What Astros’ fans want! It’s pretty simple

This was supposed to be one of “those” posts. You know, a wonky stat-filled romp through the needs of the Astros from starting pitching, through left-handed relieving, past failures to close games, and across the bad offense from the DH, 1B and 2/3 of the OF with stops in Prospect City and trade possibilities.

But there is too much anger here after more than half a century of cheering, cajoling and praying for a result that feels like the bridge too far. Sure, the team faced a lot of injury and performance challenges this season and came “close” to the playoffs. As Adam Sandler said during a depression/anger rant in the “Wedding Singer” – Whoopitty doo!!

Speaking for the many fans with the same helpless, hopeless psyche and situations, what they want is a fairly short and simple list:

  • Jim Crane. We don’t want to hear about the team being short at this position or that position due to budgetary constraints or considerations. We don’t want to hear about development personnel being cut from the minor league system. You are a very rich person. You hang out with the President and Tiger Woods. The team is worth a heck of a lot more than when you bought it. If you have some cash flow problems – sell a flippin’ golf course.
  • Jeff Luhnow. A lot of Astros’ fans live in Houston or used to live in Houston. We know all about what happens to the smartest guys in the room when they hit that brick wall labeled reality.  I can personally see the former Enron building two blocks north from my office floor downtown. Most fans know that stats are critical in today’s baseball. But in reality only one stat really matters. Wins. We are sick of the team not winning enough to get in the playoffs, to advance through the playoffs and to win the championship. You need to finish putting together the team that can do that for this deserving city, We don’t care how or whether you look like a genius or idiot doing it. As Al Davis said once, just win baby.
  • A.J. Hinch. Fans know you are a bit handcuffed by the talent given you. We know that you did not always have good choices for the batting order after the cleanup hitter until later in the year. We know that both the starting pitching and the relief pitching could shine or stink when called upon. But we also know there were questionable choices made by you that may have been the difference between going to the playoffs or going home. You need to step it up, especially against the Texas Rangers who seem to have a psychological and emotional edge over your team. Your team needs to split with the Rangers in 2017 or how about beating them more than they beat you?
  • Dave Hudgens. Eleven of the twenty-two every day players who played in 2016 hit .210 or lower. Nine of them had OPS’s below .600. The team was bad in situational hitting and very few hitters improved in 2016 and most of those who came up from the minors hit way below their norm. You need to do better or go away.
  • Brent Strom. You have earned some slack with how well the pitchers did, especially in 2015. Sorry for the “what have you done for us lately” attitude, but the pitching was the biggest reason behind the digression of the team in 2016. If it is all due to sore arms, then you have an excuse, but if a chunk of it is due to the other teams figuring out how to work against your pitchers in the world of shrinking strike zones, you need to change the game plans.
  • Astros’ hitters. Quit swinging for the fences no matter the count. Quit watching the good pitches and swinging at crap. Have better at bats when a duck is on the pond. Move that runner over; bring that runner home. More runs equal more wins.
  • Astros’ pitchers. Relievers watch video of what Chris Devenski did last season. Throwing strikes. Moving the pitches around. Changing speeds. What has always worked still works today. Starters, if you are hurting, ‘fess up to it. In seasons where a game or two makes a huge difference, we don’t need to be putting damaged goods out there. It would not hurt the healthy folks to watch video of Mr. Devenski either. He was a pitcher, not a thrower in 2016.

That’s it. That’s all we want. Go do it.

178 comments on “What Astros’ fans want! It’s pretty simple

  1. Dan, that pretty well sums it up. But I need to add a couple of things. We had injuries, but there were other clubs that had it worse. I don’t know where to find that games missed stat, but I’m guessing we didn’t get hit all that bad. Heck, the Dodgers lost all kinds of guys, the rotation especially.

    I think we all agree Hudgens needs to go to, but our club hitting philosophy is probably not his. And when half the guys who played for the big club this year hit under .210, we can’t can’t put that all on the hitting coach. Our organization simply lacks enough good hitters. And that’s got to be a combination of things, from bad drafting, to bad development in the minor league system, to misuse of the guys brought up to the big club. And probably even an atmosphere here in Houston not 100% conducive to helping guys succeed. When Carlos Gomez can move 250 miles north and suddenly post a .905 OPS after more than a year of hopelessness, something is amiss.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you Dan for a dose of reality vs excuses. It’s time for the ownership and FO to start making big boy decisions on what the heck we are doing as an organization, trying to be perineal winners or get a dozen cookies for a good farm system.

    .We the die hard fans need to win now. There is an organizational issue here and last time I looked our Astros have never won a world series and been to one and got swept.

    I realize that the current regime isn’t responsible for 54 years of frustration here. However year 6 of the Uncle Jeff plan and I have zero faith he or his pals will get us there

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s year 5 that was just completed, not year 6.

      The first comment was in reply to Kevin, but the rest of my post is just my response in general. One thing fans have always had is a lack of patience. I understand it, but it is fortunate that ownership and management don’t listen to the fans on a regular basis. Those teams that over react to the fans or change plans after a slight regression from the team are the organizations that flounder forever (see the Yankees of the 1980s). The most successful organizations have stability and tenacity to continue through with the plan set forward until it is clear the plan will not work. In the case of the Astros that hasn’t been proven yet. I keep harking back to the days of 2009-2011 when it was clear this franchise was rudderless with no hope for the future. No one can guarantee a championship, but they can keep putting the pieces in place to give the team a chance to compete for a championship. Bum Phillips once claimed the Oilers would kick the sumbitch in next year and that next year ended with a loss in the opening round of the playoffs and the Oilers never returned to the level they were in 1978-1979.

      Now, that is not to say this team is without flaws or, as currently constructed, a championship contender. However, they are not far off from being a legitimate contender. The core is there with Altuve, Springer, Correa, Bregman, LMJ, Keuchel and Giles. They also have additional supporting pieces like Gurriel, Gattis, Gregerson, Devenski, Musgrove, McHugh and Harris that are needed to compete. What they are missing is another strong bat for the middle of the order and some rotational pitching depth to help offset the injuries that are going to happen.

      I prefer patience over panic. Sometimes change is good, but wholesale changes are rarely good except when the organization hits rock bottom, like the Astros in 2011. This organization needed new ownership and management, which it got and it led to a quicker recovery than I and, I am willing to bet, most of you expected. There has never been a situation in baseball like the Astros had in 2011 when the farm system was, probably, the worst in the history of baseball and the major league team was one of the worst as well. Drayton McLane did the fans a HUGE disservice in how he directed this team in his final 5 years. For most organizations it probably would have taken 7-10 years just to recover and get back to a winning season. The Astros got there, with a playoff appearance, in 4 years. That, in and of itself, is a miracle.

