In which I “answer” 5 questions about this year’s Astros team for The Hardball Times, the 2011 version.
And no, I didn’t say we are FINALLY gonna reach that 100 loss mark…
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Loved the “5 questions” article on the Hard Ball site,,very nice,,I have you as a favorite, I am so glad to have found you,,,Everything you wrote were my thoughts exactly..Looking forward to the season, Sincerly, Brian aka NastyDog
I’m looking at the bright side. There will be plenty of good tickets available, and the Astros will have to offer some really good discounts to get anyone to show up. I’ll go to about 20-25 games like I always do because I like baseball. I’m not looking for a great product on the field.
As long as Ed Wade is around, the Astros won’t be competitive. He continues to go out and get guys who had a good year at some point, but who have done nothing lately. Barmes and Hall are the same as Feliz and Matsui. They’ll never produce, but there is always an inept moron like Ed Wade around to give them a job.
you know Mark I cant support the Astros effort even though I was born and raised here and was a former Astro Buddy with Doug Radar as my all time favorite. Nothing has made sense with this team since Hunsicker left, nothing,,Purpura was a joke, wade is even worse, common denominator is Drayton. We gotta get new owners, pure and simple, I LOVE BASEBALL as well, and I get mine from a, aa, aaa ball. I will make a couple of Nolans Round Rock games, and as I travel , I will catch a couple fo the A Daytona Cubs games in Florida..College is another outlet of good ball..Best to you and I hope the Astros can come around, I miss Enron , oppps, Minute Maid…
Let’s hope Hall earns a new nickname, “Crawford”.
agree about ed wade. bill hall might could hit a few more homers than keppinger, but he will GIDP more, strikeout more and get on base less. those things matter.
keppinger got himself on fast eddie/tal/drayton/?brad mills? poopoo list somehow and unless barmes looks like matsui 2010, kepp IS getting traded. they want him off the team. not sure why
as for clint barmes instead of manzella, well, please – no improvement in glove and thinking he’s gonna hit 23 homers out of coors????
ed wade does what drayton, i mean tal, wants. ed is good at getting relievers off the scrap heap.
and i fully expect that i will be able to easily find $5.00 tickets/free tickets without real too much trouble this year, even on fireworks night. seems like yesterday that the place was packed and scalpers were ASKING if we had extra tickets. i didn’t even SEE scalpers last year
welcome. glad you liked my piece. purpura was drayton’s hand puppet, pure and simple. drayton wanted to GM his own team and picked the perfect patsy/yesman. purpura got all the blame, drayton didn’t. exact opposite of gerry. exact opposite results, too.
bill hall has averaged 110 games/season in his career. his career HR/AB numbers are very skewed because the one year he did play full time, he doubled his HR/PA production and that was back in 06.
his career numbers are .250/.313/.443/.753 and he has hit ONE home run at the Box over 146 AB with a .606 OPS (we aren’t talking lance berkman and cincy)
keppinger’s career numbers are .281/.339/.391/.729 and he has hit 5 homers/426 AB here with a .703 OPS
small sample size?
i’m not expecting miracles
“Crawford” Towles would work just as well.
My thoughts exactly. Hall had that one year. I don’t know what Keppinger did to make Wade want to get rid of him so bad. I think a team needs a few guys like Keppinger who hit for a good average and don’t strike out much.
If you’re traveling around a lot, let me recommend Cashman Field, home of the Las Vegas 51′s. I schedule my Vegas trips around the 51′s schedule. Good Triple-A ball, and the most expensive seat in the house is $13.
I also prefer having Keppinger as our second baseman over Hall, but you can’t really compare Jeff hitting Hrs to Hall. In 3140 career ABS Hall has hit 122 Hrs which means he hits a Hr every 25.7 abs; while Keppinger has hit a career total of 26 Hrs in 1695 Abs for a Hr in every 65.2 abs. So i don’t understand the skewing of the Hrs numbers. Also Hall has avg. 1 rbi every 7.4 Abs while Keppinger has 1 rbi for every 9.4 Abs.
The real thing that matters thou is that we need a no. 2 hitter to have a good OBP so as to give Pence more opportunities to drive in runs and neither Hall nor Barmes comes close to Jeff on those terms. Plus we need Bourne to improve his getting on base more often for the same reasons. We hope Micheal to return to his year before last form .
