Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 4/5/12
It's fittingthat the Astros plan a year-long celebration of thefranchise's 50th anniversary because the 2012 team seems like an expansion club all over again.Never in the history of the franchise has there been so much turnover in management, player personnel and philosophy all at one time. Ten players will be on the Opening Day roster for the first time. There's a new owner, Jim Crane;a new CEO,George Postolos; and a new general manager, Jeff Luhnow,who specializes in analytics, thoughthat word was not part of the baseball lexicon in 1962, when the Astros still were known as the Colt .45s. Whatcertainly is different in 2012 as opposed to 1962 is patience by the fans. Player salaries, ticket prices and publicly financed stadiums tend to exhaustfans' willingness to endure losing seasons. Yet this is where the Astros are today, an organization that will have to go through the pains of rebuilding. We will give Crane the benefit of the doubt and presumethis is a temporary state and not a perpetual approach. Otherwise, you get the Pirates. The first test of Crane's willingness tospend the extra buck to compete comes next year, when Carlos Lee's contract is off the books and revenues from the new television network begin to kick in.Don't expect Crane to jump into the deep end of the free-agent pool, but at some point the club must resume the process of winning or try.By the end of the upcoming season, Luhnow should have a pretty good idea which of hisyoung gunsactually is part of the long-terms solution, and in which areas the team will have to spend money. The bottom line is that no team does it only with its own products. But for the time being, we will watch the kids grow. Some will blossom, some will fail and others will be somewhere in the middle. Two names not on the Opening Day roster worth keeping an eye on for 2012 are Paul Clemens and Jimmy Paredes. Clemens, a pitcher acquired from the Braves in the Michael Bourn deal, got the attention of management during spring training. At24, he will begin the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, but if he continues to progress like the organization believes he can, he could be on the major league club before the end of the season.Paredes, too, will begin at Triple-A and will be converted back to a second baseman. His athleticism and upside are impressive, and if Jose Altuve isn't willing to take more than one pitch per week, Paredes may be with the big club soon. This will be a season of discovery. Just like 1962.
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