Sunday, July 31, 2011
We get it, Ed.
No really. Seriously. We honestly get it. The Houston Astros need to rebuild. That much has been patently obvious this season. The bullpen has been the athletic equivalent of a Uwe Boll film. The bullpen is last or next to last in the National League in almost every conceivable category including saves, ERA, hits allowed, HR allowed and runs allowed. Brandon Lyon, who was the closer to start the year, has an ERA of 11.48, which is possibly larger than his shoe size and most certainly higher than your intelligence quotient.
It's also called an IQ, Ed. I'll save you the trouble of having to look it up.
We know our #1 pitcher to start the year is an alleged wife beater who has an ERA approaching 5. Our best pitcher is a 32-year-old streaky southpaw who is at best a .500 pitcher. In fact, he's 69-71 for his career.
That's right, Ed. We know. Our best pitcher is a guy who is my age, and is below .500 for his career. That's pretty pitiful. And by the way, Ed, I'll save you trouble of your next argument which is "Well, Wandy's WAR is 2.3 which is the highest on the team."
He's also my age, Ed. He's not getting any better. And we know it. Spare me the new-fangled statistics, and look with your own two damned eyes, if you can bear the sight of what we've had to look at this year.
Ed, we also know that we have one of the shortest left field porches in the majors and the Astros are next to last in the National League in home runs. It was a park specifically designed for Jeff Bagwell and power-hitting right handers. Instead we have Big Fat Carlos Lee, our $100 million beer league softball cleanup hitter, who's hit 30+ home runs once in his entire stint with the Astros.
We don't hold that signing against you, of course. Big Fat Carlos was signed by your equally incompetent predecessor Tim Purpura. However, we do fault you for hiring the catering staff that keeps feeding him those $100 bills slathered in lard. Those aren't helping the cause.
So just to review, Ed. Our bullpen has blown more leads than Lindsay Lohan has dudes. Our starting rotation is riddled with mediocrity, inferiority and guys who only belong as a #1 starter in Lifetime movies about abusive husbands.
The Astros can't hit either as evidenced by the fact that our power hitter swings through the doors of Ruggles more often than he swings for the fences.
The Astros are 36-73, far and away the worst team in baseball. We need to look to the future.
So if we're all in agreement on that point, then tell us this: Why in the hell did you trade it?
Hunter Pence went 3-4 with a home run against the World Series winning San Francisco Giants on Thursday night. Sadly though, Pence did this wearing a Philadelphia uniform. They won 3-0.
Ed, you definitely don't realize this, but Hunter Pence was the simultaneously the present and the future of the franchise. He was a two-time All-Star, and he wasn't just an All-Star because the Astros needed a representative. He's currently eighth in the NL in batting average, 10th in RBIs, and in the top 20 in OPS. He still leads the team in HRs and RBIs even though he doesn't wear an Astros uniform any longer. He accomplished all this despite the fact that Pence has played the vast majority of the season for a team with a collective batting average of just .260. His only protection in the line-up was the constantly juggled duo of Jeff Kepinger and Angel Sanchez along with Big Fat Carlos who is too busy smearing cream cheese and barbecue sauce all over his $100 bills to care about his clean-up hitting duties.
So Pence pretty much had to go it alone and still produced respectably despite having less protection in the lineup than a broken condom.
And Ed, you traded him in his absolute prime for three prospects.
Let me clarify something to you about prospects, Ed. "Prospects" do not mean "sure thing." For example, I'm a single man, but I've been on a fair number of dates recently. The women I've been dating have been prospects for a long-term relationship. One woman who recently moved to Texas by way of Louisiana had potential, but I had to kick her to the curb because she got a little too flaky and greedy.
Another woman I'm currently seeing seems pretty cool, but the jury is still out on her right now. Yet another woman I went out with recently...well, let's just say her online profile picture was from about 30 pounds ago and let's just leave it there.
