CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

If you had only one question to ask…


It is a relatively quiet time for the Astros and their fans, despite the fact they added depth to their starting rotation with the signing of tall righty Doug Fister on Thursday. Today – you are given a hypothetical challenge. If you were given a chance to ask one and  only one question of Astro related people, what would you ask them? Here are samples of one person’s shot at this assignment.

To Doug Fister. You reportedly were looking for a 2 year, $25 million contract, but you settled for 1 year, $7 million (with possible incentives up to $12 million). Why did you choose the Astros?

To GM Jeff Luhnow. There were supposedly many different moving parts involved in the 7 player trade for Ken Giles and different iterations. Who were the players you told the Phillies were untouchable during these negotiations?

To Owner Jim Crane. The Astros are likely to start the season with a payroll of approximately $95 million as things stand now, which is a whole lot more than 2014, but just above the final numbers for 2015. Would Jeff Luhnow have to trade some contracts (Feldman, Gomez, Castro, Rasmus or Valbuena for instance) if he needs to add some help during the season?

To Pitching Coach Brent Strom. The Astros pitchers ended the 2015 season with the lowest ERA in the AL. How much of that was due to you?

To newly acquired reliever Ken Giles. In your first two seasons you pitched extremely well for a bad and then a very, very bad Phillies team. Are you ready for the bright lights of a pennant race?

To 1B Jon Singleton. What did you do to get better this off-season?

To SS Carlos Correa. In your own mind, how much better can you be in 2016 over the insanely good mostly 20 year old who won the ROY, hit 22 HR and knocked in 68 runs in only 99 games in 2015?

To OF George Springer. Can you stay healthy (lucky?) for 150+ games in 2016?

To OF Colby Rasmus. Can we expect to see more of the Rasmus who hit his stride in September and in the playoffs or was that a mirage?

To LHP Dallas Keuchel. Your 2015 season was terrific in every way – wins, ERA, IP, and honors (Cy Young, Warren Spahn). What do you have planned for an encore?

This was just a quick shot at some Astro related people and the one question to ask them.

Who would you like to ask a question of and what would be that question?

Would you ask a different question to any of the folks above?

What do you think their answers would be?

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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.

51 comments on “If you had only one question to ask…

  1. BrianT
    January 30, 2016

    A.J. Reed: I’m sure your verbal answer is “Just go out and play hard,” but what do you really need to do to break camp as the Astros’ first baseman?

    Like

  2. astrocolt45
    January 30, 2016

    Hinch: What do you see as your most difficult decisions in Florida? In order to improve your record, what do you see as the places that improvement is necessary?

    Like

  3. 1oldpro
    January 30, 2016

    To George Springer- RF or CF?
    To Jose Altuve-Singleton or Reed?
    To Keuchel- What is one thing you think you can improve on after the year you just had?
    To Rasmus- You love it here. Would you give us a home town discount on a two year extension?
    To Luhnow- What does Tyler White have to do do to make this team out of spring training?
    To Carlos Correa- What did you focus on in your game this winter?
    To Pat Neshek- How is the foot and will it allow you to return to 2014 form?

    Like

  4. Jim
    January 30, 2016

    All of you know much more about baseball and the Astros than I do, but to me, just looking at the 40 man roster, I can’t help but believe there will be one more trade before the season starts—- Gomez and Singleton plus at least one other for a strong outfield bat. Just saying.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 30, 2016

      Jim, I’m not smarter, but I probably have a lot more time to spend studying the team.
      Of all the places to make a change, the outfield is the one place I think they won’t mess with. Rasmus, Springer, Marisnick and Gomez are all major league caliber center fielders with center field arms. Rasmus made some big adjustments to his swing at the end of the year and really pounded the Royals. Marisnick won’t be 25 until this season and says he has a revamped swing which will help him with his contact. His swing is the only thing holding him back from being a valuable major league outfielder. Springer could be a monster and Gomez will be a lot better player this year because he will be healthy and won’t have to press to impress a new team.
      I think the Astros will go into 2016 with these four guys and possibly Preston..
      Singleton is a different matter. Right now he has no trade value because of his track record and his contract. If he takes the 1B job and thrives he is valuable again. If he doesn’t, he isn’t. If Jon thrives, it gives Reed more time in AAA to work on his Ks and hitting vs lefties. If Jon is the player he has been so far in the majors, Reed is right there after Super Two time passes. And White is too.

      Like

      • Larry Leach
        January 30, 2016

        (possibly Preston) Seems like Tucker is the odd man out in our outfield. Will his DH potential keep him from being trade bait?

