Wednesday night Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow took time to speak to prospective season ticket holders at a dinner hosted at Minute Maid Park. Reliving the thrill ride of the 2015 season conjured up all the warm memories which made this past season so fun. It worked so well on me that I think I may actually take the season ticket holder plunge. Luhnow not only discussed what has happened but what he is expecting to happen in 2016.
Spring training in Kissimmee is going to be exciting to watch. When you have so many excellent players fighting for spots there’s bound to be some disappointment with who makes it to the opeming day roster. However, shuffling is inevitable. Something that worked in spring training might not work on 10 day west coast road trip. With Evan Gattis out for part of spring training that makes room for some of the other guys to possibly step up and take on first base. Commenting that a lot of what happens at first and third base will depend on how Jon Singleton performs in Kissimmee, Luhnow said they may throw another option in the mix before Spring Training starts (since we don’t have enough). In discussing this Luhnow also said “There’s a chance that Tyler White makes our opening day club.”
Mike Fiers, who was just the extra guy in the Carlos Gomez trade, had never pitched in the ninth inning in the majors, yet delivered Minute Maid Park’s first no hitter August 21, 2016. Luhnow called it the greatest experience of his baseball life. Knowing that most people pay more attention when their team is on offense, Luhnow said that the starting pitching has been and will be exciting to watch, noting that lots of people came out last year specifically to watch Dallas Keuchel pitch. He expects that the starters and relievers will be part of the must see action.
One question presented had to do with arbitration and possible resentment from a player like Keuchel for not signing a long term contract. He answered talking about risk assessment. The flexibility of having a year to year contact and not signing something like an 8 year, 100 million dollar deal helps them avoid the risk of losing production in later years yet stuck paying the same amount regardless of production. Luhnow also said that when the right circumstances present themselves they want to talk to all of the great players about extending the relationship beyond the control they have.
Quick note about season tickets: I personally have never been a season ticket holder because I tend to be picky about what games I attend based on opponent, any promotions or giveaways that may be going on, etc. However I did learn that they have a game exchange option so that may be worth it if that is anyone else’s hesitation.