Astros top 10 teams of all time: Part 1


If you are thinking this is the type of post, Dan P does when he is bored writing about an off-season that is moving slower than a soap opera plot…..you would be right.

In putting this list together, there were considerations to both the regular season and post-season performance of these teams. There was also some consideration of precedent too. Did a particular team do something no other team before it in Astros history had done?

And of course, this allows for lots of debate. So, without further ado – the Astros top 6 thru 10 teams of all time.

#10  2015 Astros. An 86-76 record does not seem that impressive and truthfully would not make the playoffs in most seasons. But this season taken in context was a huge step on the way to the 2017 WS Championship. The 2015 team was 16 games improved over the 2014 team, which was 19 games improved over the 51-111 2013 team. After the only three 100+ loss seasons in the history of the team, this season with its play-in win over the Yankees on the road and the oh-so-close loss to the eventual World Champion KC Royals allowed the team to breathe in the fresh air of success and to imagine what was to come in another two seasons.

Top Everyday Player. This is Jose Altuve, though Carlos Correa in only 99 games came close to eclipsing his DP mate. Altuve put up .313 BA / .353 OBP / .812 OPS / 86 runs / 15 HRs / 40 Dbls / 66 RBIs and led his team into the playoffs.

Top Pitcher. Mr. Cy Young, Dallas Keuchel was brilliant this season – his 20-8 record with a 2.48 ERA over 232 innings was just excellent.

#9  2001 Astros. After a crash and burn (72-90) in their first season in “Ten Run” Field, Larry Dierker led this team to a 93-69 record the next season and their 4th playoff appearance in 5 seasons. Unfortunately, the Astros lost another first round series in an Atlanta Braves sweep and Dierk was gone to never manage another game in the majors.

Top Everyday Player. Tie between Jeff Bagwell (.288 BA/ .397 OBP / .966 OPS / 126 runs / 39 HRs / 130 RBIs) and Lance Berkman (.330/.431/1.051/110 runs / 34 HRs/126 RBIs)

Top Pitcher. Runner-up Rookie of the Year candidate Roy Oswalt hit the ground running with a 14-3 record and a 2.73 ERA after debuting on May 6th.

#8  1999 Astros. The Astros went 97-65 in their last season in the Astrodome, a season that included the scary collapse of Larry Dierker in the dugout with a grand mal seizure in June. He would miss 27 games (managed by Matt Galante) while recovering from brain surgery. The Astros would win the first game of the NLDS and then lose the next three games to Atlanta, including a 12 inning heart breaker where they loaded the bases with no outs in the 10th and had two runners forced at home including the Walt Weiss miracle play that turned them back.

Top Everyday Player. Jeff Bagwell was a monster in the regular season (.304 BA / .454 OBP / 1.045 OPS / 143 runs / 42 HRs/ 126 RBIs) for H-Town.

Top Pitcher. Mike Hampton was the ace with a 22-4 record and a 2.90 ERA, which got him traded to the Mets after the season leading into his last year before free agency. Billy Wagner and his 4-1 record, 39 saves, 1.57 ERA and unbelievable 14.9 Ks/9 IP over 74.2 IP would be an acceptable answer here, also.

#7  2004 Astros. The Astros were 92-70 during the regular season, but the most important facet to this season was that it marked the first time in their (then) 43 year history where they won a playoff series. They took out the Braves in the NLDS behind Roy Oswalt in a series that went to five games. Against the Cards in the NLCS – they battled back from a 2-0 deficit to take a series lead 3-2 on Jeff Kent‘s 3 run walk-off HR and then lost twice on the road thanks to a 12th inning Jim Edmonds dinger in game six and a big Scott Rolen 2 run homer to break a tie against Roger Clemens in Game 7. This was the playoffs where Carlos Beltran did everything but levitate with 8 HRs in 12 games a BA over .400 and an OPS over 1.500.

Top Everyday Player. The Big Puma Lance Berkman (.316 BA/ .450 OBP/ 1.016 OPS/ 104 runs/ 30 HRs/ 106 RBIs) was a tad better than Kent and the last real hurrahs of Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio.

