Perhaps even these things, one day, will be pleasing to remember.” – Virgil
Houston Astros 2014 Season Preview
The Astros lost three hundred and twenty-four games in the last three years.
Reread that sentence. Let it sink in for a moment. Let it soak into your brain.
Does it hurt? Can you taste it? (Try not to slit your wrists.)
That’s a shitload of losses, huh?
This is what you’ve witnessed over the last three years.
In those three years, the Astros were the undisputed worst team in baseball each year. …and, sadly, it wasn’t even all that close. This was an organization that had never lost 100 games in a season, but between 2011 and 2013 they eclipsed the century mark all three times. Three hundred and twenty-four losses is the most losses for a Major League Baseball team in a three year span since the expansion Mets lost 340 games in 1962-64. If you’re grouping teams by winning percentage over any three-year period, the Astros have the fifth worst record ever – EVER. To put it in perspective, had the Astros lost 324 games over a four-year period instead of three, they still wouldn’t be over .500 – they’d be right at .500. Here’s a fun stat that you can tell your friends: in order for the Astros to break even over the current four-year span, they’d need to win every game in 2014. 162-0?
Congratulate yourself if you’re still following the team.
Full disclosure: I knew the Astros would be bad, but I never thought they’d be this bad.
The previous regime’s slash and burn method of running a baseball organization left the current regime with a minor league system barren of immediate Major League reinforcements. We knew we had to pay the price for years of mismanagement. So we hunkered down and stuck by the team – and the storm surge bowled us all over. It has been a long and painful three years.
This has been exhausting; this period of Astros baseball has yanked the spirit right out of us… through our butts, sideways.
Other than the losing, a lot has happened over the last three years. Drayton McLane sold the Astros, and Jim Crane bought them. The Astros fired Ed Wade and hired Jeff Luhnow. The Astros fired Tal Smith and hired George Postolos. Postolos quit and was replaced with Reid Ryan. The Astros got unceremoniously booted into the American League. We got angry. They changed uniforms. We were happy. They brought back Orbit. We got even happier. They flipped the channel from Fox Sports Houston to Comcast Sports Houston. We got angry again. The put up ugly billboards (we got angry) and then took them down (that made us happy). Nolan came back. They took Comcast Sports Houston to court, and now we’re all a little confused.
And then there’s the player movement…
Over the last three years, the Astros traded Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee, Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, JA Happ, Mark Melancon, Chris Johnson, Jed Lowrie, Wesley Wright, Wilton Lopez, Justin Maxwell, Jeff Keppinger, Ben Francisco, Fernando Rodriguez, Humberto Quintero, Jason Bourgeois, David Carpenter, Brandon Lyon, Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes. (I’m probably forgetting someone.)
They released players, signed players, waived players, took guys off the 40-man roster, lost players via free agency, signed two guys from Mexico and left two to sign in Korea. If you haven’t been keeping up (or have), you have no idea who’s on the Houston Astros.
Up until Brett Wallace was given his unconditional release on the 13th, he was the only remaining player from Opening Day 2011 (Jason Castro was on the disabled list). That’s quite a remarkable feat. He ducked and dodged Jeff Luhnow like he just ratted him out to the police. Eventually, Luhnow caught up with Wallace, tagged him with an unconditional release and told him we’d all see him at the crossroads.
2014 is another year of big changes. The Astros spent some money and signed guys who can offer immediate help in key areas. They have a core group of young players with an extra year of experience under their belts. The Astros have no excuse for not delivering better results this year. In a way, the heat is on and a little pressure from the fans should be applied. This team shouldn’t compete for the division, and we shouldn’t expect this team to get a whiff of .500, but the games should be closer and 100 losses should be out of the question.
Maybe Virgil was right when he was talking about the Astros oh so many years ago – maybe we’ll all look back on this and laugh. And, maybe this season, the Astros won’t be the butt of the joke.
So, with all this in mind, the 2014 season is only hours away. The New York Yankees are here and Derek Jeter-mania kickoffs in front of a not-yet sold-out crowd. I’ve put together some topics that might interest some of you that have still stuck around.
Pick to Click? We Got It At Jarred’s
Jarred Cosart had an interesting off-season. His 2013 stats were mouthwatering to say the least. His debut against the Tampa Bay Rays was beyond a masterpiece as he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He showed flashes of brilliance and made Astros fans giddier than a Girl Scout troop at a One Direction concert. He exceeded expectations and then some.
