What’s next — if anything — for the Astros?


As one of Chip’s long time favorite commenters, Becky has informed us, the pitchers and catchers report for the Astros in about six weeks. (God bless you Becky with your cancer battle and our prayers continue to be with you). Last year at this time a number of important moves were made after the first of January and prior to Spring Training 2015.

These moves included the signings of Colby Rasmus, Joe Thatcher and Roberto Hernandez and the trades that brought Luis Valbuena, Dan Strailey, Evan Gattis,  and James Hoyt to Houston.

The gut feeling is that the Astros are a lot closer to being ready for spring training at this time, then they were a season ago.

Where do you stand on the following questions:

  • Do the Astros need to make any significant moves in the next six weeks or wait until mid-season when any holes will be more evident?
  • Do they need to chase another veteran starting pitcher in case Scott Feldman is not ready for the rotation?
  • Do they need to add any more arms to the bullpen?
  • Do they fill in behind Chris Carter at first base from within the organization?
  • Should they try to bolster the DH spot with someone who can actually play the field?
  • Should they find a new home for Jason Castro and turn the catching duties over to Max Stassi and Tyler Heineman or others?
  • Is there any other move you believe will occur or should occur between now and reporting day?

 

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114 comments on “What’s next — if anything — for the Astros?

  1. Do they need to make any significant moves? I think they need to find a LH reliever.
    Chapman is not that guy.
    I don’t know how Feldman’s or Peacock’s health are so I don’t know if they need to add a starting pitcher. If they do, I hope it’s not through free agency, because they don’t need the salary or the loss of their #1 pick.
    Add arms to the pen? A lefty
    They should fill in with White at 1B until they bring up Reed, if they keep Gattis. They should trade Gattis for a lefty reliever, let White and Tucker DH, let Reed play 1B, trade Singleton for a 19 year old lefty reliever prospect and go to war with the young guys from day one.
    Should they find a new home for Castro? Yes, but to the NL and preferably to a team we don’t play this year. I don’t think the Astros will trade him. I think they are too afraid of trading him, because he knows too much about our pitching and the front office doesn’t know enough about catching to be confident in their youngsters.
    Any other moves? I think they will trade some AAAA pitching or DL or release a couple.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do the Astros need to make any significant moves in the next six weeks or wait until mid-season when any holes will be more evident?

    Currently, there is a huge hole at first base. So, who fills it? The FO has already anointed Jon Singleton as the first baseman but we have seen this act before with the same actor. This leads to:

    Do they fill in behind Chris Carter at first base from within the organization?

    Yes they do. To go outside the organization would be very costly if they chase Davis or trade for Freeman. There is Reed, White, and Duffy waiting to take their turn.

    Do they need to chase another veteran starting pitcher in case Scott Feldman is not ready for the rotation?

    No, let the kids step up and take the lead.

    Do they need to add any more arms to the bullpen?

    Neshek makes me nervous. Perhaps we could fill from within the organization.

    Should they try to bolster the DH spot with someone who can actually play the field?

    I do not think this is that big of a deal.

    Should they find a new home for Jason Castro and turn the catching duties over to Max Stassi and Tyler Heineman or others?

    Soon, Castro is going to become cost prohibitive. Unfortunately, I do not see the future catcher in the organization at this time.

    Is there any other move you believe will occur or should occur between now and reporting day?

    I reserve my right to sit back and watch….

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  3. 1. “Need”? Not really. Unless someone blows away JL with an offer – then lets play ball “with the ones that brung us.” 2. No. They are too expensive and no better than what we have. (Cueto in KC & Kazmir in Houston had a WHIP equal to Fausto. And the Astros sent Fausto packing). 3. Until someone is injured or gets lit up a couple times, No. 4. Yes they “will” because of Singleton’s contract. 5. No, but it would not hurt to find one that could hit better. 6. Not yet. There is one more year of team control and we know what we have in Castro. He is not disastrous. But it would be nice if one of the new prospects made trading him very easy. 7. I never know what JL will or will not do. He has been willing to make moves or cut ties with several that we assumed he would just keep playing them. So if he does or does not make any moves – it will not be surprising.

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  4. The DH situation still bothers me. Gattis needs to greatly improve to offset his negation of defense. What I’d really like is a base stealer in the organization who could be brought up to fill the last spot on a post-season roster. We don’t have anyone who can run at will and Altuve and JFSF, after good starts to the year, cost us expected runs due to CS after the league adjusted.

