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.


Anonymous said...

I hope you are right, but frankly, I'm so tired of all the Luhnow apologies. The target date, and the associated expectations keep getting pushed back and dampened. All the intermediate targets keep getting forgotten and instead, we are told to continue to focus on some far off date.

Basically, Luhnow always talks about accountability and demands buy in from everyone, but is never held accountable for anything. His supporters are similar, they demand complete buy in, and ridicule all those who offer the simplest of criticisms, but rarely ever hold Luhnow accountable for anything. Ample excuses and rationalizations, but never accountability.

(Not Hank) Aaron said...

If you think the target date has been moved back, I think you missed the original target date. The plan was never about 2014.

JoeinAlaska said...

Some of the Luhnow criticism is well deserved however, things like the database getting hacked, Correa breaking a leg, Appel having a bad year, and the Aiken draft situation are just a part the challenges life often throws at you. It takes courage to do what's right when your decision defies conventional wisdom. In a few years when the astros are competitive Luhnow will be hailed as a visionary and all the idiots who are piling on right now will be singing his praises.

JoeinAlaska said...

To the firsrt poster in this thread... Yesterday Luhnow was very clear about the fact that he was accountable for the poor records over the last three seasons.

Anonymous said...

The target date, to compete, was originally 2015, now it's 2017 (or whenever as it's impossible to ever pin down anything with this group and their apologists). Crane and Luhnow, for two years, have made statements at the beginning of the year, about their expectations for the coming year. Never met. Their supporters conveniently ignore that and focus on their visions of what might be.

If we were all privy to the original multi-page "plan," I'd be surprised if three years of total crap were targeted.

(Not Hank) Aaron said...

Has anyone said the target date to compete is not, still, 2015? We aren't there yet, if you haven't noticed.

Teddy said...

As far as I remember, the target was 2015 OR 2016 to be competitive, which is possible. Haven't heard Luhnow saying the date had been changed to 2017. But another question is what would be considered competitive?

Anonymous said...

Saying you are accountable, and being held accountable are two entirely different things. Luhnow always talks the talk. He's real good at that.

To NHA, thanks for actually mentioning a date. I suspect you are unique, and other Luhnow supporters will be comfortable with some undefined future date.

radROCK said...

I can't remember Luhnow ever stating a target date for anything. There is really no value (for him) in doing so. Before 2013 I personally saw a timetable of: competent in 2014, competitive in 2015, and contending in 2016. I think the team is still on that course. I expect them to be a .500 club next year with a legitimate chance at a wildcard spot in 2016.

When Luhnow was hired we all knew this was going to be an unprecedented rebuilding operation. Thus it is unrealistic to compare it to other rebuilds. It was always going to be long and unpleasant. I dont see it as being any slower than expected, and the fan and media backlash should probably have been expected too.

My opinion has always been that Porter was brought in to be fired. But this rebuild in clearly Luhnow's baby and he will be judged (rightfully so) on its success or failure.

I honestly consider this year to be a success, or at least the first step towards success. But each of the next two years will equally important. And if the team takes a step backwards, then Luhnow's job will rightfully be in jeopardy. I, and all astros fans, hope Luhnow is right as it will be very difficult to accept that 2012-2014 has been in vain.

Anonymous said...

Oh joy... Adam "The Hammer" Everett is back. His first priority is to coach the 7-9 hitters how to strikeout/groundout in the clutch with runners in scoring position.