Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I'm Jealous of the Houston Astros Org., It Doesn't Matter That We Swept Them

The Dodgers just man-handled the Houston Astros, sweeping them in a three-game series.  They got pushed around a plenty.  Their kids made fielding errors, base-running blunders and used questionable plate discipline.  The Astros are well entrenched in last place and from the looks of it, will stay there.  So why am I jealous of this troubled organization?  It has to do with having a plan, but mainly it has to do with franchise stability.
Well into the trade deadline season last year, Astro General Manager Ed Wade, made it well know that they were sellers and he proved it.  He since has stockpiled prospects from the Philadelphia, New York Yankee, San Francisco, Toronto and Atlanta organizations.  He is on his way to getting next year’s first pick in the draft.  The Astros have let their fan base know that they are rebuilding.  Meanwhile, they’re playing kids and getting them major league experience, unlike some organizations that play their “past-their-prime” veterans that will mean nothing to the club’s future, while their young talent remains untested at the AAA level.
The Astros haven’t traded away any of their prospects at the deadline.  They collected them.  They didn’t get low level prospects for Hunter Pence.  Instead they received top tier prospects when that trade was made.  
Astros First Baseman of the future, Brett Wallace
Over the past two seasons they have unloaded stars Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn.  In exchange they have received: 
*J.A. Happ (LHP) starting pitcher on the Astros, (having an awful year recently demoted to Triple A)
*A Grade A First Base prospect, Brett Wallace, already batting 3rd in the majors
*A young, high upside Shortstop in Jonathan Villar, a few years away.
*A quality  relief pitcher already closing games at the MLB level - Mark Melancon (RHP) 
*A 23 year old middle infielder already playing at the big league level - Jimmy Paredes 
*The Phillies # 2 ranked prospect, RHP Jarred Cosart 
*The Phillies # 3 ranked prospect, First Baseman Jonathan Singleton
*Henry Sosa, former Giant prospect, a right handed starting pitcher seeing big league action already
*Josh Zeid (RHP), a staring pitcher struggling at the AA level, high upside projection 
*Jason Stoffel, a journeyman minor league middle reliever, currently at Double A.
*Brett Overholtzer, (LHP) projected #3 starter currently at AA level, All Star in Southern League.
*Paul Clemons (RHP) projected as a #3 or #4 starting pitcher, at AA, and an All Star in the Southern League, 22 years old.  
*George Schaeffer, 24 year old centerfielder that should be in the outfield mix for Houston in 2012
*another player to be named. 
Jimmy Paredes, playing third base at the Major League level already
While the Astros are floundering in the standings, their ownership is undergoing a smooth transition as Drayton McClane has sold the club for $640 million to a group headed by Astro fan and Houston businessman Jim Crane.   This isn't an ownership transition dealing with a buyer that is leveraging the deal through loans and legal maneuverings.  The Crane purchase is backed by cold hard cash. The Dodgers on the other hand, don’t even know if the ownership will remain intact and if it does, the woes will continue as McCourt doesn’t have the backing or finances to put a competitive team on the field.  
With the status-quo, the Dodgers off-season moves will be minor and in the long run that means we'll have another off-season of dreary expectations.  Frank McCourt will have a hard time figuring out how to extend Kemp and Kershaw, something that should be done before the prospect of their free-agency surfaces.  Any hopes of a free agent signing are long gone as long as McCourt continues to hold the reigns of ownership.   The Los Angeles Dodgers - a team that will continue to be run with fiscal restraint.
But hey, we swept a series at home against Houston this August.  At least there’s something, right?  Sorry to be such a pessimistic sort, but facts are facts.  As long as this ownership debacle continues, there isn't much hope, and I don't see McCourt giving up.  He just has more and more appeals and legal delays looming in his future.  This mess could go on for years.

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