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Astros’ off-season: What else, what next?


The Astros have been active in the early off-season.

So, the obvious questions are what else and what next?

Here are some thoughts on each of the recognized needs of the Astros:

First Base Options

Designated Hitter

  • Throw the book at it – everyone from Aoki to Gurriel to the catchers on their off-days
  • Sign Carlos Beltran
  • After you sign an Encarnacion or a Jose Bautista – use him here most of the time
  • If A.J. Reed does not lose weight maybe he is built for DH

Lefty reliever

Starting Pitcher

Those are some thoughts. How would you approach each position?

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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

142 comments on “Astros’ off-season: What else, what next?

  1. Gov
    November 22, 2016

    Gurriel looks most comfortable at 3B. Bregman started the season slow offensively, and while mixing flashes of brilliance at third, he’s probably going to start there for 120 games.

    Valbuena is expensive unless we utilize all his value, although he’d be the safest bet to handle multi positions, given he’s healthy. (There may be a baseball-ready curve, like Morton’s from hamstring surgery.) I like his LHH, 1B/3B defense, demeanor and clubhouse vibe. It does not seem like he’s their choice, however, unless they’re trying to entice Beltran or EE with hope for more AB’s? IMO, Valbuena represents a logjam at 3rd.

    Hate to say it, but I’m ok with letting who we have claim 1B. Although Moreland or Pearce are intriguing, McCann would be fine. Employing the shift, we still can use Marwin there, and make up for his light-hitting in 2016’s DH/well-rounded lineup.

    Pitching, we should trade away prospects, or under performing starters. Fiers comes to mind, although that’s iffy. It’s too cold outside to know who has a hot hand. Other teams will be thinking the same thing.

    I don’t like the packages I’ve seen thrown around for a frontliner.

    Add Beltran, or anyone with his power, experience and acumen, and I think we’re set.

    Guduan just needs to harness that 102 mph FB. Isn’t that what Strommie is supposed to do? Fix Tony Sipp…

    Smarter people are in favor of a Chapman signing. I’m really not.

    Just need to add Op as Special Consultant to the GM, and I’m fine with this prescription!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim
    November 22, 2016

    If the Astros want to trade for a TORP without giving up any of the 4 core players (Altuve, Correa, Springer and Bregman) I think it can be done. That pitcher is Justin Verlander, but how much of his contract do the Astros want to take on if they acquire him. I don’t think there is any way they can get Sale or Archer without including one of the core 4. He is owed $28M for the next 3 years with a $22M vesting option in 2020 if he finishes in the top 5 in Cy Young voting in 2019.

    Of course, there is the residual value of getting Kate Upton at some of the home games. By the way, did anyone see her classic tweet regarding 2 voters leaving Justin off their Cy Young ballots?

    Like

  3. roadthriller
    November 22, 2016

    Encarnacion would be the plum acquisition at this point. Put him at first base and then White/Reed become trade chips. Second prize: sign Beltran, make him DH and let the in-house guys handle first. All else fails, I wouldn’t mind having Valbuena back on a reasonable contract.
    Lefty reliever: Chapman too expensive. Go with Sipp or pick up something else.
    I’d be fine if they have to go to battle with the existing pitching staff and look for help at trade deadline if necessary.

    Like

  4. sandy
    November 22, 2016

    I’m good with what ever they do as long as they keep Springer, Bregman, Altuve, and Correa.

    But I don’t see a championship team without improving the pitching.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sandy
    November 22, 2016

    I’m not trying to stir the pot or anything, but I’ve noticed Kevin has been absent since defending me the other day. Sure hope he wasn’t so insulted he decided to move on. If you’re still reading Kevin, please don’t leave.

    Like

    • Kevin
      November 22, 2016

      Hey Sandy just taking a break. In my line of work I spend many hours repairing the damage caused by arrogant, passive aggressive people. So during this holiday season I have decided I don’t need that in my personal Astro life, sort of takes away the fun. I still enjoy many of the posts, have a great Holiday . I will be back.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tim
    November 22, 2016

    Is anyone else a bit curious why the Reddick agreement hasn’t been finalized yet? Both Brett Cecil and Andrew Cashner reached agreements after Reddick agreed and both of them have become officially signed.

    Like

    • Dan P
      November 22, 2016

      Maybe he has Akins disease ….

      Like

      • Gov
        November 22, 2016

        It was pending a physical, formality.

        Do they have a dip test for Akins?

        Like

      • Tim
        November 22, 2016

        I realize it was pending a physical, but the Astros have a history of withdrawing or trying to amend the agreed upon contracts after the physical (Aiken, Vogelsong and the Cuban lefty pitcher). The fact 2 players that agreed with their team after Reddick have become official is a bit worrisome.

        Like

  7. Dan P
    November 22, 2016

    Jason Castro signs with the Twins

    Like

    • The Amazin' Billy C
      November 22, 2016

      Poor Twins…I’m actually a fan of theirs. Hope they can overcome.

      Like

  8. Becky⚾
    November 22, 2016

    Do you REALLY want to pay Beltran $15 million for a 1 yr deal?? His knees are shot and he’s NOT the hitter he used to be. Heck…..if he was THAT good why didn’t the other team in texas offer him another year? I’m not impressed. The Nationals are trying to get Sale, and they want to trade Gio Gonzales. Since I’ve got a feeling we aren’t getting Chris Sale, what do you think of a trade for Gonzalez? Verlander is certainly interesting, but I think the Sox aren’t interested in trading BOTH of these guys.
    Kevin…….you are missed.😢

    Like

    • roadthriller
      November 22, 2016

      Beltran $15M for one year to DH only? I think I would do it if other options don’t work out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        November 23, 2016

        Yes. Honestly, if the Astros wanted to give him $25M for one year it wouldn’t bother me too much. The important thing is that it doesn’t restrict future payrolls beyond 2017 and getting Beltran won’t do that. The guy put up an 0.850 OPS last year so he can still rake with the best of them.

        Like

  9. Becky⚾
    November 22, 2016

    Castro signed a 3yr $24.5 million deal with the M’s, today! I will miss him, and we all wish him all the best. Don’t we.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Becky⚾
    November 22, 2016

    OOPS!!! I meant the Twins!! Sorry!

    Like

  11. Tim
    November 23, 2016

    I’m surprised I haven’t heard any rumors regarding the Astros and Matt Holliday. He is projected to put up better numbers than Beltran and Napoli and may cost less. He can play LF, albeit not well, and DH and there is talk of him being open to playing 1B. Considering Holliday came to St. Louis when Luhnow was there you would think there might be some interest.

    Like

    • Dan P
      November 23, 2016

      Somebody brought him up here within the month or so. He’s had problems staying healthy. He will be 37 in January. His numbers have been in a slow steady decline since 2009, but still decent numbers. Valbuena would probably give you better numbers (especially against rightys), would be a better fielder and is a lot younger, but would cost you more.

      Like

      • Tim
        November 23, 2016

        Yes, Valbuena is a nice option, but I think the Astros are looking more at players on 1-year contracts. VB will probably get a 3-year deal from someone. Also, the projections have Holliday giving you much better offense in 2017. He is projected for a 121 wRC+ and .824 OPS. VB is projected for a 99 wRC+ and .740 OPS. For next year it appears the only advantage VB offers is a LH bat and better defense.

