Actions often speak louder than words, except when you are watching some WWE actor/wrestler screaming at you on the TV. So, there have been a number of actions made by the front office that are meant to send a message this off-season.
Potentially going to arbitration with Jason Castro over a $250,000 difference
Teams usually don’t want to go to arbitration to begin with and in the modern world of baseball finances $250K is a drop in the barrel. So why are the Astros risking antagonizing their likely starting catcher over this small amount?
- He’s not really going to be their starting catcher.
- There are so many things that are bothering the GM about Castro that he really wants to tell him face to face.
- Jim Crane’s divorce is costing more than anticipated.
- They think he will blink.
(Note – this was written before reading Brian T’s post on the Castro arbitration – but so it goes)
Jeff Luhnow announcing that first base is Jon Singleton’s to lose in spring training
It is not normal to give a position away to a guy who has batted .171 with a 36% strike out rate in 420 mlb plate appearances. So what are the Astros trying to tell Singleton, or the rest of the baseball world?
- Rest of the baseball world – Wouldn’t you love to have a sure thing 1B starter for the next 3 years at $2 million per year plus a $500K buyout? Make an offer. Any offer.
- They have tried tough love on Jonathan and now they are trying unconditional love to motivate him.
- This is one way to really motivate Matt Duffy, Tyler White and/or A.J. Reed to kick bottom in spring training.
- Rumor has it that Luhnow was seen visiting a Colorado smoke shop with Singleton right before making the announcement at a Denver area Jack in the Box.
The Astros signing Wandy Rodriguez to a minor league contract
When a 37 year old lefty is coming off a season where he gave up .838 OPS to left handed hitters, has a WHIP north of 1.500 and is again 37 years old, why sign him at all?
- After Oliver Perez he may look good.
- Thought he might want to be part of the second Astros World Series run like he was for the first.
- He’s a lefty and as long as a lefty pitcher is vertical he may have value.
- They are all dying to ask him what “Wandy” is short for and why he changed his name from Eny Cabreja.
The Astros trading 5 pitchers, Mark Appel, Vincent Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer, Harold Arauz and Thomas Eshelman to the Phillies for fireballing reliever Ken Giles and skinny infielder Jonathan Arauz
There are lots of unusual aspects to this trade – trading 5 pitchers, including 2 with mlb experience, trading the former 1st over all pick and having two players with unusual last names on either side of the trade. What were the Astros saying?
- To former 1-1 draftee Mark Appel – One is the loneliest number….
- We don’t care how many players are involved as long as the best one of the bunch ends up in our bullpen.
- The bullpen meltdown of the late season and the playoffs was burned into our brains – no matter what we say.
- “Arauz by any other name smells just as sweet.”
Announcing the postponement of the project to rid Minute Maid Park of Tal’s Hill
It is a bit unusual to announce a fairly major renovation project and then to back out of it only a few months later. What was behind the reversal?
- The expected tidal wave of new season ticket buyers did not occur after the first announcement and it was cheaper to keep the hill as-is.
- The original construction company warned the club that they risked uncovering Jimmy Hoffa’s body when they flattened the hill.
- They thought it was more likely that the outfielders were going to injure themselves crashing into the new fence than falling on the old hill.
- Tal Smith unsuccessfully appealed to owner Jim Crane on behalf of the hill, but fortunes reversed when Crane woke up the next morning with Orbit’s head next to him in his bed.
So, other than the Castro situation which has already been discussed, what message do you think the club was trying to pass along with these moves?