Robbie Grossman (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Let’s move beyond the controversy. Whether it is real or manufactured does not matter. At this point it should be behind us as we look forward towards 2014.
In that vain, the truck full of equipment for Spring Training left Houston for Florida today. For baseball fans, this is often the third best day on the baseball calendar. It trails only the day when the truck leaves for the return trip back to Houston signifying that the start of the season is upon us, and of course Opening Day.
While we are still a few days away from the official reporting date, some players already are in Kissimmee getting ready for the season, as Brian McTaggart writes here.
"Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said a few players have been at Osceola County Stadium rehabbing and working out, and there should be an influx beginning early next week. Players who have been working out at Minute Maid Park this winter will travel to Florida on Monday to begin working out Tuesday."
I don’t think anyone’s best case scenario has the Astros competing for a playoff berth this season, but everyone is looking for Houston to take a step forward in 2014. The Astros need to at least be competitive and respectable. There needs to be progress. A lot of that will be determined in Spring Training as there are jobs up for grabs and many players and prospects looking to prove themselves.
The good thing at least, is that Jim Crane and the Astros are aiming high.
"Owner Jim Crane said that the Astros’ goal is to be baseball’s most improved team.“I think we can accomplish that,” Crane said. “We’ve added a bunch of players in the offseason, and we’re looking forward to the season. We have more depth with the bats, and they’ve brought in a lot of pitching to the bullpen. We’ll have some competition for a few spots. We’ll definitely be improved. We hope we can get it up above .500 this year.”"
However, the problem is that I think Crane is a year ahead of schedule. That or he should have spent more money in the off-season if this was the goal as the Astros still have some clear holes. But we do know that the future is bright.