Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Justice takes the stand as a character witness

Justice's morning blog post offers some defense of Drayton McLane. Some nuggets as to what Run-DMc got wrong:

-Cecil Cooper should have been fired months ago. Drayton knew this guy was a disaster both in the clubhouse and on the field, and yet because he wanted to try and be fair, he couldn't bring himself to do it.

-Not understanding Gerry Hunsicker's importance to the franchise. I'm not sure whether he fired Gerry or shoved him toward the door, but this was a bad day for the Astros. On the other hand, there's plenty of blame to go around. Bad relationships are a two-way street. They'd come to despise one another.

-Instead of understanding that the Astros needed a full-scale overhaul, he tried to patch it together and keep the franchise competitive. He had the money to spend, so he spent it. In hindsight, Carlos Lee, Miguel Tejada, Woody Williams, Pudge Rodriguez, Mike Hampton, Russ Ortiz, Kaz Matsui and Jason Jennings were all mistakes. But the Astros didn't have major league talent available and they wanted to stay competitive.

So what are the lessons Justice alleges Drayton has learned?

I think they've gotten Drayton to understand the importance of player development. In the past, he might have thought spending $1 million on draft pick was foolish, but spending $100 million on Carlos Lee was smart. Now he understands the opposite is true.

He can also look at the Astros and understand there needs to be larger thinking, a big-picture approach. Everything begins with the farm system, and while it's right to give Tommy Manzella, Chris Johnson and Jason Castro an opportunity to play next year, there's no guarantee they'll be any good. There's also no choice.

So the question lies in the approval rating of Astros County: