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Random questions in a random Astros’ off-season


Sometimes the mind wanders, especially the sporting mind in the middle of the 2016-2017 hot stove league. So, here are some random questions to chew on for the next few days.

  • Did Brent Strom get really stupid in one season? The pitching probably over-performed in 2015. Was that mostly due to Strom? Did the “modification” to the strike zone by major league baseball hurt his pitchers more than others. Did other teams figure out that they just had to wait for 89 mph fastballs up in the zone? It says here that the pitchers will be better this year – even if it is mostly the same pitchers as last season.
  • Is there any need to continue the Astros’ minor league “tandem” pitching methods? The tandem method which rotates pitchers between starting and finishing games and pretty much limits them to 4 or 5 innings at a time made more sense when they had so many holes up at the major league team and needed to give many different pitchers a chance at starting. Does it make sense anymore and how much has it hurt the development of pitchers to go 6+ innings in the majors?
  • What would have happened if Chris Devenski had been taken in the 2015 Rule 5 draft? He was eligible but all the other teams in the majors by-passed picking him up. This would have been a painful loss equivalent to the wonderful gain of picking up Collin McHugh for nothing.
  • Did the front office sign Yulieski Gurriel because they wanted him badly or because they thought he was OK and that he would bring along his hot-shot brother?
  • What criteria do the Astros use to judge their major league coaches? Especially their hitting coach……Dave Hudgens…… Are we fans right when we blame the coaches for not changing the habits of people who have been hitting a certain way for years?
  • The Astros jumped from 70-92 in 2014 to 86-76 in 2015 and then fell off slightly to a “disappointing ” 84-78 last season. Would we have been as disappointed if they had improved to 80-82 in 2015 and then bumped up some more in 2016, especially considering how many critical injuries they suffered in 2016?
  • The team can still improve before spring training and it should do that. But don’t you think they should hold some cash back in case they need to make a mid-season move?

So, what are your random answers to these random questions?

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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.

144 comments on “Random questions in a random Astros’ off-season

  1. Mr. Bill
    November 29, 2016

    ‘Did Brent Strom get really stupid in one season?’

    He may or may not have lost IQ points. Does he drink heavily? But from my observation what happened is that the league passed his pitching philosophy by. The league wanted more scoring – especially more HRs – and it changed the strike zone in order to get that result. Strom got hurt more than most teams by this, because he had designed a pitching staff around soft-tossers who just ‘flirted with’ – and relied upon framing catchers and generous umpires to expand – the strike zone to outside and down low When the umpires started taking away those areas, Strom’s pitchers were in a pickle. They tried the same ‘junk’ pitches, and wound up with high pitch counts and increased bases on balls. Unable to get low or outside strike calls, they relied upon sliders in the dirt [resulting a boatload of wild pitches and passed balls]. When they tried to throw their ‘junk’ higher up in the zone, or actually on the corners instead of just outside them, they got murdered. Hence our starters’ ERAs and WHIPs went up, their IP went down, and they hurt themselves throwing too many sliders and overthrowing fastballs in hopes they wouldn’t get killed.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mr. Bill
      November 29, 2016

      I should point out that the shellacking our starting pitching took last year due to the changed strike zone was NOT offset by our hitters taking advantage of the higher, tighter strike zone when it was their turn. Our offense’s slash line went down from .250/.315/.752 in 2015 to .247/.319/.735 in 2016. Our runs scored did not increase either, but actually went down a little [729 in 2015 to 724 in 2016]. We also actually increased in SOs, going up from striking out 1392 times in 2015 to striking out 1452 times in 2016. So between Strom’s pitching philosophy and Hudgins’s offensive philosophy, we struggled mightily in every phase of the game. We did not adapt to the new strike zone on either side of the plate.

      Liked by 3 people

    • 1oldpro
      November 29, 2016

      Bill, the better question might be: did Strom’s success with Keuchel and McHugh, lure the front office into thinking that they could take Fiers Feldman and Fister and turn them into the same type of pitchers with their slow pitches too.
      Not having McCullers in the rotation to start the year might have forced the Astros to go with that strategy. Then, having McCullers and Musgrove in the rotation with better stuff could have lulled the front office to sleep when it came to making deals at the deadline, trading Feldman, who was thriving in the bullpen with higher velocity, and not going after another starter.
      When McCullers went down in August they were stuck with four soft tossers in the rotation and then lost Keuchel. Then they had to turn to AAA to fill in.
      With the smaller outfield in 2017 for half their games. I still think the Astros need to stay with their ground ball philosophy, while adding in pitchers who can get timely Ks with a better fastball. Keuchel, McHugh, Morton and LMJ are groundball pitchers. They need another guy who can do that and it isn’t Fiers, in my opinion.
      McHugh’s ground ball rate dropped, while his K rate and fly ball rate went up. If this is because of the strike zone change, he needs to adjust.
      One thing is certain and that is if the bottom five of the Astros order starts producing right away, which they did not do at all last season, the Astros pitchers will have more wins next year. If the Astros do a better job pitching, the team will have a lot more wins this year.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Bill
        November 29, 2016

        OP, your comments about McHugh are the main reason I suggested in a previous discussion that he might be considered as potentially expendable in a deal for a TORP or a MORP. If Collin can’t get the fly ball tendencies down next year, he could have a really tough time – and a really bad record – at the new, smaller MMP.

        Like

      • Steven
        November 29, 2016

        I would also consider that McHugh was able to take a lot of people by surprise with his pitch sequencing the first year, but by the end of the first year the book was out on the guy. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, he is kinda that guy that once you figure out as a hitter what his plan is, you can have your own plan. Same is partly true of Keuchel. When as a hitter you know LMJ is about to throw you a curve it doesn’t matter, it probably gets past you anyway.

        Like

  2. 1oldpro
    November 29, 2016

    Let’s delve deeply into question #2 about keeping the tandem system.
    No.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. sandy
    November 29, 2016

    *See Mr. bills answers with which I concur.
    *Never was a fan of the tandem method and from what I’ve read most of the pitchers agree.
    *The Astros got lucky.
    *That one is a mystery to me. I have to assume they thought it would give them the advantage with the younger, better brother. Money wasted I’m afraid.
    *Maybe we do expect more from the coaches than is reasonable but in the case of Hudgens? I can’t help but wonder why guys leave here and give their new coaches credit for their improvement.
    *An improvement each year would have been more reassuring.
    *Absolutely.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. 1oldpro
    November 29, 2016

    Buster Olney tweeted that the Astros were “serious contenders” for Yoenis Cespedes, who has agreed to a 4/110 deal with the Mets.

    Like

    • Devin
      November 29, 2016

      I’m concerned we are now only days away from an announcement that Luhnow has traded for Ryan Braun.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        November 29, 2016

        Please don’t let this happen. I would be very upset with Luhnow if he traded for Braun.

