CTH logo by John Burgess & Greg Thurston
Jeff Luhnow appeared on Sirius/XM’s MLB Radio this morning. A link to a clip of the informative interview can be found below. Here is a quick look at some of the things I took away from Luhnow’s chat.
Despite the lack of rumors connecting the Astros to specific players and teams, Luhnow is not yet done improving the team. We didn’t gain much clarity as to the timing of said move(s) and whether the player additions would be via free agency, the trade market or both. As we have assumed, he is not done improving the bullpen, and my personal opinion is that the 2014 closer has not yet been acquired.
Both the outfield and the first base/designated hitter spots were mentioned as places where an upgrade could come. Luhnow also said that even after the addition of Scott Feldman, there is still the possibility that another starting pitcher is added. Aside from a blockbuster deal that brings either Chris Sale or David Price to Houston, something I would consider and potentially welcome but don’t see as likely, it appears that the back of the rotation is the focus.
My impression is that another bullpen arm and another bat could be added within the next week if not sooner.
I have taken it as a foregone conclusion that we would see Mark Appel in Houston mid-summer 2014. Now, I am beginning to have some doubts about that thought. Luhnow said it is still up for consideration whether Appel starts 2014 with High-A Lancaster or AA Corpus Christi. He also likes Michael Foltynewicz and Asher Wojciechowski as two prospects currently ahead of Appel based solely on professional experience. However that doesn’t mean both will be in Houston before Appel because trades are possible and performance could ultimately dictate otherwise. But my takeaway is, just like George Springer last season, Appel will likely be in the minors for longer than the fan base wants him to be. This is something I would be alright with.
With regards to Springer, Luhnow expects him to have a Rookie of the Year type season. I think that Spring Training will likely determine whether Springer begins the season as an Astro, but regardless we will be seeing a lot of him in 2014. When constructing the team, it sounds like Luhnow has Springer penciled into one of the outfield spots and getting a minimum of 400-500 at bats. And that is something to be excited about.