reply, as GM, I would give Singleton one last hurray during the spring. He would be on a very short leash and I would move Valbuena over to first if Singleton fails. Duffy would be at third base to follow this scenario. I hope Fields has been undertaking a serious conditioning regime this offseason. He has the fastball to dominate but stays injured. He would be my closer if he can stay healthy.

    Where is Reed, White, and Tucker you ask? Why, they are getting polished at Fresno. Tucker needs to bat everyday to stay sharp and is wasted on the big club. He should be the DH once his confidence is restored after a month or two at AAA. White has to show me that he can continue to hit like he did last year and the same with Reed. These three would be on speed dial for the big club.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      December 3, 2015

      White is polishing in winter League right now. He is batting .300 w/ power and is playing almost exclusively at 1B with an occasional start at DH.
      While Singleton was hitting .254 at Fresno last year, White was batting against the same pitchers in the same lineup and hitting in the 3 spot ahead of Singleton who hit cleanup. White hit 110 points higher, his OBP was 110 points higher and his SLG was higher than Singleton’s even though he didn’t hit as many HRs. He’s older than Singleton and he walks more than he strikes out. I think White is polished enough. White hit as well in AAA as Correa hit in Corpus Christi. It is time to get this bat out of the closet and let him walk to the plate at MMP and look at the Crawford Boxes. This guy has the bat that could put the league on it’s ear, and he is now moving up in lots of player rankings, as is AJ Reed, who was barely in the top 100 of most rankings and will be in most top 20’s by springtime.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SargeH
        December 3, 2015

        OP, don’t get me wrong, I am not a Singleton fan. I just want him to get looked at once more so Luhnow will move him out of the picture for good. I would love to see White, Duffy, and Reed on the club to stay.

        Like

  13. BrianT
    December 3, 2015

    No changes, I’m thinking about 88-90 wins. The subtraction of Carter and Conger, keeping Springer healthy, none of those starters from the start of the season, more McCullers and and Correa. Bye-bye Villar. Yeah, I’m thinking 90 wins looks easy.

    Every day? Can you count a closer as every day? I don’t think signing anyone else is a huge priority, unless we’re talking about someone who only costs cash. I don’t want to trade any more pieces for, say, a first baseman. We have enough internal candidates.

    The closer.

    Yes. The inside the organization thing. Yes.

    Like

  14. Dan P
    December 3, 2015

    Last season we gave a number of folks shots at the majors – none of whom embarrassed themselves and 3 specifically (McCullers, Correa and Tucker were good to great.
    It is hard to visualize how White or Duffy or Reed would not give you decent results when you accepted some of the ABs you did last season

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steven
      December 4, 2015

      Not to be TGHE guy but 90 wins is never easy no matter how good you think you are.

      I think we have a team capable of movinh forward and being better. It could also have a regression of two, an injury or two, and finish at 80-82 wins.

      Like

  15. astrocolt45
    December 3, 2015

    Was reading about the A’s and the acquisition of Lowrie. Talk about a slap in the face, their SS Semien had 35 errors last year but he keeps his job and they will apparently play Lowrie at 2nd or 3rd.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      December 3, 2015

      They were horrible defensively last year. So, if they have Lowrie at third, Lawrie at second and Semien at SS they will be in trouble again.
      Does that make Valencia available? Oh, Jeeeeffff!

      Like

  16. Larry Leach
    December 3, 2015

    I say 94 wins. Subtracting Conger and Carter should mean a few more wins. As GM, I would somehow get rid of Singleton. After seeing him in spring training last year, I would have done it then. I would get a catcher from within the system. White and/or Reed will settle the 1st base problem. As GM, I would try to find a closer with a strong out pitch. This closer might be my only addition outside the system. For the rest, I would stay within the system. I’m hoping Joe Musgrove breaks camp with big club.

    Like

  17. Billy Castillo
    December 3, 2015

    Good riddance to Conger. I hope Stassi gets a legit shot as Castro’s backup (or platoon partner).

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      December 3, 2015

      I agree and I also hope Heineman does not get picked in the Rule V draft.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        December 3, 2015

        Me too.

