Minute Maid Park: The Old Folks' Home
So reading around on the internets yesterday, I discovered that the Houston Astros do, indeed, have an organization philosophy when it comes to developing talent.
According to an article on one of the team's draft choices this year, Ed Wade said that "If anybody is wondering what the philosophy is of the organization, the word is getting out to the kids, because this is a chance to get in and prove what they're capable of doing and get to the big leagues as soon as possible." (h/t Astros County).
As I was reading that yesterday, I was watching the Astros get swept by the New York Yankees. The Astros getting swept by the Yankees wasn't that surprising. But Sunday's lineup included aging journeyman Kevin Cash at catcher, aging journeyman Brian Moehler on the mound, aging journeyman Geoff Blum starting at first, aging journeyman Pedro Feliz starting at third, aging journeyman Cory Sullivan starting in left field, and aging journeyman Jeff Keppinger at second base.
An organization in which the youngsters were getting the chance to prove what they're capable of doing would have probably had tried phenom Jason Castro starting at catcher. Wesley Wright was used as a situational lefty out of the bullpen, which is pretty funny seeing as how they keep talking about how they want him to be a starter.
So why not start him in favor of Moehler and see what Wright can do?
Chris Johnson is once again tearing up Triple-A pitching, so why not see what he can do at third base in Houston?
Sure, the Astros are paying a lot of money to Feliz, but supposedly, the organizational philosophy is to give the young kids a chance, and I can't help but think that Johnson has earned a chance to prove what he can do.
How about Edwin Maysonet? He was more than adequate in the majors last season, playing second and short. But I guess that doesn't matter the Astros.
Or how about finally giving outfielders Jason Bourgeois and Brian Bogusevic their chances to prove what they're capable of?
You really don't expect me to believe that Jason Michaels and Cory Sullivan are superior to these guys, do you?
And I know the Astros are paying Carlos Lee a lot of money, but he's really nothing more than a waste of a roster spot.
Sure, maybe those guys just aren't able to make it on the major league roster.
But the only way to find out is to actually give them a chance on the major league roster.
Then again, I'm sure that is all, somehow, the fault of Roy Oswalt.
Oswalt, if you haven't heard, made it clear, once again this weekend, that he wants out of the dump known as the Houston Astros.
The Astros however, seem to be doing anything they can to make this difficult with their demand that any team wanting Oswalt pick up the entirety of his contract.
Since the Astros generally don't trade players, they're probably not aware of how it works, but generally, when a sucky team is trying to offload a player with a big contract, they try to get as many contracts as possible while agreeing to pay a large portion of the remaining contract.
But the Astros, going against the Ed Wade philosophy about youngsters, appear to be more concerned about the contract than they do the prospects.
But this is all Oswalt's fault since he's being a diva. Apparently, he should just shut up and continue to be stuck on the Astros because asking to be dealt to a team that actually wants to win is evidence that Oswalt has a bad attitude that is destroying the team and keeping it from winning.
Personally, I put that blame on Drayton McLane, for destroying the farm system for the better part of a decade while wasting tons of cash on the likes of Carlos Lee.
Ed Wade can't escape blame for convincing Drayton to sign the likes of Kazuo Matsui, Brandon Lyon -- really, is any set-up guy worth what the Astros are paying? -- and Feliz.
And it would be nice to see Wade actually follow through on something he says and give some of the youngsters an actual chance to play baseball.
Personally, I just feel sorry for those youngsters signing contracts with the Astros and expecting to get an actual chance to prove what they can do.
As long as there are aging major leaguer rejects on the market, the Astros are almost always going to give them a chance over the kids fighting for a chance.