        The reports are that the Astros are heavily pursuing both Encarnacion and Rich Hill. They make better choices, in my mind, than Ryan ‘PED’ Braun.

        Like

      • Steven
        November 29, 2016

        Not so much the PED’s, lots of guys use them. Heck, I’m skeptical of Encarnacion. My problem with Braun were the actions after, and the willingness to ruin the reputation, careers, and lives of others to cover up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        November 29, 2016

        The ‘PED’ was just in reference to the whole sage surrounding him testing positive. I don’t know how many are still using PEDs, but the numbers suggest it is much less than was using them in the late 90s/early 00s.

        Like

    • daveb7
      November 29, 2016

      We get to be serious contenders annually.

      Liked by 1 person

    • astrocolt45
      November 29, 2016

      With that kind of money, I am glad we were just “contenders”.

      Like

  5. Mr. Bill
    November 29, 2016

    * Did the front office sign Yulieski Gurriel because they wanted him badly or because they thought he was OK and that he would bring along his hot-shot brother? *

    I suspect there are multiple answers to this question. First of all, the Astros were absolutely horrible in positions 5-9 of the batting order. We desperately needed someone who could hit above .250. Based upon his history, I think it was believed he could also provide an OBP above .325. He did one – but not the other – and he physically just wore out. But his signing required surrendering no prospects, and he was bound to be an improvement over who we had in 5-9 up to that point. Secondly, I am sure the F.O. was hopeful that his signing would increase the chances his younger brother would come along. And thirdly, due to the political leanings of our owner, and his close relationship with a President who was, at the time, overtly supporting opening up relations and business with Cuba, I suspect Mr. Crane’s politics might just have had a little something to do with it as well.

    Like

    • sandy
      November 29, 2016

      Shouldn’t the FO have known Bregman was on the brink of joining the ML team? Signing another infielder when we desperately need outfielders and a “real” 1B?

      Politics? Crane should have found another way to impress the President.

      Paving the way for the brother would have been nice had it worked out but the FO surely knows by now how agents work.

      I certainly hope they don’t plan on trading Bregman and expecting Gurriel to fill his shoes.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        November 29, 2016

        Agree on all four points, Sandy. I suspect the F.O. probably thought that [a] Bregman, when ready, would slide effortlessly into LF [which I thought all along was an unworkable mid-season position switch] and that [b] Valbuena would stay healthy, continue to hit at his unprecedented pace, and become our regular 1B. Not saying the F.O. was right about any of that, but I am guessing that might have been what they were thinking.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        November 29, 2016

        I truly doubt they would have signed Yuli to nearly $50M with the sole reason being they would get Lourdes and then let Lourdes sign with another team for over half that amount. Yuli was always seen as the more polished hitter and the reason they got him was to add some offense to our team. If the Astros really wanted Lourdes they would have exceeded the contract he got from Toronto so, from my perspective, they didn’t value him as high as Yuli.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 29, 2016

        I should have said let ‘less than half that amount’, not more than, regarding the Lourdes contract with the Blue Jays

        Like

  6. Steven
    November 29, 2016

    Strom – As Leo Mazzone proved in his Atlanta/post Atlanta career, you are who you have.

    Tandem – bad idea.

    Devenski – Devo doesn’t have overpowering stuff, so I’m not surprised he got passed up. I think his delivery and usage as a reliever led to his success. I HOPE it is duplicated but the Astros should prepare for it not carrying over. As always, have a plan.

    The Gurriel saga – I’ve seen no evidence anywhere else except mentioned here that the Astros only gave Gurriel the money to pursue his brother. I feel like they were likely two different transactions.

    Hudgens – I don’t expect big statistical differences when hitting coaches change – Bagwell was the exception. I prefer the hitting coaches worry about the players state of mind and how they approach certain at bats, i.e. take pitches when they should, do things to move runners, and the Astros have been terrible at that roughly 5 years now, maybe longer. Probably time for yet another change.

    2016 record – The only real critical injury I can think of was LMJ. He makes 28 starts instead of 14 that might have been a 88 win season. I don’t think VB’s injury was significant other than it took place when he was hot – but he was bound to cool off anyway, and your backup plans for a guy like VB or Rasmus should be about as good since these aren’t all stars anyway. Correa was good in 2016 – but I think there was a lot of people that thought this was going to be his breakout into Trout kinda world season. Some bullpen problems, but who doesn’t deal with bullpen injuries every year, again that should be part of the plan.

    IF they were serious about Cespedes, and if they are serious about Encarnacion and Hill, they should go for it. They should do it while they have a core that is young enough and cheap enough to pay these guys and go for a WS title in the next 2 years. There is going to be a point in the sort of distant future that you are not going to be able to give all of Altuve, Correa, Keuchel, Springer and McCullers the money they deserve and have a roster left. If they are going to go for it, don’t make money an obstacle, do it to increase the value of your franchise and get it on the other end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      November 29, 2016

      Rightly or wrongly I’m counting Keuchel as part of the injury troubles and frankly beyond the starts he missed back into pitching hurt.
      Their two best pitchers being out or ineffective due to injury was a big deal.

      Like

    • Steven
      November 30, 2016

      I can buy that Dan. His fastball was down an average of 2 ticks, that usually doesn’t happen suddenly to someone at his age unless he is trying to pitch through something. The question is, whatever he was pitching through, is it gone?

      Like

  7. daveb7
    November 29, 2016

    Gurriel could end up being a major Luhnow mistake, but it’s far too early to write him off.

    Like

  8. 1oldpro
    November 30, 2016

    Question 3 about Devenski- I’m still not convinced that the Astros know how good Devenski is. They constantly talk about how valuable he was in his role last season and he is repeatedly left out of many conversations concerning the rotation for next year.
    It’s similar to what I saw in basketball, when I used to be a basketball fan. A guy would come off the bench and lift the team to victory after victory. Soon he was considered so valuable off the bench that he got the “cursed role” of sixth man and the team would be blinded to the point that they had a guy on the bench who should have been a starter.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. 1oldpro
    November 30, 2016

    The Astros acquiring Cespedes would have made them better.
    The Mets end up spending $110million in order to remain the same team they were last year. And they gave Cespedes a no-trade clause.
    There is speculation that the Astros are trying to load up offensively in order to be able to trade one of their young stars to get that TOR pitcher. Don’t shoot me, I’m just passing along what I read on Ken Rosenthal’s twitter feed.

