Astros: Think Twice about Edwin Encarnacion
By Clint Irle
A certain slugger from up north is rumored to be a potential fit for the Astros.
Ken Rosenthal mentioned the Houston Astros as a suitor for Edwin Encarnacion. There is no denying Encarnacion’s abilities and stature in the game, but is he what the team needs?
However, the team should remain cautious when pursuing a large-market player such as Encarnacion. Yesterday, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said that they are open to signing a player with a draft pick attached. Luhnow also said they will be aggressive early, so will they go after Encarnacion?
Chemistry is Everything
In Houston, they have developed a culture in the clubhouse. There is an air of selflessness, an atmosphere built on the chemistry between each player. The problem that Encarnacion can raise for the club is a conflict of chemistry. Encarnacion is a marquee player. He can very well be bigger than the organization. This overwhelming shadow would conflict with the fun-loving nature of the Houston roster.
Win to Get In
This team needs to acquire wins, which means acquiring runs. Encarnacion will help with that. However, was there truly a lack of offensive production in 2016? Even with Jason Castro and Colby Rasmus barely hitting their weight (BA being similar to their body weight), the Astros managed to stay above .500 in win percentage. They were also in the hunt for a wildcard birth until the last week of the season.
To win games, the Astros will need to produce better quality starts. The bullpen will need to end games with conviction. The starting rotation was less than stellar in 2016. The fall of Dallas Keuchel and the injury to Lance McCullers hindered the rotation from producing quality starts. All in all, the pitching staff will be more scrutinized as the part of the team that hurt the team’s chances in the playoffs.
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What We Learned from 2016
We watched the Indians and Cubs win close postseason games. These games are not won with the bat; they won on the mound. The framework for these teams was to take the lead into the later part of games and allow their bullpens to close the game. We watched our former Cy Young winner regress to his earlier form, our dynamic young arm fall to injury, and our bullpen struggles to hold strong in pivotal moments. All in all, we watched an Astros team that produced plenty of runs but lacked quality starts.
General manager Jeff Luhnow and the front office should tread lightly on Encarnacion. Something is brewing in the organization. The belief, the ability and the mentality is slowly developing into each player.
Next: Astros Jose Altuve a Finalist for AL MVP
Again, let’s not rush the process of greatness, Astros fans.