Some things to talk about while one of my favorite non-Astros prospects may be ready for a big league call...
1) Buying the Hooks
Lots of stuff to talk about that's only tangentially related to baseball from the past weekend, but I wanted to focus on just one thing. That's the impending purchase of the Corpus Christi Hooks by the Houston Astros. Coupled with Reese Ryan taking over the Round Rock Express, it frees up Reid Ryan from any conflicts of interest in running the Astros business side.
What it doesn't do is leave open the possibility that Houston will someday move the Hooks to The Woodlands. Yes, it's technically possible, but there are a number of reasons blocking it. First off, the Astros want that team to be a Triple-A affiliate. They could move the Hooks, but the team would still be in the Double-A Texas League. Houston needs a franchise from a Triple-A league to move to The Woodlands for this to work.
Secondly, there's absolutely no reason for them to move from Corpus. It's a great city. The team has a beautiful ballpark. More importantly, though, it's strategically placed to bring the Astros to a wide swath of South Texas. That's an important market for the team. If Houston were to leave Corpus, you can guarantee that the Rangers would try to move an affiliate there very quickly.
For all those reasons, it doesn't make a ton of sense for Houston to move the franchise. This is about controlling costs and building up assets. It's a good move and I imagine the precursor to the Astros eventually owning their own Triple-A franchise.
2) Singleton returning
This weekend, we also learned from multiple sources (including Astros Pro Scouting Coordinator Kevin Goldstein, who joined us on Sunday night's podcast) that first baseman Jonathan Singleton will be ending his suspension soon.
Singleton will be going to Quad Cities first to work on his timing before moving up the ladder from there. It's assumed that means he'll go to Oklahoma City first, but the Astros left open the possibility that he goes to Corpus next, if he's not quite ready for prime time.
Start the speculation on what that means for Singleton possibly reaching the majors this year. I'm still of the mind that he'll be brought up as soon as he shakes the rust off and shows he can hit in Triple-A. So, sometime after the All-Star break, we might see the talented first baseman in Houston.
I'm also wondering how many of you still hold a grudge against Singleton for getting suspended in the first place. Are you looking forward to his return? Has he done enough to show you he's repentant for his actions? Does he need to be repentant?
3) Jonah Keri on Astros positives
Once again, a national writer drops in to talk about the Astros. I'm going to write about this phenomenon more on Wednesday, but for now, let's check in on Jonah Keri, who discussed the Astros briefly in his "The 30" column for Grantland, where he ranks every team in the league each week.
But there really isn't much here, not now anyway. If you're an Astros fan, you root for the tiniest victories in the present, knowing any bigger wins could be years away. You trust the process, and painful though they may be, you try not to sweat the results.
Okay, so I cheated. You'll have to read the whole column to see what he views as positive. It isn't much, really. But that's the point. This year isn't about the major league team, though it'd be nice if that team was a bit more watchable.
Another question for the group: what do you see as the positives about this team through a quarter of the season? Do you agree with Keri's positives? Would you add anything to the list?