Work, work, work! The Astros’ front office Is just getting started


We’ve all been there in our lives. Some big deadline or event hovers over us (project completion, wedding, vacation, etc.) and once we get past that we naturally relax a bit and slowly get back into our normal gear. But does that apply to a major league team facing and racing past the trade deadline?

Let’s look at the major accomplishments for the Astros’ front office last week:

  • Trade Tyler White, who you have to release anyway for a couple low level prospects
  • Trade Tony Kemp, who you have to release anyway for a backup catcher you desperately need, who also knows most of your pitching staff, Martin Maldonado
  • Trade Derek Fisher, who has no chance of leap frogging the outfielders in front of him in the organization for starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez, reliever Joe Biagini and an outfield prospect, Cal Stevenson
  • And trade four prospects who are all good, but mostly blocked in the organization for the best pitcher to change teams at the trade deadline, Zack Greinke

So, now they can sit back and coast to the playoffs – NOT!

Like the Seven Dwarfs who work, work, work – the front office in conjunction with Manager AJ Hinch and his coaches have a ton of work to do. Let’s look at this list….

  • How to handle the returns of Ryan Pressly, Brad Peacock and Josh James to the 25 man active roster? One way to do this that will not result in the team releasing anyone would be ….Pressly comes back soon and Garrett Stubbs gets optioned to AAA. Peacock comes back soon and Chris Devenski who still has options is sent down to AAA until the Sept 1 roster expansion. Josh James does not come back until after the roster expansion.
  • How to update the line of succession with the roster changes? They will have a different Plan B, C and D with the new folks involved and with some of the old folks gone. Who comes up when player X gets hurt?
  • How to coach up the new folks on the roster from the recent trades? They already have changed the pitch mix on Sanchez. Do they try some Ryan Pressly fairy dust on Biagini? And what do you do with soft tossing ace, Greinke? Do you lessen the number of shifts played behind him? Do you try and change the pitch mix of someone who has been a top line pitcher for a number of years including this one?
  • Who to call up September 1st? Starting next season, this will be a tough call as the roster will be 26 instead of 25 before September, but only expand to 28 after the first of September. This season it is under the old rules where anyone on the 40 man can be in the dugout. The Astros will bring some up but the guess is that this number will be about six to eight. This could include Myles Straw, Kyle Tucker, Garrett Stubbs (if he is sent down), Chris Devenski (if he is sent down), Cy Sneed, Jose Urquidy, Rogelio Armenteros and maybe Framber Valdez. Someone like Bryan Abreu or Cionel Perez might get a shot. This may depend more on who Hinch thinks he can really use.
  • How hard does the team push it for home field advantage? The Astros have been playing excellent ball and still are only 1/2 game up on the Yanks in the AL and a game behind the Dodgers for the overall best record. Who do they rest? Do they give a couple of their older starters (Justin Verlander, Greinke) a 10 day vacation on the IL?
  • How do they line up the rotation for the playoffs? Do they go with their two hammers Gerrit Cole and Verlander in the first two slots or do they get cute and put Wade Miley or Greinke between them to change the hitters viewpoint game to game? What do they do if Sanchez completely outperforms Greinke down the stretch?
  • How soon (it might have started already) do they start scouting possible foes in the playoffs? When do they break down the film and put together the videos that show that player X is susceptible to inside breaking balls on 2 strike counts or whatever? When do they start “Beltranning” the opposition? Looking for the tips and tells on a pitcher that a fastball is coming?
  • How do they fashion their playoff roster for an ALDS or ALCS matchup with the potentials? How many relievers and who do they keep on the playoff roster? Does a Myles Straw turn into the 2017 version of Derek Fisher and find a specialty pinch running, late defense spot? How do they tweak the roster between series if they are that fortunate?
  • And if they make the World Series, what do they do with Yordan Alvarez on the road? It is hard to picture them not finding more than a pinch-hit at bat for him, but they also don’t want to have him giving up runs either with his bum knee in the field.

Basically, the coaches, manager and front office have a ton of work in front of them, but wouldn’t want it any other way.