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      • I read this twice and a lot of it is true and some good history stuff. However I don’t see where a lot what we are saying is panic. Are we in better shape than when Drayton sold the team, of course, any one with a brain can see that.

        I still in my heart believe a lot of baseball folks could have done as well or better than Uncle Jeff, if given the same starting point we were in , the toilet.

        Once again I don’t think anyone is saying wholesale changes. I’m saying we need to make some calculated great moves to become a champion, that could involve loosing some good kids. Enough B moves!

        I would love to know if Springer , Altuve, and the other guys are saying hey lets be patient here, you know 2 -3 more years, and we might be there I doubt it.

        This is and should be The FO year of getting into playoffs and deep into the playoffs or next.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with much of what you said except that I doubt few could have had the foresight and patience to rebuild this organization the way Luhnow and Company did. I think we’d be much worse off under different management (unless we could have convinced Andrew Friedman to come here back in 2011). Otherwise, I think this is a pivotal year for both Luhnow and the Astros. Another regression by this team could mean the end of Luhnow’s tenure as G.M. and a change in philosophy, but I doubt it. I really think Crane wants Luhnow as his G.M. for several years and I think Crane trusts in the direction of this organization and the majority of moves made by upper management.

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      • Foresight and patience? They had a fire sale and alienated the majority of the fanbase by playing non-prospects in a hope to secure the top draft position and largest bonus money pool…then did so three consecutive years. They just fell short of the goal a fourth year.

        They hit the jackpot getting Correa and LMJ…so they tried the same approach two more times. The first attempt failed miserably (Appel, Thurman, Emanuel, Gregor, Kemp, Nottingham, Ramsay, Martin, Holberton, Nicely were the first 10 picks). The second attempt, well, I say it failed miserably (Aiken, Fisher, Reed, Davis, Mengden, Nix, Dykxhoorn, Derek Velazquez, Boyd, Radziewski, Gause) as well, but at least the MLB CBA allowed them to salvage it by drafting Bregman the following year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Here’s the problem with your post, Devin. Yes, it takes patience to ride out a rebuild despite impatient fans expressing anger and frustration with the team losing. The foresight was to stick to this plan despite knowing the fans would be angry and the attendance would be low. I doubt Drayton would have stuck with this plan and we would still be wallowing in mediocrity if he was the owner and going on starting our 12th season without a playoff berth.

        Now, the first attempt succeeded with Correa and LMJ. The 2nd draft, which you alluded to being the first attempt, had many in the top 10 that were used in trades so they were desired by other organizations and not failed picks. Go through the top 10 draft picks of each team and see how many have been successful picks (offering any major league value). The success rate is very low.

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      • Tim, they abandoned the plan long ago. As for the rest of your comment, teams picking 1.1 are expected to get better talent than even the team picking 1.2. it’s why the Pirates failing on so many top picks made their team a laughingstock beyond the losing.

        I disagree with your Drayton assessment. He bankrolled winning teams for a decade before trying to do it with thrift shop acquisitions.

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      • How did they abandon the plan? They have committed to keep the minor league strong and adding to the major league team, as needed. They have done this and not strayed from it.

        Drayton really strayed from any plan he had in his last 5 years of ownership. He was in bed, for lack of a better term, with Bud Selig and would not veer from Bud’s recommended slot system on signing draft picks. This team would be in shambles if Drayton was still the owner. Those last 5 years are proof of this. Jason Castro was his best pick during this time and he has barely been a serviceable major leaguer at the dish. The only reason he drafted players like Castro and Mier was because they would sign for slot.

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      • Tim, it’s to Luhnow’s credit that he saw he could not turn the draft into an exploitable market inefficiency and altered strategy. Every team tries to have a strong pipeline while winning with the big league club, but only a few achieve it. That’s the result they desired and not a plan. How they would achieve it is the plan.

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      • Devin,

        It sure wasn’t Drayton’s plan from 2006-2011 to have a strong pipeline of talent flowing through the system. Not every team follows through on a structured plan, but Luhnow and the Astros have and we are much better off because of his foresight and plan.

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  3. Last night as we temporarily watched the playoff game(while waiting for the DVR to record enough of our favorite TV shows, including the Texans’ game), I explained to Mrs1OP about how the Dodgers have a $272mill payroll and the Astros have a $100mill payroll. She looked at me and said “that’s ridiculous”.
    Her response was so on-target that it made me realize the futility of following a team like the Astros. It’s just like following the Cougars.
    I’ve been doing this for fifty years. Always pulling for and making excuses for teams that never can make the commitment to do whatever it takes, and always being outspent and out-maneuvered, and out-thought by their competitors.
    Now it has reached the point where the Astros have been so stupid and so lazy and so frugal for so long that baseball players avoid us like the plague and the best GM’s players and managers go anywhere but here.
    Right now, at this moment, when Houston has Correa, Keuchel, Bregman, Springer, LMJ, Devenski, Musgrove, Gattis, Giles, Gonzales and Altuve all playing for peanuts is the time to go for it all. It is penultimate moment to spend on free agency because we finally have the home grown stars to go with free agents to arrive at Baseball’s Golden Streets. Three years from now all the young guys won’t be young and they are all going to get paid by us or someone else, so this is the year to go sign guys for big money for the next three years and compete for a title, before we become the club that spends huge money for our own guys and can’t afford free agents any longer, just like the situation the Royals find themselves in today.
    Five years to rebuild have led us to this moment. We have to go for it right now. Our team has to go for it right now or three years from now we are going to look back and realize we missed our chance.
    There are going to have to be sacrifices made.
    Big money needs to be spent.
    Egos need to be checked at the door and mistakes like moving Springer to RF have to be corrected.
    If a guy like Sipp, who is making big money while pitching terribly, continues to do that, we have to get him out of that bullpen and put in somebody who won’t just blow wins for us. We cannot live with bad play by expensive players because the big-guys won’t do that. They know they can’t afford to let a mistake kill the chances of the whole organization.
    We have to go big-time! That means correcting mistakes and not living with them.
    And we have to ride the wind while the window is open.
    Every team in baseball knows that the Astros’ pump is primed. They are waiting for us to blow this again and miss that window by not doing what we need to do to win, just like when we wouldn’t do what we needed to do when we had the chance to keep Beltran and make that 2005 team the one that could have been.
    For those of us who have spent every ounce we have, this is it for us.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. After reading everyone’s comments – here are some thoughts back at ya…
    – daveb – my only reply is that when a team spends what the Dodgers do, injuries should be no more than a gnat’s worth of bother to you.
    – Baskerville – who I am pretty sure is bopert, because bopert use to be bo weaver….Yes, it is a complaint against Jim Crane, but it is a complaint up and down to everyone to do better.
    – Kevin – hang in there – we are within 50 or 60 more years of this – I can feel it.
    – Tim – I have been patient, but the best window to make a move is now as old pro outlines in his comment – while some of our best players are so cheap.
    – sarge – Are you available for a special spring training assignment to “assist” Mr. Hudgens?
    – oldpro – Very right on – now is what all this should have been pointing to – I had enough of McLane poor boying us at the most crucial moments back in the day. Time to make your mark Mr. Crane

