2 years on: Looking back at the Luhnow/Hinch replacements

This week marked the second anniversary of the firings of Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for their acts of commission and/or omission related to “IT”. To those new to the blog “IT” is our shorthand for the cheating scandal that tainted the 2017 championship and hacked off the long-suffering Astro fans to no end.

Today, two years on, we will take a look at how the replacements for those two fared and whether we thought the results would be different if the original two were still in place.

Dusty Baker

Bringing in the then 70-year-old Baker to manage a team that was on the cutting edge of baseball technology (or beyond as “IT” showed) seemed a bit odd at the time. But it made sense in that the team wanted someone who had seen it all, had lived through the steroid controversy related to his big star Barry Bonds and who brought gravitas and earned respect from the baseball community. It was thought that he would come in, cleanse the palate for one season or two at the most and then mosey off to retirement. Well, we are two years out now and Baker is still standing with a one-year extension in his hand and the thought that he may well leave on his terms, not the teams’.

When it comes to judging Baker, I have to admit that my motto at work is that the only people who don’t make mistakes are those that don’t do anything. Has Dusty made mistakes? Sure he has. Did I always agree with him? Absolutely not. I still don’t know why Kyle Tucker was slotted so far back in the lineup and why he didn’t move a struggling Alex Bregman down in the lineup for most of the season. But A.J. Hinch made mistakes – go re-run the late innings of the 7th game of the 2019 World Series. And I definitely did not always agree with all his lineup machinations. But in the end, the results were about as good as you could expect.

Coming into 2020, the pitching staff had lost Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, Collin McHugh, Hector Rondon and Will Harris. Due to injuries and Covid, they had minimal or no contributions from Justin Verlander, Brad Peacock, Roberto Osuna, Joe Smith, and Chris Devenski. Of the 524 innings pitched in the shortened year, 100 were by pitchers with ERAs 5.70 and above. Approximately 230 innings (44%) were by pitchers making their major league debuts or still classified as rookies. Dump on top of this that practically the whole of the positional core of the team (Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, Josh Reddick and Carlos Correa) who had been suspects in the cheating scandal were terrible in 2020, the season could have been a catastrophe. Oh, and 2019 Rookie of the Year, Yordan Alvarez, only played in two games before requiring season-ending knee surgery.  But Baker somehow kept the team near .500, had them sneak into the last spot of an expanded playoff field, guided them through two winning rounds of the playoff and helped them come back within a late rally of erasing a 3-0 deficit against the Rays in the ALCS. His handling of the pitching staff and use of tandem pitching was especially important in getting them to the cusp of the World Series.

Heading into 2021, Baker and his team were facing a mixed bag of expectations and reality. They knew they would not have Verlander, likely for the season. George Springer had moved north of the border. Peacock, Osuna and Devenski were gone. They lost their best pitcher from 2020, Framber Valdez to a finger injury in Spring Training that for a moment looked like it could be season-ending, but in the end, they were lucky it only cut into 2 months into the season. But they were getting Alvarez back and they did get bounce-back years from Altuve, Correa and Gurriel.

In the regular season, Baker held them together again despite an early big hit from COVID and regression from a chunk of the bullpen that had stepped up in 2020. After a trade deadline bullpen infusion, the team rolled to 95 wins and a return to the AL West title after the struggles of 2020.

Dusty guided them through the first three rounds of the playoffs, but the World Series proved to be a bridge too far after the team fully lost Lance McCullers Jr.and mostly lost Zack Greinke from the rotation.

What If…..A.J. Hinch had been managing the last two seasons instead of Dusty Baker?

I’m also of the school that players make a lot more difference than the manager. A manager might make a few games difference over a season, but in the end over or underperformance by the players means a lot more. But, I know that fans like to pick on the managers for “losing”. Heck, 7 time World Series-winning manager Casey Stengel was let go after a season where his team lost Game 7 in a Bill Mazeroski walk-off homer.

It is hard to think that the very flawed 2020 squad could have gone any farther than the Game 7 loss in the ALCS under Hinch. Could he have pulled out another World Series win in the 2021 World Series? Again, it is not very likely he could have overcome the starting rotation problems that Baker faced.

James Click

Judging the first time General Manager is a bit tougher than looking at Dusty Baker. All we can look at is how the moves played out immediately, while normally you would like to look at trades and signings from three or four years in the future. But that won’t keep us from giving it a shot.

