The normal formula around here is to throw out a couple of ideas for the weekend, but promote a Free Blog Weekend of thoughts on any Astros’ subject. Instead, today we will focus the discussion on “What Would You Do, If You Were In Charge?”
Let’s look on a few areas of potential change…..
Management and Coaching. Our blog friend, Diane, pointed to our multiple complaints about A.J. Hinch’s decision-making lately and wondered if that is a subject. We know that Hinch’s right hand man, Alex Cora is gone And leading the high-flying Red Sox. We know that Carlos Beltran, who was probably a quasi-coach/ player is now retired. First Base coach Rich Dauer is retired (thankfully surviving a near death episode at the Championship parade). So….If you were in charge…
- Would you tell Hinch we know it was really Cora making the great decisions and stealing signs so Hinch is on the hot seat for his bullpen usage, lineup choices, substitution choices, etc?
- Would you tell Dave Hudgens we now realize that with Cora and Beltran gone that the offense has sunk back to its 2015/2016, poor situational hitting and high K numbers and he is on the hot seat or gone? Look at friend of the blog, old pro’s discussion of offensive regression per Fangraphs in the last Chippie post.
- Would you tell Brent Strom that his brilliant work with the starting rotation has earned him a lifetime contract?
- Would you tell Brent Strom that his crappy preparation work with the bullpen, especially the closer spot has earned him a hot seat designation?
Front Office. What would you do relative to the front office and the GM Jeff Luhnow?
If you were in charge…..
- Would you praise him for picking up two TORs in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole for prospects without gutting the team?
- Would you dun him for again not finding this team a decent DH, when there were a lot of solid bats out there at reduced prices late in the Spring? Same for the LF spot.
- Would you ask him what he was thinking in throwing big money at relievers Joe Smith who is giving up more than a run an inning and Hector Rondon, who has yet to be given a high leverage assignment?
- Would you ask him when enough is enough relative to the terrible performance of Derek Fisher? Jake Marisnick? Evan Gattis? Tony Sipp?
- Would you ask him why he moved J.D. Davis down just when he started hitting and kept Derek Fisher up?
- Would you tell him – the heck with the Championship, you are on the hot seat young man?
Personnel. What personnel moves need to be done now or by the trade deadline? These include changing people’s roles and changing people….
If you were in charge….
- Would you trade Dallas Keuchel and replace him with Collin McHugh? Would you move McHugh into the rotation and move Keuchel into the bullpen? Would you hand McHugh the closer’s role even though he has never thrown back to back games?
- Would you hand Chris Devenski the closer’s role?
- Would you conjure up a 10 day DL for Joe Smith and then have him work out his problems in rehab, meanwhile bringing up some help from the minors? Who would you bring up – James Hoyt?
- Would you see if you can pry away a big time closer from another team, even though almost every big time closer on every team failed in the playoffs and the Astros beat the problem with using starters as closers?
- Would you demote Fisher or Marisnick or both?
- Who would you bring up? Tyler White? Davis? Drew Ferguson? Tony Kemp? Or the next big thing Kyle Tucker?
- What to do about Evan Gattis and his $6.7 million salary (that drops about $1.1 million every month)? Wait for him to go on his inevitable hot streak? Move him back to back up catcher and send Max Stassi down? (Man that would be mean to Stassi). Send him and $4 or $5 million bucks to someone for a single A level prospect pitcher?
Dan P’s thoughts….
- I am an overall patient person. Baseball is an up and down game. The Astros have stunk lately and are percentage points out of the division lead.
- Hinch and Luhnow have been more patient than we would ever be. But that kind of patience kept George Springer in the lineup in the playoffs until he became the WS MVP. That kind of patience kept Brad Peacock in the organization until he became one of the best pitchers on a WS winner.
- I understand Hinch has made some mistakes, but he is also responsible for the long view and if he stops using everyone who slumps he will soon have a full bench and an empty field.
- I would do some tweaking with the bench. At the very least send Fisher down and bring back White or Davis. I know that hurts speed and OF flexibility, but you can’t steal 1B.
- I would be looking hard at the hitters’ approach. Do they need a special consultant hitting whisperer (Carlos Beltran?) on the bench? Ask Carlos if he would like to hang around the guys again and make $X million….
- I would explore what the closer market looks like. But very few teams think they are out of it and many times the closers that are available have been successful in low-pressure non-pennant race situations.
So……it’s your turn. What would you do? What would you wait on? What would you never do?