    Like

  10. astrocolt45
    November 30, 2016

    Please Tim, don’t yell, but I need to comment using the “eye test.” It is the only one I can pass. McHugh and Fister in many games got hit and hit hard. They fooled no one. It looked like the hitters knew that pitch and location before the wind-up. Don’t know if it was good scouting or tipping pitches. Other games they fooled them. And lack of control or not getting the call had them in 1-0 and 2-0 so often, that a 88 mph fastball was a “gift.”

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      November 30, 2016

      And it was noted many times by the announcers, if you throw your fastball high in the zone, the curve at the waist and down fools no MLB hitter.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. astrocolt45
    November 30, 2016

    As to Gurriel, when he came up whoever had to sit had earned the spot on the bench. I don’t think politics played at all. And as to the cash question, normally cash brings in FA’s now. At the deadline it takes prospects because the teams out of it are “rebuilding.” Spend it now.

    Like

    • Dan P
      November 30, 2016

      To clarify the cash question I really meant salary budget – if there is a ceiling number do you want to leave room so you can add salary at the deadline?

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Tim
    November 30, 2016

    Looking at the projections for next year I think the Astros did very well with the Reddick signing. He is projected to put up a higher WAR than Encarnacion and will cost 1/2 as much. I’m really concerned they are going to overpay for Encarnacion and then trade off a package that includes Bregman for Sale. I know some here would like us to get Sale, and I would like him also, but not at the expense of any of our core 4. I’m fine if we don’t get Sale. I don’t want to go from a young, athletic team to an old, aging, plodding team. That rarely pans out for success and adding Encarnacion, while taking away Bregman, ages this team quickly. The projections for Bregman next year are 3.2 WAR. This is better than Encarnacion so it makes zero sense to add EE and then trade Bregman.

    Also, from what I am seeing on Twitter and other Astros blogs fans of our favorite team really don’t appreciate how great Springer is. He is probably the 3rd best OFer behind Trout and Bryce Harper. Getting Encarnacion makes us better as long as we don’t then trade away some of our great young players as it doesn’t improve the team. Yes, one can argue a team with Sale and Encarnacion and without Bregman is better than a team with Bregman, but without Sale and Encarnacion, but I prefer a team with Encarnacion and Bregman and Sale (or another TORP). If we can’t get Sale without including Bregman then walk away and look elsewhere. Rich Hill, while I think would also be an overpay, is about a 2 win lower pitcher than Sale, but Bregman makes up for this so I would rather get him and keep Bregman. In summation, I don’t want to trade any of our young potential star level players.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sandy
      November 30, 2016

      Agree!

      Like

    • Steven
      November 30, 2016

      I’ll be surprised if Bregman puts up a 3.2 WAR. Encarnacion is projected at 34 and 97 – and he is only 33 and has outperformed those the last few years. I’m a believer in projections to a point – but right now EE is a far better (potentially HOFer) hitter than Bregman. He walks more, K’s less, has more power. That might not be true 2-3 years from now, but I still believe that EE has done it, year after year, and would be a perfect DH for this team. If he was 37, I would say no, but he isn’t. That said, I don’t think we will match Boston for EE. Cespedes just 110 million, and EE has been better than Cespedes.

      It comes down to the price of a TORP. If you are Luhnow, and you think you can win with Keuchel, McCullers, McHugh, Morton and Devenski/Musgrove, go for it. I’m skeptical of that, but I’m not the GM. The price may also be too high. If it is, start your year with that, see how it goes, and see what happens in June and what the market holds. Signing Hill isn’t my first choice, first, he isn’t really a TOR guy – though he has been very good – second, it’s hard to be a TOR guy if you are going to pitch 15 games. This is a guy that has thrown 100 innings ONE time since 2008! He is 37, with injury history, at an age where pitching doesn’t get easier, only harder. Kick the tires on him, if the price is down because no team wants to give him 15 million with his history, take a look. A one year deal with a vesting option would be optimal – I just think he is looking for 3 and 20+ million. If we do sign Hill though I’ll become his biggest fan.

      Like

      • Tim
        November 30, 2016

        You are definitely entitled to your opinion, but I’ll trust the experts over at Fangraphs just a tad more than Steven at Chipalatta. The projections are not always dead on, but they pour over tons of data points to make these determinations and come close many times. No offense, my friend.

        Like

      • Steven
        November 30, 2016

        Has Bregman ever hit 42 homers with 117 RBI? EE did that, like, just now. I trust people that have done it more than his projection to do it.

        Like

      • Steven
        November 30, 2016

        But I’m the first one to say that projections are ALWAYS better than the old gut feeling.

        Steamer (one of fangraphs favs) has the best track record of all of them in the last 5 years. That’s a high five to fangraphs. Noone probably spends more time on there than I do.

        That said – hardly any of them are terribly accurate with young players. Too many variables and not enough information to draw an inference from.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 30, 2016

        There’s more to WAR than offense and I know you realize this. Encarnacion being either a very poor defensive 1B or DH is a big reason his projected WAR is lower than Bregman.

        Like

  13. 1oldpro
    November 30, 2016

    The Astros being in the mix for Cespedes confirms two things.
    1. The Astros are dead serious. Cespedes got a QO and that means the Astros were willing to give up their #1 pick to sign a top free agent. Are they willing to do the same thing for Encarnacion? If they have made an offer to Encarnacion, that question is answered.
    2. Crane truly meant it when he said he would spend the money when the time was right. If they are willing to spend big money and a top draft pick for EE, then they would probably spend the money for Rich Hill, too, because he got no QO. Getting those two would put payroll at around $150 million, which would get us near the top 10 in payroll, which Crane said publicly he would do, when the time was right.
    I think the Astros are willing to pay for the players. It’s just a matter of the players wanting to play for Houston or not.

    Like

    • The Amazin' Billy C
      November 30, 2016

      And notice Bopert quit posting again when Crane started spending money?

      Like

      • astrocolt45
        November 30, 2016

        Stop it BC. My buddy Bopert taught me how to sing “I’m Just a Cockeyed Optimist”😁

        Like

      • The Amazin' Billy C
        November 30, 2016

        lol

        Like

  14. 1oldpro
    November 30, 2016

    Question 4- Yuli and Lourdes.
    I am a guy who thought the Astros had the inside track to sign Lourdes. I never said they signed Yuli to get Lourdes. Yuli said it had been a dream for them to play together but, apparently, it was not a dream of the Astros.
    I like Yuli and think he will be a good MLB player who was not in shape last season and will be in shape when spring training rolls around. I really like that he has seen major league pitching now and that he has been in playoff contention atmosphere. Now, I hope he gets to see MMP full of Astros fans, rather than the park half full of other team’s fans. That had to seem weird to him.

