Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Like it or Not, We Are Stuck With It

I have no idea if the rebuild is going to work. I don't know if the Astros are going to be in the World Series in 2017, or if they are in the initial stages of a Pirates/Royals like stretch of troubles. I don't know if the Astros would have been better off at least faking it on the field, to try to avoid 100 losses and save some face. I don't know if the plan was solid but Jeff Luhnow was not the right person to implement it.

I don't know these things because the story is not finished yet. This is the first year where Luhnow wasn't more concerned with tearing down than building up. 2013 was a shell of a team, and played like it. It was not representative of the team Luhnow wants to build, but was a tabula rasa on which Luhnow could create his vision. The initial stages of that process began in 2014, but even then, as has been repeated ad naseum by his critics, most of the players on the team, and especially the prospects, were brought in by Wade. I think by 2015, the team will start looking a lot more like the team Luhnow envisions, and by 2016 and 2017 it will be fully his team.

One thing is clear, however,and was made clearer by the Porter firing. Luhnow is going to be allowed to finish this process. He is going to get to create his team, and his team is going to stand or fall. Luhnow will receive (and deserve) the bulk of the praise or the blame for the end result. If it succeeds, he will be hailed as a visionary. If it fails, he might not ever get a job in baseball again. He's got more riding on this than you do.

So you can rail all you like about how Luhnow is destroying baseball in Houston. You can create your Fire Luhnow twitter accounts and hashtags. You might be entirely right, and will get to feel vindicated when his team loses 90 games in 2017 and we never hear the end of the Sports Illustrated article.  It won't change anything though.

Luhnow has a vision for his team, and Crane has bought into that vision. It doesn't really matter if you trust that vision or not. I don't know how it will turn out, and, if you are being honest, neither do you. For my part, I am choosing to trust. Luhnow has rebuilt the farm system, both with top name prospects, but more importantly with a great deal of depth. He has found diamonds in the rough, The improvement in the team this year is real, and I think there will much more of that in 2015. I don't know if the Astros will be in the World Series in 2017, but I think they will be good then, and remain good for a while.

If they aren't? Well, some of you will get to say I told you so, while we continue to wallow in misery. Bottom line, we will all be a lot better off if I'm right.