        Like

  18. 1oldpro
    December 3, 2015

    I’m pretty sure Luhnow told Drellich to read our blog if he wanted to find out about the Astros. Now, if they could write informative articles instead of pictorials they could better inform their poor readers.
    Hey, Chip, we’re doing good here. Hope you are fine.
    Now, how 2016 leads into those 2017 changes. It pays us to look ahead.
    Dashing through the snow……….
    To the winter meetings we go…….

    Liked by 1 person

  19. astrocolt45
    December 3, 2015

    Yep, here come the winter meetings. Sometimes I think watching the FO moves is like being a blind man at a poker table.

    In looking at the available FAs, I could see a couple RPs that would be worth Crane’s money for me to spend. But not many and none that would be sure fire solutions in the bullpen. (But go get Sipp even though he is considered way down the list)

    Like

  20. Becky⚾
    December 3, 2015

    I don’t want to make a prediction because, I KNOW the AL West won’t be as weak as it was this year. Still a lot of time to see who we will trade for as far as the catching position goes, something tells me Luhnow isn’t that sold on Stassi. Third base is still a question mark…..hopefully Valbuena can repeat his 2015 production. If I’m the GM for the day, I do NOT trade for Chapman….give the Rays a call. And if the first words that come out of the mouth is McCullers, or Reed……hang up. Sorry you guys as much as I love baseball…..today isn’t one of those days.

    Like

  21. uncleknuckle
    December 4, 2015

    At first glance, I see a 90 win team. But there are still many variables. We’ve got a set outfield. We do not have a whole lot of depth behind them today. If Jake goes, then we have less depth. If the talk about him being available is real, well then it must mean that the in house experts are convinced that he will not learn how to hit. Because if he does figure things out at the plate, he’ll be a heck of a ballplayer.

    We can almost count on a different face at first. Some club really needs to take Singleton off our hands, because otherwise, I could see him out there unfortunately. I’m hoping Reed, followed by White. But the ideal place for White is where Gattis blocks him today. I think we are stuck unless Gattis pulls a hamstring legging out a triple. We’ve got the best double play combination in baseball. I’m pretty sure we’ll see Valbuena back at third. And this is a position where we have minor league depth not so far off. We have a catcher that our pitchers feel comfortable with and at the very least, we’ll have a back up catcher that will throw out a few more runners.

    Our rotation might be as good as any. So I’m still at 90 wins. And the discussion around McCullers? I’m with the untouchable group. The kid is already impressive. He might be an ace one day soon.

    But not so fast. I do not think our bullpen as presently constructed can give us the same performance that we got from them in 2014. We could easily be an 81 win team if the pen malfunctions. The second area is our bench. How much will we need them? Someone important is going to be injured at some point.

    I’m going to have to assume that Luhnow addresses the pen issue. So, while premature, I’ll commit to 90 wins for now. But I reserve the right to change my mind about a dozen times between now and Opening Day.

    Like

    • rj
      December 4, 2015

      dave i was gonna go through here and answer the questions and make my prediction of wins, but i came to your answer and it is really pretty close to what i would have said. so with a slight disagreement on gattis status (hee hee it rhymes) i will say 90 wins and what dave said.

      Liked by 1 person

      • uncleknuckle
        December 4, 2015

        rj, do you have faith that Gattis will be moved, or are you hoping he does not pull the hamstring?

        Like

      • rj
        December 4, 2015

        i’m hoping he doesn’t pull the hamstring and shows improvement in just his second full year of starting. i’m all for reed at first, but i think gattis, albeit on a short leash, has DH.

        Like

  22. Tim
    December 4, 2015

    I am one of the biggest Luhnow supporters, if not the biggest, on this blog. However, if he was to include McCullers in any trade for a bullpen arm I would be extremely disappointed. I think Luhnow is smarter than that and it will not happen. Now, I am open to including VV or Appel, especially if it is Giles as we would have many years of team control. This is not to say I don’t think either of those guys will be good pitchers, but Giles has the stuff to be a great closer and he will be relatively cheap for many years.

