How do you rank the Astros’ losses entering 2020?

The Astros enter 2020 after an off-season of more loss than addition. The players that were with the team at the end of the 2019 regular season that have moved on include Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, Robinson Chirinos, Jake Marisnick, Collin McHugh, Will Harris, Hector Rondon and Aaron Sanchez.

There are a lot of ways to rank these losses, but this is one shot at it.

  1. Gerrit Cole. We can pretend that the pickup of Zack Greinke makes up for 90% of this loss, but let’s face it – Cole had been brilliant for two seasons with the Astros and to expect it not to hurt is ridiculous.
  2. Will Harris. Ignore the couple big swings he gave up in the World Series. Will Harris was the best late-inning reliever for the Astros in 2019, especially after Ryan Pressly was injured and with Roberto Osuna being shaky at times.
  3. Wade Miley. Wade would be up a spot, except he disappeared down the stretch and the playoffs and the fact that Lance McCullers Jr. should be expected to bring similar numbers to the team.
  4. Robinson Chirinos – Chirinos did a good job for the team, bringing a solid bat to the catcher’s spot and reasonable handling of the staff. This could be a bigger hole, but it is likely that Martin Maldonado plus Dustin Garneau (or Garrett Stubbs) will bring as much back as Chirinos plus Max Stassi (with a little late season Maldonado).
  5. Collin McHugh. McHugh had been excellent out of the bullpen in 2018. He started the 2019 season in the rotation, was injured and wobbled along to a below-average result last season. If he puts it together in Boston, this might climb this list.
  6. Jake Marisnick. Jake was his typical top glove, meh bat in 2019. Oh, and he was a heck of a catcher bulldozer.  It would seem that Myles Straw will take over this role though not likely to attempt to plow any catchers into the ground. Jake is the only player on this list that was traded rather than leaving in free agency.
  7. Hector Rondon. Rondon was pretty much an average reliever in 2019. The Astros are hoping they can get more out of someone like Bryan Abreu at a much cheaper price tag.
  8. Aaron Sanchez. Sanchez had a wonderful debut as part of a late-season no-hitter, followed it up with another win and then started pitching poorly for two games prior to the discovery that he needed shoulder surgery.  (Technically he is not completely gone, because he has not signed with any other team as he rehabs).

So, how would you rank these losses? Beyond Cole, who do you wish was returning to this club?

22 comments on “How do you rank the Astros’ losses entering 2020?

  1. I don’t know if I will actually miss any of these guys as it pertains to our lineup and 26 man (?) roster. We have ample replacements but as far as missing specific players, McHugh and Marisnick would be on the list. The Red Sox might have gotten a diamond in the rough in getting McHugh for 600K. Marisnick was a good guy and I like his overall defensive play and attitude, especially in dealing with the home plate collision with Lucroy and the subsequent HBP. Just a shame his BA was pretty stinky.

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  2. I think we miss them all as Astros. They were on our team, they gave us everything they had to give and they became free agents or were traded and moved on.
    When you think about the Astros payroll sitting at $227 million on Feb 10th of this year, its hard to imagine how any of theses guys could have stayed here. It is a huge increase over 2019.
    We have to suck it up and look at the new guys as Astros now for 2020 and beyond. It is what it is.

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  3. My following player ranking is based on what I think will be their future value; which is what we are “losing.”

    1. Cole
    2. Harris
    3. Chirinos
    4. Miley
    5. Marisnick
    6. Rondon
    7. McHugh
    8. Sanchez

    I agree with 1oldpro that we could not afford to sign any of these guys and keep our payroll manageable or have them block younger, cheaper players with similar or better tools.

    I will miss them all, as each player gave positive contributions to the Astros.

    I will miss Harris and McHugh the most because they were the blue-collar underdog waiver pick-ups that no one else wanted; but they worked hard and turned their careers around.