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    • I agree with much of what OP said. This is the offseason to make the moves needed to push us to the upper echelon of teams. However, when I see bloggers demanding Luhnow and/or Hinch be fired, to me, shows an extreme lack of patience. The reasoning that I see is that some of his trades have not turned out as expected (although he has had more success than failures in trades). Not every trade is going to work out. Do you think the Rangers wished they still had Kyle Hendricks instead of making the ill-fated trade for Ryan Dempster? Do you think the Red Sox wish they had kept Jeff Bagwell instead of trading him for Larry Andersen? I could go on and on with the examples of trades of prospects for veterans that didn’t work out. Unfortunately, in most cases and understandable, most fans have blinders on and only see the trades that didn’t work out for his/her favorite team and think management is doing a horrible job. That couldn’t be further from the truth in our case.

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      • If you agree with a lot of what I said, then maybe you will understand this. Showing an extreme lack of patience is the trait of those of us who have seen our parents pass away after pulling for the Astros to win a world series from 1962 through the early 90’s or so. Now we are in our sixties, some of us our late sixties. And we don’t care for somebody telling us we need to be more patient or that Jeff Luhnow is going to be our savior. It’s not patience we need, it’s “time” we need and some of us don’t have all kinds of time.
        When my dad passed he had been an Astros fan for thirty years and when he did pass I was sure that I would see an Astros championship in my lifetime because Biggio and Bags and all of my guys were surely going to deliver. That was 24 years ago. Now I’ve got somebody telling me and my blog buddies that we have an “extreme lack of patience” and that this guy, who everybody has laughed and joked about for years as the Astros’ GM is suddenly going to deliver the goods, even though he sees George Springer with negative runs saved playing RF and can’t figure out why that is. It’s because this GM took the CF and put him in RF and suddenly the guy is a below average fielder. A blind guy can see that Luhnow doesn’t have enough baseball knowledge. He’s a computer/math/geek who needs help and he’s not getting it from the guys he’s surrounding himself with.
        He had better take the next step quickly or you will be trying to interest your grandchildren in the Astros while still waiting for a world series trophy.
        God, I hate being talked down to by some fool who’s been fooled by another fool.
        and I hope the fool who’s fooled you stops being a fool and starts acting like a major league GM who wants to win in baseball’s world, and not a major league GM who wants to prove that baseball is something that is moving into his world.
        Baseball is huge! So far, Jeff Luhnow is not.
        Try telling the dead grandparents of today’s Cubs fans that they were showing an extreme lack of patience back in the 50’s when they pulled for the Cubs and that new GM they had was going to deliver the Trophy.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Don’t blame the sins of the past ownership and management on the current regime. You lack patience now, but the Astros are much closer to that coveted prize than they would be if we kept the same leadership in place from 2011.

        Also, Springer had a UZR/150 in RF of 5.7 last year and 4.4 in 2015. In addition, he had 5 DRS in 2015 and 5 in 2016 in RF. He is not a negative fielder in RF, but I’ll grant you that he’s probably better in CF. However, he is better than most we can put in RF.

        Take a deep breath and realize calling me a fool is not going to prove any points or help your argument. You’re better than that, but you got emotional and it clouded your judgment today.

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      • Also, I’m not criticizing you or other fans for having a lack of patience. It’s a common characteristic among most fans. I am impatient as well, at times, but after what we went through from 2009-2014 I don’t want to experience that again as a fan. I have decided to be more patient with the process and not panic or over react after one slight regression (2 wins off the pace of the year before). As a fan I noticed that the teams that stick with a plan, as long as that plan is showing results, tend to win more than the teams that panic or over react and trade players away after a poor season or fire the manager/GM after a slight regression. Did the Rangers panic after the 2014 season and make significant changes? Did the Giants over reach after the 2011 season? It seems like most on here are assuming the Astros aren’t going to do anything to make the team better so they start criticizing ownership and management now before the Hot Stove League has begun. Let’s see what happens during this offseason and then make an assessment of ownership and upper management. The payroll has increased after bottoming out in 2013 and is now over $100M. It’s not like the Astros are operating on a shoestring budget, but they can’t operate on a budget like the Dodgers, Yankees or even the Rangers. They don’t have the resources those teams have.

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    • No offense, Dave, but I doubt the accuracy of this. Most fans make that claim and then are drawn back in as soon as the season gets started, or maybe even sooner. If I had a nickel for every time I heard or read a fan say “I am so done with this team” or something similar, only to see said fan be right back on the bandwagon the next season I would be a very, very rich man. Maybe you’re the rare exception, but I have my doubts. If the offseason moves are lackluster and I don’t see you posting on here I might believe it, but I think the passion as an Astros fan will always be there, but some of that passion may be rooted in anger or disgust.

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      • Tim, there are varying levels of interest. Daveb has been a seasom ticket holder for decades. What happens when guys like him take their money elsewhere and only pays for a game or two he knows he will attend. Even you cannot claim our attendance is a triumph.

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      • Tim, apparently you know better than me about me. I made it into Houston for one Astro game this year, on September 28. It coincided with a colonoscopy appointment at the Medical Center. That 81st game, with maybe 12 thousand fans in the park was about as thrilling as that colonoscopy. I declined the bonus option of paying 15 dollars to have my photo taken on Tals Hill. I used to go to 70 plus games a year. Then once living away from Houston, somewhere between 10 and 20 annually. I’m getting older now. Other things become more fascinating to me. And until I see 3,000,000 fans through the turnstiles at the park again, I’m inclined to believe that I’m not alone.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The attendance started declining in the last years of the prior ownership. It is now up for the 2nd consecutive year and it will continue to increase as the team continues winning. This is commonplace among many sports franchises.