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    • Devin, I wonder how much the caught stealings were the fault of the players and how much they were the fault of the aggressive base running philosophy of the coaching staff. At the very least the staff should have stop signs out when the match up or the situation is not good for a stolen base. Just my thoughts on it.

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  5. *Should they try to bolster the DH spot with someone who can actually play the field? *

    That would be nice, of course, but what is essential if we are to compete against the Rangers and Angels, not to mention go to the WS is to at least have a DH who can hit .280 or higher, have an OBP of .330 or higher, and have a combined runs scored and RBI total that exceeds 165. Gattis is not that guy.

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    • Totally agree with that, Dave. 101 %. I just wonder if the F.O. has the fortitude to admit the Evan Gattis experiment was ill-advised, that it did not work out, and that it needs to be terminated – especially since he appears to be [a] a really nice guy and team-mate, and [b] totally un-tradeable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luhnow said before 2015 season he acquired Gattis because he was going to hit 30 HR into the Crawford boxes.

        I think he is firmly in the apologist camp – remove a couple months from the season and Gattis looks above average, adjusting to new league, never had a full season, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      • * Do they need to chase another veteran starting pitcher in case Scott Feldman is not ready for the rotation? *

        At this point, Scott looks to start the year as our 5th starter. We know he can be ‘good Scott’ or ‘bad Scott’ based on his health. So we have Dan Straily, Chris Devenski, Brad Peacock, and Wojo primed and ready in case he struggles. Who – or what salary – would we have to give up to get somebody else’s BOR? The only way I would think a BOR guy from the outside and not off the waiver wire would be of benefit is if he comes via a trade for Gattis, Valbuena, Singleton, or Castro.

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      • You can also throw Feliz into that quartet of ready pitchers in the event Feldman struggles. He may make the team as a bullpen arm, but could step up to start if Feldman struggles or, more likely, gets injured.

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  6. * Do they need to add any more arms to the bullpen? *

    They need a reliable lefty-on-lefty specialist. That would allow a lot more flexibility in the use of Tony Sipp.

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  7. The team that just barely made the playoffs over the Angels and were passed up by the Rangers, who were devastated by injury last season, has done nothing to make themselves better, yet.
    2015 playoffs vs 2016 opening Day
    Altuve Altuve
    Springer Springer
    Correa Correa
    Gattis Gattis
    Carter Singleton
    Gomez Gomez
    Rasmus Rasmus
    Valbuena Valbuena
    Castro Castro
    Bench-the same
    Rotation- Feldman replaces Kazmir
    Bullpen- One player is added but will only help you in the ninth inning when you are ahead and has to be better than Gregerson was, who was excellent in the regular season.
    Now that lineup is the same strikeout laden, low average, low OBP lineup we had at the end of the year and they have to face Hamels and Darvish next year, all year.
    The Astros need to make some changes. The Mariners and the Angels have added.
    The front office needs to look at the players who are projected to be in that lineup and contributed nothing or almost nothing and get rid of them and replace them with players who are different. Players who don’t strike out, who get the bat on the ball and players who can do that cheaply because they are young, thus allowing the Astros the spending room to maybe add an impact player from outside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We need some improved production next year from all positions [including Altuve and Correa], but we need a major offensive improvement [BA, OBP, Runs scored, and RBI] at three of the following four positions: DH, 1B, 3B, CF and C. Fortunately, we have what looks to be really good people – and big time producers – ready to step up and take over three of those positions without trading away anybody we will want to use in the future. If we trade Gattis, Valbuena, Gomez, and/or Castro for another BOR pitcher, a CF, a catcher, or a 3rd sacker, fine – those guys are not part of our future anyway. But no more pitching prospects – or Cameron or the other Tucker – or McCullers – need to even be in the conversation.

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    • I guess looking at one side of things old pro – having more games from Springer, Correa and Gomez should equal more production from those positions. Still the key to real improvement would come as Mr. Bill says from better production at DH, 1B, 3B (I’m not including C – because I don’t see a way that happens unless Castro turns back into 2013 Castro). Man, I sure hope White / Reed get a shot to help us out at 1B and DH. But I’m not counting on it.

