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2017: The Year Luhnow Activated the Rangers Sleeper Cell

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Luhnow’s diabolical plan has come to life, allegedly.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve always been stupefied by the amount of brain power that the Houston Astros employ. Think of all the NASA employees that work within the walls of Minute Maid Park. It’s easy to think that the plans made by these people are far more sinister than just a friendly rebuild. An email from a Rangers informant who goes by “deepthrOdor,” (I guess he or she is a Watergate fan) has possibly blown the top off of this. His claim is that Luhnow isn’t only using mad scientists, but employing many ex-CIA people also. These folks have been building a sleeper cell that would make Robert Gates jealous.

Here’s the list he laid out for me, working from lowest priority to highest:

  • Mike Hauschild. He was exposed in the rule 5 draft and some of our very own prospectors here at the Crawfishboxes had referred to him as “Dallas Keuchel Light.” The Rangers couldn’t pass on this guy. In just 8 innings of work, Hauschild, a ground ball pitcher, managed to allow 5 homeruns. That was a 55.6% HR/FB rate, higher than Marwin Gonzalez or Mike Fiers! You may think that’s just random stat variation. Hauschild had a 31% fly ball rate which is nearly 10% higher than his minor league average.
  • Delino DeShields Jr. Another rule 5 draft pick. Astros fans nearly lost their mind when DDJ had a huge year for the Rangers in 2015, but the informant asked to “honestly evaluate how productive DDJ has really been.” He’s a LFer with no power, a noodle arm, and a career wRC+ of 84. His tantalizing mix of speed and patience does give him a long leash in most people’s eyes... but really, how long before the Rangers find out DDJ’s true intentions?
  • Carlos Gomez. This one is a big one. DeepthrOdor was adamant that Gomez doesn’t even know he’s a part of this plot. I told deepthrOdor I didn’t understand. He said the best explanation was Zoolander’s brain washing to kill the Malaysian prime minister. I laughed at this notion, but he pressed on. While he was with the Astros, Gomez had been brainwashed to start being the “Astros version of Gomez” once a “trigger” had been given to Gomez after he went to the Rangers. He hypothesized that Collin McHugh’s yelling from the dugout bench was more than just jock trash talk. McHugh was saying the “trigger” word. His evidence was after that, Gomez has struck out in very “Astros fashions.” Particularly by swinging at two 58 foot breaking balls in the 9th inning with the tying run at 3rd base.
  • Doug Brocail. This is a big one, and nearly pushed me into non-believer status. He said Doug Brocail had been trained to get the Rangers pitching coach job and slowly, but surely cause BB rates to rise among the main starters and completely obliterate the Rangers bullpen. He suggested that Mike Maddux left under really fishy circumstances. He never quite understood why. It felt like something strange was afoot. He believes that Brocail’s sleeper cell status was the underlying cause, and that Luhnow has been manipulating other front offices to ensure his plan comes to fruition.

He even went as far as suggesting that Luhnow may even also be ex-CIA. Think about it. He’s multi-lingual and worked for McKinsey and Company for 5 years. “A worldwide management consulting firm” that “has offices in 120+ cities in 60+ countries” He argued that is easily the most obvious CIA cover job he’s ever seen.

My final question for deepthrOdor was “why wait?” Why did Luhnow let the Astros endure so much of the angst in being beaten repeatedly by the Rangers in 2015 and 2016? Why 2017? His response was simply this line and a single image:

“Do you think this is just a coincidence?”