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      • Dave….your post made me laugh! Boy the Astros really rated high on your list that day…….get a colonoscopy in the morning, get the results while you watch this team get pounded in the afternoon!! I was at that game….they ALL could have used a colonoscopy by the time that game was over!! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!!!!!

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      • Becky, I just noticed your post! Yeah, it was pretty funny. And literally, I reported to Methodist at 7:15 AM, got business taken care of and then went to Jackson Street Barbecue, the new place next to Minute Maid, and had lunch and a few beers with a couple of my brothers, before going into the stadium for my second colonoscopy!

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  5. Going to a Astro’s ballgame is about like going to your favorite restaurant. You go because you really enjoy the atmosphere but when the food, service, price, or other amenities goes to hell in a hand basket you decide to spend your hard earned dollars elsewhere. If the product is good you keep going or you return when it’s better. Right now these things are better than the previous ownership of “Cafe Astros” but be reminded that if there are no new exciting items on the menu and the service is ho-hum, people will once again go elsewhere.
    How many times have we said, I really like (insert name of establishment) but lately their product, service, price is not worth the trip? Houston deserves better than giving the fans menu items leftover from yesterday.

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    • Great analysis. There is a great Mexican food restaurant that the Missus and I have enjoyed for a couple of decades but…. each time we eat there now, we get an upset belly later so now, we only go once every three months now instead of the three times each week as we used to. Similarly, in regards to the club, our bellies get upset because we seem to be unable to get to the postseason in earnest. The club is good but just not good enough on a consistent basis. We look in every few games because we want the club to be so very good but then, a clunker leaves a bad taste in our mouths. We are gullible at this point.

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  6. Thanks for putting this out there Dan. These are things that need to be faced by Astro fans. After watching a few of the playoff games it’s evident that something is off here. Whether it’s General managing, managing, or the coaching staff it all falls in Crane’s lap.
    These playoffs teams are good at every position. Our team has very good young talent mixed with mediocre players. And as OP said they won’t be young and talented for many more years.
    It’s going to take more than a patch job here and there to get a championship.
    Acquiring a couple of top free agents ( if any will come here ) would be a good start but there’s still something off about this team.

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  7. I could not agree more with old pro’s thinking here. It is the exact reason I wrote this post. My dad was a die hard Astros fan from when he moved to Houston in 1966 until lung cancer killed him 35 years later. If my memory is correct he never even saw his team win a playoff series in all that time.
    I’ve lasted 15 years past that to the 50 year mark. I’m no longer Mr. Passive nice guy about things. It is time for this organization to produce and I don’t mean produce a profit.
    If Mr. Luhnow feels undue pressure from the fans – good. It is time. If he is half as brilliant as he thinks he is this should be a snap – right?
    Tim – you’ve already said that we should not judge his draft failures harshly because not many make it to the majors. So it is not killing a plan to trade some of these not likely to make its for help now.
    Hey I am not saying fire anybody (except Hudgens) but nobody should be given the false impression that they can’t be fired.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan, his draft history has largely been a huge success, but you’re not going to get much for those that are not likely to make it. Most GM’s have advanced degrees from top universities and they aren’t going to take our trash for quality major leaguers. Sure, we can offer Kemp, Moran and Davis for Sale or Archer, but that offer will get laughed at and rejected so fast it will make our heads spin.

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      • So you are telling me his huge success is trash that other GMs are too smart to take. You can’t be on both sides of that fence.

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      • Dan,

        What I’m saying is that not every draft pick is going to be successful (these are our trash). As great as Luhnow has been in the draft even he can’t find gems with every pick (the same goes for Epstein, Daniels, Cashman etal). The Astros aren’t going to get much for ‘these not likely to make it…”. They will have to part with some of the many successful picks/acquisitions by Luhnow, such as Bregman, Martes and Musgrove.

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      • If he was great he would have plenty of picks to trade and if he was a great GM he could get better value. He’s a decent GM who had so many high end picks he had to hit on some.
        I’m willing to give him another year but he cannot have another season of digression.

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      • He did and does have plenty of picks/acquisitions to trade, but no one wants us to trade Correa, Bregman, Martes, Musgrove and KTuck. He has also traded Ruiz, Thurman, Appel, Velasquez, Cosart, Foltynewicz, Nottingham, Mengden, etc. Not all of those were his picks/acquisitions, but many were. Whether he is a great GM or a decent GM is in the eye of the beholden fan, but nonetheless I will argue that very few could have rebuilt this franchise so quickly, under such a dire situation, and that takes, in my opinion, a top quality GM.

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  8. Man…..Trevor Bauer just left the game with his pinky finger just gushing blood!!
    He cut it yesterday and he had 10 stitches in it. That’s gonna be a problem for the Indians tonight, it’s gonna be all hands on deck outta the bullpen. His finger was dripping blood!

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  9. Old Pro…..I’m printing out your post about fools, so I can look back on it when this team finishes the 2017 season sitting on the couch watching some other team play in the world series. You gotta spend money to make money, and you are soooo right this core of young kids will see “you’re now leaving the city of Houston” in their rear view mirror…..sooner rather than later, if Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow aren’t carefull.

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  10. Sandy asked about Tucker…..he’s out of the hospital and resting at home. We couldn’t get him to eat, because when he chewed anything his head hurt.
    Pudding and jello to the rescue! He was not wearing a batting helmet, only his baseball cap. He was standing at 3rd base, when he was hit with a screaming ball off the bat of the kid taking batting practice at the plate. I’ve talked to Jeff (our son) about getting a gel liner for him…..we will investigate it. We are just now trying to digest how close we came to losing him. God heard your prayers, and I can’t thank you enough for remembering him in your prayers.♡♡♡♡
    Dave….Tucker is right handed, but his little brother Tate is a *lefty* !!!!
    Thank you soo much. Becky⚾

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  11. Detroit has become the second AL contender for a wild card spot to announce that their payroll will be “leaner” this coming year, following the Royals announcement last week.
    Both teams have indicated they have been outspending their budgets.

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  12. Dan…..this is sooo sad😢 please if you could give us the mothers fist name we can call her name to the Lord. I will lift him up in prayer right now. Please post any information you can pass along to us. “With God all things are possible” Becky⚾

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  13. Cubs are looking like the old Astros in the playoffs – big hitters struggling. Playoffs are such a small sample that any kind of slump is magnified.
    And it was no surprise to see Angel Hernandez blow a call that was luckily reversed. He has always been a blown call machine.

