2021 Astros’ Christmas wishes

First of all, I wish each of you a wonderful Christmas leading to a terrific New Year. And leading into this – what are my top 10 Astro related wishes for 2022?

  1. Typically, this would have to do with success for the home team, but the wish is for peace on earth this year, especially between the MLB and the Players Association and a labor resolution that allows the 2022 season to start on time.
  2. OK, the next wish is for the Astros to win that untainted title that will take the fans’ souls off the hook. In truth, the way they performed in 2021 should show that this team is talented and does not need to steal signals to succeed. But that World Series win would put an emphatic stamp on what this team can do on their own.
  3. A wish that GM James Click finds the correct path to filling the Astros’ open shortstop position, whether that is the return of Carlos Correa, an internal fill-in from inside the organization, or picking up a solution from another team. Now how we define correct – that can be looked at in many ways, but hopefully, it brings more value long-term than it costs the team.
  4. A wish that Lance McCullers Jr. comes back from his injury at full strength for Spring Training and returns to the top of the rotation with the #5 wish receiver on this list.
  5. I wish that Justin Verlander returns from Tommy John surgery at full strength and returns to the talented workhorse he was from September 2017 through the 2019 season.
  6. A wish that the real Alex Bregman returns after his wrist surgery and is again the offensive force he was in 2018 and 2019.
  7. A double wish that the team makes an intelligent choice for Brent Strom’s replacement as pitching coach and that the new pitching coach seamlessly replaces the best that ever coached the pitchers for the Astros.
  8. A wish that Jake Meyers returns to the team fully healed soon after the start of the season and that he and Chas McCormick push each other to give the Astros a strong centerfield tandem in 2022.
  9. That the Astros bullpen gels with the addition of Hector Neris, the return of Pedro Baez, the continued improvement of Ryne Stanek and Phil Maton, and the leadership of Ryan Pressly.
  10. A wish that youngsters Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez take a step forward and become an even more fearsome core of a daunting lineup.

This list could go on and on, but it is your turn to throw out your wishes for this 2021 Christmas….

36 comments on “2021 Astros’ Christmas wishes

  1. For some reason I thought of DanP when I heard this joke.

    “Some people say the glass is half full. Some people say the glass is half empty. Engineers say the glass is twice as big as necessary.”

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  2. Merry, Merry Christmas all you guys and my girlfriend Sandy! I had an awesome day filled with my precious children! We laughed and just enjoyed watching each other open gifts that were wanted AND needed! To show you how desperate I am for baseball, I’ve been watching the repeats of the Rangers from this summer on FX1 all day! Love to all, Becky🎄⚾

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had to laugh out loud Becky. This joke with several different versions sums it up.

      “Sorry, your password has been in use for 90 days and has expired – you must register a new one.”
      roses
      “Sorry, too few characters.”
      pretty roses
      “Sorry, you must use at least one numerical character.”
      1 pretty rose
      “Sorry, you cannot use blank spaces.”
      1prettyrose
      “Sorry, you must use at least 10 different characters.”
      1bloodyprettyrose
      “Sorry, you must use at least one upper case character.”
      1BLOODYprettyrose
      “Sorry, you cannot use more than one upper case character consecutively.”
      1BloodyPrettyRose
      “Sorry, you must use no fewer than 20 total characters.”
      1BloodyPrettyRoseShovedUpYourBehindIfYouDon’tGiveMeAccessRightNow!
      “Sorry, you cannot use punctuation.”
      1BloodyPrettyRoseShovedUpYourBehindIfYouDontGiveMeAccessRightNow

      “Sorry, that password is already in use.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My Astros Christmas wish is for Mickey Storey to continue to produce good players in AAA to supply the Astros with good players in the future. We will need those players soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • These articles seem to either have a pulse on the team, or not. While this was a pretty good one, the answer to their inquiry re: ‘should the Astros get another corner OF’ is either Diaz (versatile w/good instincts) or Taylor Jones (big arm). We must not be too worried since we left Dawson unprotected… We have kicked around the idea of making a trade for Mullins or Reynolds, and in that scenario, I’d imagine McCormick would have to be offered in one of those, obviously in the very least. I know Elias likes Bryan Abreu because we roster’d him prematurely for that very reason, to avoid O’s taking him in advance of Rule 5 when he was only in A-ball. It might take another few that would really hurt, like a Dubin and Solomon. (Other teams would over-pay this offer). Perhaps, Reynolds would cost less, and even if we were to make that upgrade, it puts a lot of guys out of business who have toiled the Astros Way. Meh, I’d stand pat!