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      December 4, 2015

      Other than the first sentence, I agree. As of today, JL has not done nothing that damaged the team. He made a couple trades that one might say could go either way, but nothing that could be considered terrible. If Conger is his worst trade that he makes, he did not give away the farm to get him – so it would at worst be considered a minor setback for the team. I believe as of today his best trades are the ones that he did not make.

      And his additions to the pen last year were excellent. Yes they tired, but look at what they did all season and there was none better.

      Like

    • Tim
      December 4, 2015

      What’s wrong with my first sentence? You don’t think I’m the biggest Luhnow supporter on this blog? 🙂

      Like

  23. 1oldpro
    December 4, 2015

    I find myself very hesitant to think about trading a top pitching prospect for a reliever right now. When you see a mediocre pitcher like Jeff Szmartassdiyuk talking about getting $20 a year for five years it makes me want to gag. Look at that guy’s record. For the life of me I have looked at his numbers and cannot see where this guy has been much of an asset to any team he has played for. The way the Astros are set up for years with great arms in their minor leagues and how they have chances to be dominant from the mound for 7-8 years with the pitchers they have right now, I’m not sure I want to trade any of our top 10 pitching prospects right now.
    I like the idea of getting the real good inexpensive years out of young pitchers, giving them reasonable extensions after the first or second year of arbitration and getting their best at fair rates until they reach their peak and then get top value for them and let someone else pay them huge money during their slowdown years.
    in 2017 Feldman will be gone. We need to rotate the best young starter we have in our system into the rotation. We have 2016 to see who that pitcher can be and we probably need that guy to get some spot starts in the fall to introduce him to the majors and even playoff baseball Then we need to do the same with the bullpen. Then, in 2017 we need to do it again.
    As long as our 40-man has fringe prospect pitchers on it like Chapman, Buchanan, Straily, Wojo and Ober on it, I think we need to weed out these types of pitchers and get our top pitching prospects to CC and Fresno and onto our 40-man, like we have started to do the past year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drbill14
      December 4, 2015

      Could our threesome of Keuchel, McHugh and McCullers be the Astro version of Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux? I don’t think that’s particularly far fetched. Look at how the Braves stayed in contention year after year with them at the top of their rotation. And we may be able to put better position players behind them across the lineup than the Braves put behind their three studs.

      I also wanted to make a comment regarding Carter. He reminded me of a stubborn kitchen match; you would strike it and strike it and get a few sparks and then all of a sudden it would catch and burn brightly for a few seconds and then burn slowly and finally go out. At DH or !B you need offense that can be counted on and not wished for. Carter’s match flares were spectacular at times but on the whole he was a cold stick. Give me White and/or Tucker at those spots and let them grow.

      Like

      • Devin_
        December 4, 2015

        Are you getting into the holiday eggnog early? I’m not sure any of our three pitchers can reasonably be compared with any of those three let alone all of them. Keuchel is the closest given his defense is similar to Maddux and he is a soft throwing lefty who is very effective when he gets the low and away pitch called a strike, like Glavine.

        I checked out TCB imaginary trades thread today and they seem largely bullish on everyone in our system. Villar is gone so it appears Tucker is now the central chip that can swing any deal. Honestly, I’m not sure if Tucker will surpass Carter in output given the same number of chances. I hope he will and want to see him get a chance…but we do have Gattis blocking that. White can at least play 1B if he rolls through spring training and forces their hand.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        December 4, 2015

        Baseball, 2015 won’t allow that to happen again. I’m not sure it’s fair to compare our three to their three because those guys were one of a kind trio. The game itself has changed and the Braves were one of the richest clubs back then. There are only two or three teams that can afford to keep three $25 million dollar pitchers on their payroll for a long time and have them dominate for years together. And none of those teams have as good a manager and pitching coach as good as those guys had.

        Like

  24. Becky⚾
    December 4, 2015

    Don’t forget about the young pitcher we got back in the trade with the A’S for Jed.
    He pitched out of their bullpen last year at the end of the season, and did quite well!
    The Cubs are “talking” about Marisnick, but I have a feeling Luhnow would want a lot for him, since he has a “man” crush on him. PLUS…..I don’t want to give up on another out fielder just to see him go J.D. Martinez on us. I’m hoping the organization gives him more time to get his bat to catch up with his defensive skills!

