So, another team, not named the Astros, has ended a long term world championship drought. The 2016 season is over and we are “enjoying” the first weekend without baseball in a long time. Maybe you checked out when the Astros missed the playoffs, maybe you checked out earlier than that, but now is the time to re-fuel and gear up for 2017.
As the off-season just begins – here are ten questions about the Astros for you:
- Which position requires the most help?
- Which position will the front office provide the most help?
- Are there any parallels (other than a long, long drought without a championship) that you can draw between the Astros and the Cubs?
- Jose Altuve was easily the best Astro in 2016. Who will be the best Astro in 2017?
- Who will be the big comeback story for the Astros in 2017?
- Which of the Astros who made their debut in 2016 and struggled will turn it around in 2017?
- If you were offered a 92 win season for the ‘Stros right now – would you take it?
- Between Chris Devenski, Joseph Musgrove, Alex Bregman and Yulieski Gurriel – are any of them a mirage?
- Is it more critical for the Astros to get improved offense or improved pitching in 2017?
- How will the Astros survive now that the Pat Neshek era is over?
1. A solid hitting fielding RF that doesn’t strike out a lot , move Springer to CF
2. No Clue with this guys, new lap tops
3. Good young players, Cubs have better mgmt. and leadership history
5. Giles I hope since we gave up 20 guys
8 Tie JM and Gurriel and I like them both
10 By sending Sipp to Japan for some Sushi to be named later
1.Which position requires the most help?
Right now, left field since there is not a good left fielder on the major league roster.
2.Which position will the front office provide the most help?
3.Are there any parallels (other than a long, long drought without a championship) that you can draw between the Astros and the Cubs?
They are both young teams with front offices that are heavy into sabermetrics.
4.Jose Altuve was easily the best Astro in 2016. Who will be the best Astro in 2017?
If Atuve is not the one, then Bregman.
5.Who will be the big comeback story for the Astros in 2017?
6.Which of the Astros who made their debut in 2016 and struggled will turn it around in 2017?
White. Reed could be the one of he gets serious this offseason, loses some weight and gets into shape.
7.If you were offered a 92 win season for the ‘Stros right now – would you take it?
8.Between Chris Devenski, Joseph Musgrove, Alex Bregman and Yulieski Gurriel – are any of them a mirage?
I think none of them are.
9.Is it more critical for the Astros to get improved offense or improved pitching in 2017?
10.How will the Astros survive now that the Pat Neshek era is over?
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1. Out Field. I could live with Jake in center if they got a good left fielder with with constant power and didn’t strike out a lot.
2. Starting pitching.
3. Not really. The Cubs did what was necessary to win.
5. Giles. I hope
7. Yes. I would be thrilled.
8. I don’t think so.
10. They may not unless they somehow get rid of Sipp
Sandy I agree with you about improving pitching over offense – I know they need both but the pitching needs much more of a boost.
OP. I’m praying you and yours are not affected by the earthquake in Oklahoma.
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I’ve always believed great pitching is the key the top. Just a small sample but good pitching got San Diego to the WS in 98. Great pitching got the 05 Astros to the WS in 05 and into the playoffs in 15.
I believe our offense could get us the AL west next year if somehow JL could add a top of the rotation pitcher, McCullers could stay healthy, and 2015 Keuchel shows up.
Providing that TOR pitcher is obtained without giving up too much. Unfortunately, I don’t see how that could happen.
Thank you. We didn’t feel this one but one of my kids now lives in Stillwater, which is close to Cushing. We did not even know about the earthquake until about 11pm. I’m hoping that no news is good news but we are not going to call. I know better than to wake up a teacher at 1130 on Sunday night.
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1. Pitching is the position that requires the most help.
2. I’m afraid the position of Owner may be the one the FO helps out the most.
3. The team that the Astros have now parallels the Cubs at the end of 2015. Now we just need to add five more good players like the Cubs did.
4. Altuve will be the best Astro again.
5. Big comeback story, LMJ.
6. I think White could turn it around.
7. I would take 92 wins. I think it could lead the AL.
8. I think these four are who we think they are.
9. Based on what the Astros have done so far, I think they need to improve pitching.
The offense will improve itself by letting Gomez, Castro, Marisnick, and Rasmus fade away.
10. The Astros will survive sans Neshek, with Hoyt and Gustave. They should let Feliz go back to Fresno and start every fifth game.
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1. Strong offensive/defense in left field. Leave Jake in center, unless Luhnow can cover both outfield positions, and Springer can be in center.
2.I hope he addresses the hole at first with Gurriel, or outside the organization for a lefty 1st baseman. I’D still like to see White or Reed there.
3.Both are young strong players, who are hungry…..but the Cubs have a genius for a GM and one of the elite managers in MLB.
5.Musgrove or McCullers
6.Reed or White
9.Pitching, pitching, pitching…..
10.Welcome to the Astros Mr. Hoyt!!