Then Twitter happened. Cosart used the word “retard” when referring to a Climbing Tal’s Hill writer and then used the word “fag” when referring to Justin Beiber. Hey, I get it – Cosart isn’t a bad guy or homophobe or whatever. But there’s a fine line between who can get away with what. People pay attention to the ridiculous things we says on Twitter but public figures get an extra dose of scrutiny. I’m an overweight dude with a free blog, I can use all the colorful language I want and no one would bat an eye… because no one cares. He’s the future of the Astros; he’s going to have a long successful major league career, and he’s going to make a lot of money. There are direct implications to the things he says. He has to be able to market himself and dropping “retards” and “fag” on his Twitter timeline isn’t doing anyone any good. Cosart wears his emotions on his sleeve – if he’s pissed, you’ll know about it. He’s excitable. He’s got a touch of ego, and his confidence is through the roof – I love it. Great players have a little fire; Cosart has a chip on his shoulder. But, make no mistake, he’s a good guy (“a great guy” by people who know the both of us), and I know these words are not examples of poor character but examples of poor judgment. Fans are going to love him.
Obviously, I didn’t pick Cosart as my “2014 Pick to Click” because I wanted to clear up his off-season foibles. I picked Cosart to have a big year because I think he’s going to have a big year – a tremendous year. He might fool around and make the All-Star Team.
And, he’s having a pretty decent spring.
And, he’ll be the second starter in the Astros rotation this year (his first appearance on an opening day roster, mind you).
Cosart reminds me a little of Brandon Backe and Roy Oswalt. He has mound presence. I saw him pitch a minor league game last year, and the way he walked around was something to behold – it was an away game, and it was as if he owned the place. And, when he got on the mound, he showed about two thousand fans that he did, in fact, own the place. It’s swagger, it’s confidence, it’s the waters of March, it’s a je ne sais quoi of badassery. It’s the way he attacks hitters.
Jarred Cosart is going to have a huge season. He’s not going to put up Bob Gibson type numbers, but I feel he’s going to have the best season on the pitching staff. Go ahead and pick him up in your fantasy leagues. The win totals won’t be there, but he’s going to put the Astros in position to win every time he steps on the mound. He’s going to rack up some strikeouts, make hitters look foolish and parlay his efforts into a very solid season.
MTV True Life: I Deserve to be Promoted by the Houston Astros
I can’t remember the last time fans were this excited about an Astros prospect. I remember fans being very excited about Hunter Pence as sports radio was inundated with “call Hunter Pence up” calls. But, really, fans knew very little about him. Springer is a much different prospect than Pence. Springer is already one of the more popular Astros and he hasn’t had a major league at-bat. He’s one of the most talked about players involved with the team. We hear about George Springer on the radio, television, and on blogs and in our dreams – quick, look behind you! he’s literally everywhere. Brian McTaggart has been asked, “When will Springer be promoted?” so many times that he’s murdered entire families because he’s tired of answering with “I don’t know.”
George Springer could walk around The Galleria tomorrow and there might be a few folks who recognize him and ask for an autograph or picture. Hunter Pence wasn’t that type of prospect. Springer isn’t your average prospect – he’s the face of a reclamation project, a name ready to be etched into history. Springer’s popularity is a direct function of the Astros recent futility and a somewhat hopeful fan base. These are fans who have boned up on their minor league baseball knowledge and already feel like they know what to expect from Springer – and that’s understandable, the major league club has been abhorrent.
George Springer will be here soon and will save us all! But… not really all that soon.
This might be incredibly unpopular amongst Astros fans, but really needs to be said – what is good for George Springer’s career might not be good for the Houston Astros. While being in Houston would benefit Springer and his pocketbook, his imminent arrival is a minefield for the financially cautious Astros. With a wink and a nudge, the Astros will shift the discussion towards strikeout rates, but the club benefits immensely from having Springer later rather than sooner.
George Springer is the type of player who could potentially get really rich really quickly… and that is a double-edged sword for the Astros and could result in a brief career for Springer in an Astros uniform.
The Astros are working to lock-up Springer to a long-term deal. It was reported by Ken Rosenthal and the Astros offered Springer a 7yr/$23M deal during the off-season which would have bought out his arbitration years. Obviously this deal was rejected. It would have been shocking to see Springer sign such a club friendly deal. We should note that this deal was offered to Springer a couple of months before the Dexter Fowler trade. Perhaps Luhnow’s plan was to have Springer sign the deal and then give him the keys to centerfield. But when Springer rejected the plan (which probably didn’t come as a surprise), the Astros decided to explore trades for centerfielders; and once Dexter Fowler became available, they pulled the trigger and decided to have him roam centerfield until the All-Star break.