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    • Yep…..and they are getting shut out 2 nights in a row. Something tells me Rich Hill just upped his value with his performance tonight!! We can’t afford him……

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    • Not only is Angel Hernandez a horrible umpire, but his ego is bigger than the state of Texas and he goads players into confrontations. There are a few umpires I would like to see gone from the game and Angel is at the top of the list (I also think it’s time for Country Joe West to retire or forced to retire).

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      • Totally agree Tim (you don’t hear that very often). This is not a matter of Hernandez and West having it “in” for the Astros. They are equal opportunity offenders with thin skins.
        I am guessing that merit is not included in the formula for ump playoff assignments

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  14. I rarely visit certain sites like mlbtraderumors anymore, but did so today and see the top item is an offseason outlook for the Anaheim Angels of California outside Los Angeles. They owe Albert Pujols $140 million through 2021. I think that remains fantastic news and should hopefully cheer some of us up.

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  15. We just found out that my co-worker’s son, Jake, passed away this morning. Please continue your prayers for his family. Thank you so much.

    Like

  16. In MLBTR Yankees preseason outlook it is pointed out that Brian McCann will probably be made available and that the Yanks would pick up some of his salary to move him and will not be able to get “premium prospects” for him.
    A team needing a LH hitting catcher to match with their RH hitting catcher might want to keep this in mind. McCann has a full no-trade clause in his contract because of his seniority. He will be motivated to allow a trade to a contender, one would think.
    Since the Yanks want to move down in salary to get under the penalty, and because they are rumored to want Encarnacion to 1B/DH for them, they are motivated to deal a guy who has been displaced by their young catching phenom, Sanchez.
    I’m just sayin’.
    We need to pay attention to these Outlooks for every team, because you never know what might be out there and they are doing some of our legwork for us.

    Like

  17. He is not in decline if you look at his numbers against RH starting pitchers. Those numbers this year are higher than his career numbers overall and all of his stats are way over Castro’s stats.
    This year and for his career he has hit ground ball pitchers very well and in our park we see a lot of ground ball pitchers. This guy is a low-ball power hitter, still, at age 32. We are looking for this kind of catcher. What I like most of all is that this past season he struck out at a 20% rate across the board, and it was the same against LHP and RHP. That’s below league average fo all players and we had a catcher in Castro who stuck out 35% of the time. We had a catcher who was the epitomy of a catcher in decline for the last three years.
    I would prefer a guy like this if I’m looking for a catcher to catch 80 games a year to go with Gattis.
    If he turns down a trade with Houston, so be it. But there are a lot of teams out there who are in a lot worse shape than us financially and won’t be near as competitive as us, especially if we have two power hitting catchers.

    Like

  18. Thank you for your post Dan! It is my understanding that JL came to town with a 5 year plan. We may have the best computer team and a highly rated farm system, but 2017 is time to be a great team in the MLB. Fans should accept nothing less. And I think it is a sure bet that the entire coaching staff remains because they are willing to do exactly what JL and his computer staff tell them. The approach to hitting comes straight from JL based on an interview he gave on MLB network a couple of years ago. And if you think JL and squad aren’t a telling AJ who to play where and when, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, the plan was completed in 4 years, so ahead of schedule, but only haters will dispute it by saying “Where’s our World Series trophy.” He didn’t guarantee a title, and no smart GM should, but he did say the Astros would return to being a contender and he fulfilled that promise, despite the acknowledgement of the blind.

        Like

      • Tim reminds me of the kid who wants everyone to think he is so cool he doesn’t care what everyone thinks of him, but has to respond to every little slight.

        Like

      • That’s because I don’t care what people think of me. I’m strong in my opinions and beliefs and I don’t sway just to try and fit in with the masses.

        It’s ironic because most on here are very critical of the bloggers over at TCB. They call them arrogant and ignorant. Check yourself because the ignorance and arrogance may be the reflection in the mirror.

        Like

      • I was taking shots at Kevin because that’s what Kevin and I do to each other. Maybe Dan can say why he was taking shots at me. Kevin’s a big boy and he can take care of himself.

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      • I don’t think Tim thinks he’s cool, I just think he’s oblivious to reality at times and gets a bit aggressive when we continue to pile on.

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      • I’m oblivious to much, Dave. You may be right that since I’m one of the few that actually trusts and believes in our front office that I do get piled on by most here, but I’m fine with it. I can handle being called a fool or any other name if it makes the person feel better about themselves. Yes, if my name is being mentioned I will respond, but you may not like my response.

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      • It was still the best post of 2016. Honestly I have no clue why Dan’s post would provoke such hostility from Timmy Lunhow to be so judgmental of others here in CHIP that he doesn’t know. Dan’s post wasn’t that ugly , but wow Tim came out swinging with some hate man. WOW It’s a sad day hear at TImalatta.

        Good thing we are all thick skinned except obviously Timallata

        Like

      • Kevin,

        Where was the hate? I didn’t direct any hate toward Dan at all. I said you reminded me of the nerdy kid in high school, but the majority of my friends, including myself, were the nerdy kids in high school. You’re being very sensitive, Kevin, but that has been your mantra since you and I have disagreed on things.

        Like

      • By the way, Kevin, this isn’t the first time you said ‘that was the best post of 2016’. So, how many times can a post be the best of the year?

        Like

      • Tim as many times as you say tat Uncle Jeff is actually a great GM, How many times have spewed hate on this blog about 100. Who cares its baseball its a baseball team . I hate to see how you must act in real life about actually important things.

        Like

      • Unfortunately, Kevin, your post is an incoherent mess so I can’t formulate an educated response. Do you care to clarify what you were trying to say just before the ‘100’?

        Like

    • And when Hinch gets fired…….Luhnow will say “we thanked A.J. for his commitment to the success of this team”. And we will say…..that is TOTAL BS!!!
      Nance…..girlfriend you said what we all think. BRAVO!!!!

      Like

      • Not all of us. 🙂

        Of course, I’m sure you meant all that agree with Nance. I don’t think Hinch will be fired by Luhnow. When Hinch is fired it will probably be by Jim Crane and it will be a mass firing of Hinch, Luhnow and many in the front office, but that probably won’t happen unless the Astros pull a 2016 Minnesota Twins.

