In case all yall missed yesterday’s paper, I was interviewed as an Astros blogger. I only had a few hours to answer, so I didn’t really address the question about obtaining players in trades (next year.) Feel free to offer opinions.
1. After this weeks series with the Brewers, where do the Astros playoff dreams stand?
- In the dreams of the owner and a few overly hopeful fans.
2. What does the team need to do in order to attempt to make it to the postseason?
- It needs to acquire 2 ace pitchers for essentially nothing, then run into a streak of good luck in which the opposing team doesn’t turn balls in play into outs as well as have the starting pitchers give up 2 or fewer runs in 8 innings. These things won’t happen.
3. Who is one player who will need to increase production or remain consistant in order to keep the Astros’ record about .500?
- Miguel Tejada needs to increase production (and decrease double plays) now that he is hitting in the 3-hole and Ty Wigginton needs to remain consistant. Also, as LaTroy Hawkins now seems to be the new set-up man, he needs to continue his run of good pitching.
4. Do you think the Shawn Chacon/Ed Wade altercation earlier in the summer affected the team dynamic in any way, and if so, how?
- That is a very difficult question to answer, as the few comments the players made were supportive of Chacon as a person, and no one made comments about Ed Wade, at least not on the record. I don’t see any evidence that it either united the team or cause the team to split into warring factions.
5. What was the biggest pick-up last off-season?
- Jose Valverde
What should the team look for to help next season?
- at least 1, hopefully 2 good starting pitchers. I doubt that the owner will allow the trades of veterans for prospects or untried young players, so I would guess the team will look pretty much the same as it does this year.
6. Lance Berkman is having a great offensive season and Michael Bourn is #3 in the NL in stolen bases. Why isn’t the individual success translating to more wins?
- the Organization decided to bench Michael Bourn and delay his development in favor of playing a Proven Veteran, so he has seldom played since the All-Star Break. The starting pitching has been average, not great, and the run support provided by hitters other than Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee has been insufficient to overcome runs allowed too many times. Hunter Pence has regressed substantially from his rookie season, J.R. Towles and Michael Bourn did not provide the offensive presence they were expected to, and Miguel Tejada and Ty Wigginton have hit poorly with men on base.
7. If the Astros were in a different division, do you think they’d have a better shot at the playoffs? If so, which AL or NL division would they be most successful in?
- the Astros would best stand a chance of making the playoffs if they were in the NL West, the weakest division, against whom they are 17-13. However, I seriously doubt they would manage to win the NLCS even if they were able to defeat the WC winner.
8. Who are some specific people you’d want the team to sign/trade for in the offseason for next season?
- I would want the team to sign C.C. Sabathia and Kyle Lohse.
Do you think the team has a good shot at getting those players?
- The Astros have already committed 68.25 million in 2009 to 7 players, 47 million to Carlos Lee, Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, all of whom have no-trade clauses and an additional 13 million to Miguel Tejada, who is essentially untradeable. Sabathia is going to command Zito money and I seriously doubt that the owner will agree to pay 20 million a year for any player not named Roger Clemens. Kyle Lohse has no chance of playing for the Astros unless he changes agents.
- They stand a far better chance of signing Ben Sheets, who is friendly with Oswalt and apparently likes Texas, to a shorter and cheaper contract.
And do you think it’s possible to drastically improve on this season?
- DRASTICALLY improve? I suppose that anything is possible except for pregnant men. As the renowned baseball philosopher Joaquin Andujar once explained, in baseball there is just one word: youneverknow. But as for me, I’m not holding my breath.
9. What did the loss of Carlos Lee with his finger injury earlier this month mean to the team?
- Carlos Lee had been the only steady, reliable RBI man besides Lance Berkman. I had expected a drop in run scoring, but Ty Wigginton, who had previously been ineffective when hitting with men on base, picked up his game a few notches, as did Geoff Blum and the Astros have managed to maintain their standing. Wigginton has also done better than hoped for defensively in left.
NOTICE: The website will be down this weekend for maintenance/improvements and I’ll be back on Tuesday. I hope all yall have a safe and fun Labor-free day.