Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why the Astros have done the things they have done

Note: This ran last night. It has been reposted in an attempt to aid you through the grieving process.

The big question everyone is asking (especially before flipping Gose for Wallace) is, "Why aren't the Astros getting more for Oswalt and Berkman?"

I've got some thoughts. And since this is our blog, you get to read them, and then pick them apart and start slinging mud.

There are three reasons why I think the Astros dealt Roy to the Phillies and Berkman to the Yankees:

Reason #1: All jokes aside, do you think it's a coincidence that the Astros traded their two franchise players to the two teams who played in last year's World Series? If the Astros are anything, they're loyal. Maybe not so much to Cecil Cooper, but they sacrificed Chris Burke's career to get Craig Biggio 3000 hits. They've been involved in bringing back Jeff Bagwell as hitting coach. Doug Brocail is a scout. Dave Borkowski is in a coaching position. When the Astros fired most of the coaching staff at the end of 2009, they brought a number of them back for minor-league positions. For God's sake, they offered Sean Berry a role within the organization.

If you look at the teams who were vying for Roy, they never were going to trade him to the Cardinals, but what contenders - outside the division - needed an ace? Not the Braves. The Mets wouldn't meet the Astros price (although they might have, for $11 million). The Phillies were ready to talk, and the Astros got a deal done that - ultimately - worked for them in the long term.

The White Sox were in on Lance, but once the Yankees came calling, it's looking like the Astros were/are willing to bend over (you could stop this sentence here) backwards to get him to New York.

For an organization that values loyalty - expect Biggio to be back in a more prominent role at some point - Drayton, and maybe Ed, valued what Roy and Lance have meant to this team, and orchestrated their exits to a destination with a realistic chance of winning a ring. It might happen for Lance this year, and it might happen for Roy this year (or next year). That's reason #1.

Reason #2: Roy's trade had to happen. But for Lance, trading him away shoved the uncomfortable event of declining his option on to somebody else. Again, the Astros take care of their own, and the decision to tell Lance that his cost far exceeded his value was going to be a PR nightmare, even if everyone knows it's the right decision. So Drayton isn't the bad guy (at the end of the season) getting rid of the hometown boy. He's the Yankees' drone now, and the decision about 2011 - while it looks like it has already been made - doesn't have anything to do with the Astros.

Reason #3: This was a public move to show the fanbase that the Astros are committed to rebuilding. Hell, it already sucked in Richard Justice. He's blowing bubbles out his butthole over the prospects the Astros are raking in and how Drayon "finally gets it." If the Astros take $5m of Lance's deal (a guess) and $11m of Roy's, that's a $16m PR move on planning for the future. Younger guys come in, and hopefully it reenergizes the Houston-area to the point that they're willing to pay $8 for a Shiner to see who they have coming down the pike.

So, these two days were for Lance and Roy, they were for the Astros, and they were for the public.