Chad Qualls (David Banks-USA TODAY Sports)
So far this off-season, all of the moves that Jeff Luhnow has made to improve the Astros for 2014 have made sense to me. And they all have one thing in common. The trade for Dexter Fowler and the signings of Scott Feldman and Chad Qualls have all seemingly come out of nowhere.
Now we knew that the Astros needed to upgrade their bullpen, starting rotation and outfield, so you shouldn’t be too surprised by those moves. What does stand out to me, is that all were shockingly quick to happen.
We are currently in the midst of the Winter Meetings which are smack in the middle of the Hot Stove League. It is an exciting time for baseball fans, and essentially an incubator for rumors. So far the Astros have been active participants in the off-season, and that is also something that I expect to continue. But why are Luhnow and the Astros so quiet?
While I have been excited to see Houston spend money to improve the team, I have also been disappointed at times this winter. Until the Astros signed Feldman, I was not happy that Luhnow had not added a starter yet as I watched numerous options join other teams. The same was true with the bullpen until Qualls was signed. Is this fair?
After the last few seasons it certainly is. People, rightfully so, have taken a cynical approach towards the Astros. You talk about spending money and improving the team, but I’ll believe it when I see it. And now we are seeing it. Just for whatever reason, there really is not any buzz or any rumors surrounding the Astros’ plans. When that happens, it is just assumed that nothing is being done, when in reality it actually was.
The fact is, I was disappointed only because I didn’t know who the Astros were interested in. I think maybe we should start calling the Luhnow the “silent assassin”. It is clear he has a plan, even if we are not fully privy to its details. Try not to get too caught up in the rumor mill and lack of Astros “news”. However, that is something certainly easier said than done. It is too early to grade this off-season and Luhnow’s tenure, but I think so far we are progressing nicely.
But with all that being said, the rumor mill did begin to pickup on Tuesday and I think the Astros will leave Orlando a better team than they were when Luhnow arrived.