Sep 16, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; General view of a base before a game between the Houston Astros and the Cleveland Indians at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Outside of the Astros organization, people laugh at Houston since they have Jeff Luhnow as their General Manager. He has been getting torn apart on social media for years over a plethora of things that have happened in Houston.
Think about everything that has happened since he took over as the GM: Three consecutive 100-loss seasons; the George Springer contract debate; the possible transactions being leaked from the Nerd Cave; the Brady Aiken 2014 Draft fiasco; Jose Altuve not being allowed to play the final game of the season, until there was an outrage all over social media; and most recently, Michael Feliz being left off the 40 man roster until the final hour last night.
I’m sure I’m missing some, but let’s really think about everything he has been blamed for over the years. Whether tanking for a few seasons was part of “The Process” or not, I do know that it helped us see who really will take this team to the next level. It has shown that guys like Matt Dominguez and Jonathan Villar aren’t part of the long-term plans, while players like Jose Altuve and Dallas Keuchel can be counted on for years to come. It’s allowed us to see the prospects like George Springer and Jon Singleton get their feet wet at the Major League level with top prospects Carlos Correa and Mark Appel just around the corner. And most importantly, it has allowed the system to be stacked from top-to-bottom.
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We will probably never know the entire story behind the Brady Aiken situation, but any GM in their right mind would not make up a story to lose their 1.1 pick. And can you honestly blame him for the contract offered to Springer? People seem to forget that Altuve signed a contract very similar last summer, and Singleton also signed a similar contract in the middle of this season.
Now I will admit, the way he handled Altuve’s last game of the season was questionable, but he ended up making the right call in the end. What people seem to ignore is that the Rockies did the exact same thing with Justin Morneau this season, but nobody talked about it. And barring another Nerd Cave leak, we’ll never know what potential talks were going on leading up to the 40 man roster needing to be set.
But I do know he has a plan, and that plan is to make the Astros a winner in the long-term. A few years at the very bottom will all be worth it if the Astros are World Series contenders year after year. No matter how much we feel like we know every little thing going on behind closed doors, the fact of the matter is we don’t. We can only speculate based on what we see on social media or read on the internet. And let’s face it, Luhnow is never going to be the most popular guy in the room with his “Moneyball” approach, but that doesn’t mean he’s the bad guy.
I am curious to know what the readers of Climbing Tal’s Hill think. Does Luhnow get blamed too much? Does he not get blamed enough? Please sound off in the comments below.