Top Pitcher. At 41 years old, Clemens toted up an 18-4 record with a 2.98 ERA beating out 20 game winner Oswalt.

#6  1998 Astros. This team gets brownie points for putting up a then-record 102 wins during the regular season. But they miss the Top 5 due to another early failure in the playoffs, falling 3-1 to the Padres in the NLDS, when they scored one run in each of the three losses. The trade deadline addition of Randy Johnson had a similar effect as that of Justin Verlander almost 20 years later….in the regular season. But the Astros fell short at the hands of Kevin Brown, Sterling Hitchcock and Jim Leyritz.

Top Everyday Player. Tie between Moises Alou (.312 BA/ .399 OBP/ .981 OPS / 104 runs / 38 HRs / 124 RBIs) and Jeff Bagwell (.304 BA / .424 OBP / .981 OPS/ 124 runs/ 34 HRs/ 111 RBIs).

Top Pitcher. The Big Unit was a ridiculous 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA after arriving in Houston on July 31st.

I know its hard to judge this without seeing the top 5 seasons, but as a hint the seasons that did not make either list included 1994 (strike shortened 66-49), 1981 (strike shortened 61-49), 1997 (84-78, but a playoff year), and 1979 (89-73, lost a 10.5 game lead in the 2nd half of the season over the Reds).

So how do you feel about this list?

Would you move any out for one of the ones that didn’t make the list?

Do you think any of these were top 5 caliber in the Astros’ history?

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89 comments on “Astros top 10 teams of all time: Part 1

    • I think it’s a great post with some in depth research or your part. It’s kind of like sitting around the living room talking about Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners of past but everybody is hungry and we want to know what we’re having for dinner today and when are we going to eat.

      Liked by 2 people

      • So to get everyone interested I should be saying that the 2019 “dinner” will rank 2nd in the all time rankings (before they play a game).
        I guess the problem is that we are all here hungry, and there are all these dishes that could be served for Christmas dinner – Realmuto risotto, Morton’s steak tartare, Greinke soup, Brantley with hollandaise sauce – but we don’t know if we are having that or some down home cooking like Framber ala mode or Tucker rolls.

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      • Okay, I’ll get into the spirit. I’ve always though risotto and steak tartare were way overrated. The only thing that sounds even remotely appetizing would be the Framber a la mode.

        But on a brighter note, how many teams have the luxury of bringing a Collin McHugh out of inventory and putting him right back into the rotation. As much as I like Charlie, I can see why we have not gone ahead and entered into a Morton bidding situation.

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    • Let me soak this up. I just woke up and I’m still not awake. I sat on the Hot stove until 1 am this morning and didn’t even come close to getting warmed up.
      Coooooooofie!

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  1. I’m going to be perfectly honest with everyone. I will be glad when Happ signs with anyone but us. For me, Josh James is steak and Happ is liver. I just can’t stand liver. Happ pitching against us is horrible, but pitching for us was worse. He is like a big old bee’s nest full of red wasps. Dread.
    I love the 1998 Astros. Other than 2017, that might have been my favorite, as far as talent goes. The end of the 1998 playoffs may have been the low point of my fandom. It took me years to get back into the swing of following the Astros daily.

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    • I guess that is tied to the news that Happ is close to re-signing with the Yankees.
      Being perfectly honest, the worst Happ has ever pitched was with the Astros. He has been better since he left – walking less hitters and striking out more. He still has the basic problem of not going deep into games for my taste. If I could get 2016 Happ (20-4, 3.18 ERA) or Happ with the Yanks in 2018 (7-0, 2.69 ERA) that would be great, but he always mixes in good pitching with meh pitching.

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  2. In another blast from the past – Jordan Lyles just signed with the Pirates. Even though it feels like Jordan should be middle aged by now – he just turned 28.

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  3. It was by no means the best or most talented team we have had, but my most beloved team was the 1962 version that started it all off. I will never forget those guys – the fantasy heroes of my youth!