        Like

      • Dan P
        November 23, 2016

        I can buy that Valbuena might dip a bit after a half year of good numbers with the Astros. But I plain old doubt that Holliday, who is turning 37 is going to give you better numbers than he did at 34,35 and 36 years old – especially when he was declining each of those seasons. I could be wrong – maybe they think moving Holliday to the AL and giving him some DH at bats will result in improvement.
        Well at least there are options outside and inside the organization.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 23, 2016

        Digging a little deeper and looking at the splits from last year, as you mentioned VB doing better against RHP, seems to prove you are correct. Last year VB had a 129 wRC+ and .841 OPS while Holliday put up 109 and .776 respectively. Thus, against RHP you are correct in VB being a better option. It should be noted that Holliday hit fairly equal against both RHP and LHP, but VB dropped off against LHP. Holliday was 107 and .797 against LHP and VB was 104 and .741.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 23, 2016

        I’m guessing Steamer is thinking 2016 was more of an anomaly for Holliday as all prior years, including 2015 were above 121 wRC+. However, he hasn’t put up an OPS above .824 since 2013. Thus, you may be correct that Steamer is projecting Holliday to move the A.L. and primarily be a DH, which should help his offensive numbers.

        Like

      • roadthriller
        November 23, 2016

        Tim, I’ve never drilled down on how Steamer and others do their projections. My first question before doing so would be how accurate has their method been in the past. Do you have any data on that? I would think any reasonable projection would have to depend on what team a player is with, not just which league.

        Like

      • Steven
        November 23, 2016

        Valbuena is going to be paid like a guy that posted a .357 OBP last year despite his lifetime .317 OBP. He is as likely to hit .215 as he is .265, probably more likely to hit .215 actually.

        One glance at his numbers tells you two things – he rarely plays 100 games, and he had a career year. At some point the bang for buck is going get you. If you give him 20 million for the next 3 years (it may take more than that, maybe 25 million), and he hits .220 next year, you look dumb. What if the cost is 30 million? At 30 million most people will say, I will just walk away. But why would you walk away at 30 million and not 20 or 25? Why is there a balk price? Either you feel confident that he is last years hitter that was a tremendous boon to your lineup, or you feel confident he is the part albatross to your lineup that he spent years before being.

        I think there are enough in house options before I invest any kind of real money in VB. I personally would give Reed the first crack, 200 ABs to show me something. If he is hitting .210 or worse at that point I would move Gurriel from DH to 1B. If that doesn’t work Marwin and McCann both have time manning the position, and if that doesn’t work, Dave’s nephew will probably start at Fresno but if he is hitting it up down there he becomes the E.

        Now if a new primary plan emerges – someone like Napoli or Encarnacion, I’m all ears and cheers. I would just pass on VB.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        November 23, 2016
  12. astrocolt45
    November 23, 2016

    Could someone assist me? I missed the part of the season where Tyler White was player of the week, and then obviously was not. Stat wise he was not as successful in Fresno as he had been in the past, nor did he do as well as Reed. However, I did watch White and Reed in the latter part of the season. I am not ready to give up on either, but White looked more comfortable to me a the plate. Why is White now trade bait or appears to be ignored in the future plans.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      November 23, 2016

      With most people when there is money in the bank the urge to go shopping is impossible to resist. In the Astros’ case, Crane let it be known early on – and has since proven – that he is willing to open the pocketbook. The urge to shop in the fan base therefore becomes like the urge to push in a woman in the final stages of labor.

      And when a person goes shopping with someone else’s money, whatever item is new and shiny on the shelf of the store, in its pristine packaging, on the end-cap of teh aisle, always looks so much more desirable than the similar item you have at home that has lost its appeal to you.

      Like

      • Dan P
        November 23, 2016

        And in the era of non-capped free agency there is not such thing as a Black Friday sale. I have to apologize for not throwing White out there as a possibility for 1B/DH – but it just feels like the team is not headed that way.

        Like

      • Dan P
        November 23, 2016

        No such…. not ….not such….

        Like

      • astrocolt45
        November 23, 2016

        Dan, I agree with what appears the direction of the team. I wondered if he punched Hinch or choked JL when I was not looking. I realize that a higher draft pick will always be given more looks than a low pick.

        Like

  13. Tim
    November 23, 2016

    The Reddick deal is finally official. I can breath a little easier now. 🙂

    Like

  14. daveb7
    November 23, 2016

    I’m still looking at Valbuena as a good fit. He’s posted an .800 plus OPS against righties the past three years. His OBP was .362 against them last year, .327 in 2015 and .342 in 2014. I think it reasonable to assume he will continue to hit righthanders. That’s really all we need from him. That solid lefty bat. He’ll also provide solid D at either corner. But for now, I see him as a real solution for first base four or five days a week. And he’ll give us a strong PH bat off the bench on his day off. He’ll probably get Castro money. Three years is no big deal. He can always be traded if and when Reed or White decide to hit.

    I mentioned Gio Gonzalez as a realistic mid range option last week. He’d be a solid number three and likely not cost any of the guys already on the 25 man roster that we do not want to lose. He’s been a healthy guy and is always good for 30 starts. He had a down year in 2016 and is only signed through 2017. He should not cost too much.

    I’m trying to be realistic. Spend whatever else there is available on the pen. I don’t think we need the big older bat that comes with defensive liabilities and increased downtime due to injury. I personally don’t care about the cost, but that’s got to be a consideration.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 23, 2016

      I agree with you. Valbuena has played all four infield positions and could be the starter at 1B leaving Marisnick, Marwin and Gattis on the bench if they carry 12 position players and they could add White if they wish to carry 13.
      My lineup with those players would look like this against RH pitchers:
      Altuve 2B
      Reddick RF
      Correa SS
      McCann C
      Springer CF
      Bregman 3B
      Gurriel DH
      Valbuena 1B
      Aoki LF
      Against LH starters it could be:
      Altuve 2B
      Reddick RF
      Correa SS
      Gattis C
      Springer CF
      Bregman 3B
      Gurriel DH
      White 1B
      Aoki LF
      This leaves Marwin and Marisnick to fill in as PH and defensive specialists and occasional starters against appropriate pitchers to give players a rest.
      I believe that is a very good lineup from top to bottom with speed and OBP at the top, power in the middle, and OBP at the bottom mixed with power.
      It would take a very good pitching performance to mow through a lineup like that, and it gives Altuve and Correa more PAs than they got last season at the 3 and 4 spots.
      The only weak area I see in that lineup is Aoki’s defense in LF, though he has been an average outfielder in his career, and Marisnick could cover some of that in the late innings.
      I moved Springer down to the #5 spot because it is a power spot and he provides that, plus the fact that the five spot cuts down on his ABs a little bit in lieu of his K rate.

