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Jim Crane: Goal is for the Astros to make the playoffs

A playoff trip is the goal for the Astros owner and a .500 season is the expectation.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Oh boy. Jim Crane is at it again, saying crazy things and wearing crazy jackets (probably).

He showed up at Astros spring training on Wednesday and talked with the media there. Evan Drellich has quotes from the owner about his expectations for the season:

"Certainly if we can get above .500, you have a chance," Astros owner Jim Crane said Wednesday as the team's first full squad workout got underway. "In my opinion, I would be disappointed if it doesn't get at least there."

"The goal is to make the playoffs," he said. "The message was clear from A.J. (manager A.J. Hinch), Jeff probably said the same thing. The goal is to make the playoffs."

Crane just doesn't know what he's saying sometimes, does he? He just shoots off his mouth, like last year when he said the goal was to be .500 and the baseline was avoiding 100 losses.

The Astros did get to 81 wins, but they did avoid 100 losses.

Curiously, though, Crane's statement wasn't as crazy last year as it appeared. Most of the projection systems had the Astros at 70 wins, safely away from that 100-loss area.

Sure, the playoff talk was nuts, but he had a solid understanding of the talent level of the club, it seems.

This year, he's saying the team wants to reach the playoffs but at least reach .500.

Most of the projections have Houston around 78 wins. Some have them as high as 80 wins and some as low as 76, but they're right around that .500 mark by all accounts. If the Astros proprietary projections view their defense more favorably than the public ones, you could easily see them projecting 80-82 wins for this team.

That means Crane not only understands where the front office sees this team, but he also understands the probability of projections. Sure, Houston could make the playoffs if five or six things go right and none go wrong. Then, they'd hit their 75 percent projection and top out what they could do.

Just as easily, they could fall to a lower percentage projection if they get hit by an injury tsunami, like the Rangers did.

But by most of what we can see, the Astros should be about .500 this season. Crane may say some crazy things from time to time, but he's obviously on the same page as the baseball operations side on this.

That's nice to see, even if a small part of me still wants the owner asking the players, "What are you doing today to become a champion?" You know, for the comedy.