Before the MLB Winter Meetings I put out my priorities for the Astros for the rest of the offseason.
I included a very important warning near the end of that article.
I will caution folks that some of these deals may not get done until January as the Astros wait for the market to come to their price point.
Astros social media is full of fans and media people expressing outrage that the Astros are doing EXACTLY what I said they would do given their financial situation.
What is that situation? Here is how I described it on X/ Twitter this morning.
You own a business, and your expenses are higher than they have ever been.
Your financial team has alerted you to the fact that they expect a key part of your revenue is dropping dramatically and overall revenue will be down ten percent.
Your business is highly regarded, and you are one of the top four companies in your industry.
Your customers are demanding you hire more employees who are overpaid and won’t help your business operate materially better. You listened to them last year and hired three very expensive new employees who were some of your worst employees last year. You let one go who needs to retire.
Four of your best employees are due massive raises in the next two years and if you fail to pay them, they will leave for other companies.
Other employees are likely to receive 2X to 10X raises due to your labor union rules.
Your employee development program is in shambles and not likely to provide any really great leaders in the next few years.
In a desperate move to drive the business forward late last year you actually sent another company two of your best young interns and they sent you one of their most expensive company leaders and agreed to pay them half of his salary. This looked good and helped sales but caused the expense crisis to be even worse. That leader will be gone in two years max.
The local press is constantly ignoring the true challenges you have financially and gaslighting your customers.
Others in your industry have a bigger markets, and they are spending money you don’t have.
This is making you look bad and people claim their product quality is better than yours now.
Senior leaders have explained the situation and what your company plan is but no one is listening.
You are so tired of this that you are thinking of selling the business.
Folks, that IS the Astros situation. You might not like it. You can argue Jim Crane is a billionaire, and if the Astros lose money for the next ten years who cares; he is rich. You can dive into all of the class envy talk you want; it won't change one simple fact. Billionaires do not become billionaires by making the same stupid mistake over and over. If a billionaire tells you he is willing to lose tens of millions of dollars because he likes playing with his business sports toy (essentially what Cohen has said), that is one thing. Jim Crane HAS NOT ever said that. There is nothing in his past that says you should expect that he will.
So, this leads us to the Astros reality. Something we have covered here numerous times. What can the Astros REALLY do? I would suggest you read my Winter Meetings priority article for that here.
If that plan is too boring to you, I would suggest these articles are much at the edge of what I think the Astros would consider.
Those ideas are more realistic than most of the media is gas lighting you with. Here is my advice.
Don’t let media members wave their hands and express fake rage that Astros aren’t doing anything. Demand they be clear in what they expect this team to do. Then watch how stupid most of their ideas are and out of touch they are with the financial situation. Do the same with anyone on social media.
I have been VERY SPECIFIC. I warned things might not happen for another two weeks on pitchers unless a pitcher met their price point earlier. I called the Caratini signing the one thing they NEEDED to do quickly. I explained why the team would likely think they are OK with Meyers in another article. I have TRIED to align you with reality.
The Astros are doing exactly what I expected them to do and exactly what they needed to do. This is exactly what Dana Brown said he would do. This is NOT and Astros team problem. This is an alignment and media problem. This is an awareness problem. Most of this fan base still does not know the Astros have the second highest CBT payroll in the American League.
So, let's go through EVERY one of the pitching free agent signings and show why NOT signing them was the exact right thing for the Astros to do or who they actually have missed. There have been 43 pitchers signed.
Let me level set the bar here first. Any player the Astros would sign needed to be better than:
JP France- Projected ERA 4.66, 0.7 WAR, $0.75M
Jose Urquidy- Projected ERA 4.68, 0.4 WAR, $3.5M
Projected WAR >0.7- These pitchers fail this filter.
Signing a SP that will cost more than $8M/ WAR does not make sense. These pitchers fail this filter.
Ronel Blanco- Projected ERA 4.07, 0.2 WAR, $0.75M
Bennett Sousa- Projected ERA 4.01, 0.2 WAR, $0.75M
Projected WAR>0.2- These pitchers fail this filter
Signing a RP that will cost more than $8M/ WAR does not make sense either- These pitchers fail this filter.
A heavy preference for one-year contracts, no deal longer than 4 years. These pitchers fail this filter.
Contracts- AAV less than $10M. These pitchers fail this filter. Lynn and Gibson are probably the two pitchers to consider testing the limits here.
Lynn was signed on 11/20/23
Gibson was signed on 11/21/23
Both were signed by the Cardinals
Preference for a player less than 35 years old
Folks, of the 43 FA pitchers signed, 39 of them fail these basic filters. Sure, one can say the Astros COULD have extended past these filters, but as long as there are still pitchers that DON'T fail these filters why would you sign someone who does?
Here are the four FA pitchers that have been signed that don't fail the filters- FOUR.
Let's compare these four options with the players the Astros have who they would be taking playing time from.
I would take either of the Astros pitchers over Floro. No real loss here to me.
Of these five pitchers I would probably take the Colin Rea first, France second, and Urquidy third. The Brewers resigned Rea on 11/2/23 BEFORE he was available to the open market.
Folks, there isn't a single pitcher that has signed so far that I am upset did not sign with the Astros.
NOT A SINGLE PITCHER
As far as I am concerned, the Astros have done and are doing EXACTLY what they should do.
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