Astros Winter Meetings notes
One thing the Astros aren’t going to be willing to do is trade away any of their top prospects. That’s not surprising considering how much of a commitment the club has made in the last three years to try to replenish its farm system through the draft and player development.
“Generally speaking, we’re going to be very, very reluctant to talk about the young players in our system,” general manager Ed Wade said. “We’ve spent a lot of years now waiting for a group of some substance to show up, and they just don’t show up. It’s a lot of hard work on the part of the scouts and the development guys, and we’re beginning to get there at this point.
“You can’t shortcut the process. We need to be patient with those guys, and being patient with them we have to be reluctant to move them because it doesn’t take a lot of moves to have it turn our poorly.”
The longer the Winter Meetings drag on, the less convinced I am the Astros will make any deals. Sure, that’s an easy assessment to make, but based on conversations with some in the organization, I feel there’s a decent chance Brian Bogusevic will be the club’s left fielder in a platoon situation with Jason Michaels in the event Carlos Lee is at first base.
“I think we could go to war with the players we have right now and not have to make any adjustments on our payroll, but at the same time it makes sense for us to be open-minded with regard to the structure of our club now because we may be able to free up additional payroll to do something that makes us better,” Wade said.
Pat Gillick, the former general manager of the Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners and Phillies, gave some credit to Astros president of baseball operations Tal Smith upon learning Monday he was inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
“He was the biggest influence on me,” Gillick said.
Smith and Gillick go back to their days with the Colt .45’s, when Paul Richards and Eddie Robinson brought Gillick to Houston. Smith was in charge of scouting and player development, and Gillick worked for him as a regional scouting director. Gillick followed Smith to he Yankees and two years later joined the Blue Jays.
The two men are so close they’ve often vacationed together in locations as such Hawaii and the Virgin Islands.
“He’s a very dear friend and we’ve stayed in touch in all his career moves,” Smith said. “He’s a superb guy. It’s a great honor and very deserving. Pat has done a lot of things. He’s been successful with the club he’s put together and had a great reliance on scouting, probably more so than anybody else in the game.
“The thing that separates him is the way he treats and deals with people. He makes everybody feel pretty good and that really inspires them. He works very hard himself and he expects other people to do so. He treats them well and creates a so-called baseball family. I think the results speak for themselves.”
Smith plans to be in Cooperstown, N.Y., when Gillick is inducted next year. That will mark only the third Hall of Fame induction ceremony Smith has attended. The others are Nolan Ryan and former Astros broadcaster Gene Elston.
If you remember, when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, Gillick immediately credited Wade for helping put that club together.