    April 10, 1962 – I was in mosquito heaven. Bobby Schantz threw a complete game, allowing only 5 hits against a line-up that included Lou Brock, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, and Ron Santo. Our Cuban superstar – for a few minutes – Roman Mejias, hit two homers and drove in 6 runs. Hal Smith added a double and a dinger. Bob Aspromonte got 3 hits scored 3 runs – and nabbed the franchise’s first stolen base. Al Spangler added 2 hits including the frachise’s first triple. We only struck out twice – even with the pitcher batting four times. Colts 11, Cubs 2 – and MLB baseball in Houston was ON!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. One year from now will baseball people be shaking their heads and talking about Tyler Ivey the way they now talk about Josh James. “Where did they find this guy!?”

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      • Your comment made me curious, op – so I looked back at the Astros 3rd rounders since 2005. Man, what a wasteland of Jack Armstrongs and Telvin Nashes. Probably the best player they picked in that time frame they did not sign (Derek Dietrich) who at least has a positive WAR. It includes Brady Rodgers and J.D. Davis who are both in negative WAR territory – so if Tyler Ivey becomes something – it will be unusual.

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  5. Mixed emotions on Charlie. He got reinvented, won a World Series, gave us everything he had. The 30 million gives his family financial security for life. He likely won’t have another chance at a ring, but I’m sure he considered all that.

    Luhnow did not want two years. Morton has never pitched so many innings over two seasons as he did in 2017 and 2018. He’s got to be somewhat of a risk at this point. So we save 15 plus on Charlie, 18 on Keuchel, 18 on McCann, 8 plus on Gattis. Who else? There is certainly room now for Luhnow to go to work. Let’s see what he does with it. I’m thinking it might include someone’s extension.

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  6. Yes, that is a shame. But, Charlie Morton is now set for the rest of his life, the Astros may have to face him on opening weekend and nobody knew Charlie Morton any better than the Astros organization.
    Charlie Morton was as great for the Astros as they were for him. It may have been the best match I have ever seen the Astros make.
    Mike Elias says analytics drives Jeff Luhnow to look only forward and not backwards. It’s always about what’s coming, not about what is in the past.
    Analytics is what told Luhnow to offer Altuve his big deal. It’s what tells Luhnow what not to do, also.

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  7. I just can’t accept any top 10 list that does not include the 1980 and 1986 teams.

    The 1980 team fielded a rotation of Joe Niekro, Nolan Ryan, Ken Forsch, Vern Rule and JR Richard. Every starter won over 10 games and the highest ERA on the staff was 20 game winner Niekro at 3.55. The 1 game playoff with the Dodgers was one of the best games I ever watched, but I think it took a lot out of them. They went on to lose 3-2 in a best of 5 to eventual WS champion Phillies. In one of the all- time greatest playoff series 3 of the games went 10 innings and 1 went 11, where Niekro crafted a masterpiece in the 1-0 win.

    The 1986 team rode a 4- man rotation of Bob Knepper, Mike Scott, Nolan Ryan and Jim Deshais. The highest ERA was Ryan at 3.34. Scott clinched the pennant with a no-no against the Giants in what was (IMO) one of the finest Astro’s game ever played (I’m jaded because I was there). The playoffs in 1986 were even better than 1980 and they were edged out by eventual WS champion Mets. Games 5 went 12 innings to see us lose 2-1 when Kerfield blew a save. Gaames 6 is considered one of the best playoff games of all time. We scored 3 in the first to take the lead only to see the Mets tie it up in the 9th. The Mets put up a run in the 14th and we answered in the bottom on a Billy Hatcher home run (the only one given up by Mets bullpen). The Mets then put up 3 in the 16th and the magic ended when we answered with only 2 in the bottom. 6 games and 54 innings and total run differential was 21-17. 4 of the 6 games decided by 1 run, 1 by 2 runs and 1 by 4 runs.