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  4. Looking back….
    – The Astros were 26-7 during the regular season and Cole won 15 straight regular season decisions from the beginning of June on. He won his first 3 decisions in the playoffs, lost game 1 of the World Series, won game 5 and never left the bullpen in game 7.
    – Harris was murder on left handed batters last year. They had a .203 BA but only a microscopic .490 OPS. In 121 ABs they had only one double and two HRs against him. The two huge HRs against him in WS Games 6 and 7? Both right handed batters.
    – On Aug. 9th, Wade Miley was 11-4 with a 2.99 ERA. Down the stretch his ERA in his last 9 starts was 8.69 and he only 29 innings including three starts of 1 inning or less. He only pitched in one game in the postseason – 2 ER in 2.2 IP against the Rays.
    – Chirinos was much better against leftys (.274 BA/.439 OBP/.915 OPS) than rightys (.227 BA/.315 OBP/.747 OPS). He was much better at home (.273 BA/ .383 OBP/. 915 OPS) than on the road (.205 BA/ .309 OBP/. 673 OPS).
    – Jake was very valuable in the field, but my God that .285 on base percentage during his time with the Astros was just awful
    – McHugh….when you give up nothing for a guy who goes 58-35 with a 3.63 ERA and who willingly goes to the bullpen and performs at a high level in 2018….what else can you say?
    – Rondon – if you take away his ill fated start (where he gave up 6 runs in 2/3 of an inning….he was actually darned good last year with a 2.85 ERA as a reliever. And he did a solid job in 2018 working around Ken Giles melt down with a 3.20 ERA and 15 saves
    – Sanchez – Might they try to re-sign him when his shoulder heals a bit? Not much looking back here, but that combined no-hitter was a lightning strike out of a blue sky.

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  5. 1. I’ll miss Harris because he has been really good as a reliever. But 3 years at $24 for his year 35, 36, 37 seasons is something we couldn’t do. Missing over half of his year 35 season due to the pandemic makes this deal even scarier.
    2. Paying Gerrit Cole $36 million a year for 9 years was impossible. The Astros already have four guys who will make nearly $30 million or more per year in the years to come. Then the Yankees miss out on half of his youngest season right off the bat(or possibly the entire season!).
    3. I’ll miss Big Fudge. He was a great Astro. So much fun and delivered so much defense, but very little offense. Remembering he makes six times what Straw makes and that he is a free agent at the end of 2020 makes his absence more tolerable.
    4. McHugh’s best years are over, I think. He leaves me meh.
    5. Miley disappeared when we needed him.
    6. Chirinos. If you have to choose between 2 catchers who don’t hit well, give me the one with the better defense and arm. Maldonado
    7. Rondon. At least he didn’t mislead the team about his arm hurting.
    8. Sanchez. He did.

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  6. Cole’s stat line was amazing in this era, but the Astros only won five of his starts where they scored 3 or fewer runs. Actually, they won five games where they scored 3 runs and lost all four games where they scored 2 or fewer runs. By contrast, the Astros were 6-7 in games started by Justin Verlander where they scored 3 or fewer runs. It’s pretty comparable, overall, but that’s what you expect from aces. The offense didn’t put them in too many pitchers duels. How much they actually miss Cole is going to largely come down to how much run support they give whichever guys are tasked with replacing him. The bullpen is probably going to miss having him more than anything. In all of his starts from May 27 until his last of the season, he went a minimum of 6.0 innings. That’s huge in today’s game.

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    • Fortunately, if there is some kind of 2020 season, those innings won’t be as important with only around 80 ball games or less and a possible 15- man bullpen.

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  7. If they go for cramming more games into a partial season, which can only happen with no days off and double headers liberally sprinkled in, then the most important factor may be the team that can put up seven decent starting pitchers. They don’t have to be all JVs or Greinkes, but they can’t kill you, can’t go 2 innings and explode.

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  8. I have some word from Billy C. With the COVID and the George Floyd killing he has been spending more time with his family including making music! He said he will stop back by soon. I told him to post a link to the album they are planning to release (yes, I know “album” dates me but I can live with that).

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  9. This particular article does not bode well for the continuation of the season
    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/06/owners-dbacks-cubs-schedule-revenue.html
    I do have to chuckle when I read the Cubs owner basically saying that the team brings in their revenue, pays the team’s expenses and then hands over the balance to the GM to spend on players.

    I tried to calculate what the Cubs revenue stream would have been for 2019.