        Like

    • There is a….softness to this team that is hard to explain, similar to trying to grasp a gust of wind.
      It seems that the only thing that is tough about this organization is the way it treats its own players.
      In battle, they seem to get blown away by tougher opponents. The manager wants to make people like him but doesn’t have that mantle of toughness.
      Its like we want to fight a duel within the rules, but the other guy always gets the kill shot.
      We have finesse guys on the mound and we want to appear tough by surprising hitters with an 88mph fastball up in the zone. When we get away with it, we puff up and then do it again and that next 88mph fastball bounces off the glass above the train.
      We talk about how batters hit finesse pitchers and don’t hit power pitchers, but we ran finesse pitchers out there all season.
      I know we got annihilated by the Rangers, they got annihilated by Toronto, Toronto got annihilated by Cleveland and we had a chance to blow Cleveland away and got taken to the woodshed by a terrible umpiring decision and then faded from sight.
      If the Astros are going to gain the respect of other teams and players and umpires, we need to start crushing people and not just talking about how young and talented we are.
      The 2016 Astros were soft. The players need to look to Gattis for leadership and Altuve for example and throw away their little boy toys and become the men in this league. We’ll know they have grown up when they win their division and beat the crap out of the Rangers and then turn around and pound the next team.
      Until that happens, I don’t want to here about how lucky a team was that smashed us in the face every time we played them.

      Like

      • 1OP, that’s why I said something is amiss with this club…..but so hard to put a finger on it. Leadership certainly plays a role. And I think we’ve got some guys that don’t have the highest baseball IQ’s. In this respect, I’m encouraged by the addition of guys like Gurriel and Bregman. They both have a good pulse for what’s going on between the lines. I also think that other teams love to beat us. Our GM has gotten a whole lot of press for being an advanced thinker, a leader in the field of metrics and baseball technology. But I’m not sure if anyone in MLB likes him. Until his methods really pay off, he’s not going to get much respect.

        Like

      • Awesome I have said that on many occasions, we are SOFT SOFT SOFT and accept Medocrity, and were good guys who will get em next year!
        I want to see a pissed off and hungry 2017 team with a tough no BS leader.

        Shoot that rules out Uncle Jeff and his band of nerds. We need baseball people, been saying that for 24 months. I know, I know, I’m panicking, being flippant, its only been 5 years. it takes 10 be patient

        NOT this year Playoffs or time to run Jeffy and all his computer servers out of town.

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    • Excellent post Nance. Some teams are manager driven. Some GM driven. I think the best are run by both a manager and a GM that are able to check their egos a bit. I agree with you. I never have thought that Hinch makes a lot of the decisions he’d like to. Many people, way beyond our little blog, are looking at 2017 as the year our club has to make a significant impact. I don’t even think Tim will protect Luhnow into 2018 if this club does not do big things on the field next year.

      Like

      • That depends on how you define big things. Is 90 wins and an ALCS appearance a big thing? What about 88 wins and a World Series appearance? I look at the Twins of this year. That team had a serious regression and changes needed to be made. Their record wasn’t much better than the Astros worst years and they had many high draft picks also. If the Astros have a year like the 2016 Twins or even the 2016 DBacks then I will want changes, but not winning the World Series is not enough for me to demand changes.

        Like

  19. I still have faith. If we don’t make some serious moves and at least get to the ALCS (or at least come close) then that may change.

    We *have* to make some moves to upgrade, though…that is a necessity.

    Like

  20. I’m sorry Billy, but changes and upgrades are not going to get us to the promised land if something isn’t done about the approach to the game.
    I’m convinced the coaches and manager are just JL puppets.

    Like

    • I dunno…we came close to making the playoffs after a *horrible* start, and losing most of our good players to injury towards the end. So yeah, having guys like Bregman for the whole season will make a huge difference alone, and then if we add some depth/upgrades? Sorry, I may be a kool-aid drinker, but we shall see.

      Like

      • Didn’t we say the same thing last year about Correa? And look at his numbers this year. And as far as injuries we got through most of the year healthy. It wasn’t till the end that they started piling up.
        The talent is there but that’s apparently not enough.

        Like

      • What was wrong with Correa’s numbers in 2016? If we had a lineup with those numbers we would be the best team in baseball. He’s only 22 (just turned 22 a month ago) and, as the case with many young players, the league made some adjustments to him, but he still put up a 122 wRC+, had a higher OBP than in 2015 and a better fielding percentage. His power rate decreased, but his BB rate increased. Overall, Correa had a very, very good year.

        Like

  21. The only reason I picked on Tim at all is that I am annoyed by hearing the same thing over and over about Luhnow. I used to have the same annoyances with bopert, who thought their only problem was Jim Crane. Jeff Luhnow has done a decent job for the team, but not a great one. He has an opportunity to drive them to new heights or fall off the barrel. I want them to win the WS, but if they come out next season and win 95 games and don’t win it all, I will have seen significant improvement and that is what I am expecting.
    I am not just piling on the Front Office. As my post clearly shows, I am holding everyone accountable from the top guy down. I have no problem with expecting more out of the front office. I don’t think the team has to win it all for Luhnow to save his job. But if they drop off again in 2017 like they did in 2016 and they are at or below .500 it better be on the table as an option.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You get tired of hearing the same thing? How do you think I feel when every time I come here to read the posts all I hear is “Luhnow and his band of nerds”? I’m alone in my thinking and, by a longshot, the minority on this blog. This might explain why I am condescending regarding my defense of Luhnow and the Astros management. Take a look at how many ‘likes’ I get defending Luhnow and take a look at how many likes the anti-Luhnow posts get and maybe you’ll see what it’s like in my Chipalatta world. I’m fine with it, but, despite the allegations, I haven’t called anyone names, such as a fool. I don’t mind the piling on, but I will respond and, as I said above, you may not like my responses.

      Like

      • Also, while you think he’s done a decent job, I think he’s done a great job. Does this make you right and me wrong? No, it’s a matter of opinion. I don’t mind that you are not as fond of him as I am, but I will continue to defend the guy until I feel he doesn’t deserve to be defended anymore. There is a difference between thinking he’s done a decent job and just out and out mocking him he’s and making preemptive assumptions he will fail this offseason before any moves have been made. If he fails this offseason and the team fails next season then I may change my tune, but the constant Luhnow bashing on here is getting old to me just like my constant defense of him is getting old to you.