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113 comments on “Work, work, work! The Astros’ front office Is just getting started

  1. I would not DFA Rendon because the level of competition we will face in the next couple of months allows us to use him in a role where he won’t harm us. If you send Devenski down for 20 days he can stay sharp at AAA and then will be available in September, along with Rendon, to rest some other bullpen arms.
    I also don’t like DFAing a guy that might have information that a competitor might want, especially when they’d be using our money to pay him.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I don’t like the idea of vacationing any of the pitchers at this point in the season. Cut back on their innings, maybe, but I’m a believer in routine.
    Home field advantage would would be great. But like you said the Yankees and Dodgers just keep on winning. If we can just get the best record in the AL that would help. And then there is the possibility that one or both of them gets eliminated in the playoffs.
    I also agree with OP. We’ve already let White go to an enemy. Let’s don’t DFA anyone else. But then that wouldn’t matter. Right? No waver pick up at this point?
    As for as call ups. Straw and Stubbs. Tucker, maybe, in case of an injury.
    It’s going to be exciting! I like our chances. This team is just oozing confidence right now.

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    • Yes, someone can pick him up on waivers. If no one picks him off of waivers he gets released, the Astros would have to pay his contract and he could choose free agency and go anywhere he wants with the Astros footing the bill.
      The Astros would not like to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sandy, No way 1 and 2 will take a week off. Let them battle for Cy Young at 100 pitches each outing. Maybe Miley gets a break. He’s been invaluable and somehow is getting overlooked suddenly.

      This James Bond stuff. Anything Nephew has to tell the Trolley Dodgers is already Nerd Caved in both teams caves. Heck, I’m pretty sure Vewill has the same scoop, excepting perhaps food and beverage and underwear preferences.

      The goal is most certainly home field advantage. We’re winning almost 3 of 4 at home. Somehow we’ve become a great home winner. We want that edge and the Yankees know it.

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  3. What a great problem to have! I gotta agree with Sandy…don’t take anyone out of the rotation for a little R &R. There simply isn’t anyone in Round Rock to replace them with. I can’t wait to see how Sanchez pitches this weekend!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think these sort out themselves. Every game is important. But no need to run into the wall right now trying for a catch. However, no way to slow down any of the fielders. They are who they are.

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    • THANK GOODNESS!!! It might take awhile for Greinke to trust his defense, i’M sure Verlander and Cole have told him we have the best infield and outfield in the majors! If our outfield can’t get to a ball….it means it was a homerun. We are pretty spoiled having Springer, Brantley, and Reddick…AND Jake out there!

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  5. The Astros do want the home field advantage. The only team with a better home record than Houston is the Dodgers. The Astros want the home field advantage. They are great at home.
    They are going to fight for that advantage.

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  6. After Wednesday night’s 20-12 slugfest, Round Rock and El Paso settled for an old fashioned AAA pitcher’s duel Thursday night.
    Round Rock 12 runs on 18 hits
    El Paso 11 runs on 16 hits.
    There is no pitching in AAA this year.

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      • Abraham sure has turned into a hitter. And he keeps playing full time at third base. If he can become a good third baseman, what might that mean to the Astros?

