So I had an article all ready to go, then it happened. The Astros traded Jed Lowrie to the Oakland A’s for three prospects. There went my article, thanks a lot Jeff Luhnow. All of the time, all of the words, all of the research, gone. It was a bitter sweet moment to say the least, because I actually liked the trade for the Astros (really, really liked the trade for the Astros, but that has been covered extremely well already on this site, so no need to go into that aspect of this story here). But my article was done, and I was back at square one. The one word that comes to mind for a new staff writer is frustrating.
Jed Lowrie (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
What was the article about? It was just another one of those pro-Luhnow articles, talking about how the Astros are resting in the trustworthy hands of their GM. I know that topic has been covered quite a bit as well, but I think when something continuously proves itself to be true, it continuously needs to be pointed out. As Astros fans we have to place our baseball hopes and dreams somewhere, right? I wanted to point out in that article why it was a good thing that Luhnow was the Houston GM and not me. A task that is very easily accomplished, but one that proved out even more so over this offseason. I typically utilized my time rocking my 2-month old baby to sleep by watching the MLB Network coverage of the Baseball Winter Meetings. I just had this feeling, because every media person I read or listened to told me, that the Astros were going to be big traders at the Winter Meetings. Bud Norris, Jed Lowrie, and whoever else they could pawn off on somebody would be gone. I agreed with this tactic, and was excited to see just what prospects they would get in return for these guys to continue to kick-start this rebuilding process. And as we all know, nothing happened. Quite anti-climatic. As a fan, I have to be honest and say that I was a little disappointed.
However, as we inched closer to the moving trucks heading to Kissimmee, it solidified my support for “MY” GM. It really made me think, “this Luhnow guy really knows what he is doing”. Everybody in the baseball world knows where the Astros are heading, and everyone expected them to continue shipping off pieces. But when it did not happen, it just proved that Jeff Luhnow is not interested in just trading pieces for the sake of trading. The return mattered. I thought it took great guts for Luhnow to be willing to hold on to Norris and Lowrie entering into this season. A calculated risk made by a state of the art front office. So, I wrote an article about this risk worth taking. Two days before I went to post it, Lowrie was traded. Thanks a lot Jeff.
After the whirlwind that took place in the national media died down, and I got to take a look at the return the Astros got from the A’s, I was pretty pleased. Even if it totally messed up my article, I was happy with the trade. Would this team be better with Lowrie this year, assuming he was healthy the whole year? Absolutely, I do not think there is an argument to be made otherwise. The question is, how much better? Four games? Five games? Six games better record wise at most? So do you hold on to a guy who will help you win 63 games instead of 57 games this year? Or do you move that guy for a potential 30-plus homerun corner position player in Chris Carter, a potential 3 or 4 spot rotation pitcher in Brad Peacock, and likely solid big league backstop in Max Stassi, that could each improve the team by three to four games each in a few years when those games actually matter for the Astros? Seems like an easy and logical choice to me. Another calculated risk.
Then I realized, I basically needed to write the same article, just from a different perspective. This move proves a lot about the confidence we should have in Jeff Luhnow and the people making the decisions in the front office. This is a move that propels the rebuilding forward, and possibly gives it a bit of a boost in timeframe. This is a move that proves Jeff Luhnow has a lot of guts. Which is exactly what this Houston Astros franchise needs right now. Thanks a lot Jeff. No seriously, thanks.