A few weeks ago, Charles Dickens was quoted here in relation to Great Expectations for Carlos Correa.
Today we will move on to the Tale of Two Cities when looking at this season’s Houston Astros. “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times….” This has been a difficult time for any true fan of the Astros, because every time they get all down about the home team’s performance the team starts playing better. Then as soon as the sunshine optimist fan appears the Astros fall off the wagon and the fans fall off the band wagon.
The only easy role for the Houston Astros’ fan is that of hypocrite. Does any of this sound familiar over the last 4-1/2 months?
- Let’s get rid of Luis Valbuena. Just DFA him, give him away. (Turned a .183/.290/.540 April start into a .260/.357/.812 slash for the season)
- Man, Tyler White is great. Great! Roll him out there every day. (Hot two weeks turned into a pumpkin)
- Doug Fister is a disaster. Why did we pick him up? (After a few early bad starts – has been solid with a 11-7 record and 3.61 ERA)
- Ken Giles needs to get sent down until he learns what he is doing. (15 scoreless appearances from Mid-June to early August)
- Will Harris needs to be the closer for this team. (His ERA is 8 times as high since the day he became closer. Yeah it is cheating that he was 0.34 ERA when he became a closer).
- We need A.J. Reed and Alex Bregman up here. They will tear it up. (After terrible starts, they are toddling towards the Mendoza line).
- Just give Carlos Gomez a little more time and he will heat it up. (Well, not sure if anyone really thought that, but some hoped for it).
Now Dan P would never be one of these hypocrites….or admit to being one. Please don’t go back and check any posts or comments.
One question for you. What have you had to eat your words, feelings, thoughts about relative to the 2016 Houston Astros?
Here’s the glass is half full side of me coming out.
I feel pretty good about this team going into ‘17. We have a solid core of talent, virtually no ’17 salary commitments, Bregman is putting to bed the questions raised by his slow start and Gurriell actually hit like a ball player in his AAA debut.
Here’s what I would do if I were free agent for a day:
1) I would understand that this team’s window is ‘17 – ’20 and decide to go big and bet all the chips.
2) Save $45M in salary on free agents Rasmus, Gomez, Gattis, Valbuena, Castro and Fister., plus $12.5M by trading Nesheck and Gregerson (you will have to eat some salary or basically get nothing in return). That gives me almost $58M to spend on FA.
3) Offer Josh Reddick a 6/$120M deal and go higher if that’s what it takes.
4) Offer Wilson Ramos a 5/ $75M deal and go higher if that’s what it takes.
5) Make a serious trade push for Chris Archer. It will take a lot but we have the prospects to get the deal done. I think offering them their choice of any 3 of our top 30 prospects (max of 2 pitchers), 2 low- level prospects, plus McHugh, Reed, Tucker and Kemp gets the deal done. If it took adding a Giles or Feliz to get the deal done I would strongly consider it. It’s a hefty cost but he is a proven TOTR pitcher. (Bregman, Teoscar and Musgrove will be off of the prospect list by offseason.)
6) Make a “Fister like” signing of a veteran FA pitcher ($10-15M) as an insurance measure.
7) Offer Altuve a 10/$225M contract, buying out ‘17($4.5), ‘18 ($6) and ’19 ($6.5).
8) Fire Hudgens and pay whatever it took to get the best hitting coach in the game.
My lineup would look like this:
CF – Springer
RF – Reddick
2B – Altuve
SS – Correa
3B – Bregman
C – Ramos
DH – Gurriell
LF – Hernandez
1B – White
Utility IF – Gonzalez
4th OF – Marisnick
SP 1: Archer
SP 2: LMJ
SP 3: Keuchel
SP 5: Musgrove/ Rodgers/ Hauschild/ Martes/ Devinski/ Feliz/ ETC.
Our entire team would be under control through 2020, except for Altuve (2019) and Keuchel (2018). We would still have one of the top 5 -10 farm systems, a reasonable payroll and pitching depth for starters and bullpen.
I think 6/120 will be competitive for Reddick. I’m a little worried that the absence of FA catchers may push Ramos up significantly, possibly well over the Martin and McCann level of around 6/$85. But then a 2016 slash line of .326/.373/.535 with .901 OPS, 19 HR and 67RBI is hard to find in the catching position. He will be 29 next offseason so I think he could play out a 5 or even 6- year contract without breaking down.
We have to go big and add some legitimate talent while we have a controllable (and cheap) core.
What would you do?
Reddick is in his eighth season at age 29 and has had two seasons where he stayed healthy – 2012 at 156 games and 2015 at 149 games. His next highest total is 114 from 2013. There is nothing in his numbers that screams “better than Colby Rasmus” at me. I’m not advocating the signing of either player.
I like Chris Archer a lot. I think he could have another couple years before he falls off precipitously. He’s a free agent in 2020. I’m really not attached to any of our prospects right now. I’d pursue it, but doubt Luhnow really enters that race.
There are no FA starting pitchers worth pursuing.
