Monday, November 23, 2009

Astros to take it slow

Richard Justice's new post this morning talks about the approach the Astros will take with their young'uns come February. Some highlights, before we get into excerpts:

-The defense is pretty much set at 1B, LF, CF, and RF. Manzella figures to be SS1 and Matsui 2B1.

-But if the Astros Jovenes struggle in Spring Training (Johnson, Manzella, Castro), then alternate plans could be made.

(Note: Ed Wade gave Quintero and Towles all spring to fight it out for C1 before neither did anything and Wade signed Pudge.)

-Castro is "a tougher call." While it's exciting to get jazzed up about his promise, he still hasn't played in Triple-A, and this time last year he was finishing up a stint in Tri-City. There's talk that he could open the season at Round Rock, regardless of his Spring, to give him at least a look between Corpus and Houston.

-The Astros feel they can contend in 2010. They played in 75 games decided by two runs (Justice notes that the record was 24-23 in 1-run games and 15-13 in 2-run games).

I think fans simply want to see a plan that makes sense. If that plans calls on taking some chances, they'll buy in. The Rockets will be hard-pressed just to make the playoffs this season, but fans are still showing up for games because they know the people in charge and very competent and sticking to a plan.

It could be a painful 2010 for the Astros, but by the end of the season, there should be a light at the end of the tunnel.

I think the Rockets are a fair benchmark by which to judge the Astros. Same fan base, same situation (except Berkman doesn't miss 90% of every season. Yeah, McGrady, that's at you). I feel that we offer a fair representation of Astros fans (maybe a little bit more obsessed/nit-picky), and I'm okay with giving the young guys time to develop and time to get seasoned. I certainly don't want to sacrifice 2011-2020 to try to contend in 2010. Whatever free agent decisions are made, as long as they don't affect the long-term plan - provided there is one - let it be. It's not as though the Astros can afford to go out and give $100 million to Roy Halladay, anyway.