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Monday, February 04, 2013

MLBTR: Athletics acquire Jed Lowrie in five-player deal

At this moment, there are still no reports that this trade has somehow injured Jed Lowrie.

The Astros announced that they sent shortstop Jed Lowrie to the Athletics in a five-player trade. The Astros acquire first baseman Chris Carter, starting pitcher Brad Peacock and catching prospect Max Stassi from the A’s in the deal, which sends right-handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez to Oakland along with Lowrie.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 04, 2013 at 07:40 PM | 166 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, trades, transactions

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   101. Walt Davis Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:01 PM (#4363405)
Disagree with Walt/1. According to FanGraphs, Lowrie's been worth 6 WAR in 1300 PA career. Which makes him an average to above average player over a full season.

I comped a healthy Lowrie to Stephen Drew. Drew kinda stunk last year but through age 28, he had a 98 OPS+, 12 WAR and 4.2 WAA in 3100 PA. Lowrie has a 97 OPS+, 4.6 WAR and .8 WAA in 1300 PA. OK, you used fangraphs which also gives Drew 12 WAR* while giving Lowrie 6 making Lowrie slightly better on a per PA basis. I'd say I got that spot on.

* despite the lower replacement level because, in 2007-8, fangraphs hammers Drew with a -28 in fielding while b-r has it at -3. Strangely, for the remainder of his career, fangraphs rates him as a slightly better fielder than does b-r. His fangraphs oWAR looks to be about 14 which would be the same as the pro-rated Lowrie.
   102. DL from MN Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:04 PM (#4363408)
Who is the Astro rep for the ASG? Do they have a decent reliever?
   103. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4363410)
Who is the Astro rep for the ASG? Do they have a decent reliever?

Jose Veras is their closer on the depth chart I saw, so, no.
   104. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4363413)
Have the people defending the Astros teardown actually looked at their roster?

We're talking a lineup (around the horn) of Jason Castro, Brett Wallace, Jose Altuve, Tyler Green, Matt Dominguez, JD Martinez, Justin Maxwell, Fernando Martinez, and Carlos Pena.

The rotation is Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell, Phil Humber, Jordan Lyles and Eric Bedard.

This team is awful.
   105. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:12 PM (#4363415)
i'm all for using a veras type as a closer, then flipping him if it works out.

i'd argue that you could build a little more 'surplus value' by cheaping out all over the place, but it would behoove houston, i think, to strategically put a few solid vets throughout the roster - not for success cycle reasons, but to help develop the other guys + "show good faith" to the fans and rest of the league.
   106. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:23 PM (#4363424)
i'm all for using a veras type as a closer, then flipping him if it works out.

i'd argue that you could build a little more 'surplus value' by cheaping out all over the place, but it would behoove houston, i think, to strategically put a few solid vets throughout the roster - not for success cycle reasons, but to help develop the other guys + "show good faith" to the fans and rest of the league.


Is a $3M veteran really less "flippable" than a minimum wage guy?

You should field the better player, who is more likely to generate a tradable season. The dollars involved just won't matter to a deadline acquirer.
   107. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4363425)
Any time you list a five man rotation with Erik Bedard in it, it should be compulsory to add a sixth. Jed Lowrie is Cal Ripken in comparison.
   108. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:29 PM (#4363429)
Who is the Astro rep for the ASG? Do they have a decent reliever?


Jose Altuve made the All-Star team last year, and he's still there.
   109. phredbird Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:30 PM (#4363430)
By the end of this labor deal in 2016, teams in the 15 largest markets will no longer be allowed to receive revenue-sharing welfare, no matter how lousy their TV contract or attendance may be.


how is houston not one of the 15 largest markets? houston is the 4th largest city in the US.
   110. Austin Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:31 PM (#4363431)
#104 - Okay, so some of those players are really bad. But as others have noted, there are some decent players. Norris, Pena, and Altuve are the most obvious. Maxwell is surprisingly average or better despite insane strikeout rates. Harrell may be one of the better pitchers nobody's ever heard of (go look up his season last year). Bedard still has some life in him. And you don't have to squint too hard to see how Lyles and Dominguez could be okay, too. Obviously, taking this sunny-side-up view of a team's roster is misleading - it's how ordinarily reasonable, sabermetrically inclined fans of bad teams always manage to convince themselves that they could be contenders each season. But my point isn't that all of these players will do well; it's that enough of them have enough talent that it would take some really severe underperformance to even get them to 110 losses, much less 120.
   111. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:33 PM (#4363433)
how is houston not one of the 15 largest markets? houston is the 4th largest city in the US.
They are one of the 15 largest markets. By 2016, they'll be banned from receiving more from the local revenue pool than they put into it.
   112. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:42 PM (#4363439)
it would take some really severe underperformance to even get them to 110 losses, much less 120.
I'd put the over/under for Astros wins at about 55. It's really, really hard to win under 50 games, but the Astros are terrible.

1) Justin Maxwell is not average. He projects to a .300ish wOBA. You need a ton of faith in a small sample of defensive stats to get him up to average.
2) The supposed corner players on this team - Brett Wallace, Matt Dominguez, JD Martinez, and Francisco Martinez, also all project around a .300 wOBA. If Maxwell is surprisingly averageish given speed and defense at that hitting level - which is a stretch - then these four guys must all be somewhere between below average and quite bad.
3) There just aren't enough innings. All the pitchers project below league average, most project to be bad, and that limits the numbers of innings they can throw - too many PAs end without outs, leading to too many pitches thrown. If your top few guys can only give you 160ish innings, you're going to see a whole ton of innings taken by the random filler on the AA/AAA rosters.
   113. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: February 05, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4363449)
Who is the Astro rep for the ASG? Do they have a decent reliever?