When Click took over from Luhnow a few weeks after Jeff’s firing in early February, the roster was basically set. There were very few moves made by Luhnow’s front office prior to the changeover. Thewy had signed catchers Dustin Garneau and Martin Maldonado and reliever Joe Smith and traded for pitcher Austin Pruitt and traded Jake Marisnick for Blake Taylor. Click’s main actions were during the shortened 2020 season as he moved many pitchers and a few position players in from the Training sites to take the place of the injured. The only real external move he made during this time was a trade for lefty Brooks Raley.

While Click did not make a big splash move like Luhnow was famous for in 2020, he was also trying to hold onto prospect capital during the two seasons when the Astros would not have a 1st or 2nd round draft choice. It is a spot where some of his Tampa based sustainability came to the forefront.

In the offseason after the 2020 season, Click was quite a bit more active, re-signing Michael Brantley when he was believed gone to Toronto. He also brought back former Astro Jason Castro as a backup catcher and signed relievers Ryne Stanek and Pedro Baez along with OF Jose Siri. During the international signing period he signed prospects, headlined by highly rated Cuban OF Pedro Leon. During Spring Training he signed veteran Jake Odorizzi, when the injury to Framber Valdez clouded whether he would return during 2021.

Of course, Click was involved in the decision to let George Springer walk and the decision to fill in behind him with Myles Straw and eventually with youngsters Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers.

The first half of the season was spent moving bodies around to cover for COVID, injuries and poor pitching out of the bullpen. In July Click stepped in and brought in 4 experienced relievers, Kendall Gravemen, Rafael Montero, Phil Maton and Yimi Garcia to help down the stretch. Somehow, he did this while staying under the luxury tax threshold (helped by moving Joe Smith in the Graveman trade).

The current off-season featured an early surprise re-signing of pitcher Justin Verlander and a signing of veteran reliever Hector Neris from the Phillies. The Astros made a big dip in the recent international free agent signing frenzy, but the big news that will be the focus when/if the lockout ends is what happens with free agent shortstop Carlos Correa’s spot on the roster.

What If…..Jeff Luhnow had been the GM the last two seasons instead of James Click?

It is possible to believe that Luhnow might have pulled a big move out of his hat in 2020 to help the team to a bit better regular-season performance. Whether this would have resulted in a long run in those playoffs is a bit doubtful. Getting more than a 95 win season and a World Series appearance out of the team in 2021 with the Verlander salary boat anchor wound around their necks, again might be a bit doubtful.

So, two years on – what are your thoughts about the replacement manager and general manager and how much the team missed the two that were jettisoned in January 2020.

61 comments on “2 years on: Looking back at the Luhnow/Hinch replacements

  1. First, we can’t argue with the results. Second, Casey Stengal was a losing manager for about 9 years before joining the Yankees. (Players win games.) Third, Click perhaps stuck to the old advice “Don’t do anything, just sit there.” And finally had AJ managed these past two years, the news might have been “The Astros are having to forfeit 50 games this year as it was revealed the bullpen coach and one unnamed relief pitcher were arrested for dealing drugs out of the bullpen. When the manager was asked for a comment he stated “When I became aware, I wished he had done something besides throw a TV against the wall in my office. ” When the GM was asked the same question, he denied knowing the Astros had a bullpen.

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  2. The proof is in the pudding. Two years, two ALCSs, one WS, but no championships. Both replacement men did very good jobs, especially considering the financial situation Luhnow had created before he left, namely being way over the luxury tax figure.
    How many of us were aware of the $12.5 million debacle of Greinke’s deferred salary for the next five years? We have Luhnow to thank for that bag of garbage the team will drag through the 2026 season, as well.
    James Click is a quiet man and there is not a lot of publicity surrounding his tenure. There is only the team’s performance and it’s record of the past two seasons.
    I believe the players are responsible for the end results and I give Baker and Click a lot of credit for not ruining what they inherited.

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    • I agree with you but the next big test is how do we proceed for the upcoming season (SS being the BIG issue)? After that the dilemma will be the upcoming contracts of Tucker, Alvarez, Urquidy, and Valdez . Other issues are who replaces Brantley and possibly Yuli after this season? 2024 for really be interesting as the “old guard” is slowly fading away and who will be the new torch bearers? it should be interesting. A real test of Click’s management skills and the new manager who at this point I would assume to be Espada.