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      • Well, dave, that is an interesting question.
        A. If the Astros can’t extend Correa, Toro might be able to play 3B.
        B. If the Astros need a first baseman, he might play there.
        C. If the Astros need a RFer, he certainly has the arm to play there.
        D. If the Astros need a DH, he might be able to play there. He’s not fast, but seems to be a pretty good athlete.
        E. He is a switch hitter, so if he turns out to have a mlb bat he can play without necessarily having to be platooned.
        Toro is Rule 5 eligible this coming December, so they will probably protect him. I look for him to get a spring invite and spend next season at AAA with a chance for a callup if an injury strikes. The curtailed September callups in 2020 could make it tougher for him to get one.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Dan’s thoughts on what Dan wrote….
    – The return of Pressly, Peacock and James I think will be handled like I said above. The only thing that might change that would be another injury or if Pressly or Peacock relapses. I would be surprised to see James before Sept
    – I am sure they constantly update their Plan Bs, Cs etc
    – Since the team has added pitchers as diverse as Cole and Miley – they should be able to find the right formula for Greinke. I am sure it will help when Strom is sitting on the bench.
    – It will be interesting with so much major league depth who they actually bring up in September. I know they don’t want to just bring up kids to sit.
    – They will push hard for the home field advantage since it really is a big advantage this year for the Astros. I don’t see them giving one of the big guys 10 days off, but they have 4 off-days in September and I could see them having Verlander and Cole going on 5 days rest instead of 4.
    – If it were me – you would have to have Verlander and Cole getting as many playoff starts as possible (going 1-2)
    – I am sure they are already scouting for the playoffs
    – There is no way to make a call at this time on the playoff rosters. It will really depend on late season performance and matchups
    – If the Astros made the World Series – it would be a surprise to see them sitting Alvarez on road games unless his leg is separated from his body. he is just too much of a weapon.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Astros tidbits:
    * When the opposition starts a lefty on the mound, Astros are 25-7.
    * When the opposition starts a righty, the Astos are 50-33.
    * The Astros bullpen is 24th in the number of innings pitched.
    * The Astros bullpen is last in nunber of appearances. They are rested and they don’t get pulled out of games like other teams do.
    * The Astros’ bullpen ERA is the third lowest in MLB at 3.74 and the Orioles bullpen ERA is the highest in MLB at 6.09.

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  9. The Astros did option Garrett Stubbs to RR yesterday.
    The Astros did not sign their #11 draft pick, RHP Ryan Gusto, before the deadline of July 14th.
    But, the Astros did sign Ryan Gusto to a contract on Wednesday, August 7th.
    Ryan Gusto pitched 2 innings for the GCL Astros on Thursday, August 8th. How’s that for quick usage? Gusto threw 2 innings, gave up a double, no runs, no walks and 3 Ks. He was the starting pitcher in Game 2 of a DH.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. 2 out RBI by Bregman who has decided that doubles are ok. 2 out RBI single by Alvarez who works Bundy for 9 pitches and the clutch hit

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    • Blum and TK discussed Bundy getting hammered the 3rd x through a lineup. After tossing 30, 25 pitches the 1st two innings Bundy has been lights out going 14 or less pitches the last 4 innings . Time for our guys to lay some wood on Bundy and their BP. And yes we’re ahead by a pt unless we bust it open soon

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  11. WHEW!!! Talk about walking a tightrope….but a win is a win! I hope Luhnow can extend Wade Miley for the next 2yrs, that will leave Verlander, Greinke, McCullers and Miley in the rotation. I vote yes on that idea!
    I’m anxious to see how Sanchez does tomorrow! The O’s, aren’t going to lay down for anyone, our guys need to give Sanchez some run support!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Relievers Riley Ferrell, Felipe Paulino and Brendan McCurry gave up 12 runs in 1.1 innings tonight for Round Rock.
    RR had a 12-3 lead going into the bottom of the 8th. Final score was El Paso 15-12.
    Embarrassing

    Liked by 1 person

    • What the ****?! How does that even happen?

      That’s like the direct opposite of what would happen with the major league club though. I can see us coming back from that .

      Liked by 1 person

  13. So we almost lost against an awful team. Key word is almost. We still won. This is a game we would’ve lost last year. Our bats can’t beat every game . Our pitching was on point…that’s what matters.

    We tear our team to shreds because we know they can do better…which is scary considering we’re on a pace to win 106 games. You know what everyone outside of Houston sees when they see the Astros? A scary almost unbeatable team. We lose and we hit the roof like it’s 2013. Everyone else sees us lose and they’re saying “how” or “it’s a miracle “. We act like this is the Brad Mills Astro’s when everyone else sees the New York Yankees under Joe Torre.

    What does that say about us?

    Dan, this may be a great subject for a post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If this team lost 1 out of every 3 games they would have a 108 wins, better than they have ever done in any season in history. Losses are going to happen. They may not happen when we think they should. Well they do pay the other guys too. Some of those early season losses to the Mariners look a bit bad now but in the streaky world of baseball the M’s were unsustainably hot back then. Baseball is just a strange sport that way.

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  14. I was so glad to see Villar on the other team. Thrown out at second in the 7th. Then when they rotated, he fired a relay back to first with the runner standing on the bag. He still is not “Baseball Smart.”

