Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bidding farewell to a terrible year

The ringing in of the new year is a time to reflect and ask the outgoing year to kiss your ruby red ratleg. The new year is a time of hope and promise, however fleeting for us Astros fans. So let's take a look back at 2009 and reflect on the ways in which The Apparatus (which is how the front office will, from now on, be known) tried to eat our souls.

1. Exercising Coop's option (April)
Because of the dreaded, and formal, vote of confidence, the Astros will pay Cooper $850,000 in 2010 to not manage the team. After a mediocre start, The Apparatus killed the clubhouse, effectively allowing Berkman and Lee to loaf all season long.

2. Signing Mike Hampton, Russ Ortiz (offseason)
It was a low-risk, high-reward couple of moves that just didn't pay off. Hampton predictably got hurt during the season and Ortiz was flat-out released mid-season.

3. Not offering arbitration to Randy Wolf
#2 was precipitated by this one. Wolf was coming off a strong 2nd-half with the Astros, and were in negotiations to re-sign him to a 3-year deal. The Apparatus had an offer on the table, and pulled it before Wolf could respond. Then they didn't offer him arbitration, and the Dodgers picked him up for $5 million. We have the benefit of hindsight, and Wolf had a great year. Now he's with the Brewers, who will likely finish higher in the standings than the Astros.

4. Not playing Tommy Manzella
I think everyone knew the Astros wouldn't be offering arbitration to Tejada, because he would have taken it and cost The Apparatus a whole lot of money. So to leave Tejada in, and let him chase 200 hits - which of course just fell short - instead of giving 2010's SS1 Tommy Manzella some playing time was completely short-sighted. Now the Astros have a rookie shortstop coming in with FIVE career plate appearances. Would playing Manzella for 20 games have prepared him for his first major league season? Not totally, but it would give him a taste of a job that will hopefully be his for a few years.

I'm sure there are others. But I just had to pick myself up off the floor and take a Zoloft. So what did I miss?