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      • Dan, I don’t think I’m looking at things from one side. I stepped back and looked at the 2016 Astros from the perspective of the team that Luhnow has put together and what he has spoken about thus far(1B is Singleton’s to lose).
        I believe he is short sighted in looking at one inning of the playoffs and thinking he is going to improve this team by adding one player who might have been able to fix that one inning, and ignoring all the innings that were ruined by five of the last six batters in that lineup.
        There are some changes that need to be made in the thinking of this front office. George Springer was an astounding CF in the minor leagues and he has been a replacement player defensively in RF because the FO is too short sighted to see they goofed. They continue to bring in players from outside and give his natural position to them. It is ridiculous that they don’t see what they have done and how it will affect his future.
        What do you say about a front office who brags about it’s prospects for three miserable years and then trades their best outfield prospect for a showboat who injures himself by swinging too hard in the games and in batting practice and negates himself for the playoff run and the playoffs?
        What do you say about a front office who hires doofus after doofus to play first base and then gets rid of a doofus and replaces him a doofus who cares about nobody but himself and tells him “here’s the job, you got it, Doofus”?
        What do you say about a GM who watches his DH fail over and over again but then raves about the fact he hit a fastball above his head over the fence? How do you give 600 PAs to a guy who produces nothing at the plate and then tender him an offer that will be six or seven times what he made the previous year, while stifling your minor leaguers who hit way above and beyond your wildest expectations last year?
        It’s crazy!

        Liked by 3 people

      • I wasn’t saying you were looking at one side, old pro – just that looking at the more optimistic side, there could be some improvement to the offense.
        I guess my way of looking at the front office is that somehow they created the pitching staff with the best ERA in the AL without spending very much money. I guess my feeling is that they will fix things on the offensive side too and that what they say in the press may not match what they are truly thinking (e.g. Singleton could well lose this spot during ST or in the early going).
        I wish Springer was in center, but it is not like center was poorly played without him.
        I did not like them trading away Maverick – but they also got Fiers out of the deal.
        I don’t think they thought Rasmus would accept the QO, because no one had ever done that. Can’t really blame them on that one.
        I think they have screwed up 1B and DH royally and if they fail to rectify these problems this year – they should be held accountable.

        I don’t believe it is automatic that the “floor” for 2016 is the amount of wins they put up last season. They certainly could fall back with injuries or failures. I am just thinking that they will not sit still if the offense is the only thing hurting them in 2016.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I say that GM got a terrible team he inherited 3 years ago, with at the time arguably the worst minor league system in the league, and put them in the playoffs way ahead of schedule.

        I have many of the same gripes you do about continuing to trot out failure, but overall he has proven to be a better GM than I would be.

        I’m not sure he said what he said about Singleton to actually mean that, or if he is doing what I would be doing, saying it and keeping your fingers crossed that Big Jon found a work ethic hanging up in his closet during the offseason, puts it on, and gets serious about his career path – making him a perfect fit for a plethora of things when Reed arrives – DH or trade bait. Right now, Singleton is probably worthless to anyone else – I doubt any GM sees Singleton as an answer to their problem.

        My question is this – is our team ready for TWO A.J.’s? I am.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Brett Phillips has hit 1 HR at AA in 214 AB while walking 22 times and striking out 56. He was 9/12 in SB attempts. Prior to promotion he was 8/14 at Lancaster.

        It was a big surprise when he hit 13 HR at QC in 2014 after hitting zero in his first 95 professional games the previous two.

        Why does everyone think he will have a bigger impact than Gomez? He was awfully fun to follow at A+ and is young…

        Liked by 2 people

      • Old Pro……you are 100% correct! I’ve even stood on my soap box about using our top prospects like dollar bills, without ever getting a taste of the majors with OUR club!
        Well stated my friend!!

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      • I’m not really following ‘four years ago, Steven”. Are you saying he should have turned around the mess left by Drayton in a shorter time? Maybe I am misinterpreting your comment. Can you clarify?

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      • I understand it has been almost 4 years since Luhnow was hired. Maybe you were just correcting Steven, but Steven makes a great point that the G.M. turned around a complete mess into a playoff team, with a limited budget, in 4 seasons. I think we might be selling him short.

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  8. If we set aside “money”, who of the FAs would have improved this team? Probably Greinke, Price, Heyward, and maybe Zobrist. So we are playing the same team as last year except for Carter. partial year Lowrie, & Conger. Added Kazmir, No-Hit Friers & Gomez for the 2nd half. So this was and continues to be a .500 team UNLESS (please note the unless) several pick up the pace. Even with the mid-season pickups, it continued to be the same team. So now for the part that keeps me awake at night. Is Bopert right? Can any MLB team “set aside money?” Is it so expensive either in cash or prospects that the Astros can “contend” not never reach the top? And we lose two OFers and probably a catcher before 2017.