The timing of the contract offer and the trade for Dexter Fowler leads me to believe that the Astros view Springer as a centerfielder and would be more likely to trade Fowler at some point this year (maybe) – my prediction would be shortly after Springer makes his major league debut.
There has been much speculation about where Springer’s offer leak came from. This could easily be the work of Springer’s agent who’d prefer to put pressure on the Astros to get his client in Houston. It could be someone with first-hand knowledge of the situation. Or, maybe, the Astros leaked the information themselves in order to paint Springer and his agent as being unreasonable. I wouldn’t say this situation is getting ugly – I’m sure long-term contract discussion are talked about more frequently than the public is aware, but this sort of publicity is not good for Springer or the Astros.
Dialogue between the organization and George Springer will continue. (And Matt Dominguez, Robbie Grossman and Jason Castro) Obviously the Astros felt they were in position to offer Springer a club friendly contract to see his level of interest coupled with the fact he hasn’t played in a single major league game. These things take time – sometimes a lot of time. The Angels just signed Mike Trout a few days ago – these things take time.
So, when the season begins, George Springer will be rooting around Oklahoma City biding his time. He’ll have his suit pressed and his bags packed, ready to go at a moment’s notice. He’s not leaving today, but Houston isn’t too far away.
Who Am I Excited About Watch?
North Korea, Russia, riots in Albuquerque, mudslides in Washington, missing airplanes, earthquakes… hold tight, world – Japhet Amador is on his way.
What can be said about Japhet Amador that hasn’t already been said about a Boeing 747? As of now, he’s a 315 lbs urban legend, only existing in stories passed down from our elders or local shaman. He’s an extremely large man. A behemoth; a left tackle in a baseball uniform! He’s Oscar Gamble’s afro personified. He’s the baseball equivalent to Sasquatch, because even though we’ve seen the footage and a few random eyewitness accounts - we’ve yet to see him in the flesh.
He arrived last year on lease from the Diablos Rojos del Mexico of the Mexican League and was assigned to Oklahoma City. Amador was expected to compete for the first baseman job, but had family issues in Mexico (or potentially bringing El Chapo to justice) and got a late start in Spring Training. Unless he’s sent back on a bus to Mexico, he should get time in Oklahoma City, alternating between 1B and DH with Jon Singleton.
I hope he gets an opportunity in Houston at some point. I’m not sure he’ll ever work out for a long period of time, but the spectacle of having a 6’4” 315lbs guy play right next to Jose Altuve would be more fun than I’d know what to do with. Bill Veeck is somewhere smiling over this – but the fact that Amador might be able to produce at the big league level makes this all the more exciting.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Astros have two all stars this year. On one hand, having two all stars on a team that will likely be somewhere around the bottom rung of the American League seems unreasonable. However, the Astros have one of the better catchers in the league and Jason Castro is a for certain all-star regardless of what team he’s on.
I figure Brian McCann will win the fan vote and get the start. I could see some ridiculous/crappy situation where Joe Mauer hits .320 while playing first base for the Twins, and John Farrell lets him take a few innings behind the plate in front his home crowd. Maybe Castro makes the team and doesn’t get to play again. Wouldn’t that tickle?
I could see Jose Altuve or Jarred Cosart sneaking on the team too. Altuve could have a big year – he could be leading the league in double at some point, maybe hit around .300 or so. Cosart could start where he left off and sport a miniscule ERA going into the break.
Astros Top 10 Prospects
1.) Carlos Correa
2.) George Springer
3.) Vincent Velasquez
4.) Mark Appel
5.) Mike Foltynewicz
6.) Jon Singleton
7.) Rio Ruiz
8.) DeLino DeShields Jr
9.) Josh Hader
10.) Teoscar Hernandez
Who Will The Astros Draft
A huge part of me hates the draft. I keep up with the speculation and sometimes contribute to the debate. I read the mock drafts. I check box scores. I read what some of the “experts” have to say. But, ultimately, I hate the draft. I really hate it.
I hate it because it has turned into the focal point of the Astros entire existence. In 2013, many bloggers and fans were pining for Carlos Rodon and even went so far as to root for the Astros to finish in last. Some fans and bloggers argued that the first pick in the draft was more important this year than the previous years because there is a consensus number one overall pick. A “Tank for Rodon” movement came about and dimestore draft experts equipped with ESPN Insider subscriptions put aside their desire to win in order to hitch their wagons to a far-fetched conspiracy theory married to a horseshit line of logic. “If the Astros finish last, they can draft Rodon!”