      Like

      • Dan P
        November 23, 2016

        Against leftys I would move Reddick out of that 2nd spot – maybe move Bregman up. Reddick is not good vs LHP

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        November 23, 2016

        Dan, I left Reddick in the #2 slot because he is a contact guy and hides Altuve on 1B while batting LH. I’m talking hit and run or steal virtually every time Altuve is on first base.
        Reddick struck out only 56 times in 439 ABs in 2016.
        But I want to say one big thing in his defense: He hit .281 for the year from both sides. Now I just don’t know why you want to pull a guy who hit like that from your lineup.
        How many .281 hitters did we have on our team last season? Please give me a .281/.345/.405 guy with a 12.7% K rate in the #2 slot. I will take that all year long, especially if he gives the best leadoff man in baseball an extra two-tenths of a second to steal second, by being a LH batter who hides the catcher from the break.
        Altuve kills LH pitchers and I want a guy hitting behind him who gives him a great chance to be on second without it costing the team an out or on third because a stealing Altuve opened up the infield and gave Reddick a big hole in the infield and pushed Altuve to third on a single.
        Reddick can hit. That’s why I begged for his signing from the very first day of the hot stove season.
        I have Bregman hitting sixth because I want him to start rallies all over again after the three power guys hit. I like Bregman as a rally starter in the back of the lineup or picks up Springer in case of a strikeout. It’s what you get when you have nine guys in a lineup who can hit.
        This lineup is challenging the Red Sox for the highest team BA in the league.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 23, 2016

        What about Aoki hitting 2nd against LHs? Reddick has a career 19.8% K rate against LHs compared to 8.2% for Aoki. Both had rough years in 2016 against LHs, but Reddick’s was downright abysmal with a wRC+ of 3. His career is 78 compared to 109 for Aoki. I’m just offering a secondary option for your suggested lineup.

        Like

      • daveb7
        November 23, 2016

        I would sit Reddick altogether against lefties. Teoscar gets those starts. Jake becomes the fifth outfielder, again, all this assuming that Aoki starts the season in left.

        Like

    • Steven
      November 23, 2016

      His OPS is great. He can take walks with some of the best in the game at taking walks. I appreciate the inning stretchers as much as anyone. My problem with VB is low average spurned by terrible BABIPs, a lifetime of em. Last year was a mirage. I don’t have a lot of confidence in VB when he steps up with runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs in a tight game to make something happen – his fly ball rates are high, ground ball rates are high, and line drive rates are meh. He might get a walk, and he is strong dude that is going to hit some homeruns and kill mistake pitches, but he now enters the world of year 6+ players and the money that comes with it – and we have in house options that could be better.

      Is Reed better right now – he wasn’t last year that’s for sure – but you won’t know if VB is there taking his ABs. How you are going to find out about Reed is a simple formula – plug him in, give him an expiration date, and let him go. If by that expiration date he is hitting .210 with a 30% K rate, you move to option 2. You won’t know by putting money into a career .232 hitter who was a career .229 hitter before last years career year.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Mr. Bill
      November 23, 2016

      The main difficulty I have with signing VB long-term, for big money, is his high pull tendency, coupled with his high ground ball and pop-up tendency – hence his vulnerability to the shift, the right-handed change-up, and the cutter. With people on in front of him he just seems like an easy GIDP or weak pop-out waiting to happen. He is not the line-drive, high-contact, hard-contact machine I would ideally like to see playing 1B for us. Who is? If we can’t get Encarnacion, I’d say Tyler White has the best shot at it.

      Like

  15. daveb7
    November 23, 2016

    It’s a tough call Steven. Right now, I’d rather go to Valbuena than Reed with two out and a couple of guys in scoring position. Maybe Reed gets steady work at DH for those first couple of months. If he’s hitting the crap out of the ball, he starts getting more starts at first and we look to move Valbuena at the break. But I know I do not want to get off to a slow start in 2017. Unless Reed shows up 30 pounds lighter and hits the heck out of the ball all Spring, I can’t justify relying on him out of the gate. Sometimes a guy, especially with a team that has fewer holes, has to scratch and claw his way into playing time, making every shot count. This might well be the situation with Reed.

    Like

    • Devin
      November 23, 2016

      Is there a 1B option that would not bat 8th in the lineup?

      Like

      • Steven
        November 23, 2016

        Maybe Gurriel bats 6 or 7 depending on the other people in the lineup that day. Other than that, probably not right now. Still waiting on the next Glenn Davis/Jeff Bagwell big bopper.

        Like

      • daveb7
        November 23, 2016

        You know it’s not terrible to have a line up solid enough to have your first baseman hitting eighth.

        Like

    • Steven
      November 23, 2016

      I do agree with your earlier assessment about older, slower, less athletic guys like Napoli or EE. They are going to be costly, and, Napoli particularly, is the kind of all or nothing player at this point in his career that we tried to run from in a guy like Carter.

      I am not sure what the threshold is for VB’s moneyball number. Is 30 million for 3 years too much? Is 25 million? I’m less concerned with the threshold as a fan and more concerned with he is the right fit? Luhnow though has to be concerned with getting a set performance at a set rate – not necessarily cheaper, it just needs to come with cost certainty. I’m not convinced that VB will hit like a 8-10 million a year player – as a fan I don’t care about that if he is better than other options – but Luhnow needs to have cost certainty so he can lay it out in other places.

      All of this moot – like Sandy pointed out – if the rotation is not addressed. Right now there is NO certainty in the rotation, just a bunch of here is the ceiling if it goes well – and teams that enter a season like that usually spend July and August 15 games out wondering what went wrong. Gio could help, Verlander would be great, though he is expensive, you pretty much know what you are getting (again, cost certainty), Archer should be the target though because of his age and the fact that he can anchor your rotation for the next decade – even if it means giving up, , Bregman. I hope Devenski gets the chance to start, but to do that we need some certainty at the top first.

      Like

      • sandy
        November 23, 2016

        I drool over having Archer at the top of the rotation but not at the expense of Bregman. Surely we can come up with something without giving up the best of our young talent? Verlander would make me happy as well.

        I like the moves so far. Still hoping for that special present under the tree though.

        Like

  16. astrocolt45
    November 23, 2016

    Again, I ask. I am not against Reed at 1st, but what did White do that makes him invisible to the FO. To borrow a phrase that I am sick of hearing, but I know everyone gets a “reset button” going into ST. Toward the end of the year, White was a PH that actually could hit. He appears to be an “after thought.” Did he fail to do something, or did he flunk a drug test? Just a curious question.

    Like

    • Tim
      November 23, 2016

      I’m guessing they don’t see White as an everyday 1B. He is shorter than most 1B and his defense is subpar. I definitely like White, but more as a DH.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 23, 2016

      ac, just because the front office hasn’t mentioned him, doesn’t mean he’s on the outs. I just think the Astros are RH heavy and would like to address that. I still think White has a real good chance of making this team, especially if rosters are expanded to 26 players.
      The players are pushing for that and the owners are pushing for an international draft. There is a great chance they compromise on both and rosters will be expanded. The more LH batters in the lineup, the better the chances White makes the team as a backup 1B/PH.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Gov
      November 23, 2016

      He didnt produce, AC, while everyone on this blog was pulling for him. He does get a shot, with Reed, and if Stros pay a big bopper instead, they’ll get another chance next year if not moved.. We all know White can hit. What last year proved was the league adjusted, and he did not. Hi heat was his strikeout pitch, and he had trouble with a curve thrown right at him.

      Like

      • astrocolt45
        November 23, 2016

        Thanks guys, I appreciate the replies. He was in AAA most of last year, and I know they didn’t send him down because he was playing well. I didn’t think he was ever going to be very agile around first, and he is no 3b or SS. So a move to DH might serve both well. But in looking, he does have a great pitching line. -:)

        Like

    • daveb7
      November 23, 2016

      I still think White will hit someday for someone. I hope he becomes an everyday DH in Houston. But as the roster has fewer holes, it becomes that much tougher for one dimensional guys to make the cut.