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    • All of us are so old around here – I just have to wait a couple weeks and everyone will forget Z’s post – maybe even Z…
      Hey I love those types of comments because it does give me the seeds of ideas for posts and there are slim pickings on new stuff these days

      Liked by 1 person

      • Post Toasties, Houston Post, Hitchin’ Post, Post apocalypse, postage stamp? What “Post” are you talking about? After tomorrow, I won’t even know what day it is. I have to “post” my doctors appointments on a big board and next months ski trip also least I forget. (lol) Kind of like my girlfriend telling me I need a hearing aid to which I replied, “What did you say? I couldn’t hear you.”

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    • Charlie Morton says hi…not to mention, Acuna.

      Worse was JV and Osuna down for 2020, plus Altuve had a death in family that has been hinted as one reason he only hit .219 for the season. Not only that, Bregman has a career .188 BA in World Series, which would be fine in a team game except he was the 2-hole hitter and Dusty didn’t “punish” the golden boy in any way, or as Dan suggested, move Tuck up in the lineup. Heck, I don’t know that has much to do with it. Overcoming injuries and war of attrition is what winning a title is all about. I argued well before Sept of 2019 that Hinch should rest JV & Cole because they were hands-down going to win Cy Young. But true to form, he ran them to our death and the team ultimately ran out of gas with Cole in the bullpen, and controversy over pulling Greink too soon.

      What I am glad to see is admitting who our ace was,…talk about a guy who has given this team his all, and even pitched with no UCL for over a year, including the 24 straight breaking pitches that dismantled the Yanks in ’19.

      We’ve come awful close, which is more than 29 other teams can say for the last 5 of 6 yrs. As Baker’s halo seems to repel reporters making a mockery of the past, we have a cast of 100s working behind the scenes to make it happen. A great quote from Charlie yesterday points this out:

      “Each international signing is special as it represents the culmination of a collaborative process with contributions coming not only from our international scouting department, but also from player development, sport science and sports medicine and performance,” said Charles Cook, Astros senior director of player evaluation. “We look forward to supporting this class of players as they begin their professional journey in our player development system.”

      Last year, I’d have to say Click’s best move was Rhyne Stanek, and worst probably Baez. So many pitching injuries altogether! Luhnnow made some great moves (Alvarez, JV, Pressley) and some not-so great ones, but as was predicted by some really smart people, losing Oz Ocampo and a large number of F.O. staff has left a void that the new guys need to fill. We’ll soon find out if losing Strom was better than losing Miller/Murph who he said would definitely have been hired elsewhere. If we see “IT” as Competing in a game that 20 of 30 teams were participating in sign stealing (rather than listen to NY parrots), then this statement will be more meaningful: I like the culture of winning that Jim Crane has brought, and I’d rather he be a fighter than to lay down. We have a team to be proud of, no matter what fans who could care less about us think, anyway. Jealousy/sour grapes doesn’t look good on them. Those teams only escaped being outed because there was no Mike Fiers, but plenty have come out to say they don’t think Astros were very different, including A’s starter I’d like us to sign, Chris Bassitt.

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  3. As John Waite might or might not have sung:

    At no time when I watch a game; do I stop and think of Jeff;
    ’cause we’re division champs, and he’s two years away,
    so how can I feel bereft?
    ’cause team OBP keeps risin’, and team ERA’s still tight …
    I ain’t missin you at all … Jeff – since you’ve been gone, away;
    I ain’t missin’ you … don’t get me wrong AJ!
    Sure, sometimes I feel like ragin’, when Dusty sits our hottest bat,
    but I ain’t missin’ you at all!

    I see Hinch mentioned, in certain blog posts;
    but I won’t whine like a child;
    I’m cheerin’ Jose on; I’m watchin’ Tuck hit bombs;
    and prayin’ Framber won’t be wild;
    and that LMJ’s knuckle curve – is breakin’ like it should,
    and that Bregman somehow goes deep tonight,
    so I ain’t missin’ you at all, since you’ve been gone away;
    I ain’t missin’ you, no matter what CTH may say,
    I ain’t missin’ you
    I ain’t missin’ you
    I ain’t missin’ you at all!

