Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

*For a couple of innings Mike Fiers was bad old Mike Fiers while current Not-Astro Chris Archer was still Chris Archer (who allowed 4ER). Astros lose 6-4. They're 69-37. Seattle beat South Decatur, so the Astros' lead is a mere 15 games. There are 56 games remaining in the season.

*Fiers' final line: 6.1IP, 8H/6ER, 2K:3BB, 2WP, HBP, 2HR.

*Francisco Liriano is excited to be a part of the Astros:
I'm happy to be here...They've got a great team...To be a part of this team, it's an honor to me.

*Hinch is a little concerned about how long it will take Liriano to transition to the bullpen:
He says his arm feels great so I don't worry as much about that as I do the routine that he's going to have to develop to be ready on a nightly basis. That might not be available to us until mid-August or late August. 

*Tony Sipp and Michael Feliz joined Will Harris on the DL yesterday.

*Dallas Keuchel started some crap yesterday. Click below for the full quote:

Of course this gave everyone the green light to blast the front office, not that it wasn't already happening:
-Brian T. Smith (sorry, Batguy) agreed with Keuchel:
This team has now gone through two consecutive deadlines without significantly improving itself, which only deepens the outside - and obviously, at times inside - belief that the Astros still aren't fully committed to doing everything they can to win the first World Series in franchise history.

*New York Daily News:
[The Yankees will] almost surely have the Astros to thank as well, for prioritizing prospects over winning their first-ever title and doing nothing of significance to improve their chances.

*Danny Knobler:
Just as hitters are expected to hit (not just to try) and pitchers are expected to get outs (not just to try) and managers are expected to put the right players in the right spots (not just to try), general managers of teams with a chance to win it all are expected to make needed deals at the deadline.

*New York Post:
While Houston dawdled, their American League competitors got busy improving their playoff-hopeful rosters over the past week.

*Mike Oz:
There's no other way to put it, the Houston Astros, the best team in the American League, didn't do enough Monday as Major League Baseball's trade deadline passed.

And so on and so forth. Twitter basically melted. Jim Crane went on 97.5 yesterday and said there was at least one "blockbuster" deal in place that had gotten to the point of exchanging medicals, and was vetoed at the last minute by the other team's owner. It is my guess that the other team was Baltimore, but who knows for sure?

When I mentioned that Luhnow/Front Office don't deserve to get absolutely raked, I got called an apologist. That's not necessarily true, but I'm of the opinion that they shouldn't be held responsible for the other team's owner vetoing a trade that had been signed off on. That response brought a number of "should have had a backup plan!" replies, which made me think, "Yeah, that's true, but they had exchanged and approved medicals." Yes, there should have been a Plan B (or C or D or whatever), but once you get past the medicals, your plan is pretty much wrapped up. And when you're at that point in a trade negotiation, your Backup Plan partner might not be interested in waiting around for you. And if your Backup Plan partner wants one or two of the prospects that you've already exchanged medicals about with Plan A, at what point does it make sense to say, "this is where we are with Plan A" and they disengage because the trade with Plan A is so far along that they look elsewhere.

Then there's the "shouldn't have waited until the last minute!" replies which, again, may be true, but that's kind of how the deadline works. We don't know how "last minute" this owner-vetoed deal was. Let's say you want to go to Game 3 of the World Series. The Astros didn't select you for the postseason pre-sale, and StubHub is ridiculous, so you go down to Minute Maid Park and look for scalpers to buy a ticket. If you get there at 9am and just pay the scalper what he wants then, you're going to fork over a ton of money. But the closer you wait until first pitch, that price comes down because the scalper just wants to offload the tickets and get *something.* That's how it works as the clock creeps closer to 3pm. Sure, you may end up watching the World Series from the bar across the street - wait, I don't actually like this analogy anymore - but you played the system in a way that could *potentially* benefit you most. You're trying to find the best deal. That's what the Astros did, and they got burned. That happens.

You don't get points for trying. The Trade Deadline is not a time for Moral Victories. But you also shouldn't lose points because the other team's owner is a jackass and left you holding an empty bag.

*For whatever reason the Astros will still try for their 70th win tonight against the Rays with Dallas Keuchel on the mound. I mean, there's no point to even go out and play, right?


Anonymous said...

Brian T. Smith sucks. The guy is a joke and wish he would get kicked out of the Astros locker room. I've stopped reading his stuff because all he does is whine and complain. He's like the Richard Justice of old

ntxlfty said...

I'm sure Mike Fiers was trying. You've lost the ability to criticize ANYONE for coming up short, at anything.

As for Angelos, the Baltimore media is full of stories about what a flaky, meddling owner he can be. He doesn't really understand baseball, and doesn't listen to his baseball people. Sounds like a good partner at the deadline. Drayton Mclane had nothing on this guy.

As for the deadline, you're right, it's called that for a reason. I have another analogy for you. You pay your rent at the first of the month. You don't wait for the eviction notice, then try to negotiate. If anyone doesn't understand, you go get who you need, then play around at the deadline for someone you can live without.

So don't act like nothing happened, and our reaction is overblown.

JoeinAlaska said...

Luhnow made, or did not make, the right moves. Just because you have a big named starter on the market does not mean he'll perform for you. Remember Scott Kazmir? Remember when the Royals got Cueto two years ago? Before the playoffs he was a disaster. You go with whomever brung you to the dance, and these are the guys that got the Stros 17 games up at the ASB. They might not have a lot of big names, but they've been great at picking each other up all year. They are a real TEAM, don't break them up!