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  8. I’m surprised the Astros were not in on Morton for 2 years, unless they had serious concerns about his arm. Based on his past 2 years of production, 2/30 is more than fair and could even be a steal. He has low miles on the arm for his age and is flexible as a late innings reliever, or even closer.

    I wish him well. He did good for us and by all accounts was a very good person and teammate.

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  9. I just reviewed the remaining FAs and I can see why the Astros are not in any hurry. I am OK with Brantley, but I don’t see the need for him at big bucks. I really like Pollock, but he will be expensive and he has never been able to stay healthy. I think McCuthchen signing at 3/50 certainly gives indication that at least Pollack and probably Brantley are going to be more expensive. I’d rather stand pat with the 6-7 outfielders we currently have to choose from than blow money on another one.

    I think overpaying for Chirinos probably puts the kibosh on Grandal. I do think that Ramos could still be an option, as he can play C, a little 1B and DH.

    I also think Cruz is still in play as another bat, as he at least brings a little flexibility to go with his big stick.

    I would pass on all of the remaining FA pitchers. I like internal options better, unless Keuchel could be had for a bargain.

    As for trades… prices seem awful high at the moment. I’m not sure I wouldn’t just wait until the AS break and see what we need then. I think this team as it is can definitely win the division. We may have a better idea of needs to win it all at the break.

    Moves I would probable entertain: Cruz on a reasonable 1-2 year deal, Ramos on a reasonable 3 year deal, Gray from the Yankees for some AAAA prospects or Greinke with some salary swap (Reddick), middling prospects and salary buy down.

    I hope we hold on to all of our arms that project to be starters, as we will need them moving forward.

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      • JA Happ has accumulated 8 WAR in 12 seasons in the majors and is 35 years old and just got guaranteed $34 million for two years plus an option.
        Robinson Chirinos has accumulated 9.2 WAR in 7 seasons and is 34 years old and just got guaranteed $5.75million for 1 year with no option.
        Just comparing what happened today, how in the world could anyone consider Chirinos overpaid?
        McCann made $17 million last year as the Astros catcher. That is my idea of overpaid and is my strongly backed up answer to you.

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    • Vewill1, I know, maybe it’s a family thing, but I’d rather pay 550K for a guy a decade younger than Cruz, who hit for a better average, OBP, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS plus, gave us 42 RBI’s in 210 at bats and can play a serviceable corner infield when needed. If we give nephew a bat and leave him alone, he’ll get the job done.

      But as I said last week, I don’t think Luhnow would turn down a deal because it included White. I just don’t see our need, right now anyway, to pay what Cruz will cost.

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  10. I won’t comment on losing Charlie. I wish him well as he is going to the most disfunctionional team in MLB. He owes a lot to Brent Strom for rescuing him from the garbage dump. That’s all I have right now. Money talks bull sh!t, walks. Good night.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So far it looks like we are not “happy campers” in the Hot Stove Season. I understand that. No big deals and our two “under the radar deals” have been meh. Still early, but I like others think the price for some of these players is way too high. Disappointed in that Charlie went with TB when we thought there was a good chance of him staying here. I’m curious on what the issue was for him not signing with Houston after all that has happened in the past two years.

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  12. -I am excited to have the patients to wait for the naming of my top 5 Astros teams of all time.
    -When the Phillies owner said that they might spend stupid money this offseason, I didn’t realize he was speaking for the entire league.
    -Do you realize that Spotrac lists Marwin’s estimated market value at almost $18million a year?
    -I still think the Astros were worried about Morton’s shoulder.
    -I look at the league as a whole and try to see who has a WS contending team with a payroll currently under $140 million and a top 10 farm system. The Braves are pretty close, but I’m not sure they are contenders yet with the team they have. The Dodgers are contenders and have the farm system, but their payroll is way up there. The Yankees and the Red Sox have contenders but their payrolls are climbing and their farm systems are way down, with the Yankees having 12 RH pitchers in their top 14 prospects. The Brewers have a low payroll and the farm system, but I’m not convinced they have a WS caliber team with their pitching.
    The Astros appear to be the only team with all three of the criteria, and they also appear to be a team with the ability to pass on bad deals because they are disciplined.
    -Abraham Toro finished the Arizona Fall League with a .348 BA/.463 OBP/.561 SLG/1.023 OPS and didn’t make their all league team because he plays the same position as Vlad Guerrero, Jr.

