HOUSTON - AUGUST 21: Wandy Rodriguez #51 of the Houston Astros looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at Minute Maid Park on August 21, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston faces a difficult road ahead, but that path became clearer this week with the hiring of sabermetrically-inclined Jeff Lunhow as General Manager. There's also the prospect of facing the suddenly terrifying (and nearly-joined) AL West duopoly in the Angels and Rangers, why Mills returns as manager, Rule 5 draft results, and what the recent Mark Buerhle and C.J. Wilson contracts mean for Houston's Wandy Rodriguez. Let's check in:
Contracts for Buehrle and Wilson Bode Well for Wandy Trade Options - The Crawfish Boxes
"Remember how Astros fans (author included) verbally slaughtered former GM Ed Wade for extending Wandy Rodriguez, who has three years and $36 million left on his deal? All of a sudden, Rodriguez has a comparatively favorable contract, a list of suitors who missed out on Wilson and Buehrle, is in some ways a better pitcher than both, is left-handed, and the Astros have incentive to move him."
The return of Mills makes sense - Tag's Lines
"Mills, who will return for the final year of his contract in 2012, has two years under his belt as manager (132-192 record) and has seen the Major League club stripped and payroll dropped while the team stockpiles prospects in a rebuilding phase."
Astros select hard-throwing Cruz in Rule 5 draft, acquire another shortstop candidate - Steve Campbell
"The Astros took Rhiner Cruz, a righthanded relief pitcher from the New York Mets farm system, with the No. 1 pick overall in the Rule 5 draft. A trade later in the morning effectively added another Rule 5 pick to the fold in the form of shortstop Marwin Gonzalez, who had been a Chicago Cubs farmhand."
- New Astros GM delivers his plan for success - Ultimate Astros
"On the player side, further cuts could becoming to a payroll that has been diced in the last two years as the team looks to move veterans Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Carlos Lee and start over from almost nothing beyond cost-controlled pre-arbitration players."
- New GM Jeff Luhnow has the know-how - Ultimate Astros
"The first Luhnow pick, center fielder in Colby Rasmus in 2005, because the Cardinals most acclaimed position prospect since Albert Pujols before become the centerpiece of a 2011 trade that brought back pitchers Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel and Mark Rzepczynski. The Luhnow drafts yielded three prospects the Cardinals flipped for left fielder Matt Holliday, as well as key World Series contributors such as pitcher Jaime Garcia and outfielder Allen Craig."
- Jeff Luhnow Interview (2009) - Beyond the Box Score
On Sabermetrics: "It is clear that there are numerous very talented and smart people who study the game and develop amazing and true insights. MGL and Tango’s book is a great example of this, as is the work shared and discussed on their website. I’ve had a chance to talk to and work with both of them and they are first rate baseball thinkers. To me, these two and many more like them are an important part of our industry… both in terms of helping shape the game in some ways as well as generating public interest in the analytical part of the game."
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