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  15. When I used the word “embarrassing” to describe the night, I didn’t mean anything else other than that word.
    If you look at the postgame show you see exactly what i mean. Not one position player was interviewed on camera or in print. Hinch’s mandatory inter view was short, curt, never smiled and his lips looked like he had just eaten a green persimmon. Miley was interviewed and never smiled, never said anything and obviously was not happy.
    They were embarrassed with their performance.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a ripe persimmon let alone a green one. I thought last nights game could be one of those flat affairs. Even Alvarez got into the act of lacking plate discipline. Except for that last ho-hum 3-1 win against the M’s, they’ve been scoring runs in bunches. I think we’ll get back to putting some up tonight.

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  16. Well OP, that lack of performance last night has turned into an embarrassment of riches this evening. They are making a statement with their bats for sure. Not much else to say other than keep winnng

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I read several posts the other day regarding the ROY award. Maybe they were old post because YA was always mentioned as an afterthought because he started late. The only difference I observed was the number of games played for position players. Surely he qualifies doesn’t he?

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  18. If he started a month earlier YA would’ve been in contention for MVP.,What a game by that young man. Just an incredible start to his MLB career.

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    • For so long Alvarez only had 1 RBI per game. Now he finally can hold his head high with 51 RBIs in 45 games. What a failure he was….

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      • I am just amazed at what a mature hitter Alvarez is – so solid, so quiet, good idea of the strike zone, able to hit it out or lighten up to a single or double

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      • And he looks intimidating at the plate. His swing is beautiful, and he is powerful. He looks like a future batting champion as well as HR champion.

        Can you imagine if he played in Colorado (and the Rockies played in the AL)?

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  19. The Astros were quietly excited tonight after the game.
    It was a mutual admiration society type of clubhouse from a players viewpoint.
    I believe Hinch spoke about the Orioles and their situation and he said that they are aware of how Baltimore’s season is developing and understands.

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  20. Peacock was pulled out of the game at RR tonight after 16 pitches and one-third of an inning. Round Rock was hopelessly trailing and Peacock was replaced on the hill by a position player.
    Have not heard about an injury.

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  21. While I would have been happy with a 6 run lead, every once in a while a blow out game is just fun to be a part of. BUT…..I can remember when the Astros were on the losing end of a game like this. I do feel badly for Baltimore and the Detroit Tigers. It’s sooo painful to lose so many games, and trying to be positive. It’s demoralizing to keep losing, all of us can remember those horrible years, it ain’t fun. I really wished these guys had started off this road trip with the A’s, and gotten those games behind us. They play us so dang tough, and their rotation is 1/4 of ours! I hope our guys saved enough runs to give Verlander a few runs tomorrow!

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  22. I have a little bad news and a little good news. Aaron Sanchez is not the pitcher he appears to be, starting against two struugling teams. He is having trouble finding a balanced transition point in his delivery.
    When he plants his right foot and starts to deliver the ball and shift his body weight to his landing foot, his upper body is all over the place. That is why he’s high with his pitches one inning and low in the next inning. It’s also why he pulls some pitches to his left and then loses the break on his curve for several batters.
    The Astros will analyze his delivery and try to get him balanced and get his upper body in sync with his lower body and get his delivery smooth and consistent.
    Then he will be better able to hit his spots.

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  23. I’ve been out of town for my son’s ‘destination’ wedding. I came back in town and checked out the scores and boxes of the last two games.

    I . . . really . . . don’t . . . know . . . what . . . to . . . say.

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  24. Be nice if the lineup can get to Wojciechowski soon. His 4 SO’s has left our hitters baffled, looking at called strike 3 each time. And we catch a break with plate interference call on Mancini. Now let’s light up this pitcher to get to the BP.

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  25. The Astros remind me of a football defense that struggles to get off the field. They just can’t get 3 outs without giving up runs.

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  26. I have the At Bat app & enjoy watching those high scoring gms. Col has a high scoring off but pitching stinks (Coors a hitters park I believe). One would think our lineup, with stats as good as Col, would blow tms out more often, esp at MMP. Our bats should be smoking this tm right! Get ready for another nail biter.

    Like

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