    Like

  15. Devin
    November 30, 2016

    I’m really struggling with these last few comments. Here are my thoughts:
    1. Bregman is overvalued by most of us. He hasn’t shown he can play SS/3B at the major league level. That puts all his value on his bat and speed. The bat better keep trending upward or he better reinvent himself as the next Alex Gordon.
    2. Gurriel has some adjusting to do. I have concerns that Houston is not the right place for him due to our lack of adjustments by hitters.
    3. Sale looked like Cy Young in June and then faded.
    4. Archer is hard to evaluate. His team was really bad. He lost a lot of games where he got the old Roger Clemens run support. He got hit hard in some others, but generally almost all of those performances were against playoff teams. Does that make you feel better or worse about the idea of trading a ton to plug him into our first start next October?
    5. I wish Encarnacion was in the last year of his deal and not signing on for a long term deal.
    6. Rich Hill has started 30 games exactly once in his career (2007). You better find a way to retain as much starting pitching depth as possible if you roll the dice on him.

    Like

    • sandy
      November 30, 2016

      I agree with most of what you say Devin, Bregman has only played in the bigs about half a season. Given the chance and the right leadership, he looks like an all star to me.

      Like

      • Tim
        November 30, 2016

        Yes, and he’s already shown he can play a very good 3B. There is a reason he’s projected to put up 1 more WAR than EE and it’s not because he’s that much better of a hitter than EE.

        Like

      • Steven
        November 30, 2016

        He made 8 errors in just 40 games. He is learning a new position at the major league level. He is certainly an athlete that will master the position, but I don’t know if its right this second, next year. I’m not going to be surprised to see 25-30 errors from him next year at 3B, so that dWAR may be a little overinflated. I also won’t be surprised if its only 15. Never been a fan of WAR as it just seems with these accumulation stats you never get a good enough picture of a players strengths and/or weaknesses and how they fit with the rest of the roster.

        Marisnick is probably a terrible player when we look at WAR, but when you have a guy that can replace a poor defender in the 7th, can pinch run for someone in a critical spot, can spot start against the right pitchers he matches up well with, I mean, we don’t play the game with WAR. WAR doesn’t tell us if this guy is the right guy for this matchup against this pitcher/hitter. I know it paints an overall picture, generally teams with a bunch of high WAR players win, and those without don’t, it just doesn’t always help you win a 1 run game.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 30, 2016

        Errors don’t provide the defensive value of a player by itself. He made several errors during his first few games at 3B.

        Like

      • Devin
        November 30, 2016

        Tim, I’m not going to ask what you mean by that. Bregman made a few nice plays for us, but his propensity to boot the ball or throw it away has followed him throughout his minor league career.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 30, 2016

        I will explain. My friends at Fangraphs expects Bregman to put up a 1.2 dWAR next year. They see value in his defense being a positive for the Astros. I see value in using Fangraphs and other statisticians in helping me evaluate a players worth to his team.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 30, 2016

      I think I will engorge myself at your feed trough of optimism.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Devin
        November 30, 2016

        Hey, daveb doesn’t have the market on cynicism cornered just yet.

        Liked by 1 person

    • astrocolt45
      November 30, 2016

      Devin, I agree that Bregman is not Correa but he is not Matty D either. Gurriel, on a small sample, is a poor man’s (pun intended) Altuve. Few K’s and few BB’s. His major adjustment is to learn to throw foul balls into the stands to keep from being booed. I concur with your other notes
      So we both need to put on our “Mr. Negatively” hats and go sit in the corner.

      Like

  16. Dan P
    November 30, 2016

    I know projecting is a dangerous thing to do… but despite the fact that Alex Bregman only had 2 hits in his first 10 games….. if you project what he did over 49 games into 162 games it would look like this:
    102 Runs (would have been 13th in the AL)
    43 doubles (3rd)
    10 triples (1st)
    26 HR (33rd)
    112 RBIs (5th)
    316 Total bases (13th)

    You have to hold on to this kid and get him in the batter’s box as much as you can.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tim
      November 30, 2016

      Well, it’s a good thing we didn’t use his first 10 games to project him going forward. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. daveb7
    November 30, 2016

    Bregman had a significantly more enticing 49 game first look sample than Altuve did over his first 57. Means nothing, but maybe it does. Devin, how about that for unguarded positivity?

    Like

    • Tim
      November 30, 2016

      Who are you and what have you done with our resident beachcomber?

      Like

  18. Tim
    November 30, 2016

    There are some unverified reports on Twitter that the Astros and Encarnacion are close on a 5/$115M contract. That’s a ton of money for a long time, if true.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 30, 2016

      I have read the same thing, Tim. Apparently, they are awaiting the full details on the CBA before any announcements are made.

      Like

    • Becky⚾
      December 1, 2016

      That’s a lot of money for a lot of years. Think he can produce like he did this year for that many years???

      Like

      • Devin
        December 1, 2016

        I do not

        Like

      • Tim
        December 1, 2016

        I don’t think he will either, but if you front-load the contract then it makes it more palatable that you’re paying for the production you’re getting, for the most part.

        Like

  19. 1oldpro
    November 30, 2016

    Big developments in Baseball
    The league and the union have reached an agreement. A few details to iron out.
    Nori Aoki and the Astros have reached a salary agreement avoiding arbitration. Aoki gets$5.5 million, less than was predicted by MLBTR, by $1.3 million. This means that Aoki is an Astro for 2017, barring a trade.

    Like

  20. Tim
    November 30, 2016

    Also, reports are that the new QO comoensation agreement won’t go into effect until next year. Thus, if the Astros do sign EE they will lose their 1st round pick.

    Like

  21. The Amazin' Billy C
    November 30, 2016

    Looks like Fister may be heading to the Mariners. GOOD RIDDANCE.

    Like

  22. The Amazin' Billy C
    November 30, 2016

    having issues with posting…test test test

    Like

    • Tim
      November 30, 2016

      We read you loud and clear.

      Like

      • The Amazin' Billy C
        November 30, 2016

        Cool…yeah I don’t know what’s up…sometimes I hit post and it posts…sometimes it takes a while. Been like that for me for about 2-3 weeks

        Like

      • Dan P
        November 30, 2016

        So weird Billy C – don’t know why – sometimes happens to me too.

        Like

      • Tim
        December 1, 2016

        That has happened to me. I hit the refresh button and then I can see my comment. Have you tried this?

        Like

  23. Becky⚾
    December 1, 2016

    Billy……I guess I’m more willing to cut Mr. Fister some slack. He never backed away from the media, and took it on the chin like a man. He just ran outta steam by the last 6 weeks of the season. I wish him well. I guess if I’m gonna display someone on the pitching staff it would be Sipp, who was lousy the entire year.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. 1oldpro
    December 1, 2016

    What criteria do the Astros use to judge their coaches?
    If the manager likes them and they don’t find a better job, they stay.
    Would I have been happier if there had had been gradual improvement rather than the 2015 jump? Maybe, because I think that jump fooled Luhnow into thinking he was close, and the horrible start to 2016 immediately proved that was not the case.
    Do I think they should hold cash back for a rainy day? No! They need to go for it all now. Charge up the fan base and get the big crowds out early. Get the revenue pouring in and the stands filled up with excited ASTROS fans, and then squeeze the tube of money toothpaste at the deadline to add something if needed. Get a jump on competitors for the available players, get a cushion in the standings and try to coast in September to give your players a little rest for the playoffs.