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  4. Sometimes we speak too soon. We lost a newborn bull calf Sunday night. It was too big to come through a tiny birth canal and couldn’t make it.
    Tonight we had an even bigger bull calf born but my son had to jerk it out with the four wheeler. Momma and baby are now in the barn and we will see how they are in the morning.
    All God’s creatures, great and small.

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  5. -Carlos Correa fired his agents and hired Scott Boras today.
    -I will be ready to discuss Zanuda’s ideas the minute Dan puts them in a post.
    -Cougars MBB won again tonight and some pretty good football players have transferred to U of H lately.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The man has a history of injury issues. While he has been very good offensively, he has never hit 30 HR or had 100 RBI. He wants to be paid like he is a middle of the order Harper/Trout presence because he plays a “premium” position, but this isn’t 1992 where the difference between Nomar and a mediocre SS is huge. Now he is resorting to blaming his agent because every team sees his 320 million dollar deal as too much of a risk.

      Always count on the Rangers to crash the party though. As just short of greatness Correa has been Seager has been a little farther, and in true Ranger fashion they go and break the bank on the guy, so now Correa’s expectations are even more of a risk. Seager’s contract will end up like ARods, no matter how good he is the franchise will end up in a stalemate because of lack of pitching and an inability to upgrade said pitching and end up looking for ways out halfway through it.

      I’m a fan of Correa, I hope we resign him, just not at 320 million for 10 years. I don’t even think he is a 30M AAV guy, but I do assume that is what it will take to get him.

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  6. Besides the fact that Boras is the highest profile agent in the business – his crew also got that higher than expected contract for Seager – a signal to me that Correa is going to be holding on for that type of contract. Of course it takes two to tango – who out there is going to give him the $300+ MM he thinks he is worth?

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    • My wife hates this name change. She always was offended by the Steve Miller song “The Joker” where he calls himself the Space Cowboy and then talks about liking peaches and shaking trees if you get where this is going.
      I understand dumping The Skeeters – never understood why you would name yourself after an infamous Houston pest, but I’m not for anything with the Cowboy name in it here in Houston.

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      • My wife wants to know if they are trying to attract the “midnight tokers” with that name. One son thought it was picked by a 12 year old – while another thought it was picked by Kevin from “The Office” (pretty much the same thing).

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      • My post didn’t make it I guess, but my thoughts were the same by having Steve Miller sing the new team anthem. I actually thought that the mosquito should be the state bird (replacing the Mockingbird) since some of them are that big. Don’t care for the “Space Cowboys” but they could have held a naming contest. How about a blast from the past, Houston Buffaloes or “Buffs” as they were more affectionately known.

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      • Thanks dave b

        Zanuda – These days if you called them the Buffs, the youngsters would think it was named after some guy who spends all day in the gym.

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  7. Remember we talked about where all the pitching prospects were hiding out.
    They were all in different baseball academies spread out in the Caribbean and Central America.
    The Astros signed 15 prospects(so far) and 6 of them were pitchers. One of them was Cuban and 5 of them were were from the DR.
    Baseball America has the Astros agreeing with a SS, Nicola Ramirez, but there is no mention of him being signed by the Astros in their list.

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  8. To me CF, or the OF as a whole, is a bigger question mark than SS. We have 3 on the roster at the moment, even if 2 of them are defensively at best average, likely below average, and the other we have no idea if he can hit big league pitching yet. There are lots of options for that side of the field still on the market, including our SS from last year.

    We have no CFers. We have 2 that must have .340 BABIPs to hit .250. Our third option has 1 good minor league season and is always fighting hangnails. We have a LF that hits nothing but groundballs to the 2B against lefties at this point, we have a DH that can’t play LF without us clearing all of the butterflies out the stadium to ensure he doesn’t trip on one and spend 8 weeks in rehab. And there is zero help on the market for the OF, or any real help in our own system. We are a Tucker month long injury away from having the worst OF in the American League.

    Both Brantley’s replacement (as soon as next year) and our next actual CF are probably going to come from outside the organization.

    We should still win this division and acquit ourselves well in the playoffs but -there is your half glass empty look at the current roster.