These people are clearly too smart for their own good.
As if Jeff Luhnow put all of his eggs in a single basket and etched Rodon’s name in concrete before the dust even settled? Asinine. He fubared an entire season for Carlos Rodon? But after all the “this is the best pitcher to come out of college in awhile” and “he’s a consensus number one overall pick,” we’ve discovered he isn’t as “consensus” as we thought he was. There’s now talk the Astros might not even draft him?
I’m thrilled there’s debate strictly because I love seeing the “Tank for Rodon” dorks squirm. Regardless of whether or not the Astros draft Rodon, the fact that there is substantial debate regarding his merits of drafting him first overall should negate everything the “Tank for Rodon” dorks championed.
The whole idea that you have to be really bad in order to be really good is not a philosophy the Astros have espoused. Even down-the-street Daryl chimed in with a “There is a tight historic correlation between poorly run franchise and top draft picks that generally does not go away once you make a top pick.” It isn’t as if the Cardinals are picking in the top ten every year. The Astros plan has always been pretty straightforward - win at the major league level without compromising long-term success.
I can’t understand why some people assume that Jeff Luhnow cannot wrangle a quality draft without having the first pick. Luhnow has shown time and time again that he’s able to put together a winning team without having the first pick in the draft. And when they say “#InLuhnowWeTrust,” I want to stab them in the livers.
Besides, it is quite possible (not certain) that the Astros could have gotten Carlos Correa and Mark Appel without having the first pick in 2012 and 2013.
The Astros are currently balls deep in scouting amateur players all over the country. Admittedly, I have very limited access to Carlos Rodon. I’ve seen him pitch a few times and I’ve heard an interview or two – but I don’t know what he’s really like. Rodon has a very smooth effortless delivery. He put together an outrageous year in 2013. On paper and in person, he looks like the real deal – everything that you’d want out of a first overall pick.
If I had to bet my house on the Astros first overall pick – I’d take Carlos Rodon. However, I could imagine a scenario or two where Carlos Rodon’s name isn’t called first when Bud Selig gets to the podium.
The Astros are going to flirt with a few prospects. They’re going to do all their homework and not leave any stone unturned. The Astros are going to vet Brady Aiken, Tyler Beede, Jeff Hoffman, Tyler Kolek and Touki Toussaint. However, utimately, Carlos Rodon is the pick. Carlos Rodon is one of the most polished, major league ready prospects to come out of college in a long time.
I could see a scenario where the Astros draft Aiken, Kolek or Toussaint – I believe Toussaint is a very realistic possibility. Any of those three (or a few I hadn’t mentioned) could end up being the best player in this draft – who knows? And keep in mind, Carlos Rodon is a junior and can leverage his senior season - that could potentially scare off the Astros. But, at the end of the day, the Astros will determine that Rodon is less of a prospect and more of a known quantity – barring something tragic, we know Rodon is going to be a successful major leaguer, and that’d be too hard for Luhnow to pass up.
How the AL West Plays Out
Texas Rangers 90-72: I generally don’t use my blog as a forum for social commentary, but why the hell would someone get a tattoo on their freaking neck? Prince Fielder, the Rangers newest goon, has a God awful tattoo on his neck that says “Chipotle” in cursive. The man is making over a hundred million and can afford all the burritos he wants, so why the tattoo? Does Chipotle sponsor him? Does he use this tattoo to finagle cashiers into giving him a discount? Is he just proud of the work Chipotle does and just wants to support a brand he loves? I love barbacoa in my burrito (along with tomatoes, cheese, maybe a smidgeon of sour cream and a scoop of roasted corn); I love it! …but I’m not going to get “Chipotle” tattooed on my neck.
The Rangers bid adieu to Nolan Ryan after he and Jon Daniels couldn’t get along. As soon as he left Dallas, he loaded up his cattle and moseyed on down south to Houston. (Jon Daniels doesn’t even have his own brand of beef. Do you even cattle, bro?) It was a little bittersweet because I still believe Nolan played a huge part in realignment, but we should all welcome him home and forgive him for his time with the Rangers. After all, realignment was in the best interest of the Rangers and since he was working for them… well, he was just doing his job, dammit.
For the casual fan, having Nolan Ryan home makes hating the Rangers more acceptable – so, I’m all for that.
