Richard Justice's new column this morning describes how Roy is forcing Drayton McLane to reevaluate some things:
Thank you, Roy Oswalt. Thank you for pushing Drayton McLane to a place he was having trouble going on his own. This is where the reconstruction of the Astros should begin. Tear it down. Build it back. When they're whole again, we'll remember that the final chapter of Oswalt's legacy was important and timely.
He has helped the owner see his team for what it is instead of what we'd all like it to be. McLane swears he was starting to get it even before Oswalt asked to be traded.
Let's hold on here. The final chapter of Oswalt's legacy in an Astros uniform will be important, but this is not timely. Timely would have been to do something two years ago, or last year (though his trade value was depressed due to his version of a bad season). Let's continue:
Oswalt can veto any trade, and a source familiar with his thinking said he wants “to go to a contender, just wants a chance to win a ring. Yankees, Braves, Red Sox, Dodgers — the usual suspects.”
“It's easy to say we want to change all these players, but most of them have no-trade contracts. You know where they want to go? They want to go to the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. They all want to go to the premier big show. They say, ‘Hey, I don't want to go to Baltimore or I don't want to go to Texas or I don't want to go to Arizona.' You know 'em as well as I do. They say, ‘I'm toward the end of my career. I want to go where I can win.' ”
Yankees? No way. Red Sox? Maybe. Dodgers? Perhaps.
“Now we need to rebuild the organization. Up until last year, we had teams we thought just needed one or two more players to make a big difference. That's why we would give up on minor league players to get a veteran we thought would move us forward. Now this is the new plan.”
So yes, Roy is forcing McLane to change his way of thinking. It sounds as though everybody should be up for grabs. Aside from Castro, most of the high-ceiling talent is between Corpus and Lexington, which means this is going to be painful, but it's no more painful than watching what is happening to this team. Roy may be a titty-baby, but McLane should have been willing to make these moves two years ago. The current state is on Drayton, Tal Smith, and Tim Purpura - Ed Wade has made some questionable moves, but ultimately it's Drayton and Tal behind the curtain.
If 2012 is the goal - or even 2013 - let's look at who can be beneficial to the club then:
Michael Bourn's Opening Day age will be 29 in 2012.
Hunter Pence will be 29
Tommy Manzella will be 29
Felipe Paulino will be 28
Wilton Lopez will be 28
Bud Norris will be 27
Sam Gervacio will be 27
Chris Johnson will be 27
Oswaldo Navarro will be 27
Down at Corpus:
Marcos Cabral will be 28
Doug Arguello will be 27
Chia-Jen Lo will be 26
Koby Clemens will be 25
Jon Gaston will be 25
Henry Villar will be 25
Jordan Lyles will be 21 (!)
Other notable projectable players for 2012 are Dallas Keuchel (will be 24), Brad Dydalewicz (22), Ross Seaton (22), Kyle Greenwalt (23), Jay Austin (21), T.J. Steele (25), Jack Shuck (25), Brandon Wikoff (24), Jose Altuve (22), Kody Hinze (24), Jiovanni Mier (21), J.D. Martinez (24).
Should the ML guys still be on the roster in two years? Will the above minor-leaguers make it to Houston? That's not my question. If we're looking at rebuilding, we need people who will be on their upswing in order to build a contender. That means the Astros will not be buyers at any point over the next two years. Carl Crawford won't be coming to Houston. Can you handle not being in on any free agent (such as they are) for the time being? I can. Just because this season is going to suck, doesn't mean it won't be interesting.