    Like

  25. Mr. Bill
    December 1, 2016

    If you are Jon Kemmer, Alejandro Garcia, Derek Fisher, P Tuck, Tony Kemp, Leo Heras, Teoscar Hernandez, Jake Marisnick, or Ramon Laureano where do you expect to play your home games next year – and at what position?

    Like

  26. 1oldpro
    December 1, 2016

    If I’m Kemp I expect to play 2B in Fresno, unless I’m traded straight up for Mike Trout.
    If I’m Heras, I expect to play in Mexico.
    If I’m Kemmer, I expect to be in Fresno as a starting OF, if I’m not released.
    If I’m Garcia, I expect to be in Fresno as a starting outfielder.
    If I’m Laureano I expect to be in Corpus as a starting OF.
    If I’m Fisher, I expect to be in Fresno as a starting OF.
    If I’m Preston Tucker, I expect to be a DH with an AL team or in Fresno.
    If I’m Teoscar, I expect to be in Fresno as a starting OF.
    If I’m Jake, I expect to be in Houston as a backup outfielder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • daveb7
      December 1, 2016

      I think Teoscar could play his way on to the big club with his right handed bat as the 4th outfielder. But he’s got to become better defensively too.

      Like

  27. Mr. Bill
    December 1, 2016

    One of those four guys expecting to start in the OF in Fresno is bound to be disappointed. Let’s see: Kemmer bats lefty; Fisher bats lefty; Garcia bats righty, and Teoscar bats righty. One of the four could DH, but that would leave no room in the inn for PTuck if those four guys are all at Fresno.

    Infield at Fresno could be crowded as well:

    Reed [lefty] at 1st, [Singleton [lefty] at DH];
    Kemp [lefty] at 2B;
    Mayfield [righty] and Chan Jong Moon [switch] at SS;
    Moran [lefty] and White [righty] at 3rd.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      December 1, 2016

      Fresno should carry four outfielders. What about Aplin? There is a logjam.

      Like

    • Devin
      December 1, 2016

      Keep in mind Gattis is our backup C. That leaves the following:
      5 OF – Aoki, Springer, JFSF, Reddick, ???
      6 INF – Bregman, Gurriel, Altuve, Correa, ????. Marwin
      2 C – McCann, Gattis
      12 pitchers

      I assume ??? will be either Preston Tucker or Teoscar Hernandez if both make it until mid-Feb as members of this organization. The comments here suggest ???? will be Encarnacion, but I remain skeptical. The dollars and years don’t make sense unless Luhnow/Crane are desperate to avoid being jilted (again) the way Andrew Miller and Yoenis Cespedes have done.

      Also, keep in mind Marwin and Bregman give us a bit more flexibility as they can play multiple spots in both the INF and OF.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        December 1, 2016

        The main thing in my mind is to make sure we never have a back-up catcher slotted in at DH. If not Encarnacion, ??? could be Beltran. If neither, ??? could be Preston Tucker [lefty] or White [righty] – or, theoretically, I guess it could be Valbuena [lefty]. Or, even more outside the box, failing to get or have faith in ??? we could put McCann on 1B or at DH and let Heineman [lefty] be our back-up catcher behind Gattis.

        Like

      • Tim
        December 1, 2016

        I thînk you hit the nail on the head regarding Encarnacion. The Astros probably need to over pay for a big name to show the league they are in it to win. It might open the doors to acquire future free agents if the Astros win as expected.

        Like

  28. Dan P
    December 1, 2016

    Along these same lines have we heard whether the 26 man roster spots is alive or dead?

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      December 1, 2016

      Dead, from what I read. Reasoning was apparently that having another potential substitution would slow down the game.

      Like

      • Roadthriller
        December 1, 2016

        Dead, yes from what I read. The logic doesn’t hold: if you are down to the 25th or 26th man you’re already in a long game. A 3:40 or 3:41 game length, who cares?

        Like

    • daveb7
      December 1, 2016

      That 26 man roster possibility helped me justify keeping an outfield defensive specialist with a sub 6 OPS.

      Like

  29. 1oldpro
    December 2, 2016

    Random thoughts on a blog about random questions:
    -Reading the new CBA, it’s pretty clear that both parties were making huge money and are only concerned in keeping it that way. Major League Baseball couldn’t care less about the welfare of minor league players.
    – I am convinced that the Astros will not have Springer or Keuchel as a core players for many years.
    – I am convinced that the Astros’ front office has a plan to deal with big salary increases by their players and that 2017 is a year they are targeting to go big. The Cubs are a major roadblock to their dream.
    – The less wealthy major league clubs are very tired of being majorly outspent by several teams and are systematically trying to fix it.
    -Despite what Luhnow or anyone else says, Rasmus’s move to accept a QO and his subsequent performance was a gamechanger for the Astros front office in the way they will conduct business.
    -What has gone on between the Astros and Castro in the past few years off the field has as much to do with his departure as his on the field performance.
    – The torrid love affair between the Astros and pitch framing has settled into a day to day marriage of convenience.
    -The Astros need to do a much better job of getting their top pitching prospects to the majors and weaving them into their rotations. They must stop trading them away.
    – If I were the Astros GM, I would not trade Bregman, no matter what the return is.
    – Money has made the All-Star game a joke.
    – Jose Altuve could be the face of the game, if baseball is up to the task of allowing it to happen. It’s obvious how the players feel about Altuve.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Dan P
      December 2, 2016

      Great randomness there op.
      – Off the field with Castro I assume you mean the petty fight over $250 K or whatever it was. Weird to treat him that way even if you don’t plan on keeping him long term.
      – If they trade Bregman I think it will be a Joe Morganian mistake
      – Baseball should be pushing Altuve big time – he’s a great player, terrific person and personality and his size makes him so special.

      Liked by 2 people

      • 1oldpro
        December 2, 2016

        It is my belief that the salary arbitration dispute was the result of what had been going on with Castro, not the cause.

        Like

      • Dan P
        December 2, 2016

        Ok – spill the beans – do you think this was an attitude problem with Castro, work ethic, substance abuse, butting heads with the FO on how to handle pitchers, connections to his distant relatives Fidel and Raoul….,?