Interesting news today about Jim Crane supposedly being on the verge of buying the Astros. This smells like some sort of p.r. move by McLane and/or Crane, but I guess time will tell. (I find it hard to believe McLane would have hired Greenberg if he was willing to reengage with Crane after the 2008 implosion.)
yeah, i know that hall has a MUCH better career HR/PA than kepp – i was just talking about how hall didn’t hit HERE, so we shouldn’t give him the nickname “crawford” juuuuust yet.
angel sanchez did pretty well as the #2 guy, but i doubt he could repeat that – he MIGHT could be the SS if barmes did hurt his hadn badly enough
not surprised about the jim crane rumors/deal. it was always about the benjamins…
Lisa – No doubt the sale is all about the Benjamins, but the Jim Crane news still seems shocking for a lot of reasons. Putting aside that Crane reneged in 2008, Crane had to drop out of the bidding for the Rangers less than a year ago at around $590 million when he had the billionaire Mark Cuban as his deep-pocketed partner. It seems hard to believe Jim Crane is now willing to spend, and has rounded up, anywhere from $650 to $800 million to buy the (lowly) Astros WITHOUT any of Mark Cuban’s money.
I wonder if all of this was just a clever move by Drayton & Co. to exact revenge on Crane by putting him in the spotlight and/or on the clock. Otherwise, it seems like a stunning turn of events.
i am not entirely sure that jim crane reneged – i wouldn’t be surprised if they couldn’t agree on the price.
i know what you mean about the surprise re-appearance of crane. but there are plenty of other people/groups with $$$ to back him. then again, i’ll believe that drayton has actually sold the astros when the papers are signed. i have a feeling that he might not be getting any 800 mill – or even 650 mill in THIS economy…
Lisa – I agree about believing it when I see it. McLane has made it a point to repeatedly say he’s in “no rush” to sell, so, Jim Crane or no Jim Crane, the stories yesterday were sort of stunning on their face, since things had been so quiet and the speculation had been that a sale would drag on for all of 2011 and maybe into 2012. (Part of me still thinks all of yesterday’s “news” was simply a well-coordinated p.r. stunt to try to scare up some bidders.)
Re: Jim Crane and the 2008 deal, your comment was interesting. For at least 1-2 years, all I’ve read or heard is that Crane reneged, but now I’ve read several comments or quotes today that claim the 2008 implosion might have been McLane’s fault. Who knows what the truth is, but it’s interesting to read all of this. McLane’s comments and Greenberg’s comments over the past 24 hours have been highly contradictory. Either they’re playing the media game very well or they’re not on the same page.
i’ve always heard that drayton wanted more $$$ than is, uh, realistic. i’ve heard tell for a while that there are more n a few who are very interested in buying the astros and the problem is the huge gap between the asking and selling price. i would NOT be real too surprised if mclane and greenberg are not on the same page…
i would also guess that crane just watched nolan ryan throw his partner out on his ass a few months after they bought the rangers and that crane is not dumb enough to think that there wouldn’t be an immediate power struggle if he was dumb enough to think that cuban would be the “junior” or even “equal” partner…
Lisa – I wouldn’t want Mark Cuban looking over my shoulder, either, but there’s no doubt Cuban has a lot more money than Jim Crane. If Crane needed Cuban before he could cobble together the $590 million bid for the Rangers, then it seems kind of dubious that Crane could have put together $650 to $800 million just six months later *without* Cuban and his deep pockets.
The whole thing is fascinating. Part of me thinks all of Friday’s news blitz was a well-coordinated p.r. move to drum up (or speed up) interested parties/bidders.
On a related topic, I’m shocked by people’s enthusiasm for Jim Crane. There are stories online about him and his personal life that are incredibly ugly. (The article “Transferring Assets” from the Houston Press is one such story.) The people with the attitude of “anyone but Drayton” need to be very, very careful what they wish for.
can’t speak for other folk, but it ain’t ME who has been in the “anybody but drayton” camp. not by a LONG shot. drayton was great until he made the fatal mistake of throwing gerry out.
i am not so sure i am all “enthused” about jim crane. i would like to not have the team in limbo and have it run as ready to sell with only the long contracts of carlos lee (can’t get rid of THAT), brett myers and wandy (who could be traded immediately). the farm still sux and the team sure isn’t primed for greatness as it was when drayton bought it.
i am reluctant to have mark cuban too – he’s another – be careful what you wish for. trouble is that we have NO idea what we’re gonna get and there are GMs who are worse than fast eddie – believe it or not. we could turn into the pirates long term because there are plenty of owners who are content with revenue sharing checks and a losing team…
it certainly IS possible that crane replaced cuban with some other group – or even nolan’s old partner…
Lisa – No, I was speaking generally re: the “anyone but Drayton” people. Specifically, the comments at the Chronicle site are almost entirely pro-Crane, despite those people apparently knowing little or nothing about him other than that he played low-level college baseball almost 40 years ago.
yeh, i know about the comments at the chron.
these are the same people who tell richard justice he doesn’t know anything about baseball. these are the same people who think that michael bourn should have been released after his first month. these are the same people who think that adam everett made no contribution to the team because preventing runs is meaningless. these are the same people who would prefer that a hitter hit some grounder to the second baseman than take a walk.
the only thing you can say about jim crane is that he is someone new and someone from houston, and a whole lot of people want “change” without really stopping to think about it because all they know is that drayton is a lousy GM and that this Organization is obviously going nowheres with the present gang in place.
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