Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Drayton was too rich, therefore, the Astros suck

Richard Justice's new blog post has an interesting theory on why the Astros are 0-7, and have struggled over the last five years:

it might have been too late because the Astros were already boxed in by no-trade clauses and emotions. For one thing, McLane had this dream of Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt playing their entire careers with the Astros and going into the Hall of Fame as Astros.

McLane also wanted the Astros to be competitive every single season. He believed in adding pieces instead of subtracting them because he never wanted to stand before the microphones and cameras and say, ''We're rebuilding.''

If you're irritated by this attitude, think how you would have felt if he'd announced he was stripping the club down and starting over. You would have accused him of not wanting to win and other high crimes.

So Drayton did what you wanted him to do. He kept spending, kept pushing forward, kept hoping for a magic formula.

Miguel Tejada. Pudge Rodriguez. Mike Hampton. Russ Ortiz. The Astros ran old guy after old guy through their clubhouse...

... If Drayton had less money to spend, he surely would have made better decisions if you define better as tougher. The Twins, Rays and Rockies focus their resources on the farm system because they understand they can't afford to play the free-agent game.

If Drayton had less money, he might not have given so many no-trade clauses, might not have hung onto his guys so long, might have been more cold-blooded.

There's more. It's one of the longest Justice columns, and it's a good point. Instead of blowing it up, he tried to patch, and the team has suffered ever since. Bad drafts and bad free agent decisions over the past three years have hamstrung the team today. Everyone is to blame (except Bobby Heck) for what is happening to the Astros, and they're just going to have to suck it up and let it play out.

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