        Like

      • Tim
        January 30, 2016

        I think Rasmus and Gomez are going to improve upon last year. I believe Rasmus will get his K rate below 30% and his average above .250 and I think Gomez will be a 20/20 guy this year and still provide his gold-glove caliber defense. I don’t want to make any changes to our OF until next offseason, unless an injury occurs or I’m wrong about Rasmus and Gomez. 🙂

        Like

      • Jim
        January 30, 2016

        1OP, I don’t disagree with your reply at all. I only mention Gomez because he is a FA after this season, and if you trade him you “might” get someone to take Singleton off our hands, especially if Singleton has a decent spring. I am hoping Reed has a whale of a spring and forces his way on to the roster. At any rate, I don’t see Singleton as a big loss.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        January 30, 2016

        Jim, if Marisnick’s new swing works, and he develops his hitting, the Astros would definitely entertain trade talks for Gomez before the deadline, but not necessarily in the spring. Problem is, if Marisnick’s new swing works, teams will be after him with a lot more ammo than they will for Gomez. A decent hitting Marisnick is a prize!

        Like

      • Steven
        February 1, 2016

        Well I guess 29.8% is better than 30%. Rasmus is a sub standard hitter coming off a career year in homeruns that he won’t likely repeat, nor is he likely to repeat his .305 BABIP, which should drive his average back below .230.

        Take out his 2013 crazy stupid .356 BABIP year, and he looks far less likely to hit even .235.

        My guess is Luhnow was after the draft pick, gambled, and got bit. I guess one could have been bit by a worse player though. Personally I thought Tucker and Marisnick was a perfect marriage, one can hit, the other can do the rest of the things in later innings of tight ball games. While I hope Marisnick will be a better hitter, I fear that no matter how much tinkering he does on that swing, he just doesn’t have the instincts in the box.

        I do agree that Gomez is an excellent candidate to bounce back to his 20/20 ways. I think we will be happy with his play, though I expect that he will price himself out of town after this year.

        I think it’s going to be tough for the Astros to carry 5 outfielders with a DH that is basically strictly a DH, and when he does see the field, it will also be LF. If they do that they are basically damning themselves to having Singleton and Valbuena both be definitively in the lineup almost regardless of the matchup, and really messes things up when Correa or Altuve have to miss 2-3 games for a small sprain or something.

        With Rasmus back I am thinking that Preston starts at AAA this year, is the first call up for depth at DH or the OF, and that Tyler White wins that last bench slot next to Marisnick, Stassi, and MarGo to give us some depth on the corner given Valbuena’s and Singleton’s limitations. I would rather have Tucker than Singleton or Rasmus, but it doesn’t look like that is the choice AJ will be given to write his lineup card with.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 30, 2016

      Larry, Preston has a shot because he is a left handed power bat off the bench and the Astros don’t have anyone to fill that role. With a bench of Marwin, Stassi, and Jake, they don’t have a decent LH pinch hitter to face all the righty relievers in the late innings. Tucker is at least that, plus a spare outfielder and LH DH.

      Like

      • Tim
        January 30, 2016

        OP, I am curious. If the Astros could get Pedro Alvarez on a 1-year contract for around $4M (I know, not likely) would you be interested even if it meant Preston would start the season in Fresno?

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        January 30, 2016

        Tim, I would not do that because projections have Reed as the better major leaguer in 2016 than Alvarez, so I wouldn’t spend the money there. I don’t have a problem sending Tucker to Fresno. I have a problem sending him to Fresno if he is a better major league player than Singleton and I believe he is.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      January 30, 2016

      Glad you have joined in Jim – the one thing I have found with this front office that especially when it comes trades – you never know. They surprise us (good and bad) every year.

      Like

  5. Tim
    January 30, 2016

    To Jim Crane: You were quoted back in 2013 stating that once the Astros farm system rebuild was complete and the Astros were contenders the payroll would increase to be in the top 5-10 in MLB. We are still in the bottom half of payrolls in MLB. When can Astros fans expect the payroll to be in the top 5-10 of all MLB teams?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kevin
    January 30, 2016

    On a Lighter side, AJ who will be taking over the awesome HR Conger zombie dance in the dugout?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      January 30, 2016

      I’m going to miss that dance. It was one of the few positive things Conger brought to the team. It was a classic!

      Like

    • rj
      January 30, 2016

      hey kevin and tim, you can always go listen to a copy of the ‘southern culture on the skids’ song ‘zombified’. its pretty good and funny. might satisfy your zombie cravings somewhat.