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  13. The dismantling continues. When the pitcher who carried Game 7 of the only World Series the Astros ever won walks, it’s symbolic. Of what, I leave to others.

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  14. Paying $30 million over two years is not ridiculous for someone who was a top 15 pitcher in the AL in 2017 and top 10 pitcher in 2018, unless…. you think he will miss more time. He had 25 starts in 2017 and 30 starts in 2018 out of a max 35 starts.
    When they did not offer him a Qualifying Offer that should have set off the alarms that they thought that either he is damaged goods or will be soon.
    Well, it is a game of risk and reward and Luhnow is not going to take as many risks as someone who does not have a lot of internal options.

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    • You are correct. Charlie pitched only 15 innings in September and 2.1 innings in the playoffs. The words “shoulder discomfort” came up several times in the last two months of the season.
      The Astros kept their mouths shut and made him the only offer they could afford to make on a guy that they might have had big concerns about, but had to keep that in house.
      Charlie got a great offer from the Rays and took it.
      I don’t know what the Astros concerns were, but I am reminded of a time when the Astros made a huge offer to a young prospect and then they found a big concern in his physical. The Astros took a whipping when they didn’t sign the kid and they were scorned and made fun of when they didn’t sign him. They weren’t allowed to say anything about it. But the next time the kid pitched his arm fell off and he hasn’t been worth a darn since.
      I want to be happy for Morton and I want to move on. I saw this coming the day the season ended. The Astros did what they were supposed to do.
      The Astros did something brilliant two years ago signing him to a contract. Let’s see how this latest decision turns out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And I understand there is a third year option in there that could range from $1 million to $15 million depending on his availability over the two years.

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  15. The Rule 5 draft starts in an hour and a half.
    Riley Ferrell as OP pointed out has been named as a likely loss. Will anyone go after one of their SPs like Akeem Bostick or Cy Sneed, what about C Jamie Ritchie or reliever Brendan McCurry or will they shoot for a lower level player like P Erasmo Pinales or SS Jonathan Arauz (came over with Giles from Phillie).
    Last season was a surprise with the Astros taking and eventually releasing outfielder turned pitcher Anthony Gose and losing P Elieser Hernandez, who had never pitched above A+ ball.
    Stay tuned.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. A few years ago my wife and I met a woman at our senior citizens group who was retired after 35 years of working for the Texas Rangers ball club.
    Over the last few years, Mary and I exchanged stories and a few tears about our teams and our rivalry was very friendly. When her team was up I was nice about their success and she did the same when the Astros were doing well.
    Mary passed away Sunday and one of our friends said that her house was full of Texas Rangers “stuff”. I had thought about Mary when Beltre retired, because he was her favorite player and I knew that his retirement would be a sad day for her. She had not been well and I hadn’t gotten to talk to her in the past weeks. She woke her daughter up last Saturday night and told her daughter to call an ambulance. Mary was gone a few hours later from a stroke.
    What we had in common with each other, was the same thing that all of us have on this blog: our love of baseball and our team and each other. I really enjoy this relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It will be interesting to see if they both stick through the whole season. Ferrell has shown a big arm for Ks but too many walks. Ferguson hits for good average, good on base, minimal power.

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  18. I, for one, am happy for Luhnow and company to not make any big moves during the off-season, unless a can’t-miss-great-deal comes along — which it probably won’t.

    As in the electoral college, where the objective is to win the most electors, not to win the most votes, in baseball the objective is to win the World Series, not to have the best team and win the most games.

    The Astros can most likely win their division sitting pat with what they’ve got. The team won’t be as good as last year’s, but the other teams in our division are still worse.

