Since Ed Wade's comment a few weeks ago referring to the organization being "absolute sellers at the deadline", I've been thinking about the best way forward. Essentially, Houston can either keep Pence, Bourn, and Wandy, and try to fill the gaps in the offseason, or the team can completely sell off it's valuable peices and adhere to the philosophy Crane and Wade have been preaching, which is to get good, and stay good. While I love Pence, Bourn, and Wandy, I'm of the opinion that the team needs to go ahead and do a massive sell-off, find out which of their top prospects they can build around, and save free agent dollars for when they are ready to contend again. With that in mind, I've put together a fictional 2012 roster for discussion.
-I understand that the MLE calculator isn't perfect, but I do think it is an interesting tool and has some predictive value.
-I left out any prospects that would be acquired at the deadline. Of course, if Pence, Bourn, Wandy, Myers and the rest of the non-league minimum players are jettisoned, at least a couple of the young players Houston receives in return will be expected to contribute immediately.
-I understand that no organization would be foolish enough to field an all-league minimum team. The point of the post is to illustrate what a true re-build would look like and the steps that Houston can take under one plan to get back to being a perennial winner. So, here goes:
|Pos||Player||2011 MLE Slash Line|
|C||Jason Castro||.205/.286/.287 (2010 #s)||Humberto Quintero||.248/.284/.321|
|2B||Jose Altuve||.324/.342/.541||Jeff Keppinger||.302/.333/.372|
|SS||Brandon Wikoff||.304/.358/.340||Clint Barmes||.224/.311/.342|
|RF||JD Martinez||.255/.310/.347||Hunter Pence||.321/.361/.497|
|LF||Kody Hinze||.211/.304/.369||Carlos Lee||.269/.320/.402|
|OF||Jake Goebbert||.250/.306/.354||Jason Michaels||.190/.242/.276|
|OF||Collin DeLome||.245/.299/.377||Michael Bourn||.279/.349/.385|
|SP||Aneury Rodriguez||5.81||Brett Myers||4.75|
|SP||Dallas Keuchel||2.99 (AA)||Wandy Rodriguez||2.88|
|RP||Enerio Del Rosario||4.65|
|SU||Sammy Gervacio||0.79 (AA)||Brandon Lyon||11.48|
|Other Position Players:||2011 MLE Slash Line|
I think I'd be comfortable with a 1-2-3 of Bourgeois, Altuve, and Wallace. A platoon of Downs/Johnson in the 6 hole is ok. I think Castro in the 7 hole is adequate, and having whoever plays SS in the 8 hole will be fine. It's the heart of the order, the 4 and 5 hole hitters, that are not near good enough. I was really disappointed in Martinez's MLE line.
Having Norris, Lyles, and Happ in the rotation are givens. While Keuchel and Aneury may indeed end up being very good MLB pitchers, I think overall this rotation would be very weak. That bullpen, especially given the stable of extra arms and Melancon's emergence, would be fine.