      I’m reluctant to say my top wish here since there are so many Bregman fans, but I’d trade him, pay CC for 7 yrs max and move Pena to 3B starting day 1. The only question would be, could we get any value from his contract? If he were that well thought of, then it would be a resounding yes — right? — but I doubt that he is. I don’t like his arm, glove and when he got his payday, he’s lost discipline in offseason, power and he’s a huge liability in the 2-hole since Brantley needs protection [see how he thrived between Lindor and Ramirez in ’18.] There are more reasons I won’t add.

      The other wishes would be that we see a resurgence of the solid ’19-’20 relievers who fell off the map in ’21; Paredes, Scrubb, Baez, Abreu (Ivey, Torres, Hansen, Conine). Along these lines, wouldn’t it be cool to see Bermudez, France, Endersby, Brown, Sprinkle make their mark in ’22? While I don’t think Whitley will be fully re-hab’d, it would be nice to see him ready to go the following season.

      Which leads us to the top 4: Lee, Pena, Brown & Leon. Santa, please let a few of them debut & thrive next year, I promise to be good. I left your favorite out and everything; chocolate chips and peanut butter cookies with whole milk!

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, all.

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      • I have no real affection for Bregman. In fact, I can’t really fathom the wisdom of his previous off season efforts. I worry that we might have already seen the best of the guy when he should be entering his prime. When a guy can’t run at 27, that’s usually a tell. He has not run well since 2019. Can he be whole again? I’m dubious. But is Pena a viable option at third base on Opening Day? How much time has he spent over there? Not enough. I still want to see Correa back. But I have confidence in the organization to not to pay more than they want to for him.

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    • If the Odorizzi contract can be exchanged for help that makes for a stronger roster, I remain all for it. I’ve got confidence in the young arms we’ve got in the system. I also think Jake would be happier elsewhere.

      I’m not overly concerned about our centerfield situation. Whether or not Brantley can give us a full season in left is a bigger issue to me. I think he’s pretty old for his age. He should be platooned and on the bench against lefties.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am confident the only way we move off of the Odorizzi contract is to pay half of it ourselves and move him to a team that needs a 4th/5th starter with a pulse like the A’s.

        I can’t think of any actual team that would move off of Bregman right now. He is young. He is a potential MVP candidate with a team friendly contract. Is it possible that he shows up and gives us “last year is just the new Bregman”, sure, that’s the chance you take with every player and every contract. We gave 50 million to a 39 year old that hasn’t thrown a competitive pitch in 24 months. Altuve had lower leg issues all through 2019-2020, and he bounced back in 2021. Is he MVP guy anymore, probably not, but you saw how much better he was when he got his legs back under him, there were times in 2020 I thought this guy is done because he can’t even make the turn and throw to 1st anymore on a DP. This season he looked so much better.

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  4. You may be wondering why I picked Mickey Storey’s managing as my Christmas wish. This is the best way for me to describe it:
    The following players will be hitting AAA under Storey’s guidance this 2022 with the Astros hoping they would blossom for 2023
    Norel Gonzalez 1B
    Scott Schreiber 1B
    Taylor Jones 1B
    Jeremy Pena SS/2B/3B
    Grae Kessinger INF
    Cesar Slazar INF
    Joe Perez 3B
    Korey Lee C
    Luke Berryhill C
    Scott Manea C
    Michael Papierski C
    Pedro Leon OF
    Forest Whitley P
    Jairo Solis P
    Shawn Dubin P
    Hunter Brown P
    Peter Solomon P
    Jonathan Bemudez P
    Tyler Ivey P
    Now here is a list of players whose MLB contracts will or could be up in 2023:
    Justin Verlander
    Michael Brantley
    Yuli Gurriel
    Ryan Pressly
    Jake Odorizzi
    Pedro Baez
    Martin Maldonado
    Jason Castro
    Aledmys Diaz
    Raphael Montero
    That’s 10 players from a 26 man roster the Astros could have to replace next offseason.

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    • Good call on Scott Schreiber — I like that kid. Meyers’ teammate at Nebraska under Erstad. They’ve been aggressive with Scott going back to 2019.

      [I can see you weren’t trying to include everyone, but just for fun..]

      Better add David Hensley in there, and count me a fan of his slightly over Kessinger who has the higher pedigree and who might get the readier promotion since we’d like to trade and get some value back. Well, I’ll take Enmanuel Valdez over both of them actually, including catcher convert, Salazar. I’m very interested to see what Valdez can do in SL, since he led our minors in HR and shored up his defense. Plus, I’m a little biased since I wrote a few yrs ago, he’d emerge better than Santana.

