Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is Jeff Bagwell the voice of reason in the Astros' organization?

There is not an Astros logo in the Hall of Fame. Not the Museum - that's a separate part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum - but in the Plaque Gallery, there are no Astros logos. Joe Morgan is a red. Nolan Ryan is a Ranger. Phil Niekro is a Brave.

And you know this really chaps Run-DMcs groceries. So while I fully believe Biggio is a first-ballot HOFer (2012), Bagwell is on the line. But this isn't a debate about the Hall of Fame - what we're talking about is Drayton's willingness to listen to the conscience of his teams. Jeff Bagwell, as a special assistant, is on Easy Eddie's side as how to go about rebuilding the Astros:

"We're not going to be a team that's going to be able to go out and sign CC Sabathia or give $85 million to [A.J.] Burnett. We have to do it from within, and then we'll be back in the playoffs."

Alyson Footer points out that we are currently in the longest playoff drought since 1987-1996, which is pretty incredible for an organization. What did the 1997-2005 teams have in common? Stability and youth with a few key veteran leaders.

The Astros got away from that - partially due to necessity - last off-season. But Easy Eddie has a proven track record of putting the pieces together that make a World Champion - he just needs the time to do it.

Drayton got away from the reality that you don't buy championships. You can't load up on free agents, or your payroll will get out of control (see: 2008-2012). Free agency is how you put the final piece together. Build from within and fans have an identity with those players - hence the increase in ticket sales. Sure, there was a curious interest in Carlos Lee, but I don't think anyone is overly thrilled with the prospect of having him in left field for the next four years. Because when someone like Brian Bogusevic comes from nowhere and looks like he could get the job done (provided Michael Bourn turns into the player Easy Eddie traded for), there's nowhere to put him.

So when Easy Eddie says, "As long as I'm here, we'll forever be a club that's looking to build within its system," I hope that he has a chance to see it through, because that's how I want my team to be run. Let's all hope Drayton gives him the chance, because right now Ed Wade is cleaning up a mess.

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