        Like

      • I will counter that by saying, if the team makes significant progress next year I will gladly admit I was wrong.
        We all have a right to our thoughts and opinions. Personally I like looking at different points of view. Tim’s opinion of JL and even my friend Bo’s opinion of Crane make things more interesting.

        I find the presidential debates boring and absurd. What I would love to see though is a debate between Tim and Bo. . Now that would be fun.

        Like

      • Not alone, entirely. I think Luhnow did do a great job of turning this team around from the horrible mess Purpura and then Wade left us. It took a few rough years to get us to this point. Now it’s time for him to get us to the next level. That’s where I’m not entirely convinced. The Gomez trade, the Conger trade…both were pretty bad deals. Us staying pat (aside from trading Feldman away at the exact right time) at the break irritated me..once the Rangers got LuCroy, I knew we were done for this year. So, for me, this offseason is going to be extremely important.

        And for the record, only person on this blog that annoys me is Bopert but that’s neither here nor there.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’m not a Crane fanboy, but I don’t have the disdain for him that Bopert does. However, I am always up for a good debate. What say you, Bopert?

        Like

      • Billy,

        I am in agreement with most of your thinking. I wasn’t as disappointed at the lack of moves at the trade deadline as you, though. I saw the prices that were being paid and, considering what we gave up in the Gomez trade, didn’t want to drain the farm system even more. I wanted to wait until this offseason and then go for it and I expect the Astros will. If they don’t make some significant signings/trades I will be disappointed, but I’m not going to assume the worst like some on here do. I prefer to see what happens before I call this offseason good, great or a disaster.

        Like

  22. i thought folks might like this. at the bottom is a video of great catches going up tal’s hill. one of my favorites wasnt there. it was of hunter pence who climbed the hill, got up next to the light post before the ball got there and made the catch almost leaning against the post. the look on his face was priceless.

    Like

  23. We lost a giant of a sports reporter last night. Bob Allen was diagnosed with a deadly form of lymphoma about 18 months ago, and he got some bad news a few weeks ago. He finally decided to quit trying, and he was given a few weeks with his family…..to say goodbye. Like him or not he always gave an honest opinion of Houston sports, and never let the owners skate by without calling them on it. He was very involved with the Sunshine Kids, a charity that he was totally committed to.
    He left channel 13 in Houston after many, many years, only to sign a contract with channel 11 18 months later. He was there for ALL the big moments with the U of H when they were Phi Slamma Jamma, and the Astros when we got our first chance (hopefully not the last) to go to the World series. Rest in peace Bob Allen. Becky⚾

    Like

    • Bob Allen was the one guy I went to for my Houston sports news. He was the best in Houston during the 70s and early 80s, before ESPN became a staple on cable TV. He’s a Houston icon and legend and will be missed by many.

      Like

  24. I remember Bob Allen well. He was a radio sports announcer when I first became an Astros fan.
    Followed him on 13 and later on 11. He was the best Houston has ever had.

    Like

  25. My own personal experiences with Bob Allen were not entirely pleasant, but I will offer my condolences to his family and friends.

    Like

    • There is some irony in this article. We seem to contend that Luhnow is ‘decent’ or much worse than that and Jon Daniels is one of the top GM’s in the game. This article tends to imply Daniels has done a very poor job of developing pitching and the pitching he has developed he has traded away with little return (sound familiar?). Even the best GM’s are going to make mistakes in drafting and trades. It happens, but the important thing is to make sure you win more than you lose and Luhnow has done that in drafting and trades, in my opinion.

      Like

      • Time is going to show Daniels has been massively overrated. Best deal he did was getting LuCroy, but most of the rest of the moves (two words…Prince Fielder) will end up being his legacy. Bet the farm (literally) to win a WS, which ended up being for naught.

        Like

      • It’s hard to argue with the success of Theo Epstein. Who else do we rate as top GM’s in the game? Cashman? Bean? Sabean? Dombrowski?

        Like

      • I guess that Epstein is not literally the GM for the Cubs (team president?) but Sabean has been terrific, I liked Ryan of the Twins who is doing worse with more payroll – is Mr Money Ball too much a self promoter? Cashman is an interesting one because of how much payroll he always had – but successful. Who is Cleveland’s GM – they have been on a nice upward arc.

        Like

      • That’s why I left Andrew Friedman off my GM list since he is the President of Baseball Operations and Zaidi is the GM for the Dodgers, but both he and Epstein were GM’s at one time.

        I guess we could include Dayton Moore in the conversation since he has 2 pennants and 1 WS title and doesn’t have the budget of the big market teams. For me, it’s difficult to determine which GM’s are better when one may have a distinct advantage of payroll flexibility compared to his peers. Could Epstein have done what he did with the budget constraints of the A’s or Royals? I have my doubts. He is definitely very good at what he does, but I’m not sure I would call him the best due to his distinct payroll advantage. Billy Bean may be a self promoter, but he sure does find a way to get the A’s back to being competitive fairly quickly after every fire sale they have. He has a very limited budget, but the A’s don’t wallow in the abyss forever like some franchises. I would put Bean very close the top of my list even though he has never won a World Series title.

        Like

  26. Well boys and girls……the Cubs are 1 game away from going to the World series!
    Of course, they come back home and face Kershaw on Saturday….but still when you’re up 3 games to 2, I like their odds of making it.AND why is Joe Blanton still pitching?!! Bob Hulsey over at astrosdaily.com has an interesting article about what to do about the catching problem Luhnow will have to address, sooner rather than later. Personally, with the market for quality catchers being sooo thin I totally expect to see Castro back next year. Since that position is not a burning need, it should be relatively easy to address.
    OP….saw that article, and it spells out in black and white what happens when you trade really good young pitchers for a short term rental. And THAT is the reason most of us are not on board with trading Musgrove, Devenski, Martes for Archer, or Sale! The spit, spit rangers are realizing now not all that glitters is gold.

    Like

  27. I am hoping that once Castro hits free agency he will make a beeline back to his beloved wine country. Adios!
    The only time I ever mentioned trading Devo or Musgrove was when I discussed signing Hill and then using one of our pitchers to make a deal for another piece that we might need to complete our team. One of the reasons I mentioned them is because teams will be asking about them a lot, now that they have seen them pitch.
    In that scenario, if I had LMJ, Keuchel, Hill, Musgrove, Devo and McHugh, I would probably be more willing to part with McHugh, because of arbitration, time of service, age and of course that 89 mph fastball.

