They say “in the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take”. Jeff Luhnow has taken many chances and regrets will be part of the ticket over the next few years. The Astros have made many decisions over the past few weeks. Some to sign, some to not re-sign and others to trade away. With that many decisions, it’s more than just water under the bridge and Luhnow and Co. could have some regrets before 2016 gets too far down the road.
Here are a few of those decisions and how they may impact the crow-eating at MMP this season.
- Scott Kazmir. 3 years, $48 million with Dodgers.
The 32-year-old lefty certainly could have been a solid addition to an already-strong rotation. But at an average $16 million per season and a hefty 3-year, $48 million contract, the numbers just didn’t make sense for Houston. Yes, he has had solid numbers over the past few years, but he has also faded down the stretch. Depth is important in any rotation and organization and Kazmir could obviously have carried the Astros a long way behind Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers Jr.
The bigger question may be how much did the Astros give up last summer to get the 13 starts, 4.71 ERA and 2-6 record? Daniel Mengden and Jacob Nottingham, both traded for Kazmir, will tell that tale.
Will the Astros regret not signing Kazmir: No, not at that price.
- Chris Carter. 1 year, $2.5 million with Brewers.
Yes, this one could come back to haunt…possibly. Carter is only 29, but has a consistent top-heavy, swing-and-miss, strikeout repertoire. However, many a player has come into their own at 29 and if the Astros can not find that replacement at first base, the merry-go-round could continue and Carter could be a winner elsewhere. The contract the Brewers gave Carter may have been a good safety net for the Astros.
Indeed, the Astros would have had to pay Carter close to $6 million in arbitration — that was too much — and most fans were happy to bid adieu to Mr. Carter this winter. But Luhnow could have brought him back on a lesser deal. However, if Jonathan Singleton, Luis Valbuena or others do not step up, Houston may wish it had Carter’s potential 30 home runs back in the six hole.
Will the Astros regret not re-signing Carter: In a word, yes. At $2.5 million, he would be a bargain.
- Colby Rasmus. 1 year, $15.8 million.
No, he isn’t — and never will be — worth the $15.8 million the Astros will pay for 2016. And, yes, Rasmus’ decision to accept the qualifying offer may preclude the Astros from adding another significant bat. In that sense, it could come back to haunt Houston and Jeff Luhnow. Indeed, the Astros took a chance by offering Rasmus a qualifying offer. No other player had ever accepted it before and Rasmus became the first. He likely knew he would not and could not command that type of one year salary on the open market and it allows him one more season to re-establish his credentials in a Rasmus-friendly environment.
Will he last the season in Houston? Probably not, unless there are significant injuries, especially if he can use the first half of the season to put up good numbers.
Will the Astros regret offering the QO for Rasmus: No, it was a solid gamble and, while he’s obviously a strong clubhouse partner, he has some pop and some speed, he could provide a decent return at the deadline if he’s in demand.
- Jed Lowrie. Traded for Brendan McCurry.
Unless Brendan McCurry turns into a useful piece for the Astros, this is a bit of a gamble. Going into the off season, it seemed clear that Lowrie was the stop gap solution for third base. If Luis Valbuena stepped up to the plate, then first base was also an option for Lowrie. Is both spots are filled, what a super sub Lowrie could have been. Of course, he will be 32 before the season is a month old and he does have an injury-riddled history, so Luhnow may have thought the gamble was just a bit much.
- Brett Oberholtzer, Vincent Velasquez, Mark Appel, Brett Phillips, Josh Hader, Domingo Santana, Mike Foltynewicz, Andrew Thuman, Rio Ruiz, Carlos Corporan, Nick Tropeano.
All traded for bigger pieces over the past year. Ah yes, here’s the meat of the Regret List. No one has yet proven Luhnow wrong, but the sheer number of players listed here (and others not listed), someone will likely make his look bad.
Phillips or Velasquez could be at the top of the list, but even average, long-term careers from any of these players could bring regret. Does anyone remember John Halama?
Regrets are part of the game and as many moves as the Astros have made the past two seasons, some are likely to come home to roost. In the end however, if the Astros reach the World Series or even have an extended playoff run through the rest of this decade, some of those will be forgotten.
In fact, some already have. Which do you believe will provide the biggest regrets for Luhnow?