Alternate headline: "Three Things That Should Happen Immediately When Jim Crane Takes Over The Astros But Make Too Much Sense So Really There's No Chance Of Them Happening But It's Fun To Dream And Doesn't Jim Crane Look Like An Older Version Of Chris Parnell?
Since I clearly think Jim Crane should cut to the chase when he takes over, in the spirit of brevity - I too will cut to the chase. (After this intro, of course. And after this parenthetical. Oh right, brevity!)
1. Straight out release Carlos Lee
Financially responsible? Hell no. Baseball-wise, it would be a great move. If Carlos Lee can't hit home runs and drive guys in, he's totally useless because he quite literally can't do anything else, unless you count Sleep Apnea. Putting a forklift under Carlos and sending him out of town would also show the fans that Crane isn't going to let finances necessarily supersede smart baseball decisions. This would send an admittedly costly message, but I think it would kick things off on the right foot.
2. Call J.D. Martinez up from AA to the Majors. Never mind AAA.
The fact that Martinez is in AA is ridiculous. He's certainly not a can't-miss prospect by any stretch of the imagination, but he's hitting .327 in DOUBLE-A! He is 23 years old, not 19 or 20. 23! What possible explanation is there for why this guy is stuck in AA Corpus Christi? If the Astros weren't THE worst team in MLB, sure - I might suggest they just bump him to AAA Oklahoma City until it's time for end-of-year call-ups, but who would you rather have in left field for the Astros? Carlos Lee, some other guy who's over or nearing 30, or THE 23-YEAR OLD LEFT FIELDER FROM AA CORPUS CHRISTI WHO IS BATTING .327?
Here's the thing about Martinez. If he's actually going to amount to anything as a major leaguer, there's nothing that more minor league ball can help him with. He's not a kid anymore. He's at the age when most guys who turn out to be productive major league ballplayers are, um, already in the majors! He may turn out to be nothing, nothing at all - but there is literally no explanation of why he is in AA, and on a team that is this awful and still has no bright future ahead of it, what exactly is the holdup?
3. Direct Ed Wade to aggressively trade EVERYONE he can before the deadline.
(I just assume that Crane can't make a GM move off the bat as the guy he wants to replace Ed Wade is likely currently employed by another MLB team). Nobody's name should be off the table on the Major League level, and for all but Jordan Lyles on the minor league level. The Astros' best player is probably Hunter Pence. How sad is that? If the Astros can get anything for him, great. Brett Wallace is also doing well for this team, but obviously nobody on this roster is remotely approaching untouchable. The Astros have a couple of guys who could be complimentary pieces of a contender, but obviously there isn't a single solitary player who is anywhere close to a building block. Of course, trading a pitcher at the deadline is where most teams doing last-minute deals can make the most hay. Crane should direct his baseball people to get as much as they can get for Wandy Rodriguez and/or Brett Myers. Or anyone - anyone - else.
I'm very curious to see what kind of baseball guy Jim Crane is going to be. One very important key for me is that the second half of this completely garbage season isn't wasted in the sense that Crane could get some growing pains out of the way NOW, in hopes it will ease the transition into next year.