Jose Altuve made the All-Star team last year, and he's still there.


And the funny thing about that is, Lowrie got totally hosed last year. It should have been him.

(As did Reddick - what's the opposite of schadenfreude? As a Sox fan, I was actually really looking forward to Reddick and Lowrie both making the 2012 ASG, but in the end neither did)

EDIT: Also, let's not forget that Chris Carter just became the everyday cleanup hitter for this team, so he'll be playing somewhere. If Brett Wallace can't hack it at all at third anymore, he may be odd man out, unless Carter plays mostly RF and there's some OF rearranging, or they work out some kind of platoon situation.
   114. Austin Posted: February 05, 2013 at 07:23 PM (#4363465)
#112 - Hmm. ZiPS projects Maxwell for a .307 wOBA, but Steamer and Oliver (which, unlike Bill James, have proven to be respectable projection systems in the past) have him at .313 and .325, respectively. He's been platooned to some extent, but even if you want to incorporate that, it doesn't make a big dent. He's fast enough that his +3 or +4 career baserunning looks right, and calling him a +5 defensive left fielder seems about right. If given a full season of playing time, I'd eyeball a projection of about 1.5 WAR. I agree that I was mistaken to call him "average or above," but he should be well above replacement level, at least.

I agree that Wallace and the Martinezes are very bad, which is why I didn't bother trying to make a case for them in #110. Dominguez... yeah, maybe there's less hope for him than I thought. He did use to have a reputation as the best defensive third baseman in the minors, but I think he's viewed as having slipped. And that's a good point on the bullpen. They probably will have to rely on some below-replacement relievers to fill out the innings.

When you add it all up, though, I think 55 wins is too bearish. CAIRO is the only system I know of that's been used to project the standings so far, but it gave the Astros 61 wins. Given the nature of projections and the fact that the team does have a few useful players, I expect the remaining projection systems to come pretty close to that. And I'm not going to bet against the consensus of projection systems by 5+ wins.
   115. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 05, 2013 at 07:35 PM (#4363469)
The 2003 Tigers had some talent too. In fact, they also had Carlos Pena. In his prime! Recent near-ROY Warren Morris, Bobby Higginson, Dmitri Young ... quite a good catching corps (it seemed) in Brandon Inge, Matt Walbeck and AJ Hinch ... Ramon Santiago had put up great numbers for a 22-year-old shortstop the previous year.

The pitching staff ... nobody at all.

So the Astros do have Bud Norris. That's about it. Plus a bunch of young guys, which is what the 2003 Tigers had. Erik Bedard plays the role of 2003 Steve Sparks. Both old pitchers, were bad the previous year but good the year before that.

I think the Astros might have been fantastically lucky to win 55 games last year. They won 56 games in 2011 and THEN started dismantling the team. This year we see the Mike Maroth scenario.
   116. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: February 05, 2013 at 08:00 PM (#4363478)
And I'm not going to bet against the consensus of projection systems by 5+ wins.

Nobody ever projects 55 wins. Too much regression built into the systems. The question we should be discussing is, 'are the 2013 Astros an outlier' in terms of overall team quality. I think the case can be made (and begins to be, in 114 & 115) that they might well be. I think they match up 'favorably' for this exercise with most horrifically bad teams of recent memory - and that's on paper. That pitching staff is going to be tossing up a lot of sub-replacement innings; what happens if Norris has to miss a few starts, or when Bedard does? Their 'next man up' is going to be significantly worse than the already-dreck they're PLANNING on pitching.
   117. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: February 05, 2013 at 08:40 PM (#4363486)
MCoA, thanks for the Stark link in #72
   118. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: February 05, 2013 at 08:40 PM (#4363488)
Their 'next man up' is going to be significantly worse than the already-dreck they're PLANNING on pitching.

I'm not sure this is true. Is it really that hard to replace a replacement level or below player? One good thing about having no players with any value is that you don't really care if they get hurt.
   119. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:09 PM (#4363501)
I'm not sure this is true. Is it really that hard to replace a replacement level or below player? One good thing about having no players with any value is that you don't really care if they get hurt.

You're going to call up a lot of awful sub-replacement level guys trying to find the merely bad replacement level guys.
You don't know the true talent level of your dreck.

It's also fairly likely that a few of their starters may be sub-replacement (Greene, Wallace, and the Martinezes, and every pitcher except Norris, Harrell, Wright and Veras were below replacement level last year).
   120. DL from MN Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:17 PM (#4363504)
flipping him if it works out


Do teams still overpay for saves? I thought we were post-sabermetrics now.

Bedard is made of glass but Humber isn't much better. They'll use 8 starting pitchers by July. Any reason why Peacock isn't in the rotation? They should also claim Todd Redmond off waivers.
   121. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:27 PM (#4363511)
Do teams still overpay for saves?

The Red Sox sure do.
   122. SM Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4363521)
And now Robothal says that Bud Norris is on the market as well
   123. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:39 PM (#4363522)
Any time you list a five man rotation with Erik Bedard in it, it should be compulsory to add a sixth.

Bedard is made of glass but Humber isn't much better. They'll use 8 starting pitchers by July.

The next four guys (White, Peacock, Ely, and Keuchel) project to ERAs(ZiPs) of 5.08, 5.47, 5.11, and 5.50.

