Some things to talk about while Houston meets with the 1-1...
1) BBWAA voting
In case you missed it, the Rookie of the Year award winners were announced on Monday and the AL Manager of the Year was named Tuesday. The Chronicle's Jose Ortiz voted for the Houston chapter on Manager of the Year along with Bill Madden of the...New York Daily News. In the ROY voting, Ken Davidoff and Nick Cafardo voted for the Houston chapter.
You'll notice only one of those four names actually cover Houston regularly. I found out the reason for this was because Brian Smith left midseason to cover football.
Don't know what's going on with the Cy Young Awards and MVP votes, but I've already asked about helping to avoid this next year. If Cody Allen can get two third place votes for ROY, Jared Cosart deserved one.
FanGraphs had an article up the other day on Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer and which one the Tigers should trade. Dave Cameron also posted a piece late last night on the debunked trade rumor involving Jose Bautista going to the Phillies.
Meanwhile, Porcello likely wouldn't bring back a top prospect, or an established young regular position player. He would have a big market, because he's young and durable and possibly improving. But Porcello won't be cheap the next two years and there's reason to believe he's not quite as good as his peripherals. Maybe Porcello would turn into bullpen help. Maybe he'd turn into a project, like a Dustin Ackley. Maybe he'd turn into intriguing low-level prospects with an eye toward re-stocking the system. Keep Porcello and the Tigers add more future value. Keep Scherzer and the Tigers preserve more current value.
When I talked about the possible trades Houston could make a few weeks ago, I used David Price as an example, but Rick Porcello also fits the bill. He's cheaper than price, but would be a really good fit for the Astros. Plus, he's under control and not going anywhere soon.
The point is, there are trade options out there we haven't discussed, but you can be sure Luhnow is aware and ready to pounce if the price is right. I expect the Astros will make at least one trade this winter. Don't know how, don't know who it will involve, but they'll make one move.
But, you say, the Astros should value their young core of major leaguers who have proven they can compete, right?
Just like old players can have "fluke" seasons, so can young players, only when a young player has a fluke season, it's usually called a breakout instead. Maybe Domonic Brown really did take huge sustainable steps forward last year, but history suggests that it's probably more prudent to expect him to be maintain or regress than it is to improve yet again. Just like Bautista shouldn't be expected to linearly trend downwards, taking Brown's 2013 performance and forecasting upwards from there is also a mistake.
Remember Lucas Harrell? What if Jason Castro's breakout 2013 campaign was just a fluke? Wouldn't you rather trade him for help now than see him regress and lose value? There's a danger in overvaluing guys on the team now based on past and future performance.
That's why this time of year is so tricky. Do you value veterans too much? Then you might give up the farm for Mark Teixeira and take years to recover. Do you value your young guys too much? Then you might see the bottom fall out like it did for Harrell this season.
There is a balance here. I'm sure Luhnow and his decision scientists know where it is and will make the right moves. I don't envy them making those decisions, though.
3) RJ on the Astros
Good read on just how tough this rebuilding process has been for the Astros, that they understand what's going on and are working to get better.
Crane has stayed the course. As Luhnow, who came to the Astros after putting together a string of impressive Drafts with the Cardinals, built a solid farm system through Drafts and the trading away of veterans, the bleeding hasn't stopped at the big league level. In the last two seasons, Houston has lost 107 and 111 games, respectively.
For ultra-competitive people, losing is tough to take. That said, the Astros kept reminding themselves that this was still the best way to construct an organization that could contend year in and year out.
"It's very difficult to stick to a plan like this because there's some short-term pain involved," Luhnow said. "Give our fans in Houston a lot of credit. We've done a good job of communicating with them. Jim has. [Manager] Bo [Porter] has. I have. I think our fans understand we're not trying to lose games. We're trying to win every game every night. We're also keeping our eye on the goal, and that is bringing a championship to Houston. Get back to the World Series, and this time winning it and ultimately winning multiple championships. The plan we have in place is the fastest way to get there."
Read the whole piece because it's worth it. I just hope Justice hasn't gotten to Drellich yet. He's still so new. He doesn't need to be corrupted yet.