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    • I don’t totally disagree, but I think this is a little harsh. First, Tucker hit only .268 prior to last year (and .181 the first month of 2021) and NO I don’t think any of our 3 is KTuck right now. ChasMc and Meyers were .257 and .260 with Siri hitting PROBABLY an unsustainable .304. But we have a group of 3 that we just need one this year to step out. And you are not alone in your opinion on Brantley. But his worst month was .263 and finished at .311. Will he decline this year (35) or we be like Yuli (.232 in 2020) and do better.? Defensively, none are Springer, nor Marisnick nor even Reddick in their years here. I was more uncomfortable starting last year with a .500 team, Straw in CF and an unproven Tucker in Right.

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  9. So, the Locked-On Astros Podcast fellow continues to tell me in advance who he’s interviewing and I’ll feed him all the questions to ask. Tonight it was UDFA, Jimmy Endersby, who I ranked #20 this Summer & dubbed, “The Real Deal.”

    Two of the Q’s of note were: which pitching coaches do you attribute the most to, and which of our own hitters should people who haven’t heard much do you think is going to breakout soon. Both answers shocked me. He said Eric Niesen (Asheville) is the smartest pitching coach he’s ever met, but Endersby tries to pick each one’s brain. I was really thrown aback when he said people need to watch for Brian Arias–he told Jimmy that he should watch out because he’s working out in the IF (converted OF).

    Brett asked him, ‘who are the toughest guys you faced in our own org?’ and was really excited to hear him not only say GS#17 Matthew Barefoot, but some of you will recognize, Alex McKenna! You might recall the 4th round OF had hamstring then fractured a finger in 2019, came back and re-injured both. He has been slowly making his way into the spotlight. That’s great news.

    This is my last list for ready reference if interested.. I use nicknames to help those who don’t get to see them much identify. There should be quite a lot of movement after ST, especially with the int’l signings. Kenni Gomez would probably crack the top 10, as should Luis Baez.
    https://www.crawfishboxes.com/2021/10/26/22747092/gs1-top-30-end-of-2021

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    • Oh, the pitcher that he said people really need to be watching for is Joe Record. He’s a Rule 5 pickup from Twins if iirc? Said he has a bowling ball weight fastball, and 4 pitches even though as a reliever–they moved him since Astros use piggyback from starter, he might only need to use 2 in the ‘pen.

      I was wondering why we didn’t protect Record at Rule 5 because he went on to tear up AZFL, and Jimmy said “if he pitches with us or somewhere else,” so that sounded ominous.

      By the way, we’ve had piggyback discussions here before, Endersby said the way they organize it is whoever is declared the starter is scheduled for 5 IP, and the other “starter” takes the last 4. The rule is that if the 1st hurler doesn’t make it to 5, they use a “bridge” guy, so that the 2nd starter gets the 6th inning on and that is why some of them will get Saves when they aren’t really relievers in the orgs mind. Thought that was interesting.

      One of funny parts of the interview, Hunter Brown went on to ask a question, and Jimmy said, “Hunter, you owe me a glove!” Apparently, just playing catch, Brown ripped a hole in it. Watch out, folks!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. If you really like baseball, it is very cheap to stream MILB TV. Right now, I can go back and still see any 2021 minor league game if it was recorded. And it has a 15 second button – forward and back – so you can watch an entire game in maybe 20 minutes. GS1 obviously watched a whole lot more games than I did, but I concur on his top 4-5 of his top 30 as I watched them play several games last year. Also on his “no cigar group” – I concur having watched many of them. But there are at least 15-20 on his list that I have not seen or if I did, they did not make any impression. So if you are so inclined, the next day after a game, you can watch the AAA and AA teams games in less than an hour.

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    • Maybe they can sift through all the unopened packages looted on the train tracks in Cali to scrape up a little bit of the cash needed. If you haven’t seen pictures or video of what’s going on in the 3rd world country, maybe just not worry about it. Thought they’d recall the Governor, ohh nevermind I won’t go there… he’s doing a bang bang up job.

      Speaking of the irony, the more I think daily on ‘where to, Carlos?’ the more I want him to stay. Debating this for several years now, we’re having an interesting discussion on the other blog today and a friend brings up some really good ideas. It’s spurred in my mind with a VERY intriguing interview with Boras & (Johnny on the spot) Mark Berman yesterday. Call me nutzo but I think Crane is thinking about a deal Scotty boy has put on the table. I can post it, and you can see it on Berman’s twitter feed.