1. The battery “position” requires most help.
2. Don’t know.
3. Parallel: Both the Astros and the Cubs had Ben Zobrist. Cubs knew total value.
4. Altuve will still be the best.
5. Would like to say Springer because if he does come back, we have a new team.
6. Hope for White, but any turnaround is welcome.
7. Yes, I would take 92. Do I hear 100?
9. Slam dunk question: pitching.
10. They’ll survive as well as always.
Correction on 5. Obviously, at least to me, I meant Keuchel, not Springer.
I am kind of surprised that no one said that Carlos Correa would be the best player by the end of 2017. I know that Altuve has set the bar high but considering what CC has done in a year and two thirds at a very tender age….
CC has already established himself as the Astros best SS ever (my opinion). He certainly has room to grow at his age and with more and better protection and production in the lineup around him could be a 40 HR 120 RBI terror.
Whether that happens in 2017 is up for debate but the kid has already spoiled us.
I picked Altuve as the best Astros player because he has been that for years. Until Correa proves that he is the best player, I won’t be picking him.
If I am given a choice of an active gold mine or a river that others have said looks promising, I’m going with the surest bet.
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By that logic I could never predict the Astros will win the World Series.
Not really arguing the point op – Altuve will probably still be the best player next year, but I expect the gap to close pretty quickly. Just surprised that someone did not say he would be the choice to dethrone the king.
One question I have about Altuve is whether he topped out in 2016? His fielding seemed better, his HR and RBI numbers leapt up, he showed better plate discipline – where can he go for even more improvement? Will he stop stealing as much?
He reminds me of a baseball version of Hakeem Olajuwon who seemed to come back after every off-season with an area that he improved or more offensive moves added, etc. It sure is fun having two of the best middle infielders in the game at one time. Need to improve the corner infielders, DH and one corner OF (two if we move Spinger to center).
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Dan – But Altuve is still young and improving as well. When you look at the final numbers this year its arguably a toss up. Jose is going to hit for far better average, Carlos should hit more homers (though Tuve got him this year), Tuve will steal more, strike out less, Carlos will walk more, I mean, we are blessed to argue which one is more valuable. We have the best middle infield in baseball. We move George to CF, and IF Gattis can catch 110 games, we are set up the middle, the part of the diamond considered by most GM’s the most important.
1.Which position requires the most help? Pitching and catching since Castro is a free agent.
2.Which position will the front office provide the most help? Pitching. I believe Luhnow even addressed this already that he wants to emphasize pitching.
3.Are there any parallels (other than a long, long drought without a championship) that you can draw between the Astros and the Cubs? Both teams have forward thinking front offices that rely heavily on analytics.
4.Jose Altuve was easily the best Astro in 2016. Who will be the best Astro in 2017? It will still be Altuve, but Correa and Springer will be nipping at his heals.
5.Who will be the big comeback story for the Astros in 2017? Keuchel will rebound close to his 2014 form, which will be a welcome improvement for this team.
6.Which of the Astros who made their debut in 2016 and struggled will turn it around in 2017? Gurriel, if you want to say he struggled, will have a better year than in 2016.
7.If you were offered a 92 win season for the ‘Stros right now – would you take it? Definitely, as that should win the division and probably gets them the 2 seed, at minimum.
8.Between Chris Devenski, Joseph Musgrove, Alex Bregman and Yulieski Gurriel – are any of them a mirage? If I had to pick one I would say Devo only because he hasn’t fully developed his 3rd pitch yet as a consistent out-pitch. I think he will, but if he doesn’t he will be relegated to the bullpen.
9.Is it more critical for the Astros to get improved offense or improved pitching in 2017? Pitching wins championships so this is a necessity.
10.How will the Astros survive now that the Pat Neshek era is over? By having James Hoyt, at a much reduced salary, provide similar stats.
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2. I am not confident any position will be helped
3. No. The Cubs drafted better, developed better, and were able to bring personnel into their organization easier. Houston may have to give some Carlos Lee contracts to do so.
5. Is there any candidate other than Keuchel? LMJ was brilliant when healthy.
6. White and Tucker
7. Sure. 92 wins probably wins the West
8. I’m concerned Musgrove is the only non-mirage of the bunch. I’m really hoping Devenski is the real deal and doesn’t suffer any sophomore slump.
9. Define improved. In 2015 we had Keuchel taking the ball deep multiple times following a terrible outing by a starter. We didn’t get that in 2016. Hinch tried to use Fister in that role to his detriment. McHugh and Fiers couldn’t do it. Getting some of those hero starts might be the difference between a bullpen that withers in August/September and one that dominates in October.
10. This is kind of a sad joke. We should be greatful that Neshek and Gregerson signed their big contracts with Houston in 2015. Both were huge parts of the WC run. He was really good for us in 2016, but not in the role we had predicted. Take a step back and ask yourself…how many more games would we have lost if Josh Fields had been given all of Neshek’s appearances. I’m thinking quite a few.
I was being a little tongue in cheek on Neshek. He was very, very solid for about a 5 month period.
From May 1 to Sept. 21 he made 47 appearances for 37-2/3 IP and gave up 4 runs, 24 hits, 7 walks and 2 HRs. Those are very good numbers.