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        December 2, 2016

        Probably

        Like

      • The Amazin' Billy C
        December 2, 2016

        Castro always seemed to have a bit of a lazy, lackadasical attitude…whenever he was not yelling at the umpires for yet another called 3rd strike. Not sorry to see him go in the least.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Zanuda
      December 2, 2016

      All, Agree that trading Bregman could be one of those highlight films that talks about the worst trades ever made. How long have we been looking for a 3rd baseman that’s not your”average player. Who was our last one, Morgan Ensberg, Ken Caminiti? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a guy who could constantly play good solid baseball for 5 – 7 years? Same goes for 1st base (not yet arrived).
      Shortstop and second base look set provided we can hold onto CC and JA. We don’t have a great pitcher to tout any more but maybe some in the wings. Oh and hands off Springer too. I realize that salaries will be an object but get the deals done with the young guys before it’s too late. If you build a winning reputation players will want to come play here to fill in the pieces.

      I always thought we should focus on the long term (5 years) with putting the microscope on the short term. I think we have an excellent chance to make it to the WS this year, but not at the expense of mortgaging the future.

      Like

    • Devin
      December 2, 2016

      Keep in mind with the new CBA when Springer hits FA and Boston or NYY want to sign him they will end up taking a luxury tax hit AND surrendering draft compensation. That may make it possible for Houston to retain him as long as they’ll make a competitive offer.

      Like

  30. 1oldpro
    December 2, 2016

    Wondering if Yonder Alonso of the A’s gets tendered today. After toiling in two of the worst hitter’s parks in baseball, SD and Oakland, he might be considered by the Astros at 1B as a very affordable platoon option. Minute Made park would be like heaven to him. His away stats are so much higher for his career and not having to cover a first base line that is as big as most team’s center field would be nice for him. He’s not a great fielder, but we don’t have any great fielders at first base. Marwin is the best defensive first baseman we have.

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 2, 2016

      op – it is probably totally unfair to the young man, but your description of Alonso gives me definite vibes of Jesus Guzman.

      Like

      • The Amazin' Billy C
        December 2, 2016

        *shudder*

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        December 2, 2016

        Guzman never had a low career strikeout rate like Alonzo does. Jesus was a strikeout machine, as were most all the Astros that year.

        Like

      • Dan P
        December 2, 2016

        Like I said it was unfair to judge him based on Guzman.

        Like

      • Tim
        December 2, 2016

        It’s all a moot point now as Alonso has agreed to a contract with the A’s.

        Liked by 1 person

  31. Tim
    December 2, 2016

    I received an alert on my phone today that Encarnacion is seeking a $100M contract. I guess those twitter reports of the Astros offering 5/$115M were false.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. 1oldpro
    December 2, 2016

    The Astros tendered all their arb eligible players.

    Like

    • The Amazin' Billy C
      December 2, 2016

      Wish the chicken I just ate had been tendered….

      😉

      Liked by 4 people

  33. astrocolt45
    December 3, 2016

    If Tyson Ross can pass a physical, he might he might be interesting.

    Like

  34. 1oldpro
    December 3, 2016

    Random thoughts
    What is it like to be able to spend $180million every year on player salaries?
    What is it like to have spent $1 billion dollars on salaries in the last four years, have a full stadium every night, and no hardware to show for it?
    Detroit spends a ton of money, doesn’t make the playoffs and is now going to shed payroll, and still has the same manager.
    The Nationals have five really good players in their minor leagues, but very little depth beyond that. Their window is closing.
    McCutcheon seems due for a rebound.
    Please tell me I’m right about the league’s leading hitter, the team’s best base stealer and OBP leader returning to the leadoff spot.
    Didn’t Preston Tucker have to have shoulder surgery?
    Roberto Pena is gone and Max Stassi is out of options. The catcher situation in the minor leagues is in a state of flux. I feel blessed with having Gattis and McCann on the club.
    Can’t wait to see how being in the Carolina League changes things for Astros’ prospects.
    Can’t get over how young Jason Martin is to have already been in AA Corpus Christi. Lancaster Effect?
    Does having two major league clubs taking spring training in West Palm Beach pretty much guarantee that the attendance will double the attendance of Kissimmee, if not more? Do the Astros play the Nationals in WPB this spring?
    Well, I’m headed out to the deer blind. A cold front blew in last night.

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 3, 2016

      Lots of good thoughts there op. I’ve always known that pure team salary in and of itself does not buy a championship. On the other hand a team with a big budget and a clue e.g. 2016 Cubs – can do real damage.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Mr. Bill
    December 3, 2016

    While we are waiting to celebrate the Encarnacion, to catch a ride on the Beltran, or to be shop til we drop at the big Sale, what if we all cast our vote for the all-time All-Awful Astro lineup? Mine:

    1B – Jesus Guzman
    2B – Kaz Matsui
    3B – Matt Dominguez
    SS – Jonathan Villar
    LF – Tie: Chris Carter/Evan Gattis
    CF- Craig Biggio
    RF- Rick Ankiel
    C- Eric Kratz
    Starting Pitcher – Woody Williams

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      December 3, 2016

      C. Pagnozzi/Clark1st Carlos Peña 2nd Maz SS Greene & Manzella 3rd & LF OK. CF Gomez RF OK. SP. Man, the list is endless. Williams and Jennings in 07 would be hard to top.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        December 3, 2016

        Starting pitcher- Humber
        Shortstop- Hector Torres
        RF- Joe Gaines- a terrible outfielder!
        Catcher- Skip Jutze
        Reliever- Blackley
        CF- Gomez
        1B- Singleton
        2B- Kaz
        3B- Nevin-his pick probably cost us more than any player in our history.
        LF-Preston Wilson- never get to a ball if someone else is in the outfield!

        Like

      • astrocolt45
        December 3, 2016

        Hector Torres. The high point of his career was at Williamsport.

        Like

    • Nance (@Bbfanlady)
      December 3, 2016

      Jason Jennings for SP

      Liked by 1 person

    • Roadthriller
      December 4, 2016

      One not mentioned: C Luis Pujols. Slashed .192/.239/.259 over 311 games. Not that good behind the dish, either

      Like

  36. 1oldpro
    December 3, 2016

    The Astros have agreed to a I year $16 million contract with Carlos Beltran. The circle is complete as far as I’m concerned with Carlos.
    The Astros are going for it.
    Lost no prospects, Lost no draft choices.
    I think they make a run at Rich Hill.

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 3, 2016

      I like this pick up a lot – really extends the lineup. Hope the fans remember not to boo him anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sandy
        December 3, 2016

        Yes please, no more booing.

        Like

  37. 1oldpro
    December 3, 2016

    What do you guys and gals think?

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      December 3, 2016

      Yes on 1yr with Beltran. Can’t go multiple years on Hill. Saw where Angels STILL owe Pujols $140 mill. 1OP we all age. Just don’t see Hill being worth multiple years.