      Like

  17. Gov
    November 23, 2016

    Gammons reports Astros like a Yuli/Moran 1B platoon? Is he insane about Moran? Makes zero sense. That’s like last Winter saying Singleton was the starter! Out of touch!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Amazin' Billy C
      November 23, 2016

      Not impressed with Moran at all, so that’s a bit surprising.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 23, 2016

      Ever since I saw Moran working out at 1B in September I figured they might try him there. Moran is very young and is going to hit major league pitching. I would imagine he will work there this winter.
      Maybe someone in the organization whispered in Gammon’s ear. Maybe somebody who is no longer in the Astros organization mentioned it.
      I’m not saying it’s true. I’m saying it’s possible.

      Like

      • daveb7
        November 23, 2016

        Who knows, but there are about four guys I’d rather see over there. And that’s a good thing!

        By the way everyone, I’m hoping you’ll all have a warm, peaceful, festive, family filled Thanksgiving.

        Like

    • Tim
      November 23, 2016

      The difference is that Luhnow and the Astros stated publically that the 1B job was Singleton’s to lose. Unfortunately, for him, he did lose it. They have not said anything yet about Moran being considered as an option at 1B. It’s still early so we may hear something later when we get closer to spring training.

      Like

  18. Becky⚾
    November 23, 2016

    Although Matt Holiday might be one of Luhnow’s favorites….I’m not impressed.
    His legs are troublesome and he is NOT the threat he was 8-10 yrs ago. Archer probably won’t cost as much in prospects as Sale would. I really like Chris Archer, he’s a bulldog, and when he’s healthy he’s pretty awesome! I’m still holding out for White at 1st base, and unless or until he proves that he doesn’t belong……I want to see him in the mix for 1st base.

    Like

    • Tim
      November 23, 2016

      I’m impressed with Holliday’s projected 121 wRC+. If he comes close to his projections he will make a great DH.

      Archer may cost as much, or more, than Sale. With team options his contract runs through 2021, which is 2 more years than Sale and his max annual salary is $8,250,00. I doubt we could get either player without including one of the core 4.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        November 23, 2016

        If we have to give up Bregman, then I want Archer. He’s under team control until 2021. Dam-it……..I sure wish Luhnow could get a trade done without giving up that guy. But…..back to Holliday, we will have to agree to disagree.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. sandy
    November 23, 2016

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Amazin' Billy C
      November 23, 2016

      Same to you and yours! 🙂

      Like

    • Becky⚾
      November 23, 2016

      You too Sandy!!

      Like

  20. Becky⚾
    November 23, 2016

    I hope each and everyone of you have an awesome Thanksgiving tomorrow. May you fill your plate with wonderful food, may you forgive that one person who wants to talk politics…..and when the day is done don’t forget to kiss the cook!! Becky⚾

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dan P
      November 23, 2016

      Amen!

      Like

  21. OldSchool60
    November 23, 2016

    Hey guys, help a layman out here. I’m not very well versed in BB lingo but I enjoy watching the Stros two years running. Being a native Chicagoan the Cubs gave me an early Xmas present winning the WS, now I’d like to see the Astros soar, even play the Cubs in the next WS. My question is will it break the bank for this tm to sign a TORP guy like Verlander? Seems to me it would not cost prospects to include one of the core players. Could someone explain to me why Verlander would be so expensive to sign given the fact the Stros are right there on the cusp being a front runner to win big. Understand the cost for an Archer or Sales, which would be tremendous, but why not pay Verlander outright versus giving up players?

    Like

    • Dan P
      November 23, 2016

      Old School – there are two basic types of players that a team can chase in the offseason. The first type is a Free Agent like Josh Reddick. His contract has run out and he is able to sign with any team and that team does not have to give up players to get him. (There is a variation where the player turns down a $17 million qualifying offer and the team signing him loses a draft choice in the upcoming draft).
      The other type of player is under contract like Verlander. To get him you have to trade players to his team and it needs to be enough that the team will agree with the trade. For top pitchers it could be a core guy plus additional prospects. Then you have to pick up and pay his salary. Sometimes (like with Brian McCann) he team trading away the big salaried player has to throw in part of the salary owed to get the other team to agree.
      I hope this helps.

      Like

  22. 1oldpro
    November 23, 2016

    Justin is under contract to the Tigers for three more years, plus an option year. The only way for the Astros to acquire him would be through a trade. If you want him, you are going to have to give up players to get him and then pay him his agreement of $28 mil a year for three years and then decide on whether to exercise that 2020 option.

    Like

  23. daveb7
    November 24, 2016

    I feel pretty confident that Luhnow will do something before Christmas, in order help boost those holiday season ticket sales! And I feel pretty certain that he’s going to bring in a starting pitcher. Who? I have no clue! As someone just referred to them above……I just don’t want to lose any of the core four!

    Like

    • Tim
      November 24, 2016

      Yes, assuming a new CBA is in place and no lockout I would expect something to happen at the Winter Meetings held from Dec. 5-8. I feel like a trade will happen for the Astros during these meetings.

      Like

  24. OldSchool60
    November 24, 2016

    Thank you Dan and OP for the insight. I was under the impression the Tigers were looking to shed salaries & might be willing to part with JV for maybe a few marginal players if a tm picked up all of his salary, i.e. Miggey, which is huge compared to JV. However, I cannot see a move for Sale or Archer without giving up either Springer/Bregman but would wait until the trade deadline to see what happens before making such a s decision.
    I keep reading Grinke might be, or should be made avail for straight up salary w/out major prospect trade, sounds interesting if true.

    Like

    • Tim
      November 24, 2016

      I think the Tigers would trade JV, but not for marginal players. The Tigers fan base would be livid if the return they got for Verlander was similar to the return the Yankees got for McCann. I think JV can be had without surrendering any of the core 4, but they will have to give up some of the top prospects in the organization. Martes and KTuck are 2 players I’m sure would interest the Tigers.

      Like

    • Dan P
      November 24, 2016

      The thought is that you might – might – be able to get JV for very good prospects and maybe somebody outside the core from the major league team, whereas it is hard to see moving the needle for Sale and Archer without including one of the core. You might be talking about losing a Devenski plus Martes,and others for JV.
      Grienke is owed more than $170 million over the next 5 seasons until he is 37 coming off a down year. He might be available for a song if you are picking up his salary, he might give you less than JV and be a $35 million a year albatross.
      I’m sure there are a lot of questions being dealt with by the front office.
      Who is in their no trade list (the core 4 plus??)
      What about Devenski? What about Keuchel?
      How much salary are they willing to pick up?
      How many and how high prospects are available – not sure if there are any no-touch players among the prospects?
      But you are right – how much salary they are willing to pick up, how much money is left in their contract, how old these guys are, anbd whether the team is rebuilding all tie into how the deals are formed.