I think Hinch used Neshek wisely and minimally in such a way as to maximize his apparent value in the offseason. He was really bad vs. lefthanded hitters, and since using him against lefties would inflate his WHIP and ERA, Hinch did not use him against lefthanders. That was fine except it added to the innings and strain on other pitchers – especially an ineffective Tony Sipp. And that lost us games.
I originally had Pitching,Pitching as biggest need. I just think the market is just crazy money for what’s out there, which leaves a big trade and loosing some good kids, I just don’t see that going down.
3. young teams on the rise
4. altuve, while i expect correa will improve and be one of the best in baseball, altuve is already there and continues to improve
5. lets hope keuchel and/or LMJ
6. im hoping reed
7. dang right i would
8. no i think they are solid
9. pitching, but some additional offense would be nice as well
10. i think we have several choices that can fill his role
*Which position requires the most help?*
To me, it’s a three-way tie: hitting coach, pitching coach, and third-base/baserunning coach. I think we already have the players necessary to compete at a high level, and just need people who can get the most production out of the talent we have.
* Which position will the front office provide the most help? *
Based upon history, F.O. will not be able to upgrade us at the places of our greatest weakness [presently OF, 1B, C, DH, and SP], but will instead add to the logjam at our strongest areas – in other words, 2B, SS, and relief pitching.
*Are there any parallels (other than a long, long drought without a championship) that you can draw between the Astros and the Cubs?*
Both teams have stockpiled comparable talent [although the Cubs’ organization is significantly deeper at this point]. But the Cubs organization has developed their talent better than the Astros’ organization, and has complemented the young talent with productive veterans much more effectively than the Astros. Their young guys thrive at the higher level; ours struggle. They get their youngsters a Zobrist to inspire them; we give them a Carlos Gomez. They add a Lester to their rotation; we add a Fister to ours. They add a Chapman to the end of their bullpen; we add a Giles. They go to – and win – the WS . . . and we sit and watch, and criticize Bryant’s throwing errors and Madden’s bullpen choices from our armchairs.
1. Rotation. Winning starts with pitching.
2. There isn’t a lot of help to be had on the FA market. Maybe OF though a play or two could be made in the BP.
3. They both drafted a superstar in the last few years.
4. Easily Altuve.
5. Fingers crossed that its Keuchel, otherwise we are another around .500 team.
6. White has the biggest chance to be that, but Reed has the biggest upside if its him.
7. Yes because I don’t necessarily believe they have the pitching to do it.
8. Devenski or Musgrove because pitching to major league hitters is hard, very hard.
9. PITCHING. They made the playoffs in 2015 with a similar offense, they may have been better offensively last year than 2015 – but you can’t have starters give up 6 runs in 4 innings two to three times a week and think you can make the playoffs.
Some observations about the Astros:
* Aoki is projected by MLBTR to make $6.8 million in arbitration. If the Astros are serious about keeping him at that salary, he is not going to sit on the bench. He is going to either play OF or DH for a good bit of the time. If they picked him up as a trade asset, that’s different. But, If they are serious about him being on the team, he’s got to be added into the mix of players acquired to make this team and play regularly. Aoki’s acquisition is not good news for Preston Tucker.
*Aoki’s addition to the 25 man roster makes it possible to go after a starting pitcher because they won’t necessarily have to go after another outfielder.
They could try to spend FA money on another good LH bat to play 1B and another FA reliever and then use the prospects and spare MLB players to land a TOR starting pitcher.
I believe Luhnow would sacrifice a downward level of defense from what he had in Rasmus, with a big upward boost in BA, OBP and a big drop in K’s that he would get in Aoki in LF, especially at a savings of $9million with Aoki versus what we paid for Rasmus last year.
*Max Stassi is out of options. So he either makes this club in the spring, or he will be a free agent. I just don’t see the Astros going into the season with Gattis and Stassi as their two catchers. I still see the Astros protecting, Heineman with a 40-man spot this winter, because he would probably be needed in the AAA scheme, even is he isn’t considered MLB worthy in the long run by the Astros. I think there will be lots of happenings in the Catcher position in the organization this winter.
op – I think someone mentioned here that Garrett Stubbs would be starting at AAA – so maybe they will use someone (Stassi or Heineman) as a stop gap before he is ready??
Million dollar question (or rather, $420,000 question)…whomever “loses” the battle in ST…do they get released or traded?
Alas, while I previously voiced high hope for Garrett on this blog, his AFL slash line is extremely discouraging. Against good minor league pitching, he is hitting a miserable .180/.268/.568. He has also committed 2 errors in 14 games. Even if he can recover his stroke and his confidence at Fresno next year, which to me right now looks like a big ‘if’, the absolute earliest he is likely to be ready for MLB playing time looks right now to be AS Break 2018. Compare that with Jacob Nottingham, who our FO traded away in 2015, along with Daniel Mengden, for a short-term rental of a worn-out version of Scott Kazmir. On second thought, do not compare those two – we will all just get depressed.
