Sorry, everyone. I thought I had this scheduled for 8 a.m. this morning, but we had a glitch on the back end. Will be back with a Biggio piece in a few hours...
1) Kicking off Hall of Fame week
On Wednesday, we'll officially hear whether a bunch of former Astros make the Hall of Fame. Oh, and probably Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, too. There have been a ton of conversations already on the HOF, with some great points made. My favorite so far came from Astros County, who asked a simple question: has any Hall voter asked one of the reporters who covered Houston in the 1990's about steroids in that clubhouse.
For the most part, that answer was no.
I'll get into individual Hall arguments a little bit later today with a piece on Craig Biggio, but my main problem is with the focus on steroids in the first place. Where is the moral outrage over football players using steroids and still making it to hallowed ground? Where is the outrage over many, many other transgressions that actual Hall of Famers made during their careers? Do we throw out everyone who played during baseball's segregation era, on the suspicion that they were racist, too?
You've heard those arguments before. My philosophy is simple, though, and it's one I'm going to keep with me as I strive to get one of those HOF votes someday. A player is a Hall of Famer if he played like one. Was he the best of the best? Does he deserve his name written into the history of the game in big golden letters? Bonds sure does, along with Clemens, Schilling, Bagwell and Biggio. I have no problem with all of them as Hall of Famers, and my opinion of current players like Alex Rodriguez won't change just because of PEDs.
If Ryan Braun keeps up his ridiculous stats for another 10 years, I'd probably vote for him despite all the intrigue last year. But my vote would be based on his performance, not his performance enhancing history.
I'm tired of hearing about blank ballots or guys refusing to vote for players on their first ballot. Let's hope we don't have to talk about it much more and that both Bidge and Bags get in this time around.
2) Impossible Trades, Stanton and David Price
In case you missed it, TCB made Deadspin!
Yeah...I always figured it'd be Tim out acting like a drunken sailor that got us there, but surprise, surprise, it was our commenters. Now, while I don't agree with the fairness of this exercise (c'mon, picking on internet commenters, Ben Lindberg, I thought you were better than that...), it did strike a nerve because it hit on something I'd been mulling recently.
If Giancarlo Stanton were really available, should a team like Houston trade for him? In fact, I talked about the same thing last winter when Justin Upton hit the market and the same thought came to me when David Price was said to be available.
Young players don't hit the market often, so teams could really pick up a lot of future contributions by making these deals. They'd absolutely help Houston and continue to help the Astros when Houston is ready to contend. Price could be an ace to lead the rotation through the upbringing of McCullers and Tropeano. Stanton could anchor the order for Singleton and Correa.
Every prospect in the system should be on the table for those players. But...
But, on the Astros end, how much could they hope to get out of these players. Say they trade for David Price. He's awesome as usual, gives them a true ace, helps in the clubhouse and increases Houston's win total by six to eight wins a year. Maybe.
How long would he stay with the team? He's just coming off a dodgy situation in Tampa. Wouldn't he want to hit free agency, and wouldn't Houston have a hard time retaining him?
That's the problem with trading for big names when Houston is in this stage of the game. It makes sense if they're on the cusp of winning or if they've started winning a little. Right now, I'm not sure it makes a ton of sense, which is a little depressing.
3) Ensberg, Everett back in the fold
On Friday, Houston announced the minor league field staffs, including some innovative ways it will use guys like Morgan Ensberg and Adam Everett. Ensberg will be a developmental specialist, focusing on individual areas on homestands with the team.
Ensberg will help infielders at Lancaster next season, so we should assume he'll be working with who? DDJ? Nolan Fontana? Jean Batista? There will be an outfield/baserunning coach at Quad Cities (for Brett Phillips and Ariel Ovando?) another infielding coach at OKC (for Villar?) and a catching specialist in Mark Bailey in Corpus (for Heineman?).
Nice to see Vince Coleman in the mix, but very good to see Everett and Ensberg back in the fold. Everett will spread his general awesome fielding to the major league team, turning Matt Dominguez into some sort of human vacuum at third and making Jose Altuve grow four inches, I'm sure.
This whole concept is a neat way to utilize some good baseball minds and is showing some of the out-of-the-box thinking Houston is doing on the player development side. Good job, Astros.