You've got to think they're getting some serious sub-replacement IP in the rotation.
   124. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2013 at 09:45 PM (#4363524)
And now Robothal says that Bud Norris is on the market as well

Did Crane make some sort of bet with another old rich guy about whether a team actually could lose 125 games?
   125. DA Baracus Posted: February 05, 2013 at 10:41 PM (#4363549)
You're going to call up a lot of awful sub-replacement level guys trying to find the merely bad replacement level guys.
You don't know the true talent level of your dreck.


Hey you never know, you might stumble upon someone better. Cody Ross made his debut on the 2003 Tigers.
   126. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 05, 2013 at 11:12 PM (#4363567)
Hey you never know, you might stumble upon someone better. Cody Ross made his debut on the 2003 Tigers.

Sure, there is that upside. But they're probably going to cycle through 10-12 pitchers and 7-10 position players not on the opening day roster.

2 or 3 of those guys might prove to be decent or better MLBers, but 10 of 'em will likely be below replacement.
   127. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:25 AM (#4363604)
This astros team will be horrible, I expect them to get creamed LOT
   128. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:12 AM (#4363614)
Cody Ross made his debut on the 2003 Tigers.

That team had Andres Torres, Omar Infante, Brandon Inge, Ramon Santiago, Carlos Pena, Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, Fernando Rodney... all too early in their careers to contribute.

And two older guys who had been very good in recent memory and were expected to contribute (Dean Palmer, Bobby Higginson). And a legitimate All-Star in Dmitri Young.

The Astros have Carlos Pena now as a potential Dmitri Young. Jose Altuve is an All-Star candidate. Who else on the offense might have a 10-year career? Jason Castro and Dominguez maybe. Jordan Schafer and Brett Wallace are practically failed prospects already. Justin Maxwell and Tyler Greene are almost 30.
   129. Danny Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:17 AM (#4363616)
Speaking of Donaldson, he and Brandon McCarthy are having quite the Twitter dialogue on PED testing in MLB.
   130. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:38 AM (#4363624)
how is houston not one of the 15 largest markets? houston is the 4th largest city in the US.

They are one of the 15 largest markets. By 2016, they'll be banned from receiving more from the local revenue pool than they put into it.

Looks like the Astros are determined to max out their revenue sharing windfall while still eligible. Seems like they should get the same reminder the Marlins received about those payments being used to improve the team, not the owner's profits.
   131. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:43 AM (#4363625)
Snapper, I happen to like Veras more than most (this is probably the harveys-signal). He's been adequate each of the last three years - with plus velocity, an ERA below four and more than a k per frame each of those years. They could obviously use an upgrade but that's true throughout the roster - there are other areas needing more attention.

Houston may try Carter in the outfield.
   132. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:49 AM (#4363626)
That twitter convo is interesting
   133. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 06, 2013 at 02:02 AM (#4363629)
Uh, rumor is that they may deal Norris too. (Rosenthal)
   134. base ball chick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 02:09 AM (#4363631)
Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 05, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4363236)

Maybe I'm missing your point but building the Tampa Bay Rays is not a bad strategy.
Attempting to build the Tampa Bay Rays is a terrible strategy when you have a market that can support a $120M payroll with no trouble at all. Crane is massively undercapitalized for a big-market owner (for any owner, really), and he seems to be trying to win on the cheap because on the cheap is the only way he can function.

I don't buy that the Astros are better off shooting for 50 wins instead of 70. They'd have to start low, and they'd get their draft picks, but they would also have a much better shot at competing in the future if they tried to build a baseball club. They'd also be less likely to massively turn off the local fans. What's going on in Houston isn't a baseball strategy, it's a make Jim Crane more money now strategy.

To be clear, the Lowrie trade is defensible in baseball terms. But there's no defense for the Houston roster - they should have found actual major leaguers to fill the positions where they lacked prospects. They can sell Lowrie for a reasonable return and also play someone better than Tyler Greene at shortstop on opening day.


- either you've been reading my blog or great minds think alike

there is only one ML player on this team and that is absolutely inexcusable

like i've said a zillion times before, crane bought the team for exactly 5 million dollars of his own money. the rest is debt/screwing around with numbers. there is no "next good astros team" unless for no particular reason luck happens. there was no reason to trade lowry and play crap like tyler greene who can't catch or throw. or hit.

we have the 4th largest city in america. the press doesn't notice or care that crane is pulling this shtt and he'll continue to do this until the MLBPA sues him.

it doesn't matter if he does or doesn't have anyone actually go to the games because he'll still make 40 mill profit with a 120+ loss team and there is no reason to think the crap he's throwing out there would beat the 120 mark again.

crane wouldn't get away with this shtt in any other city or any other team. bud selig knew it and that is why he sold us out to the DH crap league and this loria wannabe
   135. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 06, 2013 at 02:43 AM (#4363637)
What is it about Houston that makes it different from any other large city except New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, or San Francisco? Those are the only cities I can think of that necessarily outrank it in the media pecking order. St. Louis probably, too, I guess, despite its smaller size. I don't think Dallas, Baltimore, Washington, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, etc., do. Philadelphia might, but they have a tradition of bad baseball, so probably not. I'm probably forgetting somebody. The media in all those cities cover baseball more assiduously than in Houston?
   136. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: February 06, 2013 at 09:13 AM (#4363668)
The media in all those cities cover baseball more assiduously than in Houston?

The media in New York covers baseball assiduously? This must be a new thing. Lots of attention, sure, but I thought "assiduously" implied a higher than average level of quality.
   137. DA Baracus Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4363749)
The Cody Ross comment was supposed to be half serious, bad job by me not getting the "throw #### on a wall" aspect down.