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  9. Last year Gattis was given 597 plate appearance chances [2nd on the team behind Altuve]. Valbuena got the next highest number of PAs at 484. Then came Rasmus at 479 and Carter at 448.

    You cannot be very good if 4 of the 5 guys who get the most PAs for your team are low BA, low OBP, high strikeout free swingers. The PA allotment has to change dramatically in 2016.

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    • In 2014, The Astros had 435 innings thrown by pitchers with ERAs over 4.50, many with ERAs much higher than 4.50. That was about 30% of innings thrown and included 17 of the 28 pitchers who threw for them.
      In 2015, the Astros had only 77 innings thrown by pitchers with ERAs over 4.50 (about 5%) and this included only 6 of the 24 pitchers used this year.

      If they could do a little of this magic (addition by subtraction) this could really help the offense. But they can’t let the same guys take the ABs if they are not raking.

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      • If our 1-2-3 in 2016 is Altuve, Springer, Correa, and none goes on the DL for any significant time, that will mean we should do exactly what you said, Dan. If the most PAs next year are from those three, our top 3 OBP and BA guys – who can also all hit dingers and drive in runs, and all but one of them [Altuve] is pretty good at drawing walks. That should – depending on who hits 4-5-6 – dramatically improve our offense.

        If our 4-5-6 are any of Gattis [.286 OBP], Rasmus [.314 OBP], Valbuena [.310 OBP], or Gomez [.288 OBP], in whatever order, we will probable see no substantial improvement. We need a 4-5-6 of Tucker [DH], Reed [1B], and Rasmus [LF] vs. righties and Duffy [3B], White [DH], and Gonzales [1B] vs. lefties. Gomez is a #7 hitter at best at this point. Valbuena is a #8 at best. And Castro is a #9. There is no place for Gattis on this team.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll agree with most of what you said, Mr. Bill, but a healthy Gomez is not a #7 hitter, at best. It’s not like he is past his prime, but just derailed by injuries last year. A heatlthy Gomez is a .280 hitter with 20+ HR power and 25+ SBs. He could fit anywhere in the top 6 and be productive.

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      • It has come to my attention that with the prospect of Spring being around the corner a fresh outbreak of Astroholism has broken out. The experts among us are getting more sophisticated, however, now in how we diagnose this malady and describe its various mutations and symptom complexes.

        Tim has postulated that some of us have a special form of Astroholism he has decided to dub ‘prospect adjustment syndrome’, or P.A.S. for short.

        However, this is a severe outbreak, and P.A.S is not the only mutation we are seeing of the disease. The development of several other syndromes, all under the general diagnosis of Astroholism, is underway.

        First, for instance, there is the syndrome that stands on the opposite side of the spectrum from P.A.S. What is the opposite of prospect attachment syndrome? Why, it is ‘Prospect Undervaluation Syndrome’, of course. The shorthand label attached for this syndrome is P.U.S.

        Another rare but very real syndrome being seen in some this year is the deadly ‘Gomez Attachment Syndrome’. There is a mutation of this syndrome going around the F.O., and equally deadly, is called ‘Gattis Attachment Syndrome’. Each of these syndromes signals a toxic build-up of G.A.S.

        And PLEASE BE WARNED! If you are found to have a combination of prospect attachment syndrome and, and then you also are found to have Gomez or Gattis attachment syndrome, you can be assured someone will brand you as ‘Old P.A.S.G.A.S.’.

        Others in the Astroholic ward have been noticed to be suffering from a special form of the Astroholism complex the experts have classified as ‘Don’t Understand Much Biometrics At All Syndrome’. The shorthand term for this is D.U.M.B.- A.S.

        Still others, especially, especially who keep a close watch on the Astros’ bullpen, are trying desperately this year to overcome a condition identified as “Pitchers Unable to Notch Strikeouts Attachment Syndrome”. The label for this is P.U.N.K – A.S.

        A rapidly developing mutation of Astroholism is expected to surface for the first time in 2016. This mutation has been labeled ‘Wins through High OBP and Occasional Power’ Attachment Syndrome. We will call it W.O.O.P.-A.S. for short.

        And some unfortunate souls have also been exhibiting symptoms of ‘Luhnow Oh How he Oozes the Nectar of Yoda’ Attachment Syndrome. This is known as being L.O.O.N.Y-A.S.

