Some things to talk about as we continue our tour of the minor leagues...
1) The minor league reviews - It strikes me that, in my general negligence of the past two weeks, that I have forgotten to properly introduce what we're doing this week and going forward. Each week, we'll take a look at an Astros affiliate, through both team reviews (like Tim and conroestro did the past two days).
We're also going to be taking five players from those teams and going a bit more in depth to review their seasons. These aren't necessarily the top prospects on those teams. As you've seen, so far, we have highlighted Jose Valdez and Landon Powell, with three more on the way.
Even though the minor league season is winding down, we don't want to forget about them. After all, at times this season, the minors has provided much more entertainment and hope than the big league team has. Next week, we're hitting Corpus Christi with Lancaster planned for the week after. As a special bonus, each week will be capped by a special guest on the podcast, which Tim has done a great job of lining up to wrap up our reviews.
2) Tony D's headphones - Last night, we got news that Tony DeFrancesco has an interesting way of rewarding players of the game: by giving them $200 sets of headphones.
Even though these guys are professionals, and this doesn't seem like a huge deal, couldn't you see this catching on with a clubhouse? It becomes a status symbol, guys want to play to get them, there's rivalry on who has more. In essence, it's exactly the kind of thing Tony D might have learned to do in the minors to hold a clubhouse together.
That's a great idea, too, since I'm sure at this point in the season, it's getting harder and harder to change that culture. If he has an impact with a slight uptick in the win-loss record? That has to be a positive for him in this managerial search, right?
What do you think? Cheesy of Tony D or a brilliant way to motivate the troops?
3) Front office doings - Lots going on with Houston's front office lately, so let's run through them in a Three Things within a Three Things...
A. David Gottfried not coming back - The latest in the front office casualty list, assistant general manager David Gottfried will not be retained. If you remember, Gottfried was the one in charge for the Winter Meetings and Rule 5 draft before Luhnow had officially taken over. At this point, it will be a surprise if anyone is retained, but since Gottfried's title was "player relations," I wonder if this is a role that Craig Biggio might slide into. Why Biggio? Because...
B. Biggio, Luhnow confidante, managerial search force - We confirm what's been suspected for a while, that Biggio has been growing more and more into one of Jeff Luhnow's confidantes. He's been "integral" to the managerial search and seems to have a growing role with this new front office. I'd be shocked if that isn't a reason why Brad Ausmus is being considered for some position with the team, as Biggio and Ausmus have always been reportedly close. It's also a smart move for the new ownership group to have one of the mainstays of the past around more often, to remind people of the good times.
C. OKC, Houston agree to deal - That's right. Houston is sticking with Oklahoma City for the next two seasons, as the clubs reached a deal on a new player development contract that was announced on Tuesday. That leaves just Lancaster and Lexington as the affiliates that haven't renewed their PDCs yet. Lancaster is still in the playoffs, but Lexington is out and may be on the move. Time will tell, but the next two weeks should be VEEERY interesting. Anyone have predictions for what happens there?