    That gives the Astros the flexibility to spend the first half of the season giving some of the young guys a shot, separating the sheep from the goats. Then, once our needs are known, they can go out and grab whatever they need to push deep in the playoffs at the trade deadline. That gives them the best shot at winning the World Series.

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    • I like how you are thinking Token – I guess the only proviso is that one of the other 4 teams might play way above spec. I don’t feel like that will happen, but I also thought Charlie was going to sign here.

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      • There are always risks. Baseball is a partly random game. But the Astros are 3/1 odds to win the AL and 7/1 to win the World Series. The odds we miss the playoffs are pretty low.

        If we go invest in Bryce Harper or some other big shot now and later it turns out that Altuve and Correa have returned to their 2017 form, but Verlander breaks his leg and Framber can’t hit the strike zone, then what? We won’t have the cash to go out and buy a great pitcher at midseason. We lose a bunch of playoff games 10-8. That’s the risk I want to avoid.

        (Similarly, what if we go invest in Zach Greinke and it turns out that Josh James and Framber are ROY candidates, but the hitting sucks? We won’t have the flexibility to go out and find help in the lineup at midseason.)

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    • I’m not at all as sanguine as everyone else seems to be about going to the market in July and just picking whatever we need off the shelf. I’d rather start the season with the best possible team. Ain’t no lollygaggin’ in baseball.

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  19. Rule 5 thoughts:
    -Who replaces Ferrell on the Top30 prospect list? Bryan Abreu? Ryan Hartman?
    -Looks like the Astros were correct about Bostick’s value.
    -Imagine if Stubbs, Armenteros or Abreu had not been protected.
    -What does three guys getting picked again say about your system?
    -Taking a minor league catcher from the Nats, doesn’t seem like a big deal.
    -Ferrell got it together for about 10 games in CC, but lost whatever he had found after the AAA promotion.
    -Too bad the June draft doesn’t go as fast. That thing moves like the old SW Freeway did.

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    • The Nats catcher Alejandro Flores (the Astros picked up in the AAA part of the draft -does not have to be on the mlb roster) looks like just a body. On the plus side he is young (about to turn 23), and has good numbers throwing out runners. But he has only played as high as A ball in the US (has played AAA in Mexico, which is not AAA in US) and has not hit much.

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      • i think he is for organizational depth. which we need even without a trade, but if for example stubbs is included in a trade, alittle extra depth is good.

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    • I think that’s sensible. Plenty of teams would like to have Peacock at the back end of their rotation. And he’s got a miss pitch that Keuchel never will. His stuff out of the pen was erratic. So if Peacock and McHugh both end up in the roatation, what’s new in the pen? Maybe Luhnow ends up spending money on pitching that way.

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  20. 30 games between March 28 and April 30. That’s a pretty heavy schedule early. After Verlander, Cole and McHugh, we’ll likely see at least three guys get starts. I could see James and Valdez sharing a spot, based on match ups.

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  21. I have done some digging this morning and I am going to save sharing my Oak Island treasure for the second part of this favorite Astros teams until the second part of the series.
    But this week’s winter meetings have worn me out. I have tried to read every bit of baseball news I could find for the last five days. I’m still not feeling well, so what the heck else am I supposed to do when it’s either raining or freezing outside.
    I have read every tidbit on what the Astros are looking for, what they say they are looking for, what others say they need, and what everyone on this blog says they need. and I have come to a conclusion.
    Despite what the dollars say, there is one player who fits into the Astros lineup like a glove. He offers them what they need most in a position they need most. Huge production in a great lineup at a position of need from the side of the plate that they are looking for.
    That player is Bryce Harper.
    The Astros are looking for a big bat. The Astros are looking for a big, LH bat. The Astros are looking for LH bat with power and huge OBP. But, most of all, the Astros are looking for a big, LH, power bat with high OBP who fills the ballpark, draws every media guy within 10,000 miles, shifts the balance of power in the AL for the next few years and allows them to slowly transition their pitching staff from an old one to a young one over the next three years without having to trade all their young arms away to stay even.
    That guy is Bryce Harper. And the Astros are the one team that has the money, the team, the momentum, the need, that has his position as a corner outfielder available, that doesn’t have to give up Tucker to get him, that desperately needs a LH bat in the middle of their lineup and offers him an extra $2-3 million a year in extra income because of Texas’s no-income tax law.
    Harper will cost them lots of money, which they have, and a draft pick, which they are going to get when Keuchel signs with his new team.