      Like

    • pencil01
      December 3, 2016

      I like the move. Switch hitter, DH position immediately gets better. It cost us nothing other than Crane’s money. It’s just one year and if he can hit 260 we’ll be much better throughout the lineup.

      Like

    • Tim
      December 3, 2016

      I like the signing. This team needs some veteran leadership for the Latin players. With Beltran and Cora here it really helps in this area. Besides, Beltran still produces, mashes LHP and it’s only a 1-year contract. I was very concerned signing Encarnacion would lead to a Bregman trade so that makes this a preferred signing. Finally, we get to keep our 1st round pick and with the new QO compensation rules going into effect next year we can look to add a bigger free agent at that time, if needed. For me, there isn’t much not to like about this signing.

      Like

      • Devin
        December 3, 2016

        I agree with Tim

        Like

  38. Nance (@Bbfanlady)
    December 3, 2016

    I think Beltran signing means Chris Sale or Archer are on the radar.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Becky⚾
    December 3, 2016

    Beltran for $16 million……not impressed. I would rather Napoli, at least with him we would have another emergency catcher, plus I’d rather have his energy in the clubhouse. It does appear the only two pieces Luhnow has to add, is another lefty in the bullpen, and another front line pitcher. Rich Hill might still be on Luhnow’s radar, but the asking price for Sale is RIDICULOUS. Chris Archer would look great in an orange/blue uniform. Not impressed with today’s signing.

    Like

    • Tim
      December 3, 2016

      Other than the emergency catcher part Napoli is Chris Carter and we all wanted Carter gone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Billy Castillo
        December 3, 2016

        Exactly.

        Like

  40. Tim
    December 3, 2016

    Last year Beltran put up a .970 OPS and 158 wRC+ against LHP. We now have a balanced lineup up and down the lineup regardless of the pitcher we are facing. Reddick and McCann hit RHP well and we have significantly reduced our strikeouts from last year. They are still looking to add pitching, but the offense looks very balanced and deep.

    Like

  41. rj
    December 3, 2016

    rasmus was 16 mill. beltran is 16 mill, beltran is the much better deal. and only one year so no strangling long term contract, no prospects or draft pick lost. wooo hooo i like it. much more solid lineup vs lefties or righties now.

    Like

  42. rj
    December 3, 2016

    bring in a true #1 or #2 starter and katie bar the door!!

    Like

  43. Billy Castillo
    December 3, 2016

    Wherefore art thou Bopert?

    Liked by 2 people

  44. rj
    December 3, 2016

    been having trouble with comments going through again. but while its working let me say dan you have been a one man gang the last few months, thank you. even if i cant comment you can bet i will be reading. thanks to all y’all for your comments as well. Happy Holidays!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gov
      December 3, 2016

      Sigh! I love the Beltran signing too,…been on my wish list for a looong time. The man was/is nails (Cora hiring, brilliant!). I just can’t believe how our team is gaining momentum, changing its face & character at such a pace! [I will watch Brian McCann vs Carlos Gomez at least once a week til the season begins just to refresh on ‘where we were, and where we are.’] Mr. Bill was surely after that idea – this may be the most formidable lineup we’ve ever assembled even without EE.

      I want to add a little spice to the pot, something to stew on. I thought tendering Fiers and McHugh were quite telling that they are “ride or die” guys. Much as I don’t let’s say, like it…the more I watch some of Altuve’s highlights for example, Get This Part – I have seen the most unconventional defensive plays of my life from what this staff does. I’m talking about RHP vs LHH, ball hit right up the middle and Altuve standing right there! There’s no way that happens unless the only pitch the batter sees to hit is the one we have him positioned for.. we must really like the locating capability above the less velo. It’s telling that guys like Bostick Guduan Paulino aren’t yet in the mix.

      Limiting these contracts, not signing an albatross gives our AAAA prospects more opportunities to play w/o jeopardizing wins; Reed, White, Teoscar, Kemp.. add veteran presence = the makings of a very nice mix!

      Like

    • Dan P
      December 3, 2016

      Your welcome rj – lately my work has been causing me to do less of these than before but I just want to feed the conversation. Y’all are the lifeblood that keeps this going.

      Like

  45. astrocolt45
    December 3, 2016

    Going back to Devin’s note on who is ???. It appears there is no roster space for Kemp, PTuck, JFSF, White, Reed, Stassi, etc. Maybe one but that about does it. Any changes to the pitching staff may move some others off 40 man.

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      December 3, 2016

      I meant 25 man.

      Like

    • rj
      December 3, 2016

      i think jake is a backup/defensive OF for us this year. i dont think any of kemp, ptuck, white, reed or stassi make the opening day lineup.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      December 3, 2016

      They’re still looking to add pitching. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Fiers or McHugh traded, depending on who else we can get. If only they didn’t have that Sipp contract hanging on the books. The Astros really need him to return to a semblance of 2014-2015 Sipp. As it stands now the bench looks to be Marwin, Gattis and Marisnick if they opt to go with 13 pitchers. They have so much depth at each position, even 1B as Gurriel, Marwin and McCann can play there. They will also have guys in Fresno like White, Kemp, Reed and Hernandez as options when the inevitable injuries occur. The offense, as I stated above, is so balanced and deep with above average contact rates, sans Springer. Go get one more starting pitcher to plug in the middle of the rotation and let’s get ready to rumble. I’m really excited about this team.

      Like

      • Gov
        December 3, 2016

        Look at the versatility of this team, Astros reported to be “in on everybody” that if one guy signs (like Beltran), it’s a different lineup than if EE does. But it doesn’t matter bc you have Marwin, and Gurriel as playing multi positions – now MacCann, Beltran as well. Looks like this …

        Springer CF
        Bregman
        Altuve
        Correa
        Beltran LF
        Gattis
        McCann
        Gurriel 1B
        Reddick

        The hole in this lineup is where?
        Looks absolutely beastly.
        I’ve been shopping for lefty relief myself – there are some nice options. Whether the team pulls trigger, or another starter? I’m in for Odorizzo or Quintana… if they stand pat, it’s telling they have their stable already! And their draft pick. Isn’t it interesting how that fact keeps coming up. Like the saving private Ryan of 2017 Lol!

        Like

      • astrocolt45
        December 3, 2016

        Tim, don’t you think it risky to have 3 starters coming off injuries and trade your 3rd or 5th option. I wish we could find a trade partner that wants several off the Fresno roster. I am no fan of Fiers but he might need to be a backup for the backups.

        Like

      • Tim
        December 3, 2016

        The problem is that if they acquire another pitcher someone from the 25-man roster will have to go to make room. They could send down Musgrove, but he looks to provide more value than Fiers. Otherwise, there simply won’t be enough room on the 25-man roster. No one else who would be considered for the rotation has options left.