      Liked by 3 people

  25. Tim
    November 24, 2016

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We should be thankful for all the blessings in our life everyday, but today is the day to really reflect and be thankful for what we have. Enjoy your day with your family and loved ones.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Devin
      November 24, 2016

      Happy Thanksgiving, Tim! Don’t fight your boys too hard for the last drumstick!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Tim
        November 24, 2016

        It’s amazing how well you know me simply from Chipalatta. 😀
        Enjoy your Thanksgiving, my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Dan P
    November 24, 2016

    Happy Thanksgiving all my friends at Chipalatta!!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Robert
    November 24, 2016

    Happy Thanksgiving Chipalatta family! Hopefully we are going to be thankful for the amazing 2017 season for the Astros! I’m sure hopeful going into this season! Keep up the great work Chip and Dan! Happy turkey day everyone!

    Like

  28. Diane
    November 24, 2016

    Thank you, and happy Thanksgiving everyone. Next season, the Jacksonville Suns will become the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Robert
    November 24, 2016

    Happy Thanksgiving Chipalatta family! Here’s to hoping that the 2017 Astros will give us something awesome to cheer about. Thanks Chip and Dan for all the good infor that you provide here. Happy turkey day to all of y’all!

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Mr. Bill
    November 24, 2016

    I hope you each are able to relax this day with the starting Pitcher of your choice, that you snag that fowl, that you wind up with more pie than WHIP, that no umpire has to step in and clean your plate, and that your celebration goes into extra-innings!

    Liked by 5 people

  31. Mr. Bill
    November 25, 2016

    No one has mentioned the possibility of trading either Gurriel or McHugh – or both – as part of a deal for a starting pitcher. Any takers?

    Like

    • Dan P
      November 25, 2016

      McHugh would be worth a lot more than Gurriel based on how much he is paid and control. Gurriel has not shown yet that he is worth the big $$ he is guaranteed.
      I don’t really want to trade either one at this point. The starting pitching is a question mark with the injuries to Keuchel and LMJ – do we want to include a guy who has been an innings eater? Or do we think that McHugh is not worth as much with the higher strike zone being called?

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        November 25, 2016

        I just find it so distasteful – and counterproductive – to speak of trading away Bregman and/or Musgrove for a TORP or MORP that I am considering other alternatives. McHugh is going to get expensive before long. Gurriel is really a man without a position, who is still more promise than performance at this point. But the reality is, I don’t want to part with either of them, or Bregman, or Musgrove – so as the Sharks so often say with regard to the proposals before them, ‘For that reason, I’m out’.

        Like

    • sandy
      November 25, 2016

      I never understood the reasoning behind the Gurriel signing. Like Becky, I assumed they were really wanting the younger brother. Obviously that wasn’t the case.

      Seems like a lot of money for an older unnecessary piece. I would rather have used that money for 1st base or pitching.

      Like

  32. OldSchool60
    November 25, 2016

    It seems like Astro fans are stuck in that proverbial rock and hard place scenario, wishing for a TORP without giving up the farm. We won’t and can’t have it both ways. Who would not want a Theo posse with the backing of the Ricketts checkbook? How much more dealing will Luhnow be allowed to do with Crane’s checkbook? Part of me thinks the org will go with the rotation they have, perhaps move at the trade deadline if need be, Hill is 37 & may seek 3 yrs $45-50 mil. I’d take a pass here. Instead of saying what we don’t want, the real question is which core, either Springer/Bregman & prospects do we trade for Sale/Quin/Archer/Gray (if any are traded at all? My choice is Springer for a TORP mentioned above. Do we move early before the Cubs and other fat cats flush with cash & prospects come sniffing in July? I’m not versed enough to pick out prospects, you guys are much better than I, so what is an acceptable pkg for a TORP

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 25, 2016

      Well, I don’t think this is the time to trade for a TORP. I know, I know, this could be our year. But I still think Keuchel and LMJ are going to rebound, I think Musgrove is a keeper and he would probably be asked for in that trade. I just don’t want to give up Martes or Tucker or Whitley or Bregman or Laureano. Those are guys they would want, too. Having Devenski to back up Morton and McHugh seems safer to me than losing all of our best prospects for a guy who could let us all down like Greinke did. The Diamondbacks made huge moves for pitchers and they really got burned.
      Go after another good bat and make a trade for a lefty reliever and let’s get started with that. Somebody is going to be available at the deadline if we need him. The time to get a TORP is when there will be a lot of them available, say, after the end of the 2018 season, when Keuchel walks away.
      Just find a way to not have to depend on Fiers in our rotation. That’s all I ask.

      Like

    • Tim
      November 26, 2016

      I still think they will go after another pitcher, but it will be more of a MORP type, say Odorizzi for example. I am fairly comfortable with our rotation as it stands now other than the injury potential. If I was comfortable we would get a full season out of LMJ I would be fine rolling with what we have, but if he goes down for an extended period the rotation doesn’t look so good. The cost for a guy like Odorizzi will be less and more palatable than paying for someone like Archer or Sale. There will still be some pain, but just not as much.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. rj
    November 25, 2016

    howdy all.

    Like

  34. rj
    November 25, 2016

    wooohooo i can post!!! for some reason the last two weeks i could not.
    so 1. Tim you arent alone, i agree with you alot of the time.
    2. sandy come on back home, we all miss you and want you back.
    3. i agree dont give up bregman or other top prospects for an expensive torp that may implode, i cant think of three or four that did, another few who were so so and not many that were worth their price.
    4. Happy Thanksgiving to all
    5. i like the moves so far, not jumping up and down for joy, but like em
    6. i know alot of this is old but i am catching up
    7. it is soooo good to be able to talk to yall and not just read and ‘like’
    8. thanks to dan and chip for all their work, you help to preserve what sanity i have left
    9. mr bill the gloria gaynor song was absolutely great

    Liked by 5 people

    • Becky⚾
      November 26, 2016

      Glad to see you back rj !!!!Sorry you’ve had so much trouble posting!

      Like

    • rj
      November 26, 2016

      thank you becky. i appreciate it.

      #3 above should read “i can think of 3 or 4 that did”

      Like

  35. 1oldpro
    November 26, 2016

    This blog is not overwhelmed with ideas right now. There is cake out there to be iced, though. How about a few suggestions:
    1. Go after Cespedes for a corner OF spot.. Let Aoki and Fiers walk. Bring Peacock to camp and he either sticks in the bullpen or gets traded or DFA’d because he’s out of options. Trade for a MOR starter so most of our prospects are intact and hold off on a reliever because one of those will be less expensive at the deadline than a starter.
    Payroll would be around $130million. Probably would have a top 2 lineup and a top 3 rotation and a top 3 bullpen in the AL. Lose a first round pick which hurts, but don’t have to spend $3.5-4 million on that pick, either, which helps pay for Cespedes. Might get lucky and pick up a pick from the Cards as penance for their sin.
    2. Go after Beltran as a DH and a second tier reliever to sew up the bullpen in free agency. Go for a MOR starter in trade. Keep Aoki for LF and non-tender Fiers, which pays for a reliever.
    Payroll would be around $135 million. Probably would have a top 5 lineup, a top 3 rotation and top 2 bullpen bullpen in the AL. Would have our draft pick but would have to pay for him, too.
    3. Sign Rich Hill and Cespedes. Let Aoki and Fiers walk. $145 million payroll, #2 rotation, #2 lineup and top 4 bullpen. No #1 pick but no cost for that pick. No loss of prospects in trades and the #6 starter, preferably Morton, goes to the pen, along with Devenski. This is truly the all in scenario.
    I think all three of these scenarios make us the AL favorite and puts us in line to play the Cubs in the WS.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      November 26, 2016

      Yeah, I’d rather spend Jim Cranes money to get a pitcher, rather than give up important pieces of our farm. Rich Hill is kinda in the cat bird seat, since he’s the best pitcher out the market right now. I’d rather keep Fires in the bullpen instead of Peacock…..sorry, I just don’t think we can trust Peacock. The Yankees want Beltran back, as well as Chapman, so they will probably out bid all the teams interested in these two guys. How was that backstrap!!