The Astros have Carlos Pena now as a potential Dmitri Young. Jose Altuve is an All-Star candidate. Who else on the offense might have a 10-year career? Jason Castro and Dominguez maybe. Jordan Schafer and Brett Wallace are practically failed prospects already. Justin Maxwell and Tyler Greene are almost 30.


Schafer is back on the Braves for reasons passing understanding.
   138. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:20 AM (#4363762)
Chris Carter also has a chance at a ten-year career.

They won 56 games in 2011 and THEN started dismantling the team.


They had a pythag last year of 59-103 and the only above replacement level players they got rid of are Lowrie, Wandy Rodriguez and Wilton Lopez. Carlos Lee, JA Happ and Chris Johnson were all pretty much replacement level with the Astros last year. So the drop off is about 5 WAR (until they deal Norris). I figure Pena and Carter can make up for some of that. Some guys like Maxwell are certain to regress, but a lot of the team is young and unproven enough that some players (Dominguez? Lyles? Castro?) could surprise with a decent year.

I'm not arguing they're anywhere near good, just that you have be exceptionally bad to lose 110 games, much less 120. I'd place a gentleman's wager that the Astros win at least 55 games.

And even if they do lose 120, I still don't see how that invalidates the strategy. The 2003 Tigers lost 119 games. Three years later, they were in the World Series.
   139. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4363782)
Free agents have value. If they're good, either you can sign them to stay, or trade them for prospects.


Free agents who have other options (i.e. free agents who aren't totally shitty) won't sign with a losing team for even a modest overpayment. Back during the bad days, the Pirates were regularly getting turned down by guys the caliber Paul Bako and Daniel Cabrera, even if their offer was the highest one on the board.

Furthermore, most free agents from that stratum aren't going to bring back anything significant in a trade at the deadline.

I'm a Pirates fan. I know that of which I speak.
   140. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4363788)
Bedard still has some life in him.


Having watched him last year, I can't really get on board with this.
   141. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4363793)
The 2003 Tigers had some talent too...Recent near-ROY Warren Morris


In 2003, Morris was a 29-year-old who hadn't been any good in any of the previous three seasons (68 ML OPS+ from 2000-2002). That's not "talent" in any useful sense of the word.
   142. base ball chick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4363916)
Vaux, A.B.D. Posted: February 06, 2013 at 02:43 AM (#4363637)

What is it about Houston that makes it different from any other large city except New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, or San Francisco? Those are the only cities I can think of that necessarily outrank it in the media pecking order. St. Louis probably, too, I guess, despite its smaller size. I don't think Dallas, Baltimore, Washington, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, etc., do. Philadelphia might, but they have a tradition of bad baseball, so probably not. I'm probably forgetting somebody. The media in all those cities cover baseball more assiduously than in Houston?


- the media covers baseball more assiduously in portland maine better than they do here. the newspaper has some new guy from nowheres who obviously does not know baseball and another unpaid guy who is a blogger who never (anymore) says anything that the team does not want him saying.

it wasn't always like this, and we used to have TWO beat guys in the paper. but they got rid of jose de jesus ortiz when he published the FACT that jose valverde had quietly changed his birthday to his real birthday, he got removed from baseball. then brian mctaggart, um, left to go to mlb.com when alyson footer was offered a job as the astros gossip columnist - paid by the astros. so there went 3 reporters right there.

richard justice wrote a column, and for a while talked baseball on the radio, but the plug got pulled on his baseball show and he spent his last year looking for a job at MLB - he finally DID write about what a piece of garbage crane is, but it was too little too late.

i'm a nobody, the other 2 astros bloggers have no serious audience, and there you go.

the team gets away with this shtt because the mainstream media absolutely NEVER cared about the astros, even when we were great - and don't ask me why the mainstream media completely ignores the 4th largest city in this country, but they do.

trouble is with this low payroll crap they are pulling - they aren't even getting any shtt from the stat geek community who, for some reason, have this religion about how wonderful it is to get rid of every single actual major league player and "build up the farm" so you have this powerful stacked farm system - goody goody gumdrops - then they love it when a plan comes together - see billy beane 2012 - which it usually doesn't. the fact that years go by without any decent players on the ML team is no problem because all the fans will come pouring back when the team wins, just like they did with oakland.

oh wait

got news for people - the astros did NOT have huge crowds and massive fanship (i was there, remember?) - a GOOD day at the Box 2001 - 2003 was MAYBE 3/4 full - until roger clemens signed up. i know. i was THERE. i would not have believed it if i hadn't seen it myself. we (yes, WE - because i was a fan back then) got more than 15 seconds in even the local news.

all these supposed "fans" are not coming back. and yes there will certainly be the expected crowds for the popular DH teams when all the fans of those teams show up. big deal.

it's not that i think jed lowrie is this really GREAT player who got traded away for crap. it's that i think that jed lowrie was one of the very few players on the team who (if not hurt) is an actual above average, or AT LEAST AVERAGE full time major league shortstop.