DaddyO said...

Rent is not a fungible $ target so while i get what you are saying...not even close on the analogy scale.

As far as the concept of all means criticize Fiers and whoever else has failed your sensibilities . While you're at it...critisize your wife and kids every time they stub their toe, criticize your mom and about the freakin' world because it's not going your way? Let's see how far that get's you in life let alone the freakin' day.

Here we are talking about baseball and we have devolved to criticizing the un-paid pundit for not being critical of a player who plays a game that is virtually a daily contest of how to cope with failure and imperfection.

Let's be real...every criticism should begin with the phrase "I believe..." because the level of subjectivity involved is total and complete. There is no objectivity involved.

Every other team involved other than the Billion Dollar TV contract Dodgers made their moves in order to MAKE the playoffs. I will speculate that the FO determined there was one trade that they felt could measurably improve their performance in the actual playoffs and it didn't work out.

This pisses everyone off? Boo freakin' Hoo...

Who doesn't want to win a world series...the players and the organization certainly do. I don't get to win one...I get to to watch my favorite team win one.

The disdain and disgust on display for an organization that has revitalized itself, has the 2nd best record in baseball and is leading all the AL by 10+ games is fascinating to me.

Oh yeah...and before we rack and quarter Fiers for his supposed ineptitude...let's not forget this little nugget...

Since the #Astros traded for @Fiers64 at the 2015 trade deadline, he has led the club in innings (332) and starts (59), posting a 3.91 ERA.

Yeah...he just sucks...DFA the sad sack...(give me a break)

Yes the reaction is overblown...In My Opinion

Rant over...

Terence said...

It's almost like most of the people complaining about Luhnow haven't been around for the majority of the last 5.5 years. If there's one phrase this dude utters over and over, it's, "We're here to build 'sustainable' success." You know what is not sustainable? Trading away prospects for rentals. The baseball playoffs are a crapshoot. The best way to win a championship is to make the playoffs. I'm glad we're making it easier for ourselves to make the playoffs in 2020, and 2021, and 2022 instead of harder.

Lyle Smith said...

I am apologist too. Go Crane and Luhnow! You have my support!

Trevor Harris said...

Amen. The dude crapped on the Astros when he first came over, parlayed that job into a Texans writing gig, and is now covering the Astros more. The guy doesn't deserve it. If you write for the home town team, maybe... just maybe write an occasional piece that makes people wonder if you have a bias towards the team rather than against.

He's far from objective. The dude is a hater, and is the reason I don't check the Chron for Astros news. That, and no one since Levine has been a decent baseball writer.

John Martin said...

I believe Mike Fiers is terrible, except when he's not.

Maybe negotiating with Baltimore was a mistake from the beginning but it's not like the front office hadn't previously been able to consumate a deal in the past. Angelos is a crackpot who constantly sabotages his own team, the Astros just happened to get hit with the shrapnel this time around.

Anonymous said...

I am in the camp of "why wait until the last minute?"

This team has known for 9 months that they needed another playoff starter and a power arm in the 'pen.

It does concern me that we seem to fall in love with our prospects a bit too much. There is a chance to win now. And everyone else significantly improved and prepared themselves for the shorter series in the playoffs.

It feels like the Indians, Yankees, and Red Sox just improved enough to catch up (or surpass) the Astros.

It also is concerning that everyone is injured; and the same players seem to continue getting injured. Could this be a coaching or training issue?


Anonymous said...

I'm pretty 99.999999% of the ballplayers are are battling an injury at this point in the season. The injury bug bites at different times and we're in the middle of it now. Hopefully it stops, but I seriously doubt it's a training or coaching issue. The flip side to that is the Astros have a 10.5 game lead on the next AL team for homefield advantage. Yes, it would be nice to get the best record in baseball and homefield advantage in the world series, but at the same time, I'm pretty sure the Astros feel they can win at home or on the road. I do believe they are "kid gloving" their players and trying to not burn them out before playoffs start. I would venture to guess that if the lead begins dwindling, you'll less stints to the 10 day DL.

I have no qualms about how Luhnow handled the trading deadline the last 2 years. It's a gamble and with any gamble you win some and lose some. You can lose out on a better player by trading too early, and you can lose out on any player if you wait too late. He tried the former last year and the latter this year. I think he'll find better footing the more experience he gets.

The question I have is, do other GM's/owners have a vendetta against Luhnow and Crane? Crane tried multiple times to purchase an MLB team and was was blocked by the other owners. I have to think the Astros success is a bitter pill to swallow for the good 'ol boys club that is ownership. Must kill some of them to see Crane have a stacked (and sustainable) club while they are middling.

Chas R said...

It's just crazy they did not get a solid top of the rotation starter. I am not that concerned about getting Britton as our BP is good and I would not waste overpaying on a relief pitcher we will have for 1 1/2 seasons. We needed to get a deal done for Darvish or Gray and I just can't see a reason given the Stros strong fame system why we didn't get that done. Disappointing

Bill Holcombe said...

Well with how this game is going, maybe Kuechel should worry more about doing his job than doing interviews whining about the front office.

Wallee Wright said...

Yeah, Bill, no damn wonder he was whining ... he knew he was not gonna get the job done - gave him someone else to blame.

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