Outside the box: An Astros’ trade that splits the fans


Over the years, the city of Houston’s sports teams have opposed the mantra of former Astro manager Leo Durocher: “Nice guys finish last.” (By the way, it is probable that “The Lip” actually said something about his opponents the Giants being “nice guys and nice guys are in seventh place”, but later he claimed the more concise quote for the title of his autobiography).

But it has felt like over the years that the Rockets, Astros, Oilers and later the Texans were focused on adding nice guys to their rosters and not taking chances with players who have had character issues. And that is of course why many thought that these teams would never be successful. But now that the Astros and Rockets have been pretty nice guys and won the ultimate championships the desire to bring in “bad boys” has fallen to the side as a way to change their luck.

Truthfully, there have been problems over the years. The two-year suspensions of Lewis Lloyd, and Mitchell Wiggins of the Rockets for cocaine use was extremely public. The drug demons former Astro Ken Caminiti faced were not so public until his untimely death but were allegedly happening during his playing days, too. There have been charges (long after the fact) of alleged sexual harassment by former Oilers QB Warren Moon.  Astro Julio Lugo was accused of domestic abuse and was immediately DFA’d and released. There have been PED and recreational drug suspensions for players with all the local teams. There was also former Astro GM Ed Wade being beaten up by pitcher Shawn Chacon and immediately let go. (Chacon, not Wade).

But in general, the teams have not been a haven for those who were looking for a second chance. Perhaps Miguel Tejada was the closest to this. Perhaps the Astros knew Miguel Tejada was about to be identified as a PED abuser when they traded for him or perhaps this was naivete on Drayton McLane’s part.

Bottomline, what happened Monday afternoon was unusual in the history of Houston sports’ history. The Astros front office knowingly went out and traded for a player Roberto Osuna, currently serving a 75 game suspension for alleged domestic abuse. This trade is a test for the Astros’ fans, for the team for the young man himself. He is only 23 y.o. but has been in the big leagues since he was 20. He is not totally in the clear as the case is still open in the Canadian courts.  A critical player, Justin Verlander is supposedly unhappy about this pick-up as he is a huge opponent of domestic abuse.

One of the Astros’ most glaring weaknesses this season has been the bullpen. Now the front office may be showing a glaring weakness in the area of ethics as they attempt to fill that spot.

The fans are caught in the middle. They love their team. They know every weakness and want the team to succeed. But they wonder at what cost.

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115 comments on “Outside the box: An Astros’ trade that splits the fans

      • dave i dont necessarily agree that it was a bad idea. most players the first time they come up dont fare well. especially one as young as tucker. alot of times they are as overwhelmed by the situation as they are the competition. its almost sensory overload, big stadiums, big crowds, new teammates, new pecking order and most of all, big league arms. i am hoping that he works on a few adjustments at AAA and then comes back this september ready to help the team. with this first taste behind him and the work at AAA i think he will return with more confidence and less deer in the headlights. we all know he has talent, i hope we see it in september.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Ray, he came up on July 7 and got 9 starts before the All Star break, took five days off and then came back as a platoon player, totaling 45 at bats before being sent down this morning. He hit .158. Bregman hit .125 over his first 45 at bats and was a mess at third. Tucker was not over matched nor overwhelmed. There were some positive stats sprinkled in there. And when I saw him hit that rope, caught on the track in left yesterday, I was thinking he was close.

    That said, Tony Kemp had already been brought up and was (still is) producing. He belonged in left. Tucker was producing in Fresno, but the .877 OPS, while excellent for a 21 year old, was certainly not a guarantee of success at the ML level. What was the rush?

    I think your #1 prospect should be handled a bit more carefully. If you bring him up, make sure you can give him enough at bats before you decide the promotion is not the best thing to do for the team and the prospect both.

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    • i said this on july 7.yes its a good time to bring him up
      i dont expect correa -like instant success, but i sure will take it
      i expect he will struggle a bit and have mixed success, be sent back down to work on some adjustments and then be back up in sept or before for the stretch run and have good success then.
      i think they wanted to see him at home in a controlled environment for this first dip into the major leagues. this homestand provided that and was why the timing was the way it was. jake gets regular at bats in the minors which is a good move as well.
      tucker has mixed success (as most first time call ups do) and is sent back down to work out a glitch or two, tags out with jake as he heads back up after working out a glitch or two (please oh please baseball gods). then returns in mid to late august plays well and stays up with the big club for the rest of the year.

      i think the club has a good handle on this.

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      • Ray, I presume he will come back in September, but if Kemp is still doing what he’s doing, then he should spend most of his time on the bench.

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  2. Jeeze Keuchel. …quit making life more difficult than it needs to be.
    On Tucker….he needs to play EVERY day, and he wasn’t doing that up with the Astros. The kid is very talented, he’s young and now that he has a taste of MLB pitching, he’ll be better prepared when he comes back up….for GOOD.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i like how the schedule is starting to shape up. lots of important series this month, but lots of off days as well. arms will benefit. the month ends with a long home stand that continues into september. we’ll get a chance to see some of the call ups play at home at that time.

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  4. september looks good as well. 14 at home, 13 on the road. BUT the last seven games are all on the road, i hope by then we are aligning our rotation for the start of the playoffs while also resting those who need it and getting dings and bruises healed up for the run.

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    • absolutely agree with you diane. the team showed some resilience and toughness under alot of current adversity. im proud of them.

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  5. Keuchel was VERY excited to see Jake today, and made it known (along with several others) that they were not happy when he got sent down. Keuchel said he didn’t care what Jake’s, batting average was he was a very important part of this team. So….maybe he stays up. Feels good to be 5 games up on the M’s, and now the A’s! Don’t look now but Oakland has decided not to lay down….they ALWAYS play us tough.

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