      Like

    • Devin
      November 26, 2016

      I might try Peacock as a one batter per outing guy. Basically, let him prepare to go out with his best stuff for one, high leverage batter. I don’t see him as a long reliever, but he has strikeout stuff.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 26, 2016

      It’s pretty amazing that the responses to my wild ideas are about Peacock and Fiers, the 31 year old pitcher who was ranked #130 amongst all MLB starting pitchers last season and is due to make $4.3 million and has no options left, so if he is as bad as he was last year, we’re stuck with paying him that salary because he has no options left.
      Do you really want Fiers coming in to face batters in a critical situation throwing that 87 MPH high heat?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Becky⚾
        November 27, 2016

        How ’bout neither one of them!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Steven
        November 27, 2016

        Fiers is probably better non tendered.

        Peacock to the pen is something that crossed my mind because we know he has a live arm. If he could add another 2-3 ticks on his FB as a 1 inning guy maybe. The biggest issue is he uses 4 pitches right now, and none of them, at least statistically have shown to be an out pitch. He is equally non effective with all of them with only the slider having a small positive number in pitch value. Usually the guy I think would be an incredible pen piece is that 4 pitch guy that looks like he is really just a two pitch guy out there faking it. I don’t think Peacock is faking it, he really doesn’t have command of any of those pitches when throwing them to major league hitters.

        I’m still convinced to this day Bud Norris would have been a top 5 closer, because he had the nastiest right handed slider in the game. He put no relevant pitch velocity difference between his pitches, and he keeps trying to throw pitches he doesn’t have relative command of, but if you make that guy a 1 inning horse that hitters don’t get to see to often and tell him two pitches, keep em off balance, he could be a beast.

        Like

  36. 1oldpro
    November 27, 2016

    As I predicted, Baseball America’s top 10 Astros prospect list has Garrett Stubbs in the #10 spot. Considering that list also contains Reed, Teoscar, Paulino and Gurriel, look for Stubbs to move up quickly, especially if he starts the year hot.
    Apparently, prospect ranking services. are as reliable as prospects are. Nobody had Stubbs anywhere in their rankings and MLB.com still has still has Stubbs at #29, even after the year he had.
    Predicting baseball is like predicting the weather. 24 hours before a thunderstorm hits, they give you a 20% chance of a thunderstorm hitting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Steven
      November 27, 2016

      Stubbs doesn’t have a lot of time under his belt for people to evaluate, so his absence from national media’s lists are not surprising. I really think at this point the reason he is even in the top 10 on BA is the rest of our great prospects have made it here or moved on.

      I hope he stays consistent in that BB/K ratio, it’s the thing that will get him here, but he is probably still 2 years away. It will be fun to watch him.

      Like

  37. Steven
    November 27, 2016

    I would disagree on a few fronts – that’s what makes this fun though!

    I am comfortable with 2015 Keuchel, a healthy LMJ, 2015 McHugh, a healthy Morton, and I assume a yet unsolved MORP coming, but I am not comfortable with the 2016 version of that rotation. You never have certainty in baseball. You trade the farm for Sales, he tears a cuff on week 3, and its over. You have to as a GM deal with the higher percentages, and I would argue the percentages of that rotation being a top 5 in the AL are very low. It will only be the 3rd best rotation in our own division to start, and could landslide with the health concerns.

    You are NOT going to address this by trading just anyone. There are untouchables. Correa, check. Altuve, check. The rest of the names, if you want a TORP, are unfortunately going to have to be on the board. Bregman is a guy playing out of position, in a place where we could replace him with a probably less but still productive Gurriel, with guys like Moran as depth, and brings you the biggest bang for the buck. Hey, I hate to lose the cost controlled, team controlled, possible multi All-star as much as anyone, and if it doesn’t happen I will probably be relieved, but you are not getting Archer or Sale for free.

    I wouldn’t expect this to happen soon. Even if the Sox or Rays are willing to work with someone, they are working with multiple teams and are going to continue to work the best deal they can. Same with the Tigers and Verlander, though given that Verlander’s salary works against him, I would think you could get that guy without using Bregman. Eventually someone is going to pay the price.

    There is too high a price. There is a spot I would walk away from. I don’t know what it would be, but the rotation has to be addressed with a consistent name, one that has been healthy, is more predictable, and puts us in line of having an ace the way the Rangers and Mariners do headlining their rotations.

    Tim – I got that fangraphs loves these Astros. Fangraphs told me Grossman was going to be an OK player way before he did. They also told me Singleton was going to be a pretty good player. One of their writers once claimed we pulled a coup getting Chris Carter as he was going to become a MVP candidate. Predictions are fun, but fangraphs gets a little too far in the weeds. What were their predictions this time last year? All the statistical analysis in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t have 5 guys to take the bump every 5th day and give you a chance to win. You aren’t going to win them all, you will lose some 2-1 games that frustrate you, but you rarely hit your way out of a 6-1 deficit in the 4th. Right now I think the Mariners and Rangers both have 2 pitchers better than our best, and the Rangers arguably three but admittingly they are sitting with their own health issues.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tim
      November 27, 2016

      Not all predications are going to hit and Fangraphs misses just like Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman, etal. However, their statistical analysis is usually more accurate than other sites/pundits. Thus, I am not saying the Astros will win the A.L. West, but I think most experts (not all) would pick them right now to be the favorite in the A.L. West.

      Second, I would take a healthy LMJ over anyone in the Mariners rotation, even King Felix. I’m not sure you can even rank Hamels or Darvish ahead of him, but probably so. I am not sure what we can expect from Keuchel, but 2014-2015 Keuchel is as good as any other pitcher in the division. The sleeper rotation, for me, is Oakland with their young and high ceiling guys like Gray, Graveman, Cotton and Mengden as the potential best, overall, rotation in the division. The problem with Oakland is they have no hitting. Injuries are always a concern with pitching so if you take out the potential injury risk I think the Astros rotation with LMJ, Keuchel, Musgrove, Morton and McHugh is strong and could be the best in the division, but they lack depth outside of those 5.

      Like

      • Devin
        November 27, 2016

        Don’t forget Manaea. Oakland would certainly have moved Gray if his stock hadn’t fallen last season.

        I’m glad SEA moved Walker. He had the stuff to be a TOR and may still become one.

        Like

      • Steven
        November 28, 2016

        LMJ over Felix? Really?

        Forgive me if your confidence in the rotation isn’t shared.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 28, 2016

        I’m guessing that most experts would agree with me. Felix has a lot of mileage on his arm and has lost some velocity on his fastball. I doubt many would, at this point, take Felix over LMJ, well besides Steven.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 28, 2016

        Manaea may be the best of the bunch. I can’t believe I forgot him.