THEY now do not HAVE an even average major league SS or one at any other upper level of the majors. tyler greene and marwin gonzalez are, at BEST, backups. And they wouldn't be even that on any other team.

and chris carter playing left field - oh JEEZUS - i am gonna fondly remember the days of gold glover Clank Lee - because amid his 200 Ks are gonna be 40 homers like adam dunn. right. because if there is one thing the As do not need is a 40 homer guy at DH.

this peacock guy is supposed to be a top of the rotation guy??? what rotation? he wasn't even a top of the rotation guy at triple A.

this was all done IN REALITY to reduce the payroll by 2 million. PERIOD. crane keeps saying about how when the time is right, he is gonna spend money. uh hunh. so he's putting all these profits in a savings account? i don't THINK so. and he is not gonna be ABLE to spend money on the team because the truth is that unlike detroit, any top free agent is NOT going to sign with houston (no jayson werth) because the ONLY top free agent who EVER signed with houston since, say, nolan ryan, is andy pettitte. and he was from here.

and the farm system STILL is not stacked no matter how you define stacked. all the great work that ed wade supposedly did after coming in has not worked. i am supposed to believe that suddenly the low A ball club/A ball club is great meaning that the astros will be the new yankees in 2016 or something. oh - not the yankees - the rays.

right

and the attendance will be about the same with the tv coverage even less because only about 40% of households/hotels in the blackout area carry the comcast channel. there is not going to be this huge wave of fans screaming to increase their cable bill to see the astros/rockets play. so the amount of people actually watching astros games (don't ask me why they would) is gonna drop even further.

this is much MUCH worse than mccourt in LA - the difference is that nobody cares.

   143. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4363921)
Snapper, I happen to like Veras more than most (this is probably the harveys-signal). He's been adequate each of the last three years - with plus velocity, an ERA below four and more than a k per frame each of those years. They could obviously use an upgrade but that's true throughout the roster - there are other areas needing more attention.

He's an OK 4th RP, but as your closer? The guy walks 5/9 IP and had a WHIP of 1.5 last year. That's not a very good RP.
   144. base ball chick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4363938)
oh yeah

brett wallace barely has the glove for 1B and at 3rd he makes chris johnson look like scott rolen. who knows what dominguez will do with the bat - after all, CJ looked like a really good hitter when he first came up

i'm surprised that sean burroughs and dallas mcpherson and brandon wood haven't been signed up - after all, they used to be high on all those infallible prospect lists and would be dirt cheap.

almost everyone on the 25 man roster is not even what is referred to as "replacement level" and the ONLY really outstanding glove man is brandon barnes. the other OF are all greg luzinskis with the glove and are basically mike hampton with the bat - if that. ok, justin maxwell will be average in RF, if he even plays there. fernando martinez has NO business with a glove on his hand. or with a bat in it neither, but i digress.

as for jason castro having this great year - well, everyone insists that now that his knee has supposedly healed, he won't look like jesus montero with the glove (he was always a lousy framer - he just started out with a good throwing arm) and he'll bat at i hope 100 OPS+ which is really a HUGE stretch.

jordan lyles is very young and pimped - and youneverknow with someone that young.

erik bedard and phil humber? this sounds like the year we (yes it was WE back then) signed the remannts of russ ortiz and mike hampton.
   145. base ball chick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:54 PM (#4363943)
snapper

agree completely about veras. i supposed they could try the AA closer, kevin chapman, worst comes to worser than i even dreaded.

jose veras, closer

SOB can't hardly believe it his own self.

and here i groused about brandon lyon, closer and mark melancon, closer and coco "corpse" cordero, closer...
   146. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: February 06, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4364014)
and chris carter playing left field - oh JEEZUS - i am gonna fondly remember the days of gold glover Clank Lee - because amid his 200 Ks are gonna be 40 homers like adam dunn. right. because if there is one thing the As do not need is a 40 homer guy at DH.

Are they really going to put Carter in LF? More than once?
   147. bigboy1234 Posted: February 06, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4364018)
The organization was absolutely void of any talent/direction when Luhnow took over. Now they have a clear direction and are adding talent. Yeah, the team has a chance to be historically bad, but from a baseball point of view this seems like the most efficient way to go about that direction. The problem with just signing a couple older players on smaller deals (although they have with Bedard), is well I'm guessing not that many older players want to sign with a team they know is rebuilding+you risk losing a potential future player with the roster spot of a player that can't be sent back to the minors.

Everyone loves Altuve. Both Justin Maxwell and Tyler Greene are quite exciting players to watch with their power/speed tools. Yeah, both have contact issues, but both were great pickups. Hell Maxwell had a 2.3 WAR in 352 PA last year. Fernando Martinez is a former elite prospect, whom they got for nothing. Carter has huge raw power. Wallace, Dominguez, Castro round out the rest of the starting lineup and all former well thought of prospects who have decent potential. Would you as a fan rather watch young players day in and day out, or older players who you know won't be with the club long-term, and only be slightly better? I'd prefer to watch the young players.

Then the rotation you have the big strikeout pitcher in Norris, Harrell who was pretty damn good last year for a rookie, Lyles who is extremely young, Humber who is one-year removed from a very good season, and Bedard who as a starter has 243 SO in his last 255 IP, not bad. Their 6th starter is John Ely who was extremely impressive in PCL last year. Peacock in the upper minors the last two years has 316 SO in 281 IP, he isn't exactly bad, though he may be a reliever in the long-run, he isn't that different than Norris.
   148. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 06, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4364054)
Low payroll: In short, I'm willing to go along with it for awhile. I think they've gone too low, myself, but am okay with low in the abstract while they rebuild.