        Liked by 5 people

      • A very down year from every club in our division except Texas – and a slow start for them, coupled with amazing pitching and a great start by Altuve, Marisnick, and Lowrie.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That doesn’t really hold water. Are we to say the Mets were the NL Champs simply because it was a down year for the NL East? There is more to it. How do you explain being the only team to push the world champs to not 1, but 2 elimination games? No other team pushed them to 1 elimination game. Eventually, you have to give the front office credit.

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    • I have L.O.O.N.Y.A.S. and PDS (I call it Prospect Detachment Syndrome). I definitely don’t have G.A.S. or P.A.S.

      I commend you on a well written analysis of the fans on this site. We are all symptomatic, diehard Astros fans in some form or fashion.

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    • I’m so dang glad that error machine is gone, it’s not funny. And…..no, I doubt seriously that he’s EVER gonna be as dave_b likes to say…”that guy” we hoped to see. I’m just glad he’s someone else’s problem now!

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  10. I think that while most of our vitriol is being directed at Luhnow we may want to direct it toward Crane. It doesn’t appear Crane wants to increase the payroll to allow Luhnow to obtain the players needed to compete so Luhnow must trade our prospects. I wonder if Crane’s divorce settlement is playing into the Astros limited budget? Although Fred Wilpon stated the Madoff scandal would not affect the Mets operations and budget it clearly has and the same might be going on with the Astros.

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    • Which players are you lamenting not signing this winter? The market for starting pitchers was insane – more than their team’s 25 man payroll for 2016 is owed to Price and Greinke through the lives of their deals. Rasmus taking the QO prevented a run at marginal upgrades that would be twice as expensive.

      Who am I forgetting?

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      • Your not forgetting anyone…..it was insane money. But….Luhnow still has his finger in the pot for another pitcher.

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      • Also, this is the price of players now. It’s not going down so, eventually, Crane will either need to pony up the dough or continue pretending the Astros are a small market team. Next year’s free agency class is going to be, relatively, weak. Any decent player is going to cost at or above this year’s level for a similar player.

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    • It’s not just Cranes money……..he has a ton of private investors, who want to see a return with their money. His divorce probably doesn’t have any effect on the Astros payroll. Maybe, but I highly doubt it. I read a piece the other day, that Luhnow is done dealing any more prospects. I certainly HOPE so. Spend some money for a change!!

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      • That’s what I am saying. He can’t spend the money unless Crane gives him the go ahead to do so. It isn’t Luhnow’s money to spend.

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  11. Sure I blame Crane. Didn’t he initially say that he expected this organization to eventually spend on payroll somewhere with the top 5 to 10 clubs in the game? We’re not getting close to those numbers. Crane has had some unfortunate issues to deal with, especially with the TV debacle. But he’s the owner. It’s his problem to fix.

    That said, Luhnow gets most of the credit when good things happen. He’s going to have to take the brunt of criticism too. And I think he’s okay with that. He’s produced a club that has taken us into the post season sooner than advertised. He certainly deserves credit for that. I was asking for another strong arm in the pen as we approached the deadline last year. We made moves, but I think not the most important one. And I personally think he’s given up too much talent. That still remains to be seen. Right now we’re lamenting the possibility that we’ll be heading into Opening Day with question marks still remaining at both corner infield positions. I think we all agree that another lefty in the pen is important. And I really want a couple of our in house guys to tear it up this spring and force their way on to the 25 man roster.

    We’re going to see some more tweaking. So let’s so how things shake out over the next 3 months before we annoint Luhnow or prepare him for the funeral pyre.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t dispute what you are saying, but it just seems like the majority on here are tearing Luhnow to shreds, but not laying the blame where it probably lies, which is with Crane. If Luhnow is only given a $90M budget then his only option to improve the team is to trade or play prospects at important positions. They desperately needed a swing and miss pitcher for the bullpen and the only viable option, in my opinion, is via trade, which he did with the acquiring Giles.

      I understand Luhnow is not impervious to criticism, but we don’t know what he has to work with in improving the team. No one here knows the conversations he has with Crane regarding payroll budget. Overall, I think he has done a very good job in rebuilding this organization to be at a competitive level in such a short time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • dave i agree and think that it could be argued that the reason the corner spots have not been addressed is luhnow like many in here may see reed, white and perhaps duffy as the answers. we won’t know till we see them in spring training and then against major league competition once the season starts, but if he sees them (and gulp singleton) as the players in some combination at those positions (i myself like moran as well) there is no need for a trade unless one he just loves falls in his lap. so the folks who want to see reed, white, moran et al can take the inaction at the corners as a good sign.