As of now, the Rangers are hurting – not as bad as the A’s, but they’ve both recently been rumored to be offering Bobby Witt a spot in their rotation. If the Rangers can get healthy and stay healthy, I think they have enough bullets to win the division. They’re going to have to fend off the Angels, but they’re a well-rounded team whose primary weakness is the injury bug. I’m really excited to see what Jurickson Profar does this year – he should be fun to watch. Prince, although I joke, is going to have a huge year – the big lefty is going to pepper the right field bleachers the way he peppers a giant barbacoa burrito at Chipotle.
El Pueblo Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula Angels of Anaheim 88 – 74: The Angels were the Los Angeles Angels for 4 years. They were the California Angels for 32 years. They were the Anaheim Angels for 8 years. They’ve been the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for 9 years. They’re the Ol’ Dirty Bastard of Major League Baseball. Who are they going to be next year?
I really hate the Angels. I hate Albert Pujols and his snooty “I just slept with your wife” looking face. I hate Arte Moreno and his throbbing boner for all things Los Angeles County. I hate Anaheim. I hate Disneyland – I’ve been, and it was a huge waste of money. In-N-Out is Southern California’s only redeeming quality, but it still isn’t as good as Whataburger.
After consecutive years of signing the best free agent on the market, the Angels finished below .500 – a very appropriate outcome for the Cubs of the AL West. Upon appearance, signing Josh Hamilton away from the Rangers seemed like a move that would put them over the top and lead to a series of division titles. However, Hamilton quickly went from Vanna White to Slappy White and the Angels spent the entire summer threatening to fire everyone in Orange County.
Fear not, preppies, the Angels are going to be good this year. I even think they’ll make the playoffs. They’re going to get a mammoth year out of Mike Trout (whom I think will win the MVP), but I think their pitching will be much better in 2014. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jared Weaver get serious consideration for the Cy Young.
Oakland A’s 81-81: I literally left out the A’s the first time I wrote this. I forgot they existed. I just wrote about the Rangers, Angels and Mariners and was then like “wait, am I forgetting someone?” After racking my brain for about ten minutes, I realized that I left the A’s out of my preview. They’re like that era of Garth Brooks’ career when he did that bizarre Chris Gaines routine – you forgot about that, huh?
I really hate the A’s. I don’t know what to expect from them. I don’t know if they’re going to win 100 or lose 100. Who’s even on their team? Can you think of anyone? I know they have that one guy who wears prison-issued glasses, but other than that, who is even on the A’s? They’re like the Butler basketball team.
The A’s always find a way to win. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win the division. But, then again, maybe this is the year they lose 100 games.
I hope they lose 100.
Mariners 76-86: The Mariners were so much smarter than everyone this off-season. They hired Lloyd McClendon to manage the club for starters – I love Lloyd McClendon. McClendon is the type of manager that can go from cool and collected to apoplectic at the drop of a hat (or steal of the base).
They also signed Corey Hart and traded for Logan Morrison.
But the smartest move the Mariners made was signing Robinson Cano to a 10yr/$240M contact. Rapper/agent, Jay Z, laid out the framework for the deal after the Yankees said “N to the izz-O W to the izz-A …Y” to a deal that would have kept him in an “Empire State of Mind.” Unless Cano’s traded, this puts him in Seattle until he’s 41 years old. And it wasn’t easy for the Mariners to be this smart – the Mariners could have looked at their division rival Angels for two examples of outrageous contracts gone awry. But, instead, they thumbed their nose at the Angels’ foibles (Silly Angels!) and installed the equivalent of a state-of-the-art stereo in their crusty old beat up clunker of an organization.
And how the Mariners treated Randy Wolf has players all over the league counting the days to free agency. Who wouldn’t want to play for the Mariners for the next ten years?
That was very smart too.
I’m picking the Mariners to finish in fourth.
How the Rest of the League Plays Out
It seems like everyone is picking the Dodgers or Nationals to represent the National League in the World Series. I have both teams winning their divisions. With the Dodgers, health is going to be a huge concern – how’s Matt Kemp going to hold up, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke? It could get ugly quick in Los Angeles, but, in the end, I feel the Dodgers have too much talent and not enough competition. (For the record, watch out for the Padres – they might not get into the playoffs, but they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.) Also, it seems everyone is overlooking the Cardinals, but I have them winning their division, barely beating out the Pirates.