    Bryce Harper is the best fit for this team right now

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting analysis OP. We shall wait and see. It’s interesting to see what has (and hasn’t) happened with some of the FA’s and some of the more sought after players available through trade. I’d have a hard time believing that JL will just stand pat given what the record is.

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    • i agree op, with the exception of an outlandish contract. 400 million for 10 years? no thank you. some might say, well when the contract becomes too onerous vis a vis on field performance we can just unload him to someone else. hold on there, maybe we could maybe we couldnt. i dont see pujols moving anywhere and we have been talking about how bad that contract has weighed down his team for years. paying a player 40 million a year in his mid thirties is a gamble no matter how good he is in his mid twenties. now if we can get him on a more manageable salary or maybe front end load it so those later years are reduced, then maybe he could be traded if need be. and man alive would paying 40 mill a year be painful if he happened to be injured for an extended time (ala pujos). but as far as a fit right now, you betcha.

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    • Bryce Harper is a good player, no doubt. It would be fun to see him in an Astros uniform. But we don’t need him if we get the 2017 Correa and Altuve back and if Bregman keeps being himself. That’s enough offense. And Harper ties our hands on getting more pitching help, which we might really need.

      I’d rather wait until mid season, assess what we have and what we need, and be buyers then.

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  22. Not me. He’s a dynamic ballplayer. I just don’t see that many years and that kind of money for a guy with a lifetime OPS of .900 (including his monster year at 22) who has averaged 26 homers over his career. And we’d miss Reddick’s defense pretty quickly. I think we can find a 26 homer guy with an .800 plus OPS for less than a decade and a lot less money. Maybe Springer for instance. And that would leave us with a pretty good chunk of Coles fund too. Last, is Harper a personality fit? Does that huge contract play in the clubhouse? I don’t know OP.

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    • I’ll bite. Reddick to LF, so we don’t lose his defense.
      With Harper in the lineup you don’t need to trade anyone for a big bat at catcher.
      Harper gives the Astros time to see if Tucker is your other corner outfielder.
      Harper allows you to drop Marisnick’s salary which gives you 10% of Harper’s salary right there. You have Reddick, Springer, Harper, Tucker and Straw now and Harper, Straw, Tucker, Dawson and Alvarez later if Springer leaves the Astros standing at the altar in a couple of years.
      Harper makes Bregman, Altuve, Springer and Correa better. Who pitches around Bregman to get to a healthy Altuve, Harper, Correa, Springer?
      Harper keeps White at DH and moves him lower in the order.
      Harper moves Reddick down in the order and give you options in the bottom third of the order with Gurriel now in the lower part of the order, too.
      With Harper in the lineup, I am definitely not afraid of going into battle with Verlander, Cole, McHugh, Peacock, James and Valdez in my rotation, while getting LMJ and Martes healthy and Whitley, Martin, Bukauskas, Ivey, Bielak , Soloman and Abreu close to the major leagues.

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      • Our defense would be better with Harper in left if Reddick is still around.
        But we still might need a catcher that can catch.
        I agree, getting Harper will give us 10 years to figure out if Tucker is the guy.
        I think Jake would only be covering about 7% of Harpers salary.
        I am delighted that Harper would allow Nephew to stay.
        With a Harper signing, I don’t know if there would still be an altar for Springer to stand at.
        Actually, Bregman, Altuve, Springer, and Correa might make Harper better rather than the other way around.
        With a Harper signing, Cole and Verlander are much tougher to extend. 2019 could be their last Astro campaign.