    Like

    • Tim
      December 4, 2015

      Would you trade JFSF for Schwarber?

      Like

      • Dan P
        December 4, 2015

        Schwarber – a C / OF / DH with power. Is this Evan Gattis with a higher K rate?

        Like

      • SargeH
        December 4, 2015

        Casually looking at Schwarber’s stats, he seems to have a 25% strikeout rate, hits for average in the minors (.246 in 69 MLB games), has a power bat and a 25% caught stealing average. But, he bats left handed just as Castro does. Now, I am not a firm believer in the lefty-righty crap, my contention is see ball, hit ball, so if he can hit for average as he has shown then he should be looked at as an addition.

        In a nutshell… yes, I would trade Jake for Schwarber.

        Like

      • Dan P
        December 4, 2015

        Maybe we can train Schwarber to throw out 1 in 45 guys or whatever

        Like

      • Tim
        December 4, 2015

        Schwarber should be in the A.L. as he is a terrible defender, but can be useful as a D.H. I think he is better than Gattis because of the BB rate, which was 13.2% last year in his rookie campaign. Yes, he does have a higher K rate than Gattis, but he will hit for a much higher average and will walk more than Gattis. I agree with Sarge in that I would do that deal and then hope to find a taker for Gattis in a trade.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        December 4, 2015

        I would, but the Cubs wouldn’t. I would make that trade and then trade Schwarber for something I really need.

        Like

      • Tim
        December 4, 2015

        You’re probably right, OP. What if we included Kemp, Feliz or Bostick?

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        December 4, 2015

        Tim, honestly, I’m not sure Schwarber got enough minor league time. His K rate doubled when he got to AAA and he seemed to have trouble handling AAA pitching. His stats were padded by an incredible .500 BABIP. I know one more thing: he is a terrible outfielder, they didn’t let him catch and some guys can’t handle grounders at first base either, which I believe is Preston Tucker’s big problem at 1B. I think I’m happy enough having Reed, White and Duffy at 1B to pass on Schwarber until I see him play some more.

        Like

  25. Dan P
    December 4, 2015

    Last year at this time we were talking each other off the ledge because basically no moves had been made
    This year we are hoping that the moves are a lot fewer than last season but more focused

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Tim
    December 4, 2015

    By the way, the Nats signed Oliver Perez for 2/$7M. Dave is right…it is good to be a lefty.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      December 4, 2015

      Holy crap…THAT guy can get 3.5 million?!

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1oldpro
        December 4, 2015

        I rest my case about trading pitching prospects versus paying for free agent pitchers.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      December 4, 2015

      This also ups the ante on Tony Sipp. I can see him now getting 3/$25M, which is way too much in my opinion.

      Like

  27. uncleknuckle
    December 4, 2015

    OP, as you continue to preach, we really have to start developing relief pitching in house. Tim, I think we will end up losing out in the Sipp Sweepstakes.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      December 4, 2015

      Sometime soon, Hinch and his coaches, including the minor league coaches are going to have to sit down with Luhnow and talk about all these big arms we have in the minors and decide on a few of them to get into our bullpen. The time for a GM to tell his major league staff “here’s seven relievers for you” is past. He needs to offer fourteen arms to his staff and let them pick the best seven. You cannot run a major league organization with 27 starting pitchers and ten bullpen arms.
      Honestly, I believe Luhnow is starting to wake up and discover what it really is going to take to bring home the best team in baseball: 25 darn good players! not 18! That’s what he took to the playoffs last season. From now on, if you have several players in your minors who are better players than the guys you have on your team, you need to put your best guys out there and forget about baseball pecking order.
      If you have players on your team that you can’t trust, you need to replace them with guys who have proven in the minors they are ready to perform.
      I’m talking about pitchers and position players.
      This is a sabremetric world and we are a cutting edge team in that respect. If you live by stats you have to look at a player with a huge following who is a great big lovable Teddy Bear and realize that he had 600 PAs and delivered 0.0WAR . And you have a guy like Matt Duffy, who gets zero respect, but delivered all year in AAA and then gave you 0.1 WAR in 9 PAs in the majors in 8 games in September in the middle of a pennant race.
      You cannot promise that you are going to build through the draft and then ignore your prospects who did everything you asked of them and choose an expensive alternative who had a chance all year to carry this team and didn’t do it.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        December 4, 2015

        Very well said.