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      • thats true tim. without all the info its hard to determine. i just think that when folks get used to the idea that there is an exciting, young PLAYOFF baseball team in houston, the attendance will improve along with other revenues. while the budget is still low, it is rising and with improved revenue i bet it rises at an increased rate going forward.

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  12. There are so many different directions this winding road can wend….
    – The team regresses – they panic and make bad trades at the deadline
    – The team regresses, so they start filling in with youngsters which helps for the long run
    – The team stays the same, but the division improves and they miss the playoffs
    – The team stays the same and only the Rangers improve and the Astros sneak into the playoffs
    – The team improves, but everyone else improves and they miss the playoffs
    – The team improves and wins the division
    – The lack of spending finally catches up with the team and it free-falls
    – The lack of spending forces the team to promote for 1B, DH and the starting rotation from within and they get better
    – Some of the prospects become suspects
    – Some of the prospects become stars

    The fans continue to wonder if the owner and front office is doing everything possible to win, while wondering if we really want them to sign folks to huge contracts or make any more trades of 5 for 2 players.

    Liked by 1 person

    • DanP, the only question about the huge contracts is does it ruin the budget? If the FO & owners had the money to spend on Price or Greinke, I believe the fans would be 60% in favor. (40% are against everything). But when you factor in the money within a budget, the fans want to keep a little “powder dry.” If Crane announced the 2016 and beyond budget to be $150-200 Million, no sane person would oppose signing a top FA or two. In my opinion, we already have on the team at several positions players that are better than what is available.

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    • The funny thing about opinions is that if the Astros don’t follow yours, you think they aren’t doing everything it takes to win.

      I have differing opinions too from what the Astros are doing. I would put White at DH, Reed at 1B and Kemp in LF. I would not have traded VV, but rather given him the 5 spot in the rotation with an innings eater at 4 (like Feldman) and Keuchel at the top, helping the bullpen deal with the young and inconsistent VV – or maybe even given VV’s history considered him a possibility for the 9th inning swing and miss role. The FO feels different. I would not have tendered Rasmus because Rasmus and his agent knew there wasn’t 16 million out there for 1 years worth of work and would probably accept. I would try and distance myself from Gattis and Rasmus – and with Carter gone, and those 3 replaced by Kemp and White we could avoid breaking more strikeout records. Most of this is probably pretty similar to what a lot of Chipsters would do also.

      That said, I wouldn’t go so far to assume that I know more then the guy that inherited this mess three, um, four years ago. Look at the lineup he was given, look at the rotation he had, and check out the top 20 prospects from 2012, and look where they are today. Some of that is luck – he nor anyone else saw Keuchel and McHugh coming – but part of it is sticking with them when they saw something no one else did. He has been kinda Springer like with his drafts – picking up possibly the top talent drafted in the last 20 years (and many thought that pick was all about drafting a guy that would sign cheaper), but also giving us some grand swing and misses (Appel and Aiken). He has been fairly superb after the first round.

      Don’t get me defending Luhnow though, I would never have traded for Gattis, I would have never have stuck with Carter that long, I would never have signed Rasmus to begin with.

      But I am smart enough to appreciate that he is trying to win with the resources he is limited. Afterall if I was GM, I would have given up on Keuchel, never looked at McHugh, and my rotation would probably have Tropeano and Buchanan in it, and where would we be with that. I would have had Grossman in LF half the year last year waiting for magic that was never coming, and still be trying to figure out how to fix 1B.

      Four years ago this franchise was in a hole that I thought would take 10 years to get out of. Its a completely different world. Yes, I have my questions on individual moves but in an overall scheme of things, he has convinced me. IN LUHNOW I TRUST.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. The organization is still in the mix for Gallardo…….think he will get insane money too??? I may be the only one who thinks this…..but he doesn’t impress me.

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    • Looking at his numbers, kind of reminds me of Wandy Rodriguez. ERA floating around the mid-3’s, mediocre WHIP, give you about 180-200 IP, does not pitch super deep into games, wins about as often as he loses, etc.
      These days that should be worth about $15 million a year for 4 years or more. Heck just give every FA $100 million and call it a day.

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    • I don’t mind Crane spending some money, but I don’t want that money spent on Gallardo. Not only is he about the same as Feldman, but he would cost us our 1st round pick. No thank you! That’s why I proposed going after Maeda who is probably a slight upgrade from Feldman with no draft pick compensation attached. It even looks better when you see the contract he agreed to with the Dodgers.