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Nottingham posted a .641 OPS in AA last year. I haven’t bothered reading whether anyone thinks he can still stay at C. His big problems were reduced power and an inability to put the ball in play. He may still pan out, but it’s not looking like it at this point.
Unfortunately, I suspect you’d have a hard time selling that to our supposedly most talented pitcher-of-the-future, Francis Martes, who had to face Jake in the AFL All-Star/Fall-Star game last weekend.
“Jacob Nottingham, C, Brewers. It was Nottingham who got the East on the board ahead of McMahon’s homer. After the Marlins’ Brian Anderson picked up his team’s first hit, Nottingham showed off his power with a double to left that scored Miami’s third-base prospect. Nottingham has also worked very hard on his defensive craft and nearly threw out Tyler O’Neill trying to steal with a quick release time.”
Jeez Bill, Stubbs has played in 14 AFL games. He’s had an excellent year overall. I’m the cynic here, but not at all concerned about his brief performance in Arizona.
OP, on the other hand the cynic in me, tells me that the Aoki deal might just be all the help we’re going to get for the outfield. And that does not impress. We might well see Jake back in center with a sub .600 OPS. And with a soft hitting Aoki and far less defense than Rasmus, I don’t call our outfield improved. I hope my concerns are premature and I’ll be proven wrong, but I don’t see Crane throwing open the check book.
Dave, a guy in our organization named Matt Duffy had an excellent milb year in 2015. He washed out big time in 2016. A guy in our organization named Tyler White had an excellent milb year in 2015 – then crashed and burned in 2016. A guy in our organization named Jon Singleton had excellent milb years in 2011 and 2012- and maxed out at AA. The AFL is a real test – it’s like the difference between tournament ball vs. league ball for youth. If you can’t get ‘up’ for, and excel, in such an environment, you might still have talent, but you most definitely aren’t ready for prime time.
Dateline Houston – August 10, 2016
“Today the Houston Astros released Alex Bregman. After 14 games in the majors he had a .143/.213/.196/.410 line with 0 HR and 2 RBIs and the Astros and their main consultant, Mr. Bill, were sure that 14 games of failure against top notch pitching had proved that Bregman was many years away from being successful.”
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But Bill, 14 games is a miniscule sample.
Bregman’s early woes came against seasoned Major League Pitching, in the midst of a pennant race.
Stubbs struggles this Fall are against minor league pitching, in what is largely an exhibition season environment.
Just sayin’ Dan – I don’t see those two situations as analogous at all.
Mr. Bill – you have to choose – is he failing in a real test against top minor league pitching or is he failing in exhibition games.
Yes, I know that the majors are not the AFL, but I also know that any of these guys can and do have slumps. I don’t think his AFL games prove he can’t make it to the majors fairly quickly, I don’t think that Nottingham’s success against Martes means Jacob will be up right away or Martes will come crashing down.
It is not an ‘either/or’, Dan. You have to look at both the QUALITY of the competition and the ENVIRONMENT of competition.
And for all this talk I’ll make a prediction that we can mark the tape on and check back on 3-4 years from now – Stubbs nor Nottingham will be overly successful major league players that are going to make you wish they were still here or finally arrived.
The fact that Nottingham played in any all star game anywhere tells me the lack of depth at catcher in that league.
I’m pretty sure the catching will go to Gattis and some unknown to be acquired, either via trade or a FA retread – and that could still be Castro. He bats left, the pitching staff is already with him, he is familiar with it, etc. I just don’t know how much wounded pride hasn’t been outwardly shown yet over 250k. If it’s not, well the market looks dry. Hey Conger is out there.
We have this thing in the Army – its called PACE. When we do anything, we think about the primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency plans. Gattis will be one of the ten best offensive catchers in the league, if he plays enough. What is your alternate plan if he doesn’t? What happens if on the third week of the season his knee starts swelling to the point that he is once again relegated to DH? What does that do to his PT along with a purposed Gurriel DH spot? What is the contingency if he goes on the DL in week 4 for a month? Not all positions need that much planning, but handing your catcher job to those knees, probably does. I hope they address it.
If you’re right and Aoki is the only outfield help we are getting then we either need Teoscar Hernandez to be ready for 120+ games at the MLB level or we can go ahead and write off 2016 as another year where we’ll talk about our fantastic farm system.
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It sounds like you think the way I do – that Aoki’s arrival changes this offense in a good way. I would like to see him get 120 starts in LF, sitting only against the best lefties out there.
I believe Aoki gives us a good OBP type player to put in our lineup to take the place of a player who occupied a position from spot 5-9 that last year, who gave us not enough offensive production. Lets say Aoki replaces Gomez in our lineup.
Gattis gives us another bat to replace the Castro/Krazt bat which gave us nothing in the 5-9 spot last year.
Gurriel gives us another bat to replace one who gave us not enough in the lineup from the 5-9 spot last year. Let’s say that was Gonzalez.
Bregman gives us another bat to replace one that didn’t give us enough last year in the 5-9 spot. Let’s say that bat was Rasmus.