I'm largely with bigboy1234. The caveat: while I like many of the moves Houston has made - most of them have been small wins in terms of 'baseball reasons' - I don't like the moves they haven't made, like free agents they maybe should have signed. That said, Vlad's comment about Houston not being a desirable destination in the short term complicates things - their primary competitive advantage at this point is probably in being able to offer opportunity... and guys needing that aren't going to be exciting choices. So, what does that leave? Nakajima or Fujikawa. One of Soto, Dioner Navarro, and George Kottaras (last one a waiver claim/minor deal). How much would Brandon McCarthy or Melky Cabrera cost? Do you want the latter in your locker room? - you're in a position of defining the team's culture, these considerations might mean a bit more than normal right now. Some more fungible types - Tim Stauffer, Matt Capps, Pelfrey, etc...
Unexciting stuff.

Carter in LF: I don't see that lasting, no.

Veras: I think his skill set, such as it is, lends itself to closing a little more than middle inning work. No, he's not great, *far* from it - but if you luck into a solid season, he's now defined as a different commodity, one you can flip. Now, he's waiver wire fodder. And, truthfully, is having a good closer that important to Houston, relative to having a good starting pitcher, or right fielder?
   149. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: February 06, 2013 at 03:00 PM (#4364079)
What is it about Houston that makes it different from any other large city except New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, or San Francisco? Those are the only cities I can think of that necessarily outrank it in the media pecking order. St. Louis probably, too, I guess, despite its smaller size. I don't think Dallas, Baltimore, Washington, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, etc., do. Philadelphia might, but they have a tradition of bad baseball, so probably not. I'm probably forgetting somebody. The media in all those cities cover baseball more assiduously than in Houston?


Something that I don't think was mentioned -- Houston generally isn't especially wealthy. By per capita income the metro area is in a rough tie with Cincinnati, St. Louis and Phoenix towards the bottom of the list of MLB markets, only ahead of Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Per capita income is a very crude way of trying to figure out how much money a market has to spend on baseball, but it does at least point out that Houston's size is to at least some degree counteracted by the greater incomes in other MLB cities.
   150. The District Attorney Posted: February 06, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4364128)
Re: Houston as baseball town being ignored: Many factors have been mentioned. A couple that I don't think were: 1) Texas is of course not near either coast where the national media is concentrated, 2) it's in the South which is even more an island unto itself (at least a New Yorker probably has some old relative in Florida...), and 3) Texas is football-crazy, to the point where even high school football is famously a big deal.

All that said, I do think that if the team keeps losing 100+ and keeps having virtually no payroll, eventually it's going to become a story. But yeah, it apparently is going to take more for that to come about than if it were happening virtually anywhere else.

Re: who the Astros got: I can understand skepticism about why the A's gave up Carter if he's so great, but I do think the guy is a hitter. I'd think Oakland would have preferred to clear the 1B logjam by getting rid of Moss (or if not, I think they're wrong). But they apparently wanted Lowrie pretty badly. And BTW, at least unless there is a major injury concern, it's unwise to give up on a top prospect like Peacock based on one (admittedly horrible) year.

Matt Dominguez, on the other hand, unfortunately has more than one horrible year. I wonder why they don't try to convert him to SS. That seems like the logical route to go with a 3B who is apparently an amazing glove but doesn't hit much. Maybe it will happen if he doesn't hit this year.
   151. bigboy1234 Posted: February 06, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4364153)
Dominguez, like Carter, bought himself some extra rope last year by performing better in the bigs than he did in the PCL. Now will they sustain that MLB performance? Seems highly unlikely, but to me it's better than watching some random 30-year-old who would be hard to get even the least bit excited for.
   152. Austin Posted: February 06, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4364185)
My understanding is that Dominguez is slow, making him a bad fit for shortstop. He's a good third baseman because he has quick reactions, excellent instincts, soft hands, and a good arm. But while those skills are all useful at shortstop, they really need to be supplemented with some footspeed, which he totally lacks.
   153. base ball chick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4364208)
big boy

the Organization was devoid of talent when crane bought the team because he wanted mclane to get rid of anyone who was any good/making any money because he wanted a rock bottom payroll to maximize profits. you SERIOUSLY think he is saving all those profits and is gonna spend ALL that money on good players When The Time Comes?

yeah - and i gots this bridge over the brooklyn river to sell you. cheap.

what is it with all the team shills using the word "exciting!!!!!" this year? should be the team slogan. COME AND CATCH THE EXCITING!!!!!

tyler greene is as "exciting" as a lump of cement, which is what he looks like with the glove. (translation - roseanne barr is "exciting" as a sexual partner!!! - just turn out the lights and get drunk and tehre you go). he's a justin maxwell who has no interest in getting on base unless it is with a home run, only at least maxwell is average with the glove whereas greene is a disgrace. maxwell should be a 5th OF on any real ML team. i don't care what WAR says - they assign a position, no matter where the player plays and judges all PA based on that. they can't agree about defense. so as far as i am concerned, it is not any sort of standard i am going to judge a player by.

they had a whole lot of former #1 picks and former highly rated prospects over the past 2 years. how many were worth anything? does the name "jordan schafer, former top prospect" ring any bells? travis buck was an OK platoon guy until he got hurt. and that is absolutely IT. none of the pitchers, none of the hitters. fernando martinez runs like jose molina and fields like carlos lee on a good day. he hasn't posted numbers worth looking at in, what, FOUR years? and that was at A ball.

we've watched enough of wallace - he is nothing special and is barely competent with the glove at first. yes i know that unlike bourn, this team has not just put him at first, not platooned him, and given him a whole year.

bedard i saw last year with the pirates and the ASTROS beat him. he was awful. humber is AWFUL and had one NOT awful year. are you really saying these guys are good pitchers? and yes, harrell looked good and he would have looked VERY good on any ML team.