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      • Tim, I’m going to shock you by agreeing on Maeda. I’d love to know whether Luhnow steered clear or if Maeda wanted to go to LA over a destination like Houston. I could get behind the logic that $20 million posting fee was beyond what Crane would pony up as well.

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      • Devin,

        I heard he wanted to be on the west coast, but if the Astros put up the posting fee and then countered with a 4/$25M contract I bet he may have given it strong consideration.

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  14. OH LORDY….that is FUUUUNNY!! That’s what makes this blog sooo much fun!!!
    Thanks Mr. Bill we can always count on you and Old Pro for a taste of humor on Chip’s ( and Dan, and Brians) blog!!

    Liked by 2 people

      • An article today basically said the contract has $3 million guaranteed each year, but performance bonuses can add another $10-12 million each year. There are likely opt out clauses too.

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  15. Ya know…..we are indeed blessed to have such talented young players. Look at the Indians for example…..they have two, maybe three good pitchers, and after that they are old and has been. And….*WE* have some awesome young talent just chomping at the bit to come up with the big club!! I feel very good about where our guys are, and sooo excited to see our future!! Aren’t you!!!
    Today was my birthday, and because my stamina has waned of late, I will let my sweet husband take me out to dinner later this week. I’m having a bone marrow biopsy on Friday, and I’m telling my oncologist he had better get what he needs on Friday……’cause I ain’t coming back for THAT test again! You can take tat to the bank.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Don’t forget folks, tomorrow they announce the new HOF inductees….and I have a feeling Mr. Jeffery Allen Bagwell will be making a speech in Cooperstown this summer! AND…. Borkowski was promoted to pitching coach in Corpus Christi for this season! Good guy, I wish him luck!

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    • That possibility is very exciting Becky. I sure hope he goes in this time.
      And Becky – I will say a rosary for you on the bus tomorrow. You are going to beat this.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m good with what we have. Rotation is Keuchel, McHugh, McCullers, Fiers and Feldman. Frankly, if Scott Feldman is your No. 5, you’ve got the best rotation in baseball. Devenski, Feliz, Musgrove, Martes and others such as Straily and Buchanan make me confident if someone goes down.

    The corner infield would be up for grabs. Read something at Climbing Tal’s Hill (I think) about White and Duffey essentially fighting it out for corner infielder backup/1B platoon to open the season. I’m good with that. Let Singlepuff fight for his job. If he performs, great. If not, White and Duffy are the guys (until Reed is ready, which may be sooner than later).

    Everything else is set unless Stassi can’t be a backup catcher (Hello, Heineman).

    There’s a lot of addition by subtraction on this roster. Villar is gone, Carter is gone. Conger is gone. We have less of Jake Marisnick at the plate and more of Gomez. And that’s a good thing. We also don’t start the season with Faustino and others in the rotation. Any regression by Keuchel and McHugh is probably picked up by McCullers and Fiers (who I think is the real steal in that trade with the Brewers).

    Both Gattis and Valbuena had (for them) historically bad BAbip years. At least one has to have positive regression. If not, there’s White, Duffey, Davis, Sclafani, Kemp … you see. It’s all loaded.

    And now for something completely different. At 5 p.m. CT, the Hall makes its announcement. For me, Bagwell has always been my favorite Astro (well, until Altuve came along). Maybe it is because I always saw myself as a first baseman in Little League (usually misassigned in left field). Maybe it was his combination of power, speed and average. Bagwell was a four-and-a-half tool player. More than anyone else, with the game on the line, I always wanted him at the plate.

    Right now, with 171 votes cast, Bagwell’s 136 puts him at 79.5 percent. He needs 72.4 percent of the estimated remaining 279 ballots (that’d be 202 of 279) to get in. Last year, when the final totals came out, Bagwell’s total dropped from the public ballots to the final percentage by 4.8 percent. If that happens this year, He’ll be about 2 Biggio-esque votes shy.

    My guess, he falls to somewhere between 71-73 percent.

    And we do this again next year. C’est la vie.

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    • I hope you’re wrong on Bagwell. I want him there this year because you never know what will happen next year. I’m looking at 73.2% Yee Ha!

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    • hey brian, i was reading about the wildcard games this weekend. is it really gonna be -20? geez louise. i guess of the two ill take 110 in the shade in summer here as opposed to that. stay warm.