Now we need a LH hitting 1B who replaces a bat that didn’t give us enough out of the 5-9 spot in our lineup last year. Let’s say he replaces Valbuena. Or even Free agent Valbuena replaces Valbuena
Now that lineup looks like:
LH Free agent 1B
At that point you have signed a FA 1B and Aoki and have not traded anyone. You could then go after a big reliever and a big starting pitcher.
Or, you could make White/Tucker available and sign Beltran as your DH and trade for that TOR pitcher. The Astros would then have a terrific lineup, a TOR pitcher, still be on budget and have many great prospects left and all of their draft choices.
This is not rocket science. it can be done.
With the above lineup I would have about $75 mil in payroll and would go after Chapman with tons of money and then trade for Archer. We’d have the prospects to get Archer, I’m convinced of that.
Our rotation would then be:
Our bullpen would be:
Our bench would be:
White or Tucker
*Jose Altuve was easily the best Astro in 2016. Who will be the best Astro in 2017?*
A talent – and a person – like Altuve comes to Houston at most once a generation. He will be the best Astro as long as he stays here.
That being said, I am hopeful that Correa will at least put up a challenge next year, as with two years under his belt and a hitter like Gurriel in the line-up behind him, it should be his year to break out and show us a real glimpse of the promise we all believe he has.
Mr. Bill you are making my head explode. “a real glimpse of the promise”??? A 21 year old knocking in 96 runs with very little protection behind him while playing a normally non-offensive position is more than a glimpse in my book.
Don’t let that brilliant head explode, Dan! My ‘a glimpse of the promise’ reference should speak to you a whole lot more of what I think is still in CC than any kind of negative comment about his production thus far. As I have said in previous posts, I think this is CC’s year to make 2015 and 2016 look weak in comparison. I see him hitting .300, striking out less often, driving in 110 or more runs, and being the Ranger Killer on the team.
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Which position requires the most help? Starting pitching
Which position will the front office provide the most help? Probably will only spend enough to stay even with last year.
Are there any parallels (other than a long, long drought without a championship) that you can draw between the Astros and the Cubs? No. Cubs have done a better job in personnel on and off field during rebuild
Jose Altuve was easily the best Astro in 2016. Who will be the best Astro in 2017? Bregman
Who will be the big comeback story for the Astros in 2017? Somebody picked up off waiver wire
Which of the Astros who made their debut in 2016 and struggled will turn it around in 2017? Tony Kemp for another team
If you were offered a 92 win season for the ‘Stros right now – would you take it? Absolutely
Between Chris Devenski, Joseph Musgrove, Alex Bregman and Yulieski Gurriel – are any of them a mirage? Not sure without knowing how Devenski and Musgrove are used and how league adjusts to them.
Is it more critical for the Astros to get improved offense or improved pitching in 2017? Pitching, pitching, and more pitching.
How will the Astros survive now that the Pat Neshek era is over? Who?
As you can tell, I am not feeling very enthusiastic with the organization right now.
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An AFL comment. Mr. Bill I don’t want to poo-poo what you are saying, because maybe the AFL is too big a stage for Stubbs and does prove he is a ways away from being ready. I just don’t know.
On the other end of the spectrum – Mark Appel went to the 2014 AFL and put up a very good ERA of 2.69 and a sparkling WHIP of 0.839 in 31 innings and then never came close to those numbers before or after that.
I’m just always suspicious of smaller samples, but you are right that we get these bursts of good ball playing that does not translate to the top.
Recall how Joe Sclafani led the AFL in batting average a couple years back as well. If you watched the games he wasn’t getting all solid contact, but in a small sample a few jam shots blooping in front of the outfielders can turn a good stretch of hitting into a great one.
Ouch. Jeremy Hellickson received a QO from the Phillies. I thought he might be a guy we’d target, but I doubt Luhnow goes after anyone that costs a draft pick.
Trout, Betts, Al-Tuuuuuuu-ve. Three pretty good ones, right there.
MLBTR has the list of the top 50 free agents and predictions where each one will land. They have Castro going to the White Sox and Valbuena signing with the Brewers. Both are only getting 2-year contracts for $15M and $14M total, respectively. I would take either of them back for a contract of that nature. However, the depressing thing is the only free agent they have going to Houston is Wilson Ramos at 4/$50M. Now, MLBTR is rarely correct on their predictions, but I can’t even begin to explain how depressing it would be if this is the only free agent signing the Astros make.
Isn’t Ramos hurt?
I know I’ve been a broken record on this, but I’d sure take Valbuena back to give us his left handed bat and reliable defense at first base, and I’d give him 8 plus million a year.
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I agree with that – he has really good numbers against the righties
I’m with that 100% that way we can move on from first, great infield, and look at an OF and #1 Or 2 SP !
The Astros did not issue any QO to their free agents.
Free Agents can sign starting at 11:01 pm Houston time tonight. It’s happening in a half an hour!