so OK - i am gonna change my statement. the astros have TWO actual major league ballplaeyrs on the ML roster, harrell and altuve. i would add bud norris, but he is gonna be gone and soon - there are a LOT of deals and buddy boy makes more than minimum and we can't have THAT. bud is very good when he isn't pitching hurt like what a Real Man does. i am not sure why you think that peacock is bud - he didn't have bud's numbers in the minors. you do know the FO is pimping peacock as an ace/#2 guy, right? the athletics seriously preferred a utility, frequently hurt SS to an ACE pitcher?

as for what would i rather watch? i'd rather see a bunch of 1 year rentals who can actually play at the major league level than the crap that is being thrown out there. i watched any old, i mean YOUNG, crap being thrown out there LAST year. and the year before.

there is no guy on the roster who "has a chance to be part of the next astros good team" because unless the astros have a royals 2003 freak year, the astros ARE the new royals with a much lower payroll

sincerely yours,

angry and bitter ex-astros fan
no i don't care about them any more
i don't
at ALL
not even a little bit even though i used to love them and bud selig may he rot in a Bad Place destroyed my team and done broke my heart in many pieces
   154. JJ1986 Posted: February 06, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4364233)
they assign a position, no matter where the player plays and judges all PA based on that.


WAR absolutely does not do this. Positional adjustment is weighted by time at each position.
   155. base ball chick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4364249)
i know everyone keeps going on about Texas Is Football
fact is that houston is not this Football Town - at least not pro football and yes i know there is a pro team here. people are a lot more interested in college/football teams.

trouble is that houston wasn't a BASEBALL town until roger clemens came to town and things changed IMMEDIATELY. i mean, roger knocked the stupidbowl off the top of the news here. not kidding. for 3 years straight, meaning the years that roger was here, the astros were THE top sports topic. like richard justice said - it wasn't even close.

roger and andy leaving was basically coincident with drayton mclane getting rid of a general manager and doing it himself and this game houston the worst reputation in the baseball world. only the desperate or the homies signed here. which is how it was before clemens.

houston gets less attention than phoenix. for WHATEVER reason. the media cares more about KC and milwaukee and even pittsburgh. it's why the astros were forced to leave the baseball league and nobody cared except us few dozen astros fans.

when roger and andy were here, the astros were broadcast on foxsports, and all the OTHER texas cities where fox usually broadcast something more interesting, like paint drying, started showing the astros game and we had a MUCH bigger audience. you think the astros games were on in lubbock last year except when there wasn't any paint drying or golf available? people WANTED to watch in 04 - 06. they haven't wanted to since ike hit in 08.

the truth about the astros is that in spite of the balckout area, there were very few fans outside of houston until the astros went to roundrock (austin) but they lost that market when nolan ryan got hold of the rangers. so the "fan" area is actually harris/montgomery/galveston/fort bend counties and that is about all. the media market is about 5 million total - and is now limited in reality to comcast cable subscribers in the greater houston area. which means a significant decrease in fans. if i remember rightly, there is no comcast in the austin or san antonio areas. so no astros.
   156. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 06, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4364252)
(translation - roseanne barr is "exciting" as a sexual partner!!! - just turn out the lights and get drunk and tehre you go)


While she's not to my taste, I could totally see Roseanne Barr as being super-kinky in the sack.

we've watched enough of wallace - he is nothing special and is barely competent with the glove at first. yes i know that unlike bourn, this team has not just put him at first, not platooned him, and given him a whole year.


This is the part I don't get. If you think Wallace is that lousy (and FWIW, I don't disagree), why are you so down on them trading for a much better alternative in Carter? They're losing runs at short, but gaining at least some of them back at 1B/DH.
   157. base ball chick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4364259)
dominguez bought himself time last year because after chris johnson was traded, absolutely not one guy on the roster could actually PLAY 3rd base. i know. i watched. and yes i know that other guys were put there and it was like watching mike piazza "play" first base.

dominguez is a VERY good fielder. he has superior instincts and got a good jump on basically everything and the few times he had to run for a ball, he made it. i would bet he'd be a better fielding SS than tyler greene. miguel tejada/geoff blum were better fielding SS than tyler greene
   158. bigboy1234 Posted: February 06, 2013 at 04:40 PM (#4364265)
My statement is based on what Luhnow has done. Luhnow has done damn near everything possible to make the best out of the situation he took over. If you can't see that, I feel bad for you. Whether they will spend long-term once the talent they are trying to assemble remains to be seen, neither you, nor I know that. But since Luhnow took over it wouldn't be the right decision to start throwing around money to free agents to be still a below-average team. Yeah, 1 year rentals, that is exactly the unwise moves that got the Astros in such a bad situation, and you know players are just knocking down doors to come play on a one year deal on a non-competing team. Good luck with that.

angry and bitter ex-astros fan

Angry, yes. Bitter, yes. Ex-astros fan, clearly not. You are still a fan. No idea why you keep trying to convince yourself of this, despite it clearly being not true.
   159. base ball chick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4364274)
vlad

i am down on carter because unless they are lying, they plan to use him in left, which means a fernando martinez/chris carter platoon which is beyond horrifying. as i understand it, oakland has been seriously lacking power since steroids were banned and if chris carter was really any good, i can't see billy beane dumping him for a crappy reliever and a utility IF.

i also don't know if carter is the same sort of defensive disaster at first that he is in left. if they are planning to use him as a platoon DH with carlos pena, well, then that makes more sense. but i still don't like the idea of not having a SS. and to think that so many fans were screaming their hate of adam everett.

not that the screaming of the few fans remaining matters.

and tyler greene is HARDLY what you could call "a YOUNG player"

- as for the low payroll, where do you think the "savings" are going? most definitely not into the draft, right? most definitely not for expensive coaches and managers. most definitely not into MORE latin american bonuses. most definitely NOT into asian academies
   160. DL from MN Posted: February 06, 2013 at 04:48 PM (#4364281)
just turn out the lights and get drunk


That should be the Astros slogan this year
   161. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 06, 2013 at 04:48 PM (#4364282)
Maxwell, imo, is a pretty good outfield glove. I think he's solid in center and that he's an adequate starter and good fourth outfielder.

