Dreaming with the Astros

You know, I’ve been talking to a few people and I’ve discovered that, apparently, I’m this really mean guy. And in reality, I’m not. So, I’m turning over a new leaf. I’m going to be nice.

For instance, take this blog posting from my buddy Richard Justice. It’s not much, it’s just Richard making his best guess at what next season’s opening day lineup will look like. And I can’t argue with it, too much.

This would’ve made me mad in the past. Not Justice’s post, but what Justice was proposing. I’d be pissed because of that lineup. Because of how that lineup is so close to this year’s lineup. So close to that great lineup that the team has been fielding this year. For those who don’t want to jump over to Justice, what he proposed for the lineup was the winning combination of Chris Burke at second, Ty Wigginton at third, Adam Everett at short, Lance Berkman at first, Carlos Lee in left, Hunter Pence in right, J.R. Towles at catcher, and the new addition of Aaron Rowand in center. Oh, and my favorite, Brad Lidge as closer.

I’d be angry because the team would be still shoving Burke and Everett at us as everyday players when they’ve so consistently shown that they aren’t everyday players. I’d be angry because management’s still trying to convince everyone that Lidge is getting his stuff back and that he’s going to be the pre-Albert Pujols closer.

But I’m not like that anymore. I’m going to be positive. And why am I going to be positive? Jason Lane is why I’m going to be positive. The Astros finally got rid of Jason Lane. And if the Astros can finally come their senses about Jason Lane, well, maybe the team can finally come to its senses about Lidge. And Everett. And Burke.

It’s possible, isn’t it? Maybe Ed Wade is the right man at the right time. Maybe Ed Wade, having convinced them to dump Lane, can finally convince them to get rid of Everett and Burke and Lidge.

And while I’m being positive here, I’d like to make this proposal to Drayton McLane. Drayton, forget about Aaron Rowand. He’s having a career year, and he’s not going to come cheap. If you’re going to throw that kind of money out there at a centerfielder, may I suggest you give Torii Hunter a phone call. He’s pretty much made it clear he won’t be with the Twins next year. He’s one of the best fielders in baseball. He’s got a good bat, and he’s got speed. With Hunter and Pence in the lineup (wow, just think, Hunter Pence in center and right), Lee could goof off as much as he wanted in left field because the ground would be covered by the others.

Here’s the most important reason to call Hunter: he’s got a home in Texas, and he wants to play in Texas. You love guys with connections to Texas. Sure, he wants to play for the Rangers, but I’m sure that just the right offer would convince him to come to Houston. Just remind him of how hot it gets in Arlington and about how the Rangers don’t have a roof and air-conditioning. Just talk to him about Tal’s Hill and make him imagine how often he would appear on SportsCenter making his patented acrobatic catches running up that hill.

It’s Kismet.

But it won’t happen. And I’m not sure that it should happen. I love Torii Hunter. I love his attitude. I’d love to watch him in roaming MMP for many, many years. But the Astros don’t need Torii Hunter. Or Aaron Rowand.

The Astros need to start over. The Astros need to blow it all up and begin anew. Going into this off-season, the Astros should have only two untouchables, Pence and Roy Oswalt. Carlos Lee might actually be able to get the Astros some young players. Same for Berkman. And Lidge could possibly bring in some young minor league talent. The Astros need to party like it’s 1991. When those young kids named Bagwell and Gonzalez and Finley and Harnisch and Kile and Schilling were meeting old men Biggio and Caminiti. That team would be set for years. Like a whole decade maybe.

I don’t think that’s going to happen either. I don’t think the Astros under Drayton McLane are that forward thinking. But it’s a nice dream. It’s a nice play to go, to visit. And normally I wouldn’t have dreams like that. I’d have nightmares. But Ed Wade traded Jason Lane. He got nothing for Jason Lane, but he still got someone to take him.

And if that can happen, anything can happen.

Now, you’re going to have to excuse me because Ashley’s calling me back to bed. -- John Royal


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