    Like

    • My comment above was not in any way dissing you, but when Luhnow asked who the White Sox and Rays wanted back the first three names were Bregman, Musgrove and Martes. After that those conversations went south, because Luhnow was using his earth brain, and turned them down. The other team in texas were willing to deal a big group of talented players for rentals like Beltran, and all it got them was a seat on the couch watching the post season with the rest of us!! I’d say the Brewers made out like bandits with the guys we sent them for gomez, and the rangers for lucroy!

      Like

    • If the Tigers trade him during the offseason, he is still subject to a QO, by the team that traded for him, at the end of 2017. That means he will be worth a lot more during this offseason than he will at the deadline but will cost more in trade.
      He’s a good hitter but not a good defensive player and is his old self on the base paths. He still strikes out a lot.
      Martinez fit in on the 2015 Astros well, but not on the 2017 Astros because the six core position players the Astros have penciled in are all RH hitters and so is he.
      I think there are guys who will be better suited for our team who are going to be available, maybe even without costing us players.
      I wouldn’t take him off the list, though, as it’s too early to rule anything out at this stage.

      Like

  28. Been out of the country, and am so laid back it is hilarious – especially about the hapless ‘Stros. But wow, you guys and gals got TESTY after I left!!!!! Love ya anyway.

    I’d like to give a shout out to Ramon Laureano for a great first week of Arizona Fall League! Hey, at this stage we have to be happy for any Astro player or prospect to do anything ‘great’. One thing we did not have much of this year was ‘greatness’. Altuve’s BA, Devenski’s performance out of the pen. After that . . . greatness was elusive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • While you were away, we did find out that Martes did spend a lot of his time working on his off-speed stuff this year, thus accounting for his getting hit more often and for his bases on balls which he had not had too much trouble with the previous year.
      This reminds me of LMJ’s rough year in Lancaster, followed by a short stay in CC and a quick trip to the majors a couple of years ago. He worked almost exclusively on that changeup in Lancaster and from there it was life in the fast lane.

      Like

  29. Sure, although a liability defensively, he hits and keeps hitting. He’s downright terrible in right field though. He should never be put out there. When he’s not in left, where he’d be less of a risk, he can DH. So Kevin, who do you want to give up to get him?

    Like

      • Thing is, Martinez hits both lefties and righties. If you have a bunch of righties that hit anyone, then you don’t have to worry as much about having two or three lefties in the line up. I’d probably rather have a more athletic addition, but depending on the cost to get him in a trade, it’s good conversation anyway.

        Like

  30. My bad was in reference to, for some reason I thought I read he was a FA this winter.

    I wouldn’t give up much if we w were talking trade.

    Like

    • He is signed through 2017, but the Tigers said they are not going to try to sign an extension at this time. This leads many to believe he will be traded.

      Like

  31. Cubs are going to the World series!! I couldn’t help but smile when they shut the Dogers out tonight! I grinned big, because they were so bad for so long. If there is ANYONE who can take these guys to the big show its Joe Maddon, and he knows what it takes to win! I don’t think they are as good as the Indians, but you never know. I’m very glad for them…….they BELIEVED!!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Wow, been gone a few days and when I catch up I find something amazing. Tim actually admitted he is condescending. I marked that one on my calendar, hahaha. And hooray for the Cubbies. Very happy for their fans! Theo Epstein is king. And Joe Maddon is outstanding. I feel a little sorry for Kershaw. He obviously didn’t have it last night. I hope his back is OK because I want to watch him pitch well for many more years. Even if he is on the other team. He is special.

    Liked by 2 people

    • nance, i have to say that are are definitely others that are condescending in here and i dont ever remember Tim using a personal attack. He is strong in his opinions and if i dont blame him for being defensive the way he is treated simply because his opinion differs from the norm in here. i dont always agree with him (i probably do more than others) but i respect his opinion because it is usually well thought out and/or researched and i certainly think he (and everyone else) is entitled to his opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • RJ, lighten up. Didn’t you see I was laughing when I said it? I didn’t mean any harm. Just having some fun with Tim. Of course everybody has a right to their opinion. And Tim does present a lot of statistics to back up his arguments whether I agree with his conclusions or not.

        Like

      • Thanks for the love, rj. I wasn’t offended by Nance’s comment, but I do appreciate the kind words. Our appreciation of Luhnow is definitely against the grain here. I get a ton more ‘recs’ (similar to likes here) over at TCB, but that’s only because those arrogant, ignorant SOBs think like me. 🙂

        Like

      • Tim, I used to check that site daily. Mainly, I wanted to read the MILB recaps, but I also enjoyed the comments. Overall I think I just got too tired of the non-funny, persistent jokes in the comments and personal attacks from a few individuals. Also, I suspect they are a bit more vigorous about censoring messages there.

        Like

      • “Overall I think I just got too tired of the non-funny, persistent jokes in the comments and personal attacks from a few individuals.”

        I find irony in this comment. This is not directed at you, Devin, but I can relate to the ‘non-funny, persistent jokes…and personal attacks from a few individuals.” 🙂

        Like

      • I am not a fan when the comments get personal and/or heated here. I’d rather civil debate. I think the difference in the unfunny jokes is that there are a few individuals over there that ALWAYS post the same garbage in just about any comment section. I think they’re either very confused or trying to waste our time. Here I perceive it to be more of an outlet for frustration, but do not disagree with you (yeah, frame that one too).

        Liked by 1 person

  33. You’ve got to give the Cubs organization some credit. Sure, they have the advantage of playing in arguably the best baseball town in America. They can fill their park on a raw, rainy Tuesday night in May. But they are fully committed. Funding is not an issue. They rebuilt the best park in the world to watch a baseball game, keeping its integrity intact. They went out and got a GM with a track record. They got Madden. They rebuilt a farm system. They assembled what might be the best rotation in MLB. They got the best veteran utility man in the game. They’ve got a batch of hard throwing guys in the pen led by the best closer in the game. And everywhere you look, they’ve got young, athletic, smart position players. Heck, they were able to bench their 184 million mistake last night. And they’ve got a lead off guy with a .393 OBP who played the best centerfield of his career in 2016. I have to admit, I lament the fact that we did not win the MLB owner lottery.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. A beautiful 8-point buck graced my stand this morning. Very blessed and appreciative. The ice chest is full.
    Last year I was in the stand on opening day and was hurting so bad that I went to the house and ended up in surgery for appendicitis. Needless to say this morning was like a fantasy for this old hunter.
    This was my first deer with a black powder rifle.
    Bucket list!

    Liked by 1 person

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