HOUSTON,TX-JUNE 07: General manager Jeff Luhnow (R), of the Houston Astros introduces Carlos Correa, the first-overall selection in the 2012 MLB First Year Player Draft during a press conference on June 7, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
It may be time for me to retire from blogging about the Astros.
This new front office is too good. What in the world can I nitpick now?
For years, this team had run itself like it was the 1970s. Easy things, like how to properly evaluate players, what to expect from them during the season and how to pay said playe, seemed to elude them. You'd get Ed Wade saying Pedro Feliz could hit 20 homers with the Crawford Boxes right there.
Easy fodder for blogging, right? The way they'd use minor leaguers and the way they'd draft seemed flawed enough that we could criticize it. Why take DDJ that high? Was it because of the money? Why take Mike Kvasnicka when there were more highly regarded players on the board? Where was the risk?
The draft is what really clinched it for me. I'd been giddy about Houston picking up these guys with good on-base skills and letting them work, since that was something the old organization killed me about. All those contact hitters, like Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada were so frustrating when you knew the averages they put up were somewhat empty.
In the draft, Houston went after the same skill. They took guy after guy who had positive strikeout/walk ratios, either at the plate or on the mound. Then, they gamed the system a bit, signing a below-slot deal for a guy who could have the most talent in a draft lacking one clear No. 1 and using that money to get highly-regarded guys like Lance McCullers, who slipped out of the first round.
Seriously, what am I supposed to say about that? Do you just become a drooling fanboy every time Bobby Heck or Jeff Luhnow come up? Where's the bite? Where's the scathing criticism? What makes a blogger when you don't have anything to complain about?
I feel like my comments lately about this team's moves have turned into a PR firm. I like everything they do and don't really have a lot of criticism. Oh, you're going to keep Fernando Martinez in the minors, even though he's raking and Bogey is struggling? Well, call him up after his hot start has become a little more permanent and you have some injury concerns. That's exactly what they did.
Oh, last year, you buried rookies and jacked around their playing time? Not this time, boy-o. Guys rarely get buried for long and everyone seems to be getting enough time to develop.
This front office has crushed everything thrown at them so far. They have signed one-year guys to small deals and gotten plenty of value. They've made great trades unexpectedly to add the team's MVP through the first third of the season (Jed Lowrie). What am I missing?
That's why it's time for me to retire. I probably won't. I like writing about this team too much. But, it does feel like I'm saying the exact same thing over and over with the continued praise of what's going on. Is this what it feels like to have a competent front office?
The fan base wanted Andrew Friedman to set up a smart, Rays-like atmosphere here. Turns out, Houston got the next-best thing in Luhnow and it turns out he can develop and draft players too. And they're pushing me out of a job...