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?