Some things to talk about while Drellich shows us baseball cool...
1) Cracks in Astros management?
John Royal takes a moment from being our 1-A choice for CSN Houston coverage to talking about the Astros. In this story, he talks about the good and bad sides to Houston's Sports Illustrated cover story. Specifically, he brings up Jose Ortiz's tweets from this weekend about how the article rubbed some in the clubhouse the wrong way:
The clubhouse isn't happy. The coaches want to win. They're upset by quotes in the story. They think the story's a slap in the face. They're dismayed that the front office won't promote certain players from the minors who they believe would be huge improvements over current players on the roster and who would lead the team to more victories.
This Astros rebuild is just different. it's not like the Rays rebuild, since they started winning shortly after getting Joe Madden. It's not like the older rebuilds, because no one has bottomed out as aggressively as the Astros did. I guess you could compare it to the situation the Tigers found themselves in, before rebounding.
Back then, the Tigers went through some managers before hitting on a winning combination. As Tim has pointed out before, the odds of Porter sticking with this team long-term aren't great. But, you can see why he and his coaches might disagree with that story.
They want to win. Any suggestion that last year's team didn't try to win as hard as it could puts doubt in the minds of this staff. How many fans can understand that same impulse?
Instead of working as a synergistic group, it creates possible rifts. Those lead to bad decisions and back-sliding. That leads to a longer rebuild and, possibly, a new front office.
We're a long way from that. We don't even know how much this is just griping and how much is real angst between the clubhouse and management. It's worth following, though, as this team attempts to get better.
2) Speculation on Aiken delay
The holdup bears a resemblance to the delays that occasionally occur in free agency when players fail physicals and teams try to rework deals.
If indeed Aiken failed his physical, the Astros would have the right to offer him 40 percent of his signing bonus value, according to the new draft rules that were negotiated into the collective bargaining agreement in 2011.
Rosenthal goes on to say this is pretty much speculation. We can't know what the holdup is. For all we know, it's tied into the Astros compensation for Aiken's college courses or something. But, thinking that Aiken failed a physical and that's why they haven't announced the deal?
I'm officially worried.
3) Top 30 IFAs for July 2
Tuck this away for later this week when teams can officially sign international free agents. Baseball America does a great job covering this aspect of the scouting picture and Houston has been rumored to be nearly as active as the Yankees (who may spend $20 million on this class...and I wish that were more hyperbolic than it is).
BA has a list of the top 30 IFA prospects with video of select guys. It's a good reference as names get thrown around and teams are linked to different guys. We'll cover what we can this week and let you know just where Houston spends its pool money this year.