Over the past year, you could argue that I have been more optimistic than the majority regarding the future of the Astros. For that, I am guilty as charged.
Yes having to come up with content to fill this space day in and day out has proved to be difficult at times. Jeff Luhnow has a plan that I am confident in, and I think we are starting to see the execution of it and this season will start to yield some benefits. That doesn’t mean I wholeheartedly agree with every move or decision is made either, but I do respect the process.
Prior to Shin-Soo Choo signing with the Rangers, I was outspoken in my desire that the Astros not give into his excessive, in my opinion, contract demands. However, that does not mean that I don’t think Houston should spend any money or make any big ticket signings. Watching, writing about, and reading about a winning team is clearly more enjoyable.
One player who I think Jim Crane should throw $100 million at a minimum at is Masahiro Tanaka. Aces like this, especially ones that are just 25 years old, do not come available often. Signing Tanaka to a five year contract would perfectly fit in with Luhnow’s plan. It would also be an exciting addition for 2014 giving Astros’ fans something real to be excited about.
Buster Olney evidently feels the same way, as he wrote that Houston should pursue Tanaka. Now to be clear, there has not been much from Tanaka’s side about where he will be playing next season, and the rumor mill does not offer much clarity. What we do know, is that just about every playoff contender or big market team has interest to varying degrees.
Tanaka would be marketable for the franchise in the short term, and at the same time he’s an absolutely perfect fit within their long-term rebuilding plan, as the leader of a young and dynamic pitching staff.
A move like this could really jump start the franchise and the rebuilding plan. Seeing Tanaka and George Springer take the field together on Opening Day is the excitement that this fan base needs. But more importantly, it makes sense on the field too.
But it would be worth it to give the Astros a jump-start while also continuing the reconstruction plans designed to build a winner for years to come.