Ed, the same thing holds true here. The women I'm dating are prospects, not girlfriends, and certainly not wives. At least not yet. And the guys you acquired might turn out to be legit players, All-Stars in fact, but for now they are just like the women I go out to wine bars and play putt-putt golf with. They're prospects, and prospects don't always turn out for the best. Just ask Todd Van Poppel or Brien Taylor. Or for that matter, ask our current first baseman, Brett Wallace, who was one of the most balleyhooed prospects in recent memory. Wallace was a a two-time Triple Crown Winner at Arizona State University, and was the #27 prospect pre-2010 by Baseball America.
He's currently hitting .256 with six home runs. The jury is still out on Wallace, but he's not exactly setting the world on fire right now. And he was considered a great prospect.
So you just traded an All-Star for a group of guys that might--I stress, might--work out a few years from now. And why? Pence's contract doesn't expire until 2013, anyway. It's projected that the two biggest prospects, pitcher Jarred Cosart and 1B-OF Jonathan Singleton, won't even be ready for the big leagues until Pence's contract is near expiration.
You traded Houston's best player in exchange for two guys who won't be able to help the club for another two years? You traded Houston's best player for a couple of guys that you may have been able to acquire two years from now, especially if you needed Pence's expiring contract as a bargaining chip?
Ed, we all know about the rebuilding process, and Houston fans have been here before. Don't worry, we're veterans of the rebuilding process. But you still have to concern yourself with the present. And presently, you have absolutely no shot at getting anyone to the ballpark in the next two years. I mean, none.
How in the hell do you exactly plan on marketing this team, Ed? Everyone knows the franchise is rebuilding but for God's sakes, trading Pence still doesn't address how awful the bullpen. It doesn't address the shaky starting rotation and it doesn't address the fact that Big Fat Carlos is in the clubhouse smearing butter all over his baseball bat in an attempt to eat it.
Hunter Pence was the one reason that people were coming to ballpark. He's a Texas kid who grew up rooting for the Astros. Fans loved to see him choking up on the bat, his cannon arm in right field, and his hustle down the first base line. Pence always gave a damn, and carried the offensive load with nary a complaint publicly. He certainly wasn't in the Pantheon of Houston sports legends, but Pence was standing outside the doorway listening in on the conversations between Biggio, Bagwell, Nolan, Hakeem, Earl and the newest Pantheon member, Andre Johnson.
He was getting damned close, Ed, and you rudely slammed the door in his face. Ours as well.
We could accept rebuilding for the next two years if Hunter Pence had been the center of the rebuilding process. We could accept rebuilding if we knew that we could go to the yard, watch the pieces start to come together with Pence as the focal point of marketing campaigns, encouraging everyone to come out and support the team.
We could even understand if Pence needed to go in a 2013 trading deadline deal provided that the Astros still weren't getting any better, but got a really good deal in return.
But this, Ed? This? What is this? Instead of building the pieces around Pence for the next two years, you've decided to field a team that is still inept at virtually every phase of the game, won't be any better for the foreseeable future, and might--might--be better depending on how "prospects" turn out.
And while you're waiting for the prospects turn out, how exactly are the Astros marketing team suppose to spin this for the next few years? What kind of campaign are they going to have to produce in order to get people to come watch the team play?
Your 2012 Houston Astros: We Make Losing Creative
Your 2012 Houston Astros: Come to Minute Maid Park or Brett Myers Will Have to Choke a Bitch
Your 2012 Houston Astros: You Gonna Eat That?
And if the prospects don't work out, Ed, then what? Are we going to see years of endless gimmicks, ridiculous promotions and bobbleheads just to get people to come out to watch what was once a great franchise play baseball?
It's got a lot of fans pissed off, but from the looks of it, I'd say they're getting pissed on too.
Actually, that sounds like a great promotion now that I think of it.
Your Houston Astros For The Indefinite Future: Enjoy The Golden Shower Years
If only that weren't such an apt metaphor for what just happened, Ed. Truth be told, Hunter Pence might get a World Series ring this year along with Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt. And if that happens, you'll be singing in the rain completely oblivious to the mess you've just made.
For the rest of us, we see a future controlled by a man who thinks all a season down the toilet needs is another flush.
What a pisser.