    – The Cubs averaged approx. 38,000 fans for 81 games at approx. $60 per ticket – that is about $185 MM right there
    – Let’s say the average person spends $40 per game for food, drink, souvenirs, etc. That is probably very low for some, but high for others.
    That’s about $123 MM
    – The Cubs portion of the national TV revenue of $2.6 Billion – is another $92 MM
    – I had trouble finding a definite number for the Cubs local broadcasting rights but saw a number of $50 MM which seemed reasonable.
    – I don’t think the $60 per game ticket prices could possibly include the money involved in their suites. An estimate of this money would be about $30 MM per season (which may be on the low side).
    – In 2016 MLB made about $400 MM in royalty fees off the $3.6 billion in sports merchandising sold – so let’s say this is about $15 MM per team in 2019
    This totals up to about $495 MM for the Cubs.
    This matches closely to an estimated $472 MM of revenue by the web site statista.com for the Cubs.
    Per sportsrac.com – the Cubs spent about $241 MM in payroll in 2019.
    So that means that if we take the Cubs owner Ricketts at his word – the Cubs had 472-241 = $231 MM in non-player payroll expenses in 2019. That seems preposterous on its face.
    Of course since the books are not open we don’t get to see if some of those expenses are $10 MM per year payments to Rickett and members of his family.
    Beyond this the Ricketts family bought the Cubs during the economic downturn in 2009 for $800 MM. It is estimated to be worth about $3.2 billion today (OK that is probably the worth when you get out of the COVID mess).
    Bottom line – guys like Ricketts can whine, but they are not hurting that bad now and will certainly not be hurting when they decide to sell.

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  10. I am at the point where all I miss is peace. I have seen enough violence, destruction, and hate – in the name of ‘justice’ and ‘peaceful protest’ – in the past three days to last a hundred lifetimes. So, I guess I’d say I miss civility.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. 1. Knowing Cole was going to leave in free agency allowed the Astros to add Greinke and his salary to become their #2 starter in 2020 and 2021.
    2. Harris’s free agency allowed the Astros some room tore-sign Joe Smith and keep experience in the bullpen.
    3.Wade Miley’s exit opens the door for Jose Urquidy.
    4. Chirinos’s exit may give Garrett Stubbs his chance to make the bigs.
    5. Jake Marisnick’s trade give Myles Straw a chance for a permanent #4 outfielder spot.
    6. McHugh’s exit opens up the #5 starter spot for Josh James or another Astros young pitcher.
    7. Rondon’s free agency gives another Astros prospect a bullpen spot.

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  12. On the bright side of things, I’ve watched from a far how the 4th largest city in The United States has conducted itself throughout the protests, so far resisting the need to riot. Houston has taken a higher path.

    Good concise post 1oldpro. I’m not at all concerned about replacing 3 thru 7. And I think we’ve got guys with enough talent to replace Harris. Talent is only part of the equation though. Cole was almost an automatic for us, so he does not get replaced. But if a kid like Whitney has a breakthrough, then he’ll help us forget.

    What keeps nagging at me is the very real possibility that George might not being wearing a Astro uniform again.

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    • It wouldn’t surprise me to see a lot of one year contracts this offseason. I think it’s obvious that the Astros would offer Springer a long term deal, but this is his only real shot at free agency. Even if he wants to stay in Houston he likely wants to hear how other teams would chase/value him. I anticipate a depressed market until we’re certain attendance can bounce back to similar levels as before or other streams of revenue can be created/increased…so betting on a chance at the 2021 winter market might work out in George’s favor.

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    • Yes as we go through a real life version of “Groundhog Day” nothing seems to change and it is difficult to picture how we are ever going to get out of these messes.

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  13. A lot of the prognostications for Astros baseball seem to spell gloom and doom for the Astros after 2021. It’s as if the Astros are going to sit on the past accomplishments and just let everything go and depend on their weak farm system
    I think this is hogwash! The Astros are going to compete. They are going to spend to compete and they are going to trade to compete.
    Whether it was Luhnow or Click, they are going to find good players and go after good players and try to keep good players and develop good players.
    The Astros were champions in 2017, lost to the eventual champions in 2018, and lost game 7 of the World Series in 2019. They are one of the favorites to win in 2020 and I think they will be again in the future years.

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