      What we are talking about is ‘who do we have to trade to make the CC deal work?’ and I like the ideas of Brantley and Castro. Bring up Lee and Papierski (who was on all the taxi squads), and now we don’t have to trade Chaz or Meyers–use Siri and Alvarez to spot start; or another we acquire. Uh, Schwarber anyone anyone?! $5M for a 3 WAR guy, yes please!

      My proposal for CC is 8/$275MM with buy-outs in yr 6,7,8 for say $4MM each, and take out the No-Trade clause. Offer big incentives for MVPs, GGs and so on.. Keep in mind, the Astros Re-Set on tax threshold so they could care less about blowing past $210M in the old plan. I still love Pena but Pay the Man! He’s a clubhouse glue piece and we already let Springer walk. How hypocritical for CC to play anywhere but here after 29 teams’ fans have spewed over the scandal. Food for thought.

      Anyway, here is part of the comments Boras made. “Retain those core pieces”? That a boy Scott, he’s trying to motivate and explain to Crane.

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      • I’m sorry to be the cynic, but the Mets gave Lindor his crazy deal last year. The Rangers decided to one up them on Seager. I don’t think Correa was ever an option there and still don’t understand the money they gave him. So tell me what Boras is supposed to do. If the Astros are out of the running that leaves the Dodgers, Yankees, Tigers, and Cubs. Clearly the Tigers seem like the most likely to give an offer Correa wants. The Dodgers will have a hard time selling it to their fanbase. I don’t have that concern over the Yankees fans who are perfectly fine with cheating as long as their team benefits…but the money is an issue if they want to retain Aaron Judge. The Cubs have been thrown out there, but do they actually do another Jason Heyward deal? I think Boras’ plan is similar to when he took Beltran to the Mets. He’s going to make it appear as though the Astros are a suitor and in the hunt to extract a little bit more money from the real mark.

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      • Makes sense in that Cohen is 3X richer than the second richest owner, more dollars than sense. But how does this work with Lindor already there? Like the ’17 WBC where CC moves to 3B? And I thought DET already made a similar Astros offer and it’s been shot down? My sneaking suspicion has always been Correa and Beltran reunite, and an article was written in NYPost a year ago whitewashing Beltran’s ’17 involvement by eluding to Cora and Hinch being re-hired. Waiting in the weeds, per se.

        Wives actually have a big say, and judging from similarity of all; CC Beltran and Springer’s, I can just see Correa’s talking Carlos into it the same way Beltran’s was pushed by Omar Minaya that high rise living is “above the fray” if you will. After all, they are trying to sell both families (husband and wife) to bring a newborn up there for good. This is a subject I’ve never seen explored ironically.

        Devin, you’ve always reminded me of another blogger (low key, even-keeled), “clack” and he had a different take on Boras as less strategic than your comment today:

        I have no idea if Correa’s choice of Boras as an agent is good or bad for the Astros’ chances. (I’ll note that Astros’ officials have said good things about negotiating with him. Kevin Goldstein, in his FG chat, said that he personally liked dealing with Boras’ firm, because they are straightforward about their objectives in negotiations.) But I do think this is probably a good move by Correa. In my totally uninformed opinion, I had a suspicion that Correa’s agent was being outmaneuvered by the agents for other shortstop free agent who seemed to have a “quick strike” strategy. For whatever you think of Boras, he is very experienced and always has a well thought out strategy.

        [Sorry if this sabotages your future article, Dan. Maybe this will save you the trouble on an ever-updating subject?]

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      • We might have had our signals crossed a bit. I don’t expect Correa to end up with the Mets unless he wants to play 3B. I’ve always preferred him at SS to Lindor, but both are now gold glove winners. I still think Detroit is in play with Baez playing 2B and Correa staying at SS. They did make the best offer thus far and then went with Baez.

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      • I always look at prospect lists in a case like this and Mets have #2 Brett Baty, #3 Ronny Mauricio & a few more waiting in wings. Plus they have to start paying Cano again 30 mill a pop. Then, Escobar, McNeill and JD Davis riding pine or finding secondaries, already occupied by Alonso in that scenario. And no DH (yet?)