        In all seriousness, what if Tucker really does turn into another Christian Yelich? I’m prepared to give him until the All Star Break. If the 22 year old does what the experts have been expecting, then we are very solid, with a whole lot more financial flexibility going forward. I’ll mention the clubhouse vibe again too. I’m dubious. 1OP, I really hope you get this one wrong.

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      • no way i would sign keuchel for that much for that many years. he is 31 to start the season, throws soft and has to rely on the plate umpire to give him a reasonable corner call. i would much rather have a hard throwing, bat missing arm that doesnt have to rely on an ump for a strikeout.

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  23. This would be a totally different direction for Luhnow (on Harper) as the only longish commitment he has made was Altuve’s extension.
    If we got Harper I sure hope they would be able to figure out why he was great in 2015 and 2017 and hitting in the .240s in 2016 and 2018.

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    • Well the Astros were good in 2015 and 2017 and not-so-good in 2016 and 2018. Maybe, Harper needs us and we need Harper in order to be good every year. Maybe it’s just a great match.

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    • good point Dan. I just don’t think he’s worth that kind of $. If Bryce Harper is worth 300MM+, George Springer must be worth 270MM. I don’t think so. But I’d rather have Springer at $200MM. Out of 7 seasons Harper had two big years. Springer has yet to have a “Big Year”. Imagine if in 2019 Springer hits .315 with 110 RBI’s and 35HR’s. Is he all of the sudden worth 300MM? I’d rather have Springer not necessarily due to the stats but I think his chemistry fits the Astros better than Harper.

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      • As for the stories of us trying to get Harper last year, I’d bet that was just a 1/2 year rental to get us back to a World Series. It would have been a pretty high price to pay but if we’d got there and won, we’d have said it was worth it. I doubt we’d have signed him long term.

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  24. As I noted previously, I just don’t think Luhnow would value Harper at the numbers that are being thrown around. Now if you could do a 4 or 5 year deal, and extend it with options/buyouts in the out years, or just do a deal that let’s Harper back on the market after, say, 5 years, then Luhnow might bite.

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  25. I agree with 1OP on Harper.

    What I don’t agree with is poster’s using Pujols’ contract with the Angels as a comparison. Pujols was almost 7 years older than Harper when he signed his contract. He was also a big- bodied player, far less athletic than Harper and had spent the past 2 seasons dealing with chronic foot issues. If you want to use Pujols as a comparison, then isolate his age 26 – 35 seasons, where he would have vastly outplayed his contract.

    The real question is “what is Harper worth”? Prime years are generally thought to be between ages 26 and 32. If this is correct, Harper is just now entering his prime years and should produce at, or above current levels. He has averaged about 4 WAR/ season. Fangraphs (and other sites) generally value 1 WAR at $8M, meaning Harper is worth about $32M per season (based on performance). Based on his ceiling (9.1 WAR in 2015) his potential value is an absurd $72M/ season.

    I really take the WAR based value with a grain of salt, since I don’t think a 1 WAR player will ever even sniff $8M/ season, nor will a 9 WAR player ever sniff $72M/ season.

    I think Harper would add at least 500 fans per night to MMP. That’s 41,000 fans over 82 home games. If each fan spends $100 then he adds $4.1M in revenue. He will undoubtedly be in the top 10 jersey sales, adding a couple more million the coffers. Him being on the team gives the Astros added leverage in negotiating media rights, which could greatly increase revenue. He will put the Astros in a greater national spotlight (consider ZERO Sunday Night Baseball games for them in 2019) and put them in more national prime time games.

    So what is he worth? I have no clue! But I do believe that if you paid him $35M/ season he would probably deliver $10M per season in added revenue and exposure. I also don’t believe that he is going to get the $400M he wants. I think something between $300-$350 is a more reasonable expectation.

    I do believe that adding Harper immediately makes the Astros the favorite to win the WS in ’19 and I think they would have won it in ’18 if his bat was in the lineup. What is that worth?

    I say 2 things: 1) sign him and 2) I sure am glad its not my money being spent! It sure is easier to make these decisions when its someone else’s money.

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