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    • Especially considering the years in question will be Alex Gordon’s 31st, 32nd, 33rd, and 34th. Colby Rasmus is just 29. Even with giving up an average of .20 points in BA and .40 points in OBP, I think I would rather have one year of a 29 year old Colby than 4 years of a 31 year old Alex.

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  18. Reading the tea leaves it looks to me like Bagwell will get increased support this year, but will not get the 75%. I’m betting it is closer to 70%.

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  19. You know who got votes? Mike Sweeney, David Eckstein (watch out, ghost of Fluffy) , Jason Kendall and Garret Anderson. Bull****. Tim Raines should be in the HOF, big time.

    And the 3 who voted against Griffey need a brain transplant.

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  20. I gotta admit I was a little sad today, but I still think Bagwell will get in. Soooo many little hush-hush narrow minded writers, irritates the cr*p outta me. I personally think if you are going to write about the game, you should have played baseball. I’ll get off my soap box now. Saw where the Brewer’s signed Carter for 1yr. Think he’ll turn into another J.D. Martinez???

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    • I may have jokingly predicted that a few weeks back. It’s a good fit for him – should reach 30 HR in that ballpark/division if he can keep his other stats high enough to get regular at bats.

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      • It’s a real good fit for him because the pitchers hit in the NL and he will no longer be the worst hitter on the team. Also, he will feel right at home chasing those wonderful throws from Villar.

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      • You joke now, oldpro, but this July when the surprise tandem of Carter and Villar win co-mvp of the All Star game and cost the Astros home field advantage in the World Series it won’t be so funny!

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  21. Op….you’re killing me!! I forgot all abut Villerror being with the Brewers!! Glad he got picked up…..Carter is a really good guy I wish him all the best! BIG meetings starting next week, and I have a feeling we will see some activity with Luhnow working his magic!

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  22. It always feels strange when guys leave, who by all reports were good people and good teammates, just not necessarily good players. Parts of you want to see them continue to show why they don’t belong, while other parts say – if the light comes on, the light comes on and I hope they don’t do too much damage to me.
    It does hurt your confidence in the front office when a JD Martinez is given up for nothing and two years later has 38 HR (8th best in AL) and 102 RBIs (7th best in AL). Hopefully, Chris Carter will have a few more seasons of better but not great ball. I don’t really want him to crash and burn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed. I wish both Chris and Jonathan a great life in Milwaukee [but wait – aren’t ‘great life’ and ‘Milwaukee’ mutually exclusive terms?] The fact that neither Chris or Jonathan were able to do anything close to what we needed from them while they were in Houston does not mean they are either bad people or even bad ballplayers. We just had discord or conflict of personalities that destroyed the legitimate ends of the relationship, rendered further living together intolerable, and prevented any reasonable possibility of reconciliation. The bonds of matrimony had to be dissolved. At least no one has to pay alimony, right?

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      • OK – having been born in Milwaukee and over the years having visited quite often, I will say it is a fun, clean city with lots of fests and activities …….in the summer. They do lose points for the whole Bud Selig thing and winters are not tolerable for this transplant.

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    • Dan, they don’t lose points for the whole Bud Selig thing. They lose their license, their children’s children. They lose my lunch. They lose all semblance of respect and are confined to eating beer nuts, wiping themselves with a lousy sports section and reading spit.com for the remainder of their years for spawning the evilness of Selig and his co-devil, Little Braun.
      Please, don’t get me started. I have enough problems squelching my not-so-hidden displeasure with the current situation in the Oval Office Chamber of Horrors in Washington. Adding the Worst Tasting Beer Ever Capital Axis of Evil to the discussion would push me over the edge.
      Quickly, someone tell me where the restroom is! I think I’m going to be sick.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Positives about Milwaukee
        – Spawned Dan P
        – Wisconsin State Fair in suburb of West Allis – best eating you will ever see
        – Summerfest – down on the lake with tons of great acts and food
        – More bowling lanes per person than any place in the world

        Other than beers and brauts that may be about it

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      • And I feel like I am trying to convince God not to destroy Sodom….
        Hometown of Spencer Tracy, Pat O’ Brien, Bob Uecker and Liberace
        But most importantly hometown of David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, who brought us Airplane!, Ruthless People and the Naked Gun series among others…..
        That has to be worth something….

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      • Dan, there is a smart young man (National Merit Scholar) in our office from Milwaukee, graduated from UH on scholarship. Every time he goes home for a visit, he brings me either cheese or little sausages in air-tight packages. It’s the heartland, is it not? No apologies or explanations required.

        Like

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