      Like

      • Kevin
        January 30, 2016

        Thanks RJ I’m having a bit of congerzombieitz

        Like

  7. Dan P
    January 30, 2016

    From a historical sense if you could ask one question of any or all of the following – what would you ask?
    Drayton McLane
    Larry Dierker
    Nolan Ryan
    Craig Biggio
    Jeff Bagwell
    Jimmy Wynn
    Former GM Gerry Hunsicker
    Kaz Matsui
    St. Louis Cards “hacker” Chris Correa

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 30, 2016

      Chris Correa, you said you shared information about the hack with others. Who did you share it with, when did you share it, and who did they take this information to?

      Like

  8. sargeh
    January 30, 2016

    Drayton, why did you allow the team to be mismanaged to the point of it having to be completely torn down and rebuilt?

    Larry, did you resign or were you forced out?

    Nolan, will you buy into the partnership of the team?

    Craig, stay in the wings for future management of the team.

    Jeff, why are you staying away from the team when you can impart valuable input to the players?

    Jimmy, enjoy your time with the team. I always liked your game.

    Gerry, why did you turn down the Astros’ job again?

    Kaz, move on…

    Chris, awwwww… got caught eh?

    Like

  9. Devin_
    January 30, 2016

    Jim Crane: If the team gets off to a bad start or has terrible luck and falls out of the pennant race, will you continue to back them and target 2017 or order the payroll slashed?

    Like

  10. rj
    January 30, 2016

    Nolan, could you please give drayton one of those robin ventura noogies the next time you see him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      January 30, 2016

      Now that would be a guaranteed sellout

      Like

  11. Becky⚾
    January 30, 2016

    I’ve been reading…..pretty funny stuff. Chemo is kicking my butt.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 30, 2016

      Hang in there Becky. Chemos tough but you are tougher.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. 1oldpro
    January 31, 2016

    A fascinating look back to Chip’s blog from a year ago: https://chipalatta.com/2015/01/30/free-blog-weekend-2017/

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 31, 2016

      I love looking back at the old posts, old pro….except the ones where I said Dominguez was going to do well in 2014 because of a good second half of 2013 or Carter having a good 2015 because of a good second half of 2014. I sense a pattern here – so I need to lay off predicting a great 2016 for Rasmus because of a great September/October 2015.
      It is fascinating to see all the folks gone from the list – Santana, Phillips, Appel, Obie and Hader. This is a fluid game.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        January 31, 2016

        Yes, some of the guys I mentioned there are not in line any more. Funny to see me mention Gregor instead of Reed.
        One thing I’ll stick to is that Luhnow is still going to end up with a lineup of good OBP and BA guys and Springer, Singleton and Santana were never going to be in the lineup together because of the strikeouts.

        Like

      • Dan P
        January 31, 2016

        Sure same thing with Chip’s premise – he mentioned all the youngsters but said Luhnow would fill in with Vets as he has.
        I think one basic thing is – they got playoff good before we thought they would.

        Like

  13. Dan P
    January 31, 2016

    From my son Adam…
    Do we get to use truth serum? The problem is if we ask most of these questions, we will get a baseball answer.

    Doug Fister: Well, we weighed all of our options and after talking to the Astros we really liked what their vision was. Truth: I ain’t worth $25M! I acted like I was holding a full house, and they knew I just had a pair of jacks.

    Lunhow: There were a lot of players discussed, but we feel we got the most we could out of that deal. Truth: I didn’t hear anything they said after we have a closer.

    Strom: We have some great guys on our rotation. Truth: It’s like asking the cavs coach if he’s the reason the cavs were suddenly good last year.

    Singleton: I spent a lot of time in the batting cages. Truth: I updated my resume on Monster.com.

    Springer: I think I pulled my back leaning in to hear your question.

    Rasmus: I feel like I have my confidence back. Truth: hell if I know. I bat like a knuckleballer throws. I don’t know if I’m gonna hit the ball or the ump.

    Like

  14. astrocolt45
    January 31, 2016

    This is a note on 1OP above: “Chris Correa, you said you shared information about the hack with others.” If you go back and read the comment from the Cardinals, I love the “Lawyer speak” in that he did not share the hack information with any “Executive.” I wondered then who all do the Cardinals classify as “an Executive.?”

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      January 31, 2016

      Glad to see you Jim. My feelings are that whatever the FO can get for Gomez, then if you include Singleton, you would get less. Unless the Astros are willing to send $8 Million in cash with him – sort of Wandy Phase II. But that could all change this season.

