As we all know, and have all complained about, 2012 is the Astros final year in the National League Central. The players union wanted every team to have the same number of teams to beat out for a playoff spot. That's a fair request. At the moment, NL Central teams have to squeak by 5 other teams to win the division, while AL West teams need only beat out 3 other teams. That's just not fair. The odds aren't even. I get it and even agree with it. The Astros still have one more season in the unfair division. I'm sure you guys see where I'm going with this. Most sane folks would jump to the same conclusion... the Astros need to go all in! Win now! Win now!
Pretty soon we are going to be buried under the Angels and the Rangers out west, and what about that extra wild card spot? I'm sure the Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox will be able to figure out who gets it without so much as consulting the poor little Astros. So 2012, however inconvenient, is the year for the Astros make their move...also, according to advanced metrics (in this case an archaic calender with a fuzzy starting date), the world ends some time after the 2012 season.
I don't care about about half-baked, new-age baseball ideas like logic, reason. statistics, math, and science. I am a firm believer in traditional baseball alchemy. So don't tell me I'm crazy or else the Baseball Inquisition, led by Joe Morgan, will burn you as a heretic.
The playoffs are within grasp, my friends! We must take them as if they were Poland. Albert is gone. Prince is gone. Braun is gone for 50 games. There's an extra playoff spot not utilized by the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Rangers, or Angels. Now is our time...even when our current lineup suggest otherwise. Now is the time to add payroll! We've already dragged our feet and missed out on Albert, Reyes, and Wilson, but we can still build a winner. As Jim Crane* has said, "Money is not an issue." We need to set our sights on Prince Fielder, Aramis Ramirez and Hanley Ramirez to solidify our infield. Yu Darvish and Roy Oswalt will fit into our rotation. The outfield will be tougher to fill. Maybe Carlos Beltran in right and Coco Crisp in center (if he hasn't already been signed). It's slim pickins out there, but that's the hand we were dealt with this timeline. Maybe we can work out trades for Franklin Gutierrez and Carlos Quentin instead...the lower minors are all expendable. The last thing that needs to be taken care of is the bullpen. My strategy here is simple: throw a ton of money at it.
The lineup will be old overall, there's little that can be done about that. Maybe our lower minors will have enough trade chips to get some of the sexier names on the starting pitching trade market like Gio Gonzales. The trade details are not my job. I'm more of a big picture kind of guy. Everything is aligned right now (except for the minor detail that is our roster). We have to make our move now! Now damn it! Now! The NL Central is up for grabs. There's an extra playoff spot. We don't play in the super power league yet. There is nothing wrong with our team that $300 million won't fix.
And the world ends in about a year.
*My goldfish is named Jim Crane.