        Like

  28. Kevin
    December 4, 2015

    Grienke and Diamondbacks , haven’t seen the insane cash yet.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      December 4, 2015

      $32.5 million per year for 6 years.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        December 4, 2015

        OMG….that is crazy. He’ll be 38 and probably putting up ERAs above 5.00 by then.

        What the hell is going on with salaries?!

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        December 4, 2015

        Now, Rosenthal is reporting it’s $34.4 million AAV for 6 years.

        Like

  29. Becky⚾
    December 4, 2015

    I have lost respect for pitchers like Zack Greinke…..

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      December 4, 2015

      Why? He’s a great pitcher, and it’s not his fault teams like to spend outrageous amounts of money. What is he going to say? ‘Oh no, PLEASE don’t give me all that money.’

      That said…these salaries are getting out of control.

      Like

    • Devin_
      December 5, 2015

      Interesting comment. I’m making assumptions about what you mean, but if someone offered me a contract laying twice what I was worth (opinion only) I would turn it down. Working for a rate I knew I could not repay/justify would feel like stealing.

      Greinke seems just as likely to be the next player who leaves the sport early to backpack in Europe as he does to finish that contract. I guess the real question is which team the Dbacks GM that succeeds Stewart will be able to dump Greinke on in a year or two?

      Like

    • Tim
      December 5, 2015

      I’m a little confused also why you lost respect for Greinke. What did he do that would lose your respect?

      Like

      • sandy
        December 5, 2015

        I don’t think she’s talking about just Greinke. These elite players and their agents are driving the cost of baseball to unheard of limits.
        Baseball is a business and these kinds of contracts will eventually destroy it.

        Like

      • Tim
        December 5, 2015

        I would think one would be more upset with the teams instead of the players. I know I would probably take that contract if I had Greinke’s talent. I should preface this by saying I’m a capitalist and never begrudge anyone for getting what they can as long as it’s legal and ethical.

        Like

      • Devin_
        December 5, 2015

        Tim, the one defense I have for the teams in this mess is the word collusion. It’s easy for us to sit back and say that none of them should give a guy $30 million a year. They can’t get together and agree to it. They keep bidding against each other and eventually someone “wins” the bid.

        Like

      • Tim
        December 6, 2015

        I’m not sure that is a defense for the teams, but instead a reason of their ineptness. I just don’t get why anyone would ‘lose respect’ for a player that accepts a contract with the most money offered to them. Who among us would not do the same if we were applying for similar jobs among different employers? With all things being relatively equal why should he accept the Dodgers or Giants offer over what the DBacks offered? The DBacks are a young team on the rise with some good young talented (Goldschmidt and Pollock to name a few). I also wouldn’t begrudge him if he was comfortable in L.A. and returned to the Dodgers for less money. It just seems confusing to me why the players are portrayed as the bad guys in this when management is stupid enough to offer the money.

        Like

  30. 1oldpro
    December 5, 2015

    The D’backs have a reputation as a team that signs players and dumps them later to reload/rebuild.
    That said, it’s fairly obvious that Price and Grienke were targeting these highest contract per year ever paid to players, so there is something to say about players who think they deserve that especially when they know it’s impossible to deserve that much money anyway. in comparison to the way the rest of the world lives.
    If I learned anything from Tiger Woods, it’s that high paid athletes are like high paid Hollywood types and high paid wall street types. They actually believe that they deserve more and are a cut above everyone else and that their world is above that of the rest of us. That is one of the reasons I have never chased after anyone for their autograph. My name and the names of my family and friends are just as important as theirs. I’d rather have a genuine handshake from them than their autograph.I shook hands with a lot of sports celebreties during my life, but it’s the hand shakes from the thousands and thousands of other people that mean the exact same thing to me. Hi! how are you? It’s great to meet you. Thanks for coming out here and shaking my pecan trees so that my grandkids can have a blast picking up pecans. Do you know I have never seen that job done? Mister, you are a special person.
    That is the last person I shook hands with. The one before that was the nurse that pushed me out to my car and the hand before that was a doctor I didn’t know who was fixing to remove my appendix. The world is full of great people who deserve as much from life as a guy who throws or hits a baseball. I appreciate baseball players who remember that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan P
      December 5, 2015

      In the spirit of old pros comment I would like to extend a virtual handshake to everyone who comes to this site and gives to all of us nuggets from their experience and their passion.

