Monday, December 1, 2008

The New York Daily News does not think highly of the Houston Astros organization

Bill Madden's annual Top 10 Turkey List came out over the weekend, and the Astros' front office was very well-represented. A full 20% of baseball's biggest turkeys work at Minute Maid Park (and that's not even counting Roger Clemens!). Check it out:

It's beginning to look as though we can't have a proper annual turkey list without Drayton McLane, who makes it for the second straight year. For the Astros, it's a Turkey Quinella with McLane and his GM Ed Wade after the Astros owner screwed up the postponement of the "Hurricane Ike" three-game series with the Cubs in September and then bad-mouthed Bud Selig behind the commissioner's back for the games winding up in Milwaukee. Days before the hurricane hit Texas, Selig tried to convince McLane the games needed to be moved, but McLane chose to ignore the dire forecast out of greed for a potential three sellouts - by which time Milwaukee was the only option left. Plus, after saving $600,000 by failing to sign three of his first five draft picks in '07, McLane turned around and authorized the $2 million expenditure on pitcher Shawn Chacon, despite the pitcher's checkered past.

Hard to imagine a GM having a worse, more embarrassing year than the Astros' front office chief. He wound up making world champions of his former team, the Phillies, (after never making the playoffs in eight years as their own GM) by gifting them closer Brad Lidge, who was 41-for-41 in saves, for outfielder Michael Bourn. At the time of the deal, Wade maintained Lidge needed a change of scenery (which he certainly did) and cited Bourn as a potential diamond-in-the r ough speed guy who could have significant impact on the Astro offense. Alas, Bourn had the worst on-base pct. (.288) and OPS (.588) of any player in the majors, hitting just .229 with only 19 extra base hits in 467 at-bats. And then there was that nasty clubhouse fight Wade allowed himself to get into with Chacon. While Chacon was deservedly suspended (and subsequently released), Wade did not dignify himself by cursing the pitcher out in front of teammates and precipitating the fight.