Hardball Talk posted their Springtime Storylines on the Astros today, under the title, "Will They Ever Rebuild?"
Because they still have Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman the team will still portray itself as trying to win now -- thus the pickups of Pedro Feliz and Brandon Lyon, each of whom could be spare parts on a contender but do not themselves a winner make -- but with their current talent (more below) they're not going to come close to winning anything. They should have torn this thing down two years ago and started again, but that's just something the Astros never, ever seem to want to do...
...It's going to be an ugly season. If Berkman manages to get healthy there will come the time when it dawns on him that the team isn't picking up his big option for 2011. If Oswalt bounces back he will be pestered to drop his no-trade clause. They won't score, there aren't many young players to get anyone excited and the only thing keeping them out of last place will be a terrible Pirates team which, perversely, will likely post a winning season before the Astros do.
Roy has made it very clear that he would approve a trade, just probably not to a team that the Astros would approve (Braves, Cubs, Cardinals). No one would take Berkman, especially with the $15m option, and if the Astros would have to pay the majority of Lee's salary, why not just keep him and ride his bat? Michael Bourn is a good enough CF to overshadow Lee's defensive shortcomings.
What do you think? Will the Pirates win 81 games before the Astros?