        Like

      • Devin
        November 28, 2016

        Keep in mind Hernandez has three more seasons at about $25 million each remaining on the big deal he signed. If you think your team can win it in 2017 you may want King Felix. if you think it’s a longshot you may opt for a guy like LMJ. All things being equal I take King Felix without hesitation. Factor everything else in and I need to think about it.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 28, 2016

        Devin,

        Is that just a personal preference? The numbers don’t support King Felix over LMJ so I would like to know why you would take him. Is it based upon experience? I don’t see any other numbers that support taking King Felix. I’m not considering the contract because this is just a discussion on who is better for their respective team and the numbers show LMJ is better.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 28, 2016

        I’m a numbers guy so I like to see numbers to back up the reason. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but, for me, if you are going to take one guy over the other I need substantive data to support it. What King Felix has done in the past is, again for me, irrelevant. I’m talking about who will be better for his team in 2017 and beyond. I don’t see any data that supports King Felix is the better option, but maybe I’m missing something.

        Like

      • Devin
        November 28, 2016

        It’s largely based on his entire body of work rather than 2016. It’s entirely possible Hernandez has not only peaked but is falling off a cliff, but we said the same thing about Verlander and he should have won the Cy Young this year.

        If you’re digging into the numbers, however, how can you dismiss the BB numbers for McCullers? 2015 looks like a huge aberration at this point.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 28, 2016

        I didn’t ignore the walk numbers, in fact, I addressed them as the only number in Felix’s favor. I then will ask you how can you ignore all the other numbers I posted along with Felix’s decreasing K/9 numbers and lower velocity? McCullers is at the age where he is only going to get better while Felix is at the age where it is expected his numbers will likely decrease. Verlander is an outlier and while it is possible another pitcher could duplicate what he did, it’s highly unlikely in this post-PED era.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 28, 2016

        Let’s take a look at 2015. McCullers BB/9 was very close to Felix, but he had better K/9, HR/9, FIP, ERA-, FIP- and the WHIP was nearly identical. The numbers clearly show that McCullers is the better pitcher, but I will allow you to prove me otherwise.

        Like

      • Steven
        November 28, 2016

        Felix had very similar swing rates as his career norms. He had nearly as many chases out of the zone, he was as successful in the zone, he just sat out of it too much. Maybe he was worried about compensating for losing some velocity.

        His fastball was way down. Almost 2 ticks. Here is the thing, he has never been a fastball pitcher. He never threw 95 even as a rookie. He has had many seasons in the past where his fastball finished the year with negative pitch values. The thing he did last year that was different than before was walk more people. It’s one season.

        I agree with Devin – if I am going to compete for it THIS year, given salary and age as a non consideration – and we are talking about this year – I’m still taking the battle tested veteran. Verlander is a near perfect comparison by Devin – he lost some ticks, had a poor season, but did what vets do, they reinvent.

        Would I trade LMJ for Felix? No. I have to consider future job security, and trading away 23 year olds with live arms for guys in a steady decline at 25 mil a year is job suicide, but until I see McCullers actually pitch 200 innings and win 18 pardon me if I stay on the fence about where I decide to put my confidence in an upcoming season.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 28, 2016

        Actually, Verlander is not a fair comparison, as you astutely pointed out, because Felix was never a high velocity pitcher like JV. Your post and concerns with Felix last year are valid concerns and a true sign of decline by a pitcher with a lot of mileage on his right arm. I am still waiting for the numbers that support Felix is the better pitcher, TODAY, than McCullers. No one will dispute what Felix has done in the past, but he is on the downside of his career. He came into the league at 19 and will be 31 next year, but for the sake of ending this discussion we can just agree that, despite the numbers that support LMJ over Felix, you prefer the veteran presence over the overall stuff and domination that LMJ can provide. I can accept this rationale.

        Like

    • Tim
      November 28, 2016

      Last year King Felix had a 4.63 FIP, 4.45 xFIP, 7.16 K/9, 1.0 WAR, 94 ERA- and 111 FIP-. LMJ had a 3.00 FIP, 3.06 xFIP, 11.78 K/9, 2.1 WAR, 78 ERA- and 71 FIP- (lower the better for ERA- and FIP-). The only statistical category where Felix was better than LMJ was BB/9 where he was 3.82 and LMJ was 5.00. Right now, LMJ is just the better pitcher.

      Like

      • Tim
        November 28, 2016

        McCullers also had a .383 BABIP compared to .271 for Felix. Felix also had much better luck than McCullers. Not to beat a dead horse, but you’re going to be hard-pressed to show how King Felix is better than LMJ today.

        Like

      • Steven
        November 28, 2016

        You are forgetting the most important stat, trips to the DL. LMJ is a fantastic young pitcher, but he can’t pitch from the DL. I’ve said over and over that my questions on him are about a 23 year old with more DL time already then Felix has over his career.

        Everyone knows how talented the kid is. As a GM I have to deal with certainty. There is no certainty that he pitches 200 innings or makes 30 starts. You deal with percentages as a GM, and you have to ask yourself what is the percentage that Felix or Hamels makes 30+ starts, logs 200 innings, and gives you a better chance of being in those 30 games. He doesn’t help me if he is great for 15 games then I have to watch Brad Peacock for 15 games.

        This is my point about the rotation as a whole. Every spot is a question mark. Can I literally say that every staff in baseball is a question mark? Yes. But you deal in percentages. There are a lot of braniac, nerdy guys out there computing these numbers giving a probability that this will happen or that will happen, well my internal 1986 Apple PC in my head is a bit skeptical of the probabilities of the current staff all being successful.

        My awe shucks fandom of Keuchel, and the warrior I think he is, prideful guy, he is going to bounce back. I like to think that LMJ has figured out that he has to work on command of certain pitches that will allow him to throw more strikes, throw less pitches to get through 5 innings so he can go a 6th or 7th, that the McHugh pitch sequencing hasn’t been figured out by the rest of the league and he bounces back, that Morton doesn’t sit beside LMJ for half a season on the DL giving critical August starts to Mike freaking Fiers, etc. I want to think that Musgrove or Devenski gives the Astros no choice but to make some move to free up a rotation spot for one of them. I just also know how set I thought this rotation was at the beginning of the season only to watch Fister be the best pitcher on the staff for 2 months. That’s me as the fan. As a GM he has to maintain healthy skepticism and address depth. Morton was actually a good move to start that process. I hope there is more.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 28, 2016

        McCullers was never on the DL until last year, but Felix also spent time on the DL. Since we are not taking into account the contract of Felix then we have to dismiss any injury discussion as it’s definitely more likely an aging 31-year old pitcher is more likely to have injury issues than a 23-year old. Besides, those aren’t statistical numbers that can be used to determine who is the better pitcher. If I have one game to win in 2017 and both pitchers being healthy the number support starting LMJ over Felix. Nothing else, besides a personal bias and past history pre-LMJ, supports starting King Felix.