      Like

  15. Dan P
    February 1, 2016

    I just flipped over my Houston Astros calendar (a Christmas gift) from January (Collin McHugh) to February and who do I see? Chad Qualls. The next 8 months are OK – Gattis, Gregerson, Springer, Castro, Altuve, Keuchel, Marisnick and Feldman – before finishing up with long gone Carter and Lowrie.

    You have to wonder when they make their choices for the calendar and who makes the call. No Correa, McCullers, Rasmus, Gomez or Valbuena.
    Oh well….

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      February 1, 2016

      So, when your great grandkids go up in the attic and find that old trunk with Dan P etched on the top they’ll open it up and see that 2016 Astros Calender. They’ll jump for joy and scream ” Correa’s first MVP year!”. Then they’ll open it up and see Feldman’s picture.
      They’ll hang their heads and agree that they have good provenance, at the very least.

      Like

      • Dan P
        February 1, 2016

        Three and a half years ago we opted for the simple condo life, which included slimming way down on our memories and possessions. So, old pro – there is no attic or garage or rented storage unit. Hopefully somewhere I will keep a copy of the front page of the Chronicle (Spit!!) showing King Carlos and teammates in the championship parade.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 1oldpro
        February 1, 2016

        Dan, when you get old and feeble, you will turn the tables and your kids will take care of you. Your stuff will go up into their attic, and then the story begins….

        Like

      • Dan P
        February 1, 2016

        I’ll be lucky if they don’t store me in the attic….

        Liked by 2 people

      • rj
        February 1, 2016

        lol dan. reminds me of the john prine song saigon……all this static in my attic getting ready to blow…….
        so what do people think about the possible acquisition of lucroy?

        Like

      • Dan P
        February 1, 2016

        rj – Lucroy has some parallels to Fister in that he had some solid years and a really great 2014 followed by a down year and injuries in 2015.
        This would tie in to what they would have to give up to get him. Are we talking Castro plus some prospects? Depends on the prospects. I assume Castro would be gone because why have two $4 or 5 million catchers.

        Like

    • Tim
      February 1, 2016

      I like Lucroy and he is a definite upgrade from Castro, but I am hearing Martes will need to be in the trade. We need to keep our top level pitching prospects. If we can work out a deal around Kemp, Tucker and Marisnick I would be interested, but I don’t want to trade Martes.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        February 1, 2016

        I would trade Martes for Lucroy straight up. Lucroy’s bad year at the plate last year was better than half our team as far as BA and OBP. And he plays a premium position and makes a little room in the lineup for the two lefty hitters we hope to add next year, Moran and Reed, by replacing the lefty, Castro.
        Just my opinion.

        Like

      • Tim
        February 1, 2016

        I would love Lucroy on the Astros. My concern is lack of TORs in the Astros system and the price to acquire one via FA. I think Martes is the best chance we gave for a TOR and I don’t want to give that up. Personally, I would see if we can work out a trade around K. Tucker or Cameron. Do you think K. Tucker, Moran and Kemp might get it done?

        Like

      • Tim
        February 1, 2016

        have, not gave. Darn autocorrect.

        Like

      • Dan P
        February 1, 2016

        I don’t want to trade Martes. I think there will need to be some pitching included – almost all trades of this kind are looking for young (controllable cheap) pitching.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        February 1, 2016

        I don’t think Lucroy is worth three prospects. I think he is worth one top guy. I’m willing to part with one top pitching prospect. I am not wanting to trade Moran, as I am convinced he fills our need at third base for years. Lucroy only comes with two guaranteed years. Martes has years of control. If Stearns wants Martes, I’d make the deal. If he wants two top prospects, I pass.

        Like

  16. Becky⚾
    February 1, 2016

    The Brewers are gonna want a few pretty high up prospects for Lucroy, and besides the Astros might be on his no trade list. I’m sorry…..but trading anymore prospects to the Brewers ain’t high on my list. Luhnow is probably done dealing, unless he is blown away by some guy. Becky⚾

    Like

    • Tim
      February 1, 2016

      The Astros are not on his no trade list.

      Like

  17. Becky⚾
    February 1, 2016

    Pitchers and catchers report on the 18th but Joe Musgrove is ALREADY in Florida!! Good article about Mates in the Chronicle…..I know you don’t like the guys writing for the paper, but it’s a nice piece anyway.

    Like

    • Dan P
      February 1, 2016

      Yes that was a good article about Martes – I do like what chron.com (spit!!) does with covering these young guys. Not too excited about how they do fan blogs.
      And my next post which will next gets posted starts out talking about the players reporting.

      Like

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This entry was posted on January 30, 2016 by in Astros.
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