By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Astros Can Be Houston Proud
HOUSTON, TX.—The Houston Astros can feel good about themselves.They can be Houston Proud.
Yes, it would have been nice to have won the World Series.The important thing is that they were there.There were 28 other MLB teams that would have traded places with the Astros.
Drayton’s (team owner Drayton McLane) Boys of Destiny became Champions, just as he promised.
General Manager Tim Purpura must be commended for not panicking and keeping the team together after that 15-30 start.
The Astros won their first National League Pennant in team history.It took them 44-years, but it is better late than never.
The Chicago White Sox proved t o be the better team.The Astros should not feel bad, because the White Sox defeated everyone else to get to the World Series.You might want to call the White Sox a team of destiny.
Can the Astros be better and return to the World Series in 2006? I don’t think they can without some changes in personnel.They must realize that they defeated an Atlanta Braves team for the Division title that had an injured Chipper Jones and twelve rookies on the roster.You can expect the Braves to be better.They won the NL Pennant by defeating an injured St. Louis Cardinals team that without third baseman Scott Rolen.
The Astros can be better in 2006.For them to be better, they must make some changes in personnel.It is obvious that a true left fielder with power is needed.Lance Berkman should be left at first base.Jason Lane has improved as an outfielder in right field.Center fielder Willy Taveras came up from Double A and had to make some big adjustments.He should be better next season.
It is not clear if Roger Clemens will return.If Roger does not return they must find another starter. They will have $18 million to play with. They paid Roger $18 million.They could get two or three players for $18 million.
Without Roger, the Astros are looking at a possible starting rotation of Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte, Brandon Backe and Wandy Rodriguez.This is a good starting four.The jury is still out on Ezequiel Astacio.Astacio is still young.Do you give up on him?
They must decide what they are going to do with Chris Burke.How long will he have to wait on Craig Biggio before he can become the team’s second baseman? It is a given that the Astros would like to keep Biggio around to see him reach the 3, 00-hit plateau.
It would take him another season and part of a second season to reach 3,000 hits.
Biggio does not have the range at second base he use to have.He had a team high 16 errors.
A bigger question concerns Jeff Bagwell.Can Jeff make a comeback?At this point, it doesn’t look good for him.If Jeff cannot return, how will his contract be handled?He has another year left on his contract.
Catcher Brad Ausmus is not getting younger.Ausmus had some key hits in the late part of the season, but his best days are behind him.Look for the team to try and find a catcher, even if they decide to keep Ausmus.
Adam Everett is one of the best defensive shortstop in the league, but can they deal with another season of weak hitting from him? He hit less than 100 in the World Series. His defense also suffered. His 14 errors was a career high.
Third baseman Morgan Ensberg did not have a good postseason, but he had a career year during the regular season.Ensberg hit 36 homeruns, drove in 101 runs and had a .283 batting average.Don’t mess with third base.