Lucked into this Pay-to-read article, so I thought I would pass it on! http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/astros/article/Offseason-in-full-gear-this-week-with-annual-GM-10597068.php?t=fbba42b8fb438d9cbb&cmpid=twitter-premium
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Referencing Baseball Reference, Aoki put up a 1.2 combined WAR. That included a -.07 DWAR. As bad as Rasmus was at the plate, his combined WAR was 1.8, almost all of attributed to his defense. I’ll be the first to admit that there are holes in the defensive war stat. But, although far cheaper, (that’s a theme with this club) Aoki does not make us a better club. We’ve been spoiled by our great outfield defense. And we should not accept a guy out there who will do significant damage over the course of a season, even if he can provide a .725 OPS. Aoki, if used as a starter in left, is not a positive addition.
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I guess it’s a matter of perspective. Rasmus had a 75 wRC+ and Aoki had a 106 wRC+. Rasmus had a 29% strikeout rate and Aoki had a 9.2% strikeout rate.
It seems to me that a guy can cost a team a lot more runs at the plate, if he is constantly striking out, than he ever could in the outfield. If a guy is way below average at the plate and is costing you twice as much money, how is his defense going to make up for that? Especially when his defense was better than any of the previous years of his career?
What I’m saying is that Aoki, if indeed he becomes our primary left fielder, just does not provide enough to make us even a marginally improved club in the outfield, especially if Jakes weak bat remains on the roster. Why did 17 or so other clubs pass on him? Maybe I’m being premature, but if this is our outfield help for 2017, I’m not impressed.
Tim, like I said, dwar is a tough stat to fully respect. Rasmus threw out 13 guys in somewhat limited play last year, so that had to help his dwar. Aoki sure won’t do that. And I really don’t want such a light hitter in Aoki being our DH from time to time either. We need to get more from that slot in the line up.
Where I am confused is that, on one hand, you are so concerned with Aoki’s defense that you feel he is a detriment to the team, although his defense is serviceable (he’s not Gattis or El Caballo in LF), but on the other hand, you don’t think JFSF even belongs on a major league roster despite the fact he is one of the best defensive CFers in the game. Essentially, from my point of view, you appear to be contradicting yourself. Maybe I am misinterpreting what you are saying.
Tim, I certainly did not want to confuse you. I don’t think we are improving our club by signing Aoki to start most games in left and/ or getting starts as the DH. I’m okay with him being a fourth outfielder. But he’s a soft hitting corner outfielder who is also a mediocre defender. I’m about resigned to the fact that Jake will be our 5th outfielder, but as I’ve said before, I’d like Jake to be around if there was such a thing as a 28 man ML roster. I just have a hard time justifying a .588 OPS from anyone, regardless of the quality off his defense. And I know I’ve made that point a dozen or more times, so you should not be flummoxed.
All that said, I’d still be quite pleased to see Bregman/Springer/Puig even with Aoki and Jake as the back up guys. Of course, that means resigning Valbuena to be at first against righty pitching and making Gurriel our regular guy at third. I still think White can provide what we’ve not seen consistently at DH, but admittedly I do not have the stats to back it up.
Then of course, Gattis at the plate, and it might be likely to see Castro with him.
That’s a better than good club assuming we get a pitching staff together.
And I’m not giving up on Reed or Teoscar either. But I want to see them both tear up AAA ball to the point where we have to find them a place for them on the big club.
I’ll agree that, if Aoki is our main acquisition this off-season, we are not an improved team. I will also agree an everyday OF with Aoki, Marisnick and Springer is troublesome. However, I think Aoki, combined with other moves, makes us a better team. I want to see what other moves we make before I make the assessment on this team being improved or worse than the current team. I do agree with OP that, based upon his salary projection of $7M that Luhnow looks at Aoki as primarily an every day player. If we sign Fowler or Reddick to be the other OFer, moving JFSF to the 4th-5th OFer role then I like our OF, even with Aoki being the primary LFer.
It’s a difficult comparison as Rasmus has had a negative DWAR in year’s past so was last year an outlier or his true defensive value? Of course, Aoki’s worse defense can be offset by putting in JFSF as a defensive replacement and giving Aoki some starts at DH. Aoki is a positive addition as he put up a 1.2 WAR and has consistently put up a positive WAR. The question is can he be a more positive addition than Rasmus and that can be debated from both sides.
I really don’t think Aoki’s defense is something to worry about. I saw a fundamentally sound player with KC. His arm isn’t going to scare people, but they also played him in RF because their LF was a perennial gold glover. He had one error over the last two seasons playing in SF and SEA. He won’t catch as many balls as JFSF, but he should be consistent on the ones he does reach.
What does “JFSF” stand for? I know it’s Marisnick
Jake from State Farm. It’s a play on the State Farm commercial.
Aoki – I would like to have a more consistent bat – even if he does not go coo-coo for Cocoa Crisps for a few weeks like Colby did each season – it sure would be nice to have someone who gets on base in most games and flips that lineup.
I just listened to Astros’ director of pro scouting Kevin Goldstein talk for 45 minutes on a podcast and say virtually nothing. Hot stove season can be so cold sometimes.
But when he said nothing, did he say it genuinely and convincingly?
Are you sure this was not a political speech?
Have an eggroll, Mr. Goldstein, have a chopstick, have three. ♪ Mr. Goldstein, we love thee.
