The guys at DRaysBay do a heck of a job, and one of the reason I was so excited about our rule five pick Aneury Rodriguez, was that many of the guys who frequent the site where spitting mad to have lost him. They know their stuff. So when Jason Collette has this take on the rumors this week that Andrew Friedman, executive vice president of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays, might be interested in taking Ed Wade's place in Houston once the Jim Crane ownership group takes over, you sit up and take notice.
He goes short of calling some of the arguments for Freidman taking a job with the Astros bunkum and some of the comments are quite enlightening too. We don't know how how close his ties are with Houston, having been born but leaving the city after high school.
Our own David Coleman wrote on Friday that he would have a hard time believing the rumors until he heard it from Friedman personally, and I would slide with that. It would be a difficult sell for Jim Crane to any high level GM, but who else could he court? Los Angeles Dodgers Kim Ng has been talked about as a future GM. Billy Beane would be a huge name, but has been with the A's a long time.
Friedman would obviously have to look at the organisation as it stands and really look at if the Astros even possess any of the building blocks for potential success in the upcoming decade. The prognosis does not look good, and you wonder whether any GM would prefer for Ed Wade to shift the team's movable assets now, or wait until the offseason, when a new front office can assess the future needs of the franchise, put a long-term place in plan, and bring in the correct pieces to help the franchise move forward.
This is why Wade has to be very careful as the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline approaches. He has to prey on desperate teams and ask for as much as he dared ask for, or hold onto his remaining 'assets.' I could spend all day devising scenarios that would see Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Wandy Rodriguez, Jeff Keppinger and Brett Myers moved for as much as we can get, but rival GMs will approach Wade thinking they can swindle a desperate man, vainly trying to hold onto his job.
Friedman's track record speaks for itself, and no-one will question the fact that this franchise needs something pretty extraordinary to pull itself out of its current rut, but its Friedman the only person to do it? Is he a wizard? As the above article points out the building blocks for the Rays recent success was partly in place. As David pointed out a year ago when comparing Gerry Hunsicker to Wade as GMs, one of the reason the former had such success was that the pieces were already there when he was hired by Drayton McLane. Why would Friedman risk his career on a franchise still rock bottom of the fangraphs organisational rankings, albeit in a very jaundiced way?
Are any of the pieces really there? The major league roster is full of bit part players, Corpus Christi has some exciting talent but none of the prospects there have very high ceilings, and the rest are pretty far away from the majors. It would take two or three highway robbery type deals this summer to swing things round for the club.
And the problems seem to be getting to manager Brad Mills, who called a team meeting earlier in the week, but after beating the Pirates 8-2, they have dropped their last three games and are now 7-27 over their last 34 games.
Watching Jose Altuve this afternoon in the Futures All-Star Game should be good fun, and maybe even Pence will get a look in on Tuesday, and it will be fun to see the Astros rumor mill go haywire over the next three weeks, but there is nothing fun about watching this team. The season can't end soon enough.