        Correa to DET, Hinch reunion? I suppose it makes some sense. They definitely have a solid nucleus, and would have a dynamic duo up the middle. They have nothing at SS even close to the Show (Candelario offers nice depth), except they could play elite prospect, Torkelson at 3B.

        [Recall a long time ago we talked about whether DET would deal with us again after the debacle with Sandoval and how the JV trade turned out, but I suppose with AJ’s hiring it’s moot from a PR standpoint.]

        My friend who coaches select Banditos thinks it’s Milwaukee. I hadn’t really thought much about that.

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      • MIL has only handed out two contracts over $100M. Yelich got $215M over 9 years and Braun got a 5 year, $105M deal. I can’t see a scenario where they would outbid HOU, NYY, or DET. If MIL got involved you might see Chicago ante up too.

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  11. Carlos Correa has never been worth this kind of money and he won’t be worth it in the future. His worth is being propped up by the media in order to shame the Astros into sinking twice as much money into him as they think he is worth. Other clubs and fans want the Astros to make this investment so that they will find themselves in a pickle for many years to come.
    The Astros have never offered this kind of money to any player.
    Altuve’s MVP year was a much better year than Correa ever had and It inspired a contract extension that was worth less than half of what Correa is asking for.
    Bregman’s 2019 runner up MVP year produced much higher WAR than Correa produced in his best year and Bregman got an extension worth less than one third of what Correa is asking for.
    If Boras is able to convince the Astros to commit to this guy’s public robbery and gets Crane to ditch a plan that has worked so well for the Astros, the he will finally be the guy who brought the organization to it’s knees. And that is something that major league baseball has ben trying to do ever since Crane bought the team.

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    • My defense of “a position”:

      They are printing money from thin air, Op. Our concept of it isn’t nearly the same as billionaires. And while I love Pena and ready to roll with him any day, even at the most conservative estimates of WAR being = to 5-10M, he’s given us so much more than we will ever repay. Especially as you consider the dozens of “busts” that cost us an arm and leg already; Sierra’s, Schroeder, Ovando, Mier on and on million dollar babies.

      Sure, it does make sense to take profits and move on.

      But who was the one guy who stood up for Altuve when he was one of 5 that rejected “cheating” and took the brunt of the media instead? Who is the most feared in the playoffs? Who is the guy you say has the biggest arm at SS in the game? Hasn’t lost any power like Brantley Altuve AND Bregman… I agree the money is silly, but Crane has it based on the advertisers, credit facility and having quadrupled his investment in his baseball hobby.

      Make sure we have a trade clause, as insurance!

      CC knows it’s a business but he also knows more of the black box accounting going on. This situation is playing out exactly as I thought. CC needed to test the market, Astros needed to hold firm to get the best ’21 out of him. If it comes down to the difference of $50 million, has anyone run the tax difference of states? Many people thought Springer would get more than $150, so in some ways it normalized after Lindor struck his ridiculous big deal. The lockout sure helps owners as it always does. I definitely agree with you in the sense that it hurts our flexibility and I’d always take that money and just buy up pitchers who strike guys out and don’t need a 65 grade SS. It’s a fun debate, mind exercise imo

      Liked by 1 person

  12. To answer GoStros apology for stealing my future post – no problem – this is really interesting stuff from all you folks – AC45, OldPro, Devin, GoStros, Zanuda, Daveb (Uncleknuckle) and on and on.
    I am actually not planning on writing about Correa until we break out of this lockdown – no real news on it until then, so don’t worry about it.
    I have another post coming soon – been busy but getting back to it.

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    • Should have included Steven who had a nice comment up the way. Mr. Bill the rhyming man. Sarge who is super loyal.
      Becky! Sandy! How are y’all doing out there my friends?

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      • Yes, yes! Let’s throw a big shindig and join in.. all are invited & welcome.

        I have to agree with Steven that sorting out Correa is a big deal, and has been the elephant in the room for a long time.

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    • Good to hear DanP that you are waiting. In the meantime write a couple on all of those BIG news of Asian Baseball and the signing of those AAA-AAAA players that otherwise could get no ink. (Sarcasm)

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  13. Two quick notes to 1OP. I don’t think Crane will be swayed by anyone. So he will pay Carlos what he thinks will allow him to make a profit – whatever that number is or might be. Second, Oakland may have a couple billion or more just by eliminating Police. So they might have $12 Billion to spend on “necessary” items.

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