      Btw, according to a newer stats page *DIGS (Defense Independent Game Score), our best in minors coming in at #42 was Shawn Dubin. I will be interested to see how quickly he can beat to the majors Ivey Bermudez France who have a head start in that grouping. I’d consider Hunter Brown a Super 2 candidate (June 10th-ish call up), and imo has nothing to prove in AAA. If there’s one guy I’m praying for good health more than Jeremy Pena, it’s H-Town Freight Train Brown. he’s the most exciting arm on the farm today.

      Another one if we can talk dark horses to make it to StoreyLand, Miseal Tamarez. Probably cut out for relief, but let him start til he can’t anymore. I’d also like to see Jojanse Torres have a big bounce back.

      *Outs = IP/G
      Contact = Rate of BBE (excluding walks)
      Damage = GB, LD, IFFB, HR/FB, HR/PA
      Control = BB%+HBP%, Strikes/P, Pitches/PA
      Stuff = K%, K-BB, SwStr/Pitches

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    • Pena is really the only minor leaguer position player wise the Astros have that I think can be impactful this year, but even he I think needs some more time at AAA. Perez is going to get his shot, but so did Singleton and Reed.

      Minor leaguers are such a roll of the dice. When we sent out Hernandez and Davis in deals I didn’t sweat it, I thought they were just high strikeout low walk guys that will not produce against major league pitching. I thought AJ Reed as can’t miss. I thought Tyler White was going to be productive at the major league level because his stats suggested he was good at the one thing so many minor leaguers are not, he could tell the difference between a ball and a strike. Sometimes we forget things like bat speed, speed into the zone, footwork, and maybe most important, coachability, matter. Player make up.

      When Singleton was playing for OKC in 2014 I was living in New Orleans. I remember going to see OKC play in New Orleans, and I was sitting behind the dugout. I had a brief conversation with Jon about how he was enjoying his time visiting NOLA, he seemed polite (like he was probably coached to be to fans), but walking to the car I remember telling my wife this guy doesn’t care. I could tell by the way he wasn’t even paying attention to the opposing pitcher when he was in the on deck circle. Like, not even looking at him and watching. These are just things we don’t get to see as fans when we look at stat sheets.

      I’ve just stopped looking at minor leaguers. Teoscar Hernandez, AJ Reed, Jon Singleton, Chris Carter, JD Davis, they have all given me a little taste of humility in bad guessing. Why would I assume that Singleton would change when millions was on the line? So much talent in that batters box, never realized, because he didn’t want to put in the work. Who knows if Perez or Pena or any of them are AJ Reed or Teoscar Hernandez? As a fan, I will just trust their judgement, hope they don’t rush anyone, and hope that if Correa is not back, Pena can handle the majors, and stopgaps like Bregman switching or Diaz playing 125 games at SS are possibilities.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Great comment Steven. Loved the Singleton not paying attention in the on-deck circle as a red flag. We really don’t know, but apparently based on JD Martinez and Teoscar Hernandez and even JD Davis – the experts don’t always know either.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for checking up on us, Dan. I am pretty much back – except for bouts of tiredness that hit mid-afternoon. Mrs. B. is holding her own with in-home rehab. She moves very slowly and deliberately, and has to rest and recoup after any short session of activity. But we are alive, home, together, and on the mend – so nothing but thanksgiving and celebration here!

      Liked by 5 people

      • That is all great news – believe me anyone who has had Covid knows what that bone jarring exhaustion is about. Glad you get to celebrate Thanksgiving every day.

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    • I don’t know, Dan, seems like Mrs. B. has a real stand-by-your side guy. Good request, and answer to our hopes for things to go well. For the Mr. Bill comments on Chipalatta, cheers!

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  5. Tying back to the Bregman comments – I don’t think you trade him right now at the depths of his value.
    But I’m willing to give him another chance to get back to what he was. Just remember that even in the 2021 season where he was struggling due to that wrist that if you project him out to 162 games he would have had 21 HRs and 97 RBIs.
    I too am worried that he has done something training wise that has screwed up his legs. but no more worried than I would be about keeping Correa and his back problems.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Who would want him considering he’s due 13MM in 2022 but 61MM over the following two years? The best we can hope for is that he returns to his better form. If I understood the issues they started when he tried to bulk up and put on extra weight. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. He’s been a pretty decent deal up until his issues so lets see what he does for 2022.

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  6. Our middle son, his girlfriend and her two grown children all have covid. They are all vaccinated, BUT they are all quite ill. Would you mind keeping them in your prayers? Kenny lives in Ft. Collins and we just can’t risk my health going there. Many thanks, Becky

    Liked by 1 person

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