Some things to talk about while Richard Justice votes for All-Stars...
1) Outfield turmoil
With Justin Maxwell leaving last night's game with a "mild" concussion, the Astros outfield received yet another shakeup. The starting trio wasn't one of the club's strengths heading into this season, but there has been a ton of turnover out there already this season and figures to be more.
Maxwell, if necessary, can be placed on a shorter disabled list specifically for concussions and head injuries. That still means Houston will need someone to play in the outfield in his absence, which could lead to a return by Jimmy Paredes.
If Maxwell does miss more time, what does that mean for the rest of the starters? Brandon Barnes in center field is a given, since he was already playing there with Maxwell back. Would J.D. Martinez play right field and Marc Krauss start in left? How bad would that make the Astros on the corners out there?
That's one of the big reasons why I think George Springer could see time in the majors this year. Unless the outfield settles down soon, there's too much uncertainty to keep him off the team when he's been raking like he has. That, of course, assumes he hits as well for OKC as he did in Corpus, which is not insignificant.
It's another bad break for Maxwell, who seems to be having the same kind of luck that J.D. Martinez did last year.
2) More trade rumors
Three different sources in the past couple of days have discussed trade possibilities with the Astros. Here's a quick rundown:
- Ken Rosenthal thinks that Bud Norris is one of the few controllable arms on the market, which should increase his value. He cites the Pirates, Giants and Orioles as teams that could possibly be a match.
- Jayson Stark talks about the Astros in his Trade Deadline preview. He thinks that Luhnow can trade anyone on the team, but that players like Altuve and Castro will take a huge price to pry away.
- He also contradicted what Luhnow himself said earlier in that the Astros are looking for "volume" instead of for quality in any trades. Who ya got, Luhnow or an unnamed NL GM?
- The Norris market is most interesting. I wonder if it'll heat up for him closer to the deadline, since it appears Ricky Nolasco gets moved much sooner than that. Maybe teams will wait to pursue Nolasco and then move to Norris?
3) Norris talks to Tags
Another thing that came out a while back, but I wanted to touch on this here. Norris is getting some bad press lately. Some of it is deserved. Some of it was a straight rip-job. But, what I find most interesting in this piece by Brian McTaggart is that Norris clarified he'd be happy to stay with the Astros long-term.
"My name's definitely coming up a lot and it's really out of my control," Norris said. "I haven't had an opportunity to sit down and discuss a long-term deal, and I understand where the organization is going, and they have some young guys coming up. It's really out of my hands.
"I want to go out there and keep pitching for the last month [prior to the Deadline] and see what happens. If the Trade Deadline is here and I'm still in an Astros uniform, I'll be happy with that. I understand something could happen, but at the end of the day, my focus right now is still in Houston, and that's where it's going to stay."
(See how I used the entire quote there?)
Norris goes on to say that the Astros have not even sat down with him about a possible extension. In those two scenarios, where teammates are getting traded left and right and his own team hasn't discussed a trade with him, can you blame him for considering other destinations like in the quotes to Morosi?
Yes, Bud came off badly when he made excuses for pitching poorly at Minute Maid Park. Yes, he is a little off-the-wall with his personality and probably bugs teammates. Like we talked about on the podcast, he got hazed pretty heavily when he first came up.
Still, should we expect undying loyalty from a player who may feel like the team hasn't made him a priority?
That's a tricky balance we walk as fans. Do you side with the team or the player? Who are you rooting for, the men or the laundry?