With the 2010 season already done for the Astros, we've seen very exciting things go on this year. We've traded away fan favorites Oswalt & Berkman for Melancon, Wallace & other prospects. We've acquired Angel Sanchez from the Red Sox in exchange for Kevin Cash. And, we've seen a lot of success in our pitching after the All Star break. A lot of people might say that we have a good chance of making it to the playoffs next year. Maybe so, but the truth is, I don't think it's very likely that we're going to make it to the playoffs unless we make some pretty bold offensive changes in the off season. And here's why:
Our offense is terrible. We have shown in the 2nd half that we can get runners on base, but we have a problem getting those runners across the plate. And it's all a matter of hitting balls deep enough so that the runners can move forward. Hitting singles will not move runners far. But doubles & homeruns will do that job. And if we have more people hitting doubles & home runs, we will have a better offense.
In 2011, we will have places where we need to put people. A big position is Left Field. With Carlos Lee most likely starting at 1st Base next year, we are going to have to have someone in left field who can hit for power & a high average to fill a void in our offense. While we have J-Mike, Jason Bourgeois, Brian Bogusevic and Drew Locke as options in Left Field, it would be better to put a proven major league outfielder who can also meet our offensive needs rather than load our offense with more inconsistent rookies. Manzella, Castro, Wallace, Downs, Bogusevic, Hernandez have shown some success, but they should not be in the Majors as far as hitting goes. But because we had gaps to fill, we had to fill them & these were the people who were chosen to fill those spots. While these people have contributed offensively in some games, in others they just get struck out, ground into double plays, fly out, or ground out or otherwise hurt our offense. With a team looking for a spot in the playoffs next year, we should not add another inconsistent bat to our team, but rather an experienced one while the rookies continue to develop in the Majors & at Oklahoma City. So, with this in mind, I hope the Astros fork over some money to sign a pretty dang good outfielder for at least a year. (I'll go over some options later, just keep reading).
Another player we will need is a utility infielder. With Geoff Blum parting ways, we need someone who can defend & hit at least 250 with some power. We have 2 shortstops Manzella & Sanchez, but we need someone who can play all 4 infield positions so we will need to sign someone.
The main focus for this offseason should be signing a high caliber leftfielder. So lets look at some options for Left Field:
Adam Dunn. Yes I said it, I said Adam Dunn. You want me to say it again? Okay. Adam Dunn. A Houston born native, He can play Left Field and while I don't know if he will be able to get to the ball any faster than Carlos could, he would be a big boost to our offense. It would be an expensive bold move, but if we can sign him to a 1 year deal, it should not be hesitated to sign him.
Carl Crawford. Houston Native as well as Dunn, but can steal bases, and hit for power with a lot of doubles & triples. Will be valuable for our offense. He will be pricey, but we should not pass him up if we can't sign Dunn.
Coco Crisp. A stellar defensive veteran outfielder. Can run & steal bases. Can hit for some power. Somewhat injury prone. If he doesn't end up at Oakland in 2011, and we don't get Dunn or Crawford, this is a guy we should try to go after.
Utility Infielders (that I can think of):
Ty Wigginton. Somewhat similar to what Geoff Blum has done for us, but he can hit for power as well & play 1st, 2nd & 3rd base. Did extremely well when he was with the Astros, but stupid of us that we didn't sign him again.
Anyway, with my extremely short list of people we could sign, I think it is important that we at least sign 1 person for at least a year who can hit lots of homeruns & can be an RBI machine. Lee & Pence are really the only 2 people who can do that, with Johnson being a possible 3rd. But, with all of our contact hitters, we will need someone who can send them home, rather than strand them on base. While our pitching is the best, if we give up 2 runs and have nobody on our side getting runs, that's not exactly what you want. Pitching wins games, but not if the Offense can't do anything. So, with my blabbering all done, I think we have a real good chance of making a playoff run next year, but not if we don't sign someone who can strengthen our offense.
Ps. This is my first post on the Crawfish Boxes. Please provide some feedback. Thanks!