Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Crawfish Boxes want to hear about a plan, and dadgummit, so do I

Excellent post this morning over at The Crawfish Boxes referring to Brian McTaggart's interview with Ed Wade regarding the holes in the Astros (Astr-oles?)

...I can't discern a single line of thought from McTaggart's interview that would indicate there's any kind of plan for the Astros. I don't need a blueprint, but at least some sort of trajectory, and if not a trajectory, and least and indication that our front office is in fact in touch with reality...

...So our main objective for 2010 is to bring back a SS to play 3B at age 35 or 34 (honestly, I'll never get Miggy's age right). And then sign a closer-esque reliever. After that, the goal, ostensibly will be to plug the roster with in house pieces for the league minimum and hope that of Bud Norris, Feliepe Paulino, Yorman Bazardo, and Wesley Wright at least two can perform at or around league average for the course of the season. But wait, we apparently also have a void our outfield. This one was news to me. Of our current corps of minor leaguers, I think the only "stenghth" we might have is in the outfield. Am I wrong?

...The services of two veteran bench warmers who happened to play outfield at some point in their career is really worth a likely $2-3 million in their two contracts? Yordanny Ramirez, Reggie Abercrombie, Brian Bogusevic (just to name our AAA OFers, but not to slight the Gaston's and Locke's of the world) couldn't slot in their spots for less than $1 million? Interesting.

This is absolutely correct. So correct, in fact, I'm ashamed that my righteous indignation didn't bubble up sooner. There's no reason to spend $2-3mil on Erstad and Michaels for a year when we can get Reggie Abercrombie and Ramirez/Bogusevic to play for $900K total. They simply cannot be worse than 09 Erstad and Michaels were, except for a hitting spree Michaels put on from August 5-9 (6x13, .462/.500/1.077).

And it's at the point in the article that I started over, re-read and realized that Wade is literally just slapping duct-tape on this team and hoping it all holds. But with what purpose? I don't know. If Drayton's taking a hard line on the payroll because he doesn't want to lose money this year, why not just hold everyone we have in place? Offer arbitration to our FAs, and then whoever rejects it, take the picks and fill the slots with in house players at league minimum? If everyone rejects arbitration, we have a payroll of $80 million on opening day and we get finally see what are farm system actually has in it, and that seems more entertaining than the Ed Wade duct-tape ball that's being rolled right now. Hell, just throw some money at Hawkins and have someone we trust to close baseball games and still save Drayton a sizable chunk of change to invest in the 2010 draft.

Wade doesn't seem to be trying to make the roster better, he seems like he's trying to plug leaks on a sinking ship—but will still end up taking on water. And I have myself back to, what is the Astros objective for 2010 and beyond? Does anybody see it?

None of this is to say that I don't think the Astros can compete as assembled, or attempted to be assembled, in 2010, but my concern is that is there are plans for 2011, 2012, and beyond? Or is it going to just be duct-tape and prayers for the foreseeable future?

I literally could not have said it better myself. A few days ago, we discussed how the Astros have too much payroll committed to blow it up. But that does not mean that Ed Wade should just screw around until we're done paying Carlos Lee. I am encouraged by the new-found aggression in promoting prospects, but that's not a license to mail it in on the Major League level.

All that's to say, I'm afraid that what we will see is the latter of DyingQuail's questions - duct-tape and prayers for the foreseeable future.


Ryan Sides said...

I'm not worried about the "beyond". There's clearly a plan in play there with the farm system along with evidence from what Philly has been able to do. I am, however, worried about (as you put it) the time until we stop paying Carlos. And those are all excellent points. If I may add:

I was impressed enough with the way the bullpen shaped out that I'm not sure we really need Valverde OR Hawkins. Don't get me wrong, I'd love Valverde, and Hawkins would be decent, but for the money we have (or lack thereof), Arias/Fulchino/Sampson (provided the new manager doesn't run him into the ground) would not be a HUGE dropoff for WAY less money. Wouldn't we be better off throwing $5-10 mil at another starter or another bat? Because if we end up with Q/Towles, Johnson/Blum, and Manzella as our 6-8 with Matsui/Maysonet as our 2, we are going to have TONS of trouble putting up runs. Even with (an aging) Tejada in that mix, I'm still not convinced we can score enough runs to compete...

The Constable. said...

+1. Absolutely correct. I don't think the Astros will be in enough close games to warrant a $10 million closer for the next two years. So let's figure out if Fulchino, Arias, Sampson, C-Lo, somebody can get the job done for much cheaper, and put that money somewhere else.

And no, we won't be scoring any runs, so if we don't have five starting pitchers who can throw up 7 innings of 2ER ball, then it's going to be a long year. That said, if it's better for the long-term health of the organization to lose 95 games next year, I can handle that. I just want to see progress, and not reclamation.

Ryan Sides said...

Agreed. This team has so many problems it's honestly depressing.