Hello friends, it’s a Free Blog Weekend, the tradition that began over a decade ago at the Chronicle. Today, you can take the discussion where you want, but I’ll get it started with a few thoughts.
How do you like that trade now?
The Astros have made quite a few eye-opening, head-scratching trades in the Jeff Luhnow era. Often, many of us shake our heads at the moves, even drawing conclusions that trades are not Luhnow’s strong point. However, several of those trades — especially those huge multi-player trades — were made because of a burgeoning roster rather than lose certain players in the Rule 5 draft. Others were made because the team had concluded a certain player may not ultimately perform at the level where he was currently ranked. Still, others the organization had just given up on (e.g. Jonathan Villar, Dan Straily).
In the case of many trades, the Astros may have appeared to be losers on the surface. Now, however, some of those trades have begun to either even out or swing in the direction of the Astros.
Here are a couple. Where do these stand now?
- July 31, 2014: Jarred Cosart, Austin Wates and Enrique Hernandez (remember him?) traded to Miami for Francis Martes, Jake Marisnick and Colin Moran and a 2015 compensation draft (Daz Cameron).
Many fans wailed when Cosart was traded, but this is a trade that, at the moment, seems to lean Houston.
- January 14, 2015: Mike Foltynewicz, Andrew Thurman and Rio Ruiz traded to Atlanta for Evan Gattis and James Hoyt.
Gattis has performed well, but it’s Ruiz and Hoyt who may ultimately determine the outcome of this one.
Changing gears to a much-discussed subject, the Astros are still interested in Jose Quintana. And the White Sox appear to be still discussing the subject as well. The move would clearly improve the 2017 rotation and it could clearly upgrade the Astros into the next decade. The more the Astros discuss, and the more teams that are involved (the Cardinals, Pirates and Yankees are still considering), the more likely it is that the Sox may pry away a high prospect like Kyle Tucker or Marte.
The problem with trading Marte is that Marte may well become Jose Quintana himself in a few years. So that question is whether you want to stay the course with a top prospect who may not develop into a front line starter for a few years or make the investment for a now return.
As for suggested rule changes, baseball is becoming a bit like football. Too many little things that seemingly make no difference?
- Base coaches must be in a certain place when the pitch is made: An amendment to Rule 5.03 requires base coaches to position themselves behind the line of the coach’s box closest to home plate and the front line that runs parallel to the foul line prior to each pitch. Once a ball is put in play, a base coach is allowed to leave the coach’s box to signal a player so long as the coach does not interfere with play. Huh?
- And teams may not use any marks on the field that could give fielders a reference point. The Dodgers were accused last season of using lasers to mark positions on the field for fielder positioning.
And a few questions to start the weekend:
- With a few games under the Astros’ belt, do you still feel as good about the Astros’ off-season acquisitions?
- Houston was apparently interested in Miguel Cabrera. That would have been a huge splash. What would the Astros have to give up for a player of his ilk?
- The Astros will have a payroll somewhere north of $120 million in 2017. Can you name the four players who, at this point, will earn over $10 million per season? Extra credit for naming the four in order or their contract earnings this season.
- Generally, how do you feel about The Luhnow Plan these days?