And nobody is left standing:
Pudge Rodriguez is the first to go, but he shouldn't be the last. The Astros ought to make Miguel Tejada, Jose Valverde, LaTroy Hawkins, etc., available. If they get one one really good prospect for all of them, theyll be in better shape than they are now.
Pudge was Drayton McLane's idea. He wanted him because the Astros didn't have a major league catcher and also because he was trying to plug holes to keep the Astros in contention another year. He was forced to do this because his minor league system is in bad shape and because he was unwilling to raise the payroll into the $120-million range.
As he surveys all those empty seats, I'm guessing he's second guessing that decision...
...Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman probably aren't going to be in the prime of their careers when the Astros get really good again. This statement shouldn't be etched in stone because there are too many variables.
The Astros need so many things, and they don't appear to have them in their minor league system.
If Drayton has another off-season of patching together an old, bad boring team, he'll be making a huge mistake....
...My guess is that Drayton will fire Cecil Cooper and most of the coaching staff. This is a smart move only if he hires first-rate people to replace them, and his recent history indicates he may not do this.
But that's only part of the problem. The Astros have missed badly on evaluating their big league team. This off-season will provide another opportunity to get it right.
Ed Wade's fundamental mistake has been spending way too much money on hitting and not enough on pitching. He didn't make the offense any better, and the lack of pitching will mean the Astros will miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year. Change is needed, but that change can only begin with Drayton.