Some things to talk about while I read this non-baseball story from Wright Thompson...
1) STL outfield logjam
Just go with me. In this piece from St. Louis, we learn that the Cards have an outfield logjam. They'd like to resolve it. How?
The Cardinals are still trying to sort all of this out. They have more outfielders than major-league jobs, and it’s approaching a sensitive stage where something has to give, and someone has to go. Pass the pain pills to GM John Mozeliak, for this is a headache.
In the past, Mozeliak traded Colby Rasmus before everyone expected and picked up the pieces that propelled the Cards to a World Series. Miklasz pointed that out in the article, and he suspects that something similar will happen this year.
What's interesting is who he points at, indirectly. Obviously, the prospects aren't getting traded. Maybe Matt Adams gets shipped out, but I would doubt it. Which leaves Peter Bourjos, Jon Jay and...Matt Holliday.
Think about this for a minute. Holliday is owed $17 million in 2015 and 2016. He's a slighlty below-average left fielder who's power has fallen away this season. But, he's gets on base like crazy and still has 20-homer power.
Would it make sense for Houston to make a splash and bring him in? Let's say next winter, the Astros still haven't got left field figured out. Let's say Bob Grossman can't hit or play defense and Preston Tucker's bat is too slow to hit consistently in the majors.
What then? Would Houston take on some of Holliday's money in exchange for a couple of their excess prospect depth?
It's probably a moot point, since Holliday has a full no-trade clause and likely wouldn't approve a move to Houston under any circumstance. But, there is a case for him and the history between the two organizations suggest a deal for some of that depth may happen at some point. So, keep this in the back of your mind.
2) Profile on Elias
Nice profile of Mike Elias by Brian McTaggart, days before the Rule 4 draft. Luhnow has some very positive things to say about his young scouting director and Tags fills in some of Elias' backstory. Nothing we don't already know, but just read how much Luhnow thinks of this guy:
"I knew that I wanted him over here," Luhnow said. "He could help in a variety of ways. At the time, I didn't know if he would end up being a scouting director or farm director or assistant general manager. I knew there would be some role for him. He did such a nice job helping [former scouting director] Bobby [Heck] out in that first Draft.
"His heart is in scouting, and I do think it's important for anybody, even if they have aspirations to be a general manager any day, that they get enough time out in the field in one of the core functions, whether it's player development or scouting."
By slotting Elias in here, the Astros were able to get Stearns as assistant GM, which helped them work with the new CBA. Houston has been one of the most aggressive teams at trading international free agent slots and picked up that competitive balance pick from Baltimore.
I'm not sure what Luhnow is doing is revolutionary with hiring some of these positions. He has brought in some outside people, but plenty of his guys came up through the baseball system.
3) Astros throw curve in draft?
Jon Heyman throws the top of the draft into chaos with a report that Houston could be considering up to six players at the top. That's in direct opposition to previous reports, which have indicated Houston is down to Carlos Rodon or Brady Aiken, with a slight possibility of Alex Jackson sneaking in. From Heyman's piece:
For weeks, the three top draft prospects have been viewed as Rodon, who features a superb slider, Aiken, a polished three-pitch high-schooler, and right-hander Tyler Kolek, a 100-mph prep thrower from Texas. But in recent days, power-hitting outfielder/catcher Alex Jackson, yet another San Diego high school product, LSU pitcher Aaron Nola and especially Gordon, like Dee the son of long-time major-league pitcher Tom Gordon, are threatening to break into that top triumvirate.
If "bloodlines" are a big reason why Gordon is rising in the draft, he's not rising with the Astros. I can't see this team valuing something as intangible and hard to define as "bloodlines." For every Cam Bedrosian, there's a Dykstra kid. It just doesn't make a ton of sense, since there's little predictive value there.
Look at the descriptions of Nick Gordon and Alex Jackson and tell me that they're similiar enough to warrant Gordon being in the same 1-1 conversation. Jackson has one elite tool: power. Does Gordon have one?
The thing about Aiken is he's not just below-slot talent. He's legitimately put atop multiple Top 100 lists. If they can get the top player in the draft AND sign him for slightly under slot? I might be okay with taking a high school pitcher in this situation.