The American League might be a little more interesting – any team out of the AL East could win the division; I could see every team in that division with a winning record. I wouldn’t sleep on the Blue Jays. Ultimately, I think the Yankees are going to win the division with the Red Sox and Orioles close behind. In the West, the Rangers will finish out the year playing 13 straight against division opponents – the three game set in Anaheim in September, in my opinion, determines this division. I have the Tigers coming out of the Central fending off the upstart Royals.
NL West – Dodgers
NL Central – Cardinals
NL East – Nationals
NL Wild Card – Pirates
NL Wild Card – Braves
AL West – Rangers
AL Central – Tigers
AL West – Yankees
AL Wild Card – Red Sox
AL Wild Card – Angels
In the end, I think the Yankees find a way to win in the playoffs, match up with the Cardinals in the World Series and win it in 6. I really hate “storybook endings,” but Derek Jeter retires a champion. Let’s get him a gift basket.
NL MVP – Bryce Harper
NL Cy Young – Craig Kimbrel
NL Rookie of the Year – Mike Olt
AL MVP – Mike Trout
AL Cy Young – Yu Darvish
AL Rookie of the Year – Jose Abreu
How the Astros Season Plays Out
I’m going to get this out of the way now: the Astros will not lose 100 games in 2014.
The Astros treated this off-season a lot differently than they’ve treated the previous two. This was the first year that the Astros were legitimately players in the free agent market. In the previous two off-seasons, the Astros went after a few temporary low-budget stopgaps that could serve as a warm body in the field and offer a morsel of veteran presence to a young and impressionable team. They signed guys like Carlos Pena and Ronny Cedeno – both respected veterans, but they didn’t quite intrigue the locals. In the previous two years, there were just too many holes to fill, too many spots up for grabs and the Astros weren’t interested in overhauling the whole major league roster for a bunch of temporary players who’d eventually get released in the middle of the season.
The Astros still aren’t in position to sign a free agent that would require them to surrender a draft pick. And, as long as Jeff Luhnow is the general manager, I doubt they ever will be.
This off-season, the Astros addressed specific problems. The Astros bullpen was absolutely terrible in 2013 – so, they signed Jesse Crain, Matt Albers and Chad Qualls. They needed help in the starting rotation – they signed Scott Feldman to a three-year deal. They needed a legitimate leadoff man – they traded for Dexter Fowler. Where the Astros added and the quality of players they added means they’re serious about getting better this year. They’re serious about big league results.
But, with that being said, don’t be shocked to see Fowler, Qualls, Albers or Crain dealt during the summer.
The 2013 Astros were the youngest team in baseball – many of these players are coming back in 2014, and the year of experience they’ve gained will pay dividends in the win column. I expect Matt Dominguez, Jonathan Villar and LJ Hoes to put up very solid numbers. Dominguez could hit 25 homeruns in 2014. A little maturity will go a long way with this club. The pitching staff is older – Cosart and Brett Oberholtzer now have a better idea of the day to day grind of being a major leaguer; this will go a long way in being more respectable in the win column. I’m excited to see what Alex Pressley can do off the bench and whether Marc Krauss’ spring was a fluke. There are a lot of “what-ifs,” but, even with the best-case scenario, I have a hard time thinking they’ll find a way to win more than 70 games.
The Astros are still a work-in-progress. The record will be better, the team will be better, fans will feel better – but, at the end of the year, the team will still be bad. The Astros won’t compete for the division, nor will they be anywhere near the breakeven point. There are several goals this team should look to achieve – not lose 100 games, stay out of last place, be more competitive… but, if we’re looking at the win/loss record or where they finish within the division, we’ll be disappointed. If you have to get angry, get angry at lack of effort – I doubt you’ll see any of that.
Nothing will come easy for the 2014 Houston Astros. They’ll have to fight for every single victory.
…but, don’t worry, this will eventually pay off in the coming years.
This is a great time to be an Astros fan, and it’s pretty awesome that you’re still here after all the heartache. That wasn’t easy to do, especially since so many of our neighbors jumped ship when the going got tough. My advice: don’t get caught up in results found on paper. Watch the games and witness the team get better. Enjoy watching them grow, evolve. Enjoy watching Jarred Cosart pitch or Jose Altuve steal a base. Enjoy watching Chris Carter hit a ball onto the railroad tracks. Enjoy watching Matt Dominguez play Gold Glove caliber defense and enjoy watching Jason Castro nail would-be base stealers. Enjoy the little things. Even enjoy the mistakes, the errors. This is an era of improvement. This is a team that is learning and getting better. Enjoy this. Enjoy all of this.
And, who knows, maybe we’ll all look back on this and laugh. These are still the good times.
Baseball is fun.