      Liked by 3 people

      • SargeH
        December 5, 2015

        Dan, that handshake is firmly and warmly returned and is offered to all on this site!

        Liked by 2 people

      • uncleknuckle
        December 6, 2015

        Thanks Dan, I didn’t even know what a “virtual” handshake was until recently!

        Like

    • Zanuda
      December 5, 2015

      1OP, You are spot on. At last check, I believe we all still put our pants on one leg at a time (unless you have to lie down to to put them on). I don’t fault people trying to get the most for their services. However, at the end of the day it’s the everyday guy or gal who has to pay for it via, tickets sales, advertising or some other method. Some of these people (athletes, politicians, “famous” people are so narcissistic that it befuddles the mind. Others keep their sense of humility and realize who they are and where they came from. Of course, we don’t always help by chasing them around. When I was about 7 I was at the old Busch Stadium (Around Cullen Blvd) with my Dad who worked at the ball park part time. I was watching batting practice and a player came over and gave me a bat which had a small crack in it just above the handled. I treasured that bat for many years after that until I left home. That meant a lot to me. As you say a nod, a handshake, a gesture of friendship, means a lot more. I’m sure there are a lot of players and people out there like that. We could always use more.

      Liked by 1 person

    • rj
      December 5, 2015

      right on op. and i really like the use of a texas word, ….who was “fixing” to…

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Dan P
    December 5, 2015

    This subject brings up all sorts of interesting questions:
    – Were the DBacks bidding against others to get to that number or was that the number they had to hit to get him to turn down a better situation?
    – Will there ever be a player who earns one of these Mega contracts all the way through?
    – Do some of these players think they should be overpaid now because they were underpaid as youngsters?
    – Are the players driving it or the agents?
    – Is there a TV $$$ bubble that will burst just like banking and real estate $$$ have?

    Like

  32. 1oldpro
    December 5, 2015

    Tyler White is heating up. In his last five winter league games he has nine hits and 5 walks. He played 1B in all those games.

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 5, 2015

      If we got a reliable bat at 1B it sure would minimize our complaining around here.

      Like

      • uncleknuckle
        December 5, 2015

        Dan, the best part is that White can DH and our other young bat can play first. I like Reeds bigger target over there.

        As far as salaries go, they have been ruining baseball for 50 years. I blame the owners for paying the agents. Those two groups have collectively priced the average kid out of going to the ballpark.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        December 5, 2015

        Not to mention that Reed was a great LH pitcher in college so he has that arm that can be used on relays and ACCURATE throws to second on plays that won’t get our franchise shortstop injured or killed on double plays.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Zanuda
        December 5, 2015

        Agents are Lawyers and while not all are bad think of Al Pacino’s comment in “The Devil’s Advocate” about Lawyers. But then again, I’m an Accountant and we’re not very well liked either.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dan P
        December 5, 2015

        Well here is how karma works. As an engineer I lamented how bean counters (accountants) were doing to our way of doing business.
        Flash forward to now and two of our sons are accountants, one is studying accounting and one is working in IT for one of the Big 4 accounting firms. What a long strange trip it is.

        Like

    • Tim
      December 5, 2015

      How’s his defense looking? Any errors?

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        December 5, 2015

        Well, Tim, I’m glad you asked. White has played in the second most games of any player on his team (33 games) and has no errors.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin
      December 5, 2015

      QUAD LIke!!!

      Like

  33. Kevin
    December 5, 2015

    Never bee a Grienke fan but the man got his Money for sure, salaries are nuts man ! Guys make more in 1 year than most of us in a lifetime to pitch every 5th day. I should have stuck to baseball instead of football.

