Grantland's (and others') Rany Jazayerli takes on the decline of the Astros, and it is not pretty.
The story of the decline of the Astros, much like the story of their success, can't be told without a discussion of their owner. Drayton McLane bought the Astros in the summer of 1992, and on balance was an asset to the organization for his first 15 years. Like many owners getting to play with a shiny new toy for the first time, he was impatient. Wanting to make a big splash in his first offseason, he signed star hurlers Doug Drabek and Greg Swindell to four-year contracts. After both were disappointments in Year 1, he tried to release them — until it was explained to McLane that their contracts were, you know, guaranteed.
No one comes out alive. Not Jose Altuve ("your basic David Eckstein starter kit"), or Jordan Lyles ("a precocious high school pitcher who reaches the majors at a young age, but whose mediocre stuff will keep him from being much more than a no. 3 starter") is spared.
Maybe take a nap before you read it, because you're gonna get cranky.