Peacock is a year from BA being rated as a 60/Low prospect (above average major league pitcher, low risk of him getting to that point). He's not that now (that's what an ERA of six will get you - tough pitcher's environment and ok peripherals notwithstanding), but not a bad piece to get. I'm also a longstanding fan of Stassi (mind you, I liked Towles in high school as well) and Carter is worth a shot, even if I don't really believe in him. It's a good return - as most baseball media seem to agree.

I was a Braves fan in the 80s ... trust me, I'd rather go with young and bad then ride the retread train. I get feeling differently (and you're obviously entitled to your preferences, bbc), but it's not like I haven't been there too. Same for Vlad - and we know where he stands.

By the way, the following is a snippet from Dan's '12 ZiPS projections for the 'Stros - it seems to me that they're on the path to where they need to be given where they were:
New GM Jeff Luhnow has a long, difficult task ahead of him and one that’s going to require a lot of patience from ownership and fans - the upper levels of the organization look a bit like the baseball equivalent of post-World War II Europe if we had gone in and just kept bombing the cities for a few more years just for the hell of it.


***

most definitely not into the draft, right? ... most definitely not into MORE latin american bonuses. most definitely NOT into asian academies.

Those aren't really options in 2013. (Well, short of something I think teams should consider which is to spend a TON of money on foreign bonuses one year and accept the financial hit + restricted spending the next year. Not sure about the political implications of such a move and it may be telling that no team appears to be doing this.)
If you want to maximize your spending on amateurs nowadays, you do it by being bad. The Astros are certainly that.
   162. base ball chick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 05:28 PM (#4364380)
big boy

the astros and i got a divorce nov 1 2012. we are officially through. i got a NEW luuvvvv although right now we are keeping it on the dl. not a fan. no mo. and to prove it i am NOT going to Opening Day even though i could score free tix and this will be the first time (except when i was too preggo to go) i have missed since i was like 6.

we are FINITO. OVAH. THROUGH. there is nothing left of our former relationship except a bombed out shell where my heart used to be.

they can and will drop dead. and i will LAUGH do you hear me? LAUGH!!!!!
   163. The District Attorney Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:23 PM (#4364484)
I think there are two separate trains of thought here.

1) It appears that Crane is a cheapo owner with hardly any desire to win. Even granted that the current team isn't going to contend either way, he could still be spending a little more on it. And if and when the team actually does get good, it's very unclear whether he'd be willing to finance that.

2) However, even with a rich, hypercompetitive owner, this team would still stink right now. The reason for that is that a couple of years ago, it had from top to bottom the least overall talent of any franchise I have ever seen. Not only no major league talent, but no minor league talent either. Just zippity-####-all. The only way to solve that problem immediately via money-throwing would be if you could pull off the baseball equivalent of bringing in LeBron/Wade/Bosh as free agents in one season. (And I doubt that is possible to do in baseball, even for the Yankees.) Otherwise, lacking anything to work with, all you can do is make minor trades/free agent acquisitions, and wait for draft picks. (And one good type of minor transaction you can make when you have nothing is to try to pick up "post-hype prospects", since they basically cost as little to get as a non-prospect would, but have more upside. It usually won't work, but that doesn't mean it's not the best option available when you're in this dire a situation.)

(BTW, I didn't realize that not everyone in the area can get the games on TV. That's definitely a big problem...)
   164. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:33 PM (#4364492)
TDA - I fully agree.
   165. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:14 PM (#4364521)
The reason for that is that a couple of years ago, it had from top to bottom the least overall talent of any franchise I have ever seen. Not only no major league talent, but no minor league talent either. Just zippity-####-all. The only way to solve that problem immediately


Well the way to shorten the problem would have involved not hiring Ed Wade, but the problem with that is that several candidates were interviewed and allegedly Wade was the one who shamelessly blew smoke up McLane's nether regions telling him that he didn't have to rebuild, just a few moves and presto, back in contention- can't entirely blame Wade, he needed a job and he figured out how to get it
   166. base ball chick Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:15 PM (#4364660)
johnny

nope, it wasn't like that - the few, the VERy few people who bothered to apply had it made clear to them that they would have to "work with" tal smith and that they had to explain how they would improve the farm while keeping the ML team "competetive"

ed wade was the ONLY one who agreed to the terms. he sure as heck didn't pull NOTHIN over drayton's eyes. drayton ran everything, basically. ed wasn't allowed to do NOTHIN without drayton's say so.

AND

i wouldn't mind near as much about the payroll being a laugh IF the rest of the money was being spent to improve the club. since you CAN'T spend it on the draft or young players any more, all it is is profit for crane. it isn't POSSIBLE any more for a club to spend it improving the farm.

and i'd rather see an actual major league ballplayer than see crap and 40 mill in crane's pocket
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