It is possible Wilson Ramos finally figured it all out at age 28 (actually turned 29 last week). It’s also possible he’s our next Tony Sipp.
I won’t argue on Reddick. There is a gamble with him staying on the field. I do however, believe that he is significantly better than Rasmus when healthy.
Wilson Ramos carries a .270 lifetime average over 7 seasons and has consistently shown good power. He credits offseason lasik surgery (Gomez are you listening) and a new conditioning routine to his 2016 success. He is a pretty good (not great) defensive catcher. He is also a very thick guy that has shown very good agility (albeit slow as hell on the bases). I believe he is hands down the best FA catcher on the market. I meant to say he would be 29 during the upcoming offseason/ start of 2017 season.
I see no reason why Archer would fall precipitously before his mid- 30’s, but you never know. I would have said the same about Dontrelle Willis.
The problem is that you never know about any player. Home grown or secured from the outside. I would use the fact that we have basically nothing invested in our core players for the next 3-4 years to front- end load some FA contracts and buy time for some of our younger prospects to develop.
I think with a free agent pitcher you have to be looking at someone similar to Fister (or Kasmir a few years ago) that may be looking at a 1 year deal to play into position for a long- term contract. Not that I am advocating him but CJ Wilson would be an example if he comes back healthy in ’17.
Sounds ok to me, but you forget Jim Crane knows N O T H I N G about what it takes to own a baseball team. N O T H I N G. You gotta spend money to make money, and in his trucking company that makes a lot of sense……but when it comes to baseball, he doesn’t understand the nuances of free agents, and big contracts. Drayton never really understood it either, but Tal Smith did. Remember when I said Bregman knew he had a dollar sign on his back? He held his breath until the trade deadline was over, because I GUARANTEE you he thought he was getting traded. When the rosters expand I want to see who, and what we have for 2017. I suspect we have more than one diamond in the rough in our minor leagues!! I want to see Brady Rogers pitch, I want to see Mike Hauschild pitch. I have an uneasy feeling about McCullers arm. It’s just a woman’s intuition, but he very well may end up either this year, or next year having surgery on his elbow…..I’m not gonna say the name for fear of jinxing him….but that’s my suspicion. Unless and until Crane realizes he has to spend money on this team we will continue to patch, patch, patch…….
BY the way your second post made me laugh outloud!! Becky⚾
Becky, we have to be willing to gamble a little. There are no sure things in baseball. If we wait around for a sure thing we will lose. We’ve got money to spend in 2017 and a lot of very highly regarded prospects. You’ll win some and you’ll lose some but if you ain’t making moves to go forward you’re going backwards.
I want to see the kids play too, but I want to have some good veteran leadership as well.
P.S. I am also worried about LMJ’s arm. Things just seem far too quiet. Not a peep since he went on the DL.
I agree with Devin on Reddick. Someone might pay him ridiculous money, but I hope it’s not the Astros. I would rather see if we can get Rasmus back at a reduced salary like 1/$7M and take a look at Cespedes as a free agent. You can put Springer in CF flanked by Rasmus in LF and Cespedes in RF. Give Teoscar one more year in Fresno to prove this year is for real.
I’d be open to trading for Archer, but I’m not comfortable making White the everyday 1B. If you trade Reed they may need to look at another 1B via free agency. I don’t want Marwin as an everyday player, but love him as a super sub.
Ya’ll are probably right on Reddick. The FA class is so thin in 2017 that you would probably have to way overpay for what he brings.
Cespedes signed a 3/75 in the offseason and won’t be available unless he exercises his opt out. He’s slated to make $23.75 in each of the next 2 years. He will be 31 next month so if he would probably only opt out for a much longer term deal that would pay him into his late 30’s. However, if he opts out and would take 5/100 – 6/120 I would go for it. Any longer and I would sit on the sidelines. I would rather have him than Reddick.
What about trying to resign Valbuena for 1B/ DH? Would 3/21 get him (I dont think so)? Not a great defensive 1B but fairly versatile and has a decent bat with some power.
Or what about Napoli on a 1 year deal? Old but still producing and has 29 HR so far this season.
We need an OF that can hit for average and get on base at a fair clip. Rasmus does not fit that bill. I would just as soon see Marisnick (at a much lower cost) than Rasmus.
FA market is pretty slim this year so expect prices to be high.
On another note:
Due to the abnormally high number of home runs in tonight’s game the umpires ran out of balls. They asked each team to provide a fresh box with a dozen balls. The Astro’s were fresh out but JL started working the phones and secured a trade. For signed Altuve and Correa infielders gloves, Springer and Bregman signed bats, and a game jersey to be named later he secured one dozen John Singleton signed balls and took them to the umpires. As it turned out, they were deemed unacceptable for play at the MLB level, In an interview after the game JL defended his move stating that the balls were actually very good balls, that it would take some time before they entered a MLB game and that in the end they would be very successful balls and everyone would see that the trade was a good one.
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Thanks for the laugh this morning!
Nice to know that someone in the organization finally has some balls.
HAHAHA!!! That worthless box signed by Singleton may be all that he brings to the party:)