        Like

  38. daveb7
    November 28, 2016

    Our rotation remains a big question mark. That’s a real concern.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 28, 2016

      Our rotation is a question mark only if we don’t give them the same benefit of the doubt we are giving the position players.
      If we say we are set in the lineup, we are assuming we are going to get what we expect.
      Well, I expect a Cy Young Award winner to regain his form. I expect LMJ to not have lost his great fastball and devastating slider and 90mph change up. I expect Musgrove to be even better in his first full year of the majors. I expect McHugh to be the same McHugh we have always seen: OK in the first half, and dynamite in the second half. I expect that Morton has rehabbed his hamstring and that his arm hasn’t fallen off while he was rehabbing. And I expect Rodgers and Devenski and Feliz and Paulino to still be prospects on the verge of being major league pitchers.
      Am I concerned they will be healthy? No more than any fan of every baseball team in the major leagues. Am I pessimistic about these guys? Hell, no! I expect them to be the pitchers I think they are capable of being. I have seen them pitch well and that’s what I expect.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. daveb7
    November 28, 2016

    1OP, I appreciate your optimism.

    Like

  40. Dan P
    November 28, 2016

    Let me summarize:
    – No one is arguing that Felix was statistically better than LMJ in 2016 – because he was not
    – Everyone is arguing that if you make us choose between 25 starts with King Felix and 14 starts with LMJ we will take King Felix.

    This one comes down to whether LMJ can put up 25+ starts (hopefully 30+) in 2017. If he can – you have to pick him. If he can’t the team is in trouble.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      November 28, 2016

      Did anyone mention that Lance McCullers, Jr’s present annual salary is about what a pair of Felix Hernandez’ fancy shoes cost?

      Like

      • daveb7
        November 28, 2016

        I don’t see where salary is all that pertinent in this particular discussion. Regardless of the cost, we need a rotation that can take us into the post season, healthy and rested and prepared to go deep. That should be the expectation in 2017.

        Like

    • Tim
      November 28, 2016

      Right, which is my point. All things being equal LMJ is the better pitcher. An aging Felix is as likely, if not more, to spend time on the DL next season.

      Like

      • Devin
        November 28, 2016

        That’s an interesting statement and not one I can refute. I’d like to know what Luhnow’s team thinks though. Supposedly they are high on using windup / pitch mechanics to predict injury probability. It might make some of their decisions more clear to see this data (not that we’d understand it).

        Like

  41. Tim
    November 28, 2016

    Is it safe to assume that when you step away from here for a few hours and notice 10+ more comments upon your return your first thought is ‘who is having a discussion with Tim’? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steven
      November 28, 2016

      Yes, safe to assume.

      Like

    • Steven
      November 28, 2016

      I appreciate it though. Not much else to do in the offseason but try and digest what happened and predict what is going to happen.

      Somehow all of this turned into a Hernandez vs. McCullers blood match. That wasn’t the original point – that McCullers is a 23 year old curveballer with elbow issues. A general manager has to figure out what is 90% probable, 70% probable, all the way down. I think there has to be questions as to the probability of McCullers making 30 starts, and likelihood of 200 innings even if he makes 33 starts. When Maddux and Glavine opened up they were a 90% chance to give you a good season of lots of starts, innings, and wins. Noone is 100%. Smoltz was more like 70%. The Braves always addressed it. They had contingencies.

      The Astros have too many below watermark probabilities for my comfort level. There isn’t a guy on the staff that I can say is 90% to be what we need them to be. Keuchel and McHugh are still the high watermarks in probability, while LMJ is the wild card talent that like Smoltz was, is the best arm on the staff, the best “playoff pitcher,” but seems less likely to give you 33 starts and 200 innings – not that he never did, but he did it less often.

      Maybe its too much Army in me. Always have a plan, a backup, and an emergency – or else your August, season defining starts go to Brad Peacock, Mike Fiers and Doug Fister.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Devin
        November 28, 2016

        This is a point I’m very critical of Luhnow for. In fairness, however, the Kazmir trade blew up on him as he wore out in August. I can understand being reluctant to roll those dice again and instead chancing a return to form from Keuchel and return to health of LMJ.

        Like

  42. Becky⚾
    November 29, 2016

    I’ve said this before…..McCullers elbow concerns me. I hope like heck that I’m wrong but something tells me this kid is headed to talk to Dr. Andrews, sooner rather than later. Just my opinion guys…..don’t shoot me!

    Like

    • Tim
      November 29, 2016

      That’s fair as it is merely your opinion and after last season a valid concern/opinion. Besides, I don’t even own a gun (I know, how can someone live in Texas and not own a gun) so you’re safe with me. 🙂

      Like

    • sandy
      November 29, 2016

      It’s either a valid concern or the FO is being overly cautious. I’m hoping it’s the latter but I suspect it’s the former.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 29, 2016

      If LMJ is headed to Dr. Andrews, then the Astros just wasted a year of his career, because that should have happened last July. He could have been well on his way to being healthy again and ready for 2018.
      Here’s hoping that the doctors that looked at Aiken’s elbow and predicted disaster, looked at LMJ’s and said that it looked ok.
      Also, here’s hoping that Frances Martes is on the same fast track as LMJ. Their minor league trails are similar, although Correa blocked LMJ from ever being our #1 prospect. At least Martes threw quite a bit more than 125 innings last season(counting All-star, the Hooks and AFL), quite a bit more than LMJ’s minor league high, which was 104 innings in Lancaster in 2014. Lance jumped to over 160 innings in 2015 including the minors, the majors and the playoffs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1oldpro
        November 29, 2016

        There is a good link to a long interview on Astros County this morning. Very long and the meat of it is in the beginning. No mention of any elbow problems. Only mentions the shoulder and says he is 100% and is in Houston this offseason rather than Florida wrestling alligators and chopping wood.
        That reminds me that Lance used to work out with the late Jose Fernandez in the offseason. Lance lost Jose and Tal’s Hill in the same season.

        Like

  43. 1oldpro
    November 29, 2016

    The Brewers have DFA’d Chris Carter, rather than tendering him an arbitration deal.

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      November 29, 2016

      Read the post about Carter. Didn’t want to pile on the guy. He appears to be a nice guy. But when you have almost 100 rbi’s and lead the league in HRs, one would think a GM or 3 would give him the $8 mill.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        November 29, 2016

        When you see the HRs and RBIs and then see the .9 WAR, you realize how poorly he plays the rest of the game. He is a one-tool player.

        Like

  44. 1oldpro
    November 29, 2016

    Read yesterday that Danny Worth is headed to Korea to play for Trey Hillman’s team.

    Like

  45. Mr. Bill
    November 29, 2016

    The reality is that any pitcher – including Sale, Archer, or McCullers – indeed any player, for that matter – could go down with an injury at any time. The key for management is to have a reasonable back-up plan – i.e. a pool of ‘first-man-up’ talent from which to draw in the event an injury occurs. As it stands now – with Feliz, Devenski, Peacock, Rodgers, Martes and Paulino ready or almost so, and 6 experienced starters ahead of them [Keuchel, McHugh, McCullers, Musgrove, Fiers, and Morton] – we have a reasonable backup plan. Would we suffer a drop-off in quality and consistency if Lance or Joe went down to an injury? Yes, probably. But all you can do as management is prepare a reasonable contingency plan – and hope the injury bug either does not show up at all, or hits other teams as hard or harder than it hits you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      November 29, 2016

      Yes, and I still think they will add another starter before the season starts, but I don’t think it will be Sale or Archer. I still think it might be someone like Odorizzi or Smyly.

      Like

  46. Dan P
    November 29, 2016

    Just letting you know – I finally posted a “new” blog

    Liked by 2 people

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