Wow Diane – a “Gypsy” reference – nice!
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Dan, I certainly expected no replies to this. You’re weirder than I thought.
I have to admit I googled it – it was driving me crazy because I knew the song – started thinking it was from Funny Girl – but remembered that Omar Sharif was Arnstein.
But I am an old movie buff but have not watched all of Gypsy in a long time (Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden) – great musical.
Betts beats out Altuve for MVP. Keuchel gets gold glove.
Glad Keuchel got another gold glove…..he works hard to get those. Altuve deserved the MVP…..but how can you turn down a guy with the name of Mookie Betts the coolest name in MLB!!!
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Keuchel gets the gold glove. Now let him return as The Man with the Golden Arm.
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Jon Morosi tweeted the Astros will be pursuing either Encarnacion or Miggy.Cabrera. The payroll will increase. Now we’re talking.
I’m dubious as always. How many times have we supposedly been pursuing a big fish and ultimately ended up empty handed or shut out by the guys with more bait?
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True, you’re always dubious. 🙂
Go for Miggy. Which Encarnacion? If it’s Juan, isn’t he 40?
Oh snap…yeah, nah.
Miggy for Bregman, Martes, Fisher and Hoyt. Do you do it?
Ouch – I would think about it for a TOR pitcher but not for an everyday – just my value system
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Yes. Sign me up.
Take Bregman out and yeah. Otherwise , nuh uh,
Billy, would you do it if we replaced Bregman with KTuck? I would do it as it still keeps our young core in tact and you have one of the very best hitters in the game anchoring your offense.
Chapman 100K whos in?
LOL sorry 100 Million
Well, it would be better than giving Ivan Nova $100M.
I like Boss Nova.
For a minute I thought the 100K was for Kevin Chapman
Are we really in the market to by Nova Scotia?
I think we are trying to buy 1980’s glam rocker Aldo Nova
That made me chuckle TY
At the Players Choice Awards – Altuve won the Player of the year, the AL Player of the year and the hustle award
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So proud to have Altuve on our team! It’s time to rework his contract, and PAY the man.
2base Al2ve. What more can you ask for than a player’s player?
Miggy Cabrera is owed $211 million over the next 7 yrs. He’s 33 yrs old,……so no I am throwing ice cold water on that rumor….it ain’t gonna happen. BUT…..I’m hearing that Luhnow is interested in Carlos “the jackal” Beltran. Why on God’s green earth for??? He wants a 2-3 yr deal…..no thank you very much. Luhnow is looking at a possible Brian McCann trade……he has a full no trade clause, he’s owed a whole lotta money, and you can bet your set bippy Cashman is gonna want 2-3 of our top prospects as well.Quit putting Bregman name in any trade…..Luhnow won’t trade him. GM meetings started on Monday, I’d love to hear some of those conversations!
I would love to have Beltran on a 1-year deal with a vesting option for the 2nd year. He would be a nice clubhouse presence and leader. He did hit .295 with 29 HRs and 0.850 OPS in 2015 so he still has plenty of game left in him. Also, if the Astros trade for McCann and the rest of his salary, which is only for 2 years, the prospect cost will probably be less. The Astros have the payroll flexibility to take on both these players, still add more, and it won’t ruin their payroll flexibility in future years.
Those numbers for Beltran were from 2016, not 2015. Typo on my part.
The question is will they also be the numbers from 2017, 2018 and 2019? Who knows.
LOL, yes Steven, but you can say that about every free agent. We don’t know if they will replicate the past year, but that shouldn’t stop us from signing quality free agents.
I thought the same thing when I looked at his contract, Becky. But perhaps we can get creative and ‘buy’ out some of the latter years of that contract for cash up front and/or a guaranteed position in the organization. It is time to think outside the box.
I look at the $$ and the age and keep thinking Hamilton and Pujols
The $$ – and the years – are indeed insane. But I think Miggy wants to go out a champion – with his buddy Jose Altuve, So I guess we will see how much he’s willing to forego in $$ and playing time to make that happen. Inside the box there is no way this will work, though.
These guys never forego $$ because their union makes them pariahs if they do. They may take less on a new contract to go to a particular place but once the contract is set up that money is getting paid
Cabrera is probably the smartest hitter in all of baseball. JD Martinez has said his turnaround was achieved by just going out and trying to approach each at bat the way Cabrera does. The length and amount don’t bother me because Crane has nickel and dimed the team long enough for the last five years that he should be able to eat one for the fans. Even if Cabrera falls off a cliff after the first two years of the contract those years coincide with what I perceive to be a very limited window for excellence. We got incredibly lucky with Altuve, Keuchel (2015 at least), and Correa. If we waste the next few years we may be in the position LAA finds itself regardless of whether we have our own Pujolsian contract.
I guess the other way to look at this is Cabrera becoming a Big Papi – who as he ages morphs into a DH. If he had 5 strong years coming I would be for it. 2 out of 7 is not enough.