    Lackey 2 years 32 Mill from the Cubs . Holy crap!

    GO Tyler man !!!! I would love to see him AJ and Duffy an Astro this year.
    Gattis and no Valbuena, I would not loose a minute of sleep there.

    Like

  34. Zanuda
    December 5, 2015

    Dan, I was an Project accountant/controller in the heavy construction world for almost 40 years. I usually didn’t get along with engineers who became project managers (with apologies to you) because they never understood the basics of accounting, payroll, etc. I had one tell me once he knew more about AP than I did. As the saying goes, never argue with an idiot. People will get confused as to who the idiot is.” BTW, you don’t happen to work for that large E&C company in Sugarland that begins with an “F” do you? And I’m sure you’re the wiser for having two fine sons in the accounting world and proud. My son choose computers and IT and I’m glad of that too.

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 5, 2015

      Zanuda
      I’m a much older and wiser project engineer these days who realizes that it is best to let others do their jobs.
      No – I work for the large EPC that starts with a K in downtown Houston.
      Ironically except for a large parking garage in the way I could see “F” from where I live. Small world!

      Like

      • Zanuda
        December 5, 2015

        Yea, I know about agent “K”. I worked for agent “F” for almost 20 years until the politics did me in. Grasshopper, you are wise beyond your years. As I told a guy once, “I won’t tell you how to engineer and build a refinery if you don’t tell me how to do accounting”. He didn’t see the humor in my comment. And yes, I have many stories about how small a world this can be.
        One of these days I plan to get back to “H” town to catch a few games. Maybe run into each other and others on the blog. This is a lot of fun for me as well as the information we all get. Glad for the opportunity.

        Like

  35. 1oldpro
    December 5, 2015

    An interesting tidbit I discovered this morning. Five of the top 10 K-rate batters for the 2015 Astros are now gone. They are Domingo Santana, Chris Carter, Robbie Grossman, Hank Conger, and Jonathan Villar. Two more of those top 10 strikeout percentage players have definitely been the subject of trade talks, Jake from State Farm and Jon Singleton. The three players in the top 10 of K-Rate who appear to be safe are Springer, Castro and Rasmus.
    The Astros had the second highest K-Rate in the majors last season and it appears that is a stat they are serious about.

    Like

  36. 1oldpro
    December 5, 2015

    Good news! the Giants have reached an agreement with Jeff Samardzija and will forfeit their round 1 draft pick(#18), which moves the Astros pick up another notch!

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      December 5, 2015

      They moved up another spot when Greinke got signed! As of riight now I think the Astros sit in the #19 spot.

      Like

  37. Kevin
    December 5, 2015

    I Love you guy and gals man, heading into the winter meeting and talking the 2016 Draft (-:

    Like

  38. 1oldpro
    December 6, 2015

    A couple of things I think the Astros would really like to do at the winter meetings or soon after:
    ** Find a new home for Jon Singleton. When Jon got sent back to AAA last summer he was terrible there in the last month of the season. Guys like Grossman and Presley, White and Kemp were really hitting the ball and getting on base and Singleton hit below .200 in his last 32 games at AAA. I believe Singleton and the Astros are ready to move on. The Astros have to get Chase McDonald out of high A Lancaster, where he hit 30 HRs and 30 doubles but was a little too old, and get him to 1B in AA to see what he has. He’s 23 with a monster body and they have to find out if he was just bullying in Lancaster, or if he has the right stuff to move ahead.
    Yes, Singleton’s salary is a factor, but he is blocking Reed, Gregor, and McDonald and that is an even bigger factor. Getting any young player for him would be a good get.
    **Come away from the meetings with two more relief candidates for the bullpen. I know that they want a dominant closer. But if they pay a high price for a closer, they are also decreasing the value of two high priced relievers from last year, Gregerson and Neshek, because they are moving those two down in the pecking order. They know their team better than I do, but they are going to lose good future closer candidates when they trade young arms for a one year player like Chapman or Storen. I’m hoping they show patience and maybe have a closer fall into their laps in the next few months, maybe even from their own organization.

    Like

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This entry was posted on December 3, 2015 by in Astros.
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