As we wait for the first Spring Training game on Sunday for our Astros, it is a good time to bring back a Chip Bailey tradition….Free Blog Weekend. As always, you can hit on any Astro subject you want, but here are a few things to toss out there for consideration.
The Astro connection here is that a number of pundits have said the Astros should pony up for more than the Manny Machado 10 yr / $300 million contract and add Harper to their stable. He is definitely a very good player — at times excellent (2015 – 42 HRs, .330 BA / .460 OBP/ 1.109 OPS and 2017 — .319/.413/1.008 slash) and two of the last two seasons good but not great (2016 – .243/.373/.814 and 2018 – .249/.393/.889). He’s scored more than 100 runs only twice in seven seasons, and his best RBI seasons were 99 and 100. In three of his seven seasons, he has played 118 games or less. He would obviously be an improvement over a Josh Reddick. But would he be worth $32 or so million a year for a team that has Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez lurking around the corner and Michael Brantley and George Springer in the hold for two more years?
Crane is an interesting owner. He weathered a lot of criticism early with barely a blink, especially in the early days when he agreed to move the Astros to the AL (in exchange for $), when the broadcast agreement left many in the dark (and some still in the dark) and when he approved a complete crash and burn of the team and a budget that made the Marlins blush. He would get hacked off sometimes and hack off the populace like when he basically said if the fans want him to spend $10 million more on certain players they should pony up the money. He’s overseen the rebuild of the team into a champion and an annual contender. He’s put the right people in charge and seemingly has supported their plans even when they have been unconventional. He’s increased his spending annually since the bottom-feeding years (like he said he would) and now they are within reach of the luxury tax.
Is he the best sports owner this city has seen?
Does the lack of big money offers to pitchers the last couple of years in free agency give a team like the Astros more of a chance at extending their two aces? What would these two guys be looking for? JV: 3 yrs/$100 million? GC: 8 yrs/$250 million? It would certainly help the transition to utilizing more homegrown pitching talent to have one or both of these guys at the top of the rotation. What would you spend to keep them here?
Of course, you can talk about anything else that tickles your fancy here, too.