I agree on Cabrera Devin. So what if he only gives us two good years? That’s not my problem. If Crane decides to spend the money, that gives us a real shot to win in 2017. I just don’t want to lose any of the guys we’ve already decided we don’t want to lose. If it was up to me, I would not trade for Cabrera, but then again, this organization has continually done things that I would not have done. So damn the torpedos. Tim, I’m still as dubious as ever however.
It’s not just the money with Cabrera, he is regarded as one of the 3-4 elite hitters in this league. He is going to cost you the money AND your 3 best prospects.
Considering Bregman is no longer a prospect if it only costs us our top 3 prospects to acquire one of the elite hitters in the game I would do it. I feel confident the Astros will get more than 2 great years from Miggy. The last 1-2 years may be dicey, but they should get at least 5 years of very good to great production from Miggy. With this being said, I think it will cost more than our top 3 prospects to get him. Detroit will want Bregman or Correa and that is a deal-breaker for me.
Steven, that’s why I also added that I personally would not make that deal.
Beltran as a DH on a two year deal I would definitely like. He’s a free agent, a switch hitter, doesn’t cost players, doesn’t cost a draft pick, had good numbers in 2016 and has some unfinished business in Houston.
Definitely no on Miggy. Too much salary and don’t need to give up those players!
Ok on McCann, but not for a top prospect. MLBTR says he won’t bring a top prospect because of his age and his salary and his down year. Yankees would consider picking up some of his salary.
The presence of Beltran may help offset the lack of a hitting coach in Houston as well.
Luhnow has said they will be active in free agency and not on the trade front…which I’ve interpreted to mean that he is lining up trades and will not sign anyone from the FA class.
What do you think this is, Devin – politics? 🙂
I’d certainly take on Beltran. He’d be a far more realistic pick up for this club.
True dat, Dave.
I agree with Tim ( can’t believe I said that ) Beltran over Cabrera. It would cost way to much talent for Miggy. Beltran, only money. Losing good young players for an aging guy is not the route for this team.
If the Yanks pick up a bit of McCanns salary for a not too painful trade, we would be well on our way to a really good lineup. Add a pitcher or two and the division could be ours.
I am just curious, and you have to choose one over the other. Would you rather trade for Miggy and his contract or sign either Encarnacion or Cespedes for 5/$135M (I think the Astros will have to slightly over-pay to get either player)?
If those are my choices then:
– Plan A is to sign Cespedes
– Plan B is to trade for Cabrera
– Plan C is to sign Encarnacion
Ill take Beltran, Reddick and Chapman. We didn’t trade anyone and will blow 2 saves a year and WS baby
I would substitute Fowler for Reddick, but otherwise, I like your thought process here. Of course, the problem is that the 3 of them will run about $45-50M/year in additional salary and that probably is a bit more than the Astros want to add this year. I think they will be willing to add $35-40M in additional salary via free agency, but I could be wrong.
So if 2017 is our year what is 5-10 million to have a shot at the WS. The reason I don’t care for Fowler , no matter what he will only play 100-110 games. I think its is his contract, he is not a tough guy, a hang nail and he is on the DL.
Add another award for Altuve, winning his 3rd straight Silver Slugger! Aren’t we glad he plays for us!! Luhnow is still talking about McCann….but I’d be shocked if he waived his no trade clause to come here.
The way I look at it, if McCann doesn’t want to come here that keeps a bad trade from happening. Him agreeing to come here is just another factor involved in a trade.
I have no clue what the FO will do on trades and FA, but damn it’s time to step up and show some loyalty and class here and give Altuve a new deal!!!!
That’s easier said then done with Boras as his agent. He definitely will not give any type of hometown discount considering he has been severely underpaid since he signed that contract. Thus, unless the Astros are ready to sign him to a 10/$250-275M contract I doubt it gets done. In fact, I’m guessing we lose both Altuve when his contract expires and Springer when his arb years run out.
than done, not then done…ugh!
Kevin, that is not logical. As long as we have Altuve in his current contract, we have a chance to win a world Series. His contract will allow us to sign other players to help achieve that goal. If the Astros manage to win at least one World Series in the next three years, Altuve will get any amount he wants from several teams and that is baseball.
You throw out Altuve’s team friendly contract and pay him market value you can kiss our chances at that trophy goodbye because he would use up somewhere between 15 and 25% of our payroll.
The Angels have the best baseball player on the planet at a very friendly deal and they are a last place team because they made a big move signing the player of the millennial decade and now they can’t afford to pay anyone else.
The goal is a title and we have three years to get it done before the proverbial stuff hits the fan.
Please remember that Altuve has been terrific, but has shown he needs a lot of help in order for the Astros to win a championship. There is a window to get this done.
No matter what, Altuve is going to retire rich and famous, but once he signs with a team for high market value, he may never get a ring. He needs to get a ring now and then get paid.
OP and Tim you are probably absolutely correct and a big reason why over the years I have lost a lot of passion for sports. It has just become like the rest of Corporate America all about $$$, not people.
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Bummer we lost Young Gurriel to the Jays )-:
Just so y’all know – new post just went up about prospects
don’t see it