        Like

      • Tim
        December 3, 2016

        I completely forgot about Charlie Morton also. That is 7 SPs (assuming an acquisition is made before ST starts) with only 5 spots available, unless they decide to go with a 6-man rotation.

        Like

  46. 1oldpro
    December 3, 2016

    These nine players: Altuve, Springer, Correa, Beltran, McCann, Gurriel, Bregman, Reddick and Aoki combined for 4029 At Bats last season. They had 1126 hits in those at bats for a .27947 batting average.
    The highest BA in baseball for a team was Boston at .282 and Ortiz is gone.
    The second highest BA was Colorado at .275.
    The Astros team batting average was .247. That was 24th in the major leagues.
    Also, please remember that Gurriel and Bregman had never before faced major league pitching. I expect both of them and Correa to improve upon their 2016 performances. Reddick hit a lot better in the first half before his injury knocked him down for two months.

    Like

  47. rj
    December 4, 2016

    man o man that looks like a deep and dangerous lineup. thinking about pitching –
    i dont think just prospects will bring a #1 or 2 here, i think it will take a reliable cheap veteran such as mchugh, a top 5 pitching prospect, a top 10-15 pitching prospect and maybe a throw in such as fiers and/or a prospect position player at a premium position such as ss AND the astros taking on a large salary a team no longer wants to pay.
    NONE of our young core should be traded at this point!! if we are asked to give up bregman or any of the core, just say no.
    even better than a trade if we just spend FA money ala beltran, but for pitching.
    if memory serves, altuve, springer, correa, gurriel, bregman, and riddick are all under team control for 3 yrs or more. a really good core for years if not broken up in a trade.
    we arent that far away with the staff and depth we already have. several young guys are on the verge of being able to contribute at the major league level. bounce back years from keuchel, LMJ and morton arent a given but i think it safe to say each will have a better year than last. a reliable mchugh and a choice of many at #5 (musgrove, fiers, paulino, rodgers, peacock, devenski, martes, feliz) coupled with a solid bullpen looks pretty decent to me. and remember we will score more runs this year, the ice wont be as thin for the starters or pen.
    ok sorry for the rambling, been a long time since i had that much wine with dinner.

    Like

    • Devin
      December 4, 2016

      Houston is in the position that they don’t have to trade for a starting pitcher. I’m not saying we lack the certainty that a healthy Sale/Archer/etc would bring, but they should play defense and the offense should be tough enough to get the ball to the bullpen and win a lot of regular season games. They can evaluate LMJ, Musgrove, Martes, etc a bit longer and make a move in July when asking prices dip. There is no reason to panic now… especially after Luhnow has made moves that we expect to move the arrow in a positive direction.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        December 4, 2016

        Waiting until July makes good sense. With the new QO compensation system in place teams will have less incentive to hold on to their pending free agents as they won’t get as nice a return (no comp pick) as they probably would via trade. I would be happy if the only other addition before ST starts is a LOOGY. Reports are that they still plan to be aggressive during the winter meetings looking for more pitching, but I agree with you that there is no harm in rolling with what we have and re-evaluating at the trade deadline.

        Like

      • Gov
        December 4, 2016

        We’ll have the benefit of making those evaluations, rotation decisions over five+ months, and hopefully keep a loaded stable rested. The addition of one more starter however is my hope. Where is the next 15-game winner available, that’s the guy!

        If these are the Wins Over/Under numbers for our starters, do you see any overs?

        DK 13
        McHugh 13
        LMJ 15
        Musgrove 12
        Fiers 10
        Feliz 7
        Morton 8
        Devenski 8

        It kind of begs the question? Do we need an Ace? Do we have anyone who will surprise and make the roster? Is this enough?

        A lot could, and did happen from last offseason thru ST (adding Fister, LMJ injury, trading Straily [14 Wins, 191 IP, 4.3 WAR as it were], long man decisions, etc.) such that maybe this year they take a sit back and wait approach. Martes is already making noise, we could add a ton of value by finding that 15-game winner in-house, knowing it would cost at least $10M+ on the market and/or prospects.

        Like

      • Devin
        December 4, 2016

        I could see any of them being over. My argument in favor of that is Currently Young winner Rick Porcello. Our offense won’t be as strong as 2016 Boston, but I don’t think we have as many feast or famine showings in 2017. Run support will translate to wins.

        Like

  48. 1oldpro
    December 4, 2016

    There is no reason to believe that Dallas Keuchel isn’t Dallas Keuchel anymore. He was hurt, he sat out, that is over. He did not get rode hard and put up wet last year and we start over with him fresh.
    LMJ is Healed. Forget about last year’s shoulder inflammation and safely assume he is the pitcher we thought he is.
    Nobody can survive as a GM if they keep or use players they know are injured or are going to be injured. If LMJ can’t handle the rigors of being a starting major league pitcher, then he is the #1 prospect we need to trade for a TOR pitcher. OR he is the guy we need to turn into a closer because his stuff is closer stuff.
    Joe Musgrove shouldn’t have to prove anything to make this team. He is starter material and other teams wanted him last year. He needs to make this team as a starting pitcher this year, or we have the wrong pitching coach and the wrong manager.
    Collin McHugh had the regression that everyone thought was coming, and yet he led the team in pitching WAR last year. He is a major league quality MOR pitcher and he has no history of being injury prone. He will be a terrific BOR pitcher for us if that is what he is asked to do.
    Houston did not sign Charlie Morton and pay him $7 million a year to sit. I fully expect him to be a part of the rotation. I think they expect good things from him. His signing is the biggest surprise of the entire hot stove season, because it came out of nowhwere. That tells me that analytics is alive and well in the Astros front office and they are betting on it.
    The Astros have pitchers. If the Astros are patient, they are going to have a lot more pitchers in Paulino, Rodgers, and Martes.
    I think they are going to have one of the best bullpens in baseball with Giles, Harris, Gregerson, Feliz, Hoyt, Sipp and Devenski, but I think they could try to get even better, because Hoyt and Feliz have options left.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. diane
    December 4, 2016

    Wrote a letter pouring my heart out to Carlos Beltran when he left us. Never heard back. So I suspect he’s waiting now for my welcome back letter. Let me get on that.

    Liked by 5 people

  50. 1oldpro
    December 4, 2016

    When I was working in SW Houston in the 80’s and 90’s I remember when commercial property no longer screamed “For Sale”. Instead, it became “Available”.
    That was the first thing I thought of when I read Cafardo’s article in the Boston Globe saying the Astros were “listening to offers” on Collin McHugh and Evan Gattis.

    Like

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This entry was posted on November 29, 2016 by in Astros.
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