The Houston Astro embark on a new journey in the AL. Many years ago (not that many, but more than some) the Milwaukee Brewers left the AL Central and ventured into the NL Central giving the NL 16 teams to the AL’s 14. In order to rectify this great inequity, the Astros are being moved to the AL. It’s not too tragic. They were an expansion team, have never won the World Series for the NL, and will get a great regional rival with Texas. Unfortunately, the rivalry won’t be much to speak of for the next few season. While the Rangers have plenty of talent, the Astros are trying desperately to acquire it. They have a minuscule payroll and their highest paid player makes $3M. Felix Hernandez now makes $25M.
Let’s take a closer look at the Astros.
Major Off-Season Moves:
- Cut salary.
- Cut salary.
- Cut salary.
- Signed SP Erik Bedard.
- Signed 1B Carlos Pena.
- Acquired OF/DH Chris Carter from Oakland.
The Astros traded away what they could to acquire prospects. It’s tough to evaluate an off season like this except that it was necessary. The Astros have been going down hill for several years and it’s time to flip the switch. They had nothing at the major league level that they could build around. Carter is a good pickup but Pena and Bedard are stopgaps until they can get some newer players there.
Now on to who is going to take the field this year.
Likely Starting Lineup:
Again, the youth stands out here. Altuve, JD Martinez, Carter and Dominguez are all players that could be playing for a much better Astros team in a few years. And Castro has a good chance of joining that group. This lineup won’t embarrass the city of Houston, but they’ll struggle for sure. Fortunately, the Astros didn’t land in a division with immense itching talent. There are stars in King Felix and Jered Weaver, but they won’t be facing murderers row.
Likely Starting Rotation:
Bud Norris is a good pitcher. I’m not sure how long he’ll be around. It’s also possible the Astros could flip Bedard if he pitches well. Wait…why did this turn into a discussions of who they Astros could trade for prospects (or at least minor league fill)? Because that’s exactly what the actual front office is doing. Unlike the hitting, this pitching is not going to hold up against the lineups in the AL West, particularly Texas and LA.
60-102, 5th place in AL West
It’s going to be a long ride for Astros fans. The team is not good now. But they are doing thing. As a fan, I’d rather have a few down years knowing that the team good eventually be great rather than cheer for a team that goes 80-82 every year. Hopefully this picture of Carlos Correa, their top draft pick will help you feel better.