Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 10/31/11

For a couple of years now, I've been thinking that Ed Wade's "try to win now with a team full of lackluster vetrans" plan was going to backfire on the Astros. I'd say that 106 losses and a massive roster purge at the trade deadline counts as a backfire. The Astros are expected to have a new owner in 2012 and maybe a new league in 2013, which could obviously mean a new GM. So what will that new GM have on his hands?

 

 WHAT WENT RIGHT

The Astros gave up 796 runs this year, but in looking at their Baseball-Reference page, I thought to myself, "Well I think they had more pitchers have good years than hitters." So, uh, I guess we can say that Bud Norris and Wandy Rodriguez has pretty strong years, and those two thigns weren't entirely disastrous for them. They also got a pretty nice haul from the Phillies for Hunter Pence, and that was pretty important for them, all things considered. 

WHAT WENT WRONG

Everything. Just everything. The Astros best hitter this year was Hunter Pence, who's now a Phillie. Their second best hitter was Michael Bourn, who's now a Brave. Their third best hitter was Carlos Lee. Fat, old Carlos Lee who had a .788 OPS and hit 18 homers, his fewest homer total since 1999. Add in those 796 runs that the pitching staff gave up and ... yeah, 106 losses.

SURPRISES

Bud Norris is pretty quietly turning into good pitcher. He's always been a big strikeout guy, but in 2011 he started to rein his walks a bit, dropping them from 4.5 per nine innings last year to just 3.4 per nine this year, and as a result his ERA dropped by more than a run. He won't turn 27 until March, either, so there still might be a bit of room for improvement. That's hardly a huge surprise or a stunning development, but it's about the best the Astros had. 

DISAPPOINTMENTS

There's a lot to choose from here, but I'm leaning towards Brett Wallace at the moment. Houston handed him the first baseman's job after acquiring him from Toronto last year, and he repaid them with a .259/.334/.369 season. That's an alarming lack of pop (just five homers in 379 PAs) and it got him demoted back to Triple-A for a stretch this summer. He's only 24 and his minor league numbers are still quite good, so I'm not advocating giving up on him. Still, the Astros were hoping he'd be a bat that would become a fixture in the middle of their lineup and instead, he was demoted to Triple-A in August. 

2012 CHANGES

Well, most of the changes went down at the trade deadline. The 'Stros will likely continue to try and move Wandy Rodriguez, but no one was interested in picking up his contract during the season and that might not change over the winter. I'm sure they'd love to find someone to tak the last year of Lee's deal off of their hands, but that's pretty unlikely unless they're willing to eat a chunk of his $18.5 million salary. The 

POSITION BATTLES

Again, with so much up in the air it's hard to see where there might be position battles. Blake DeWitt might push Barney for more time at second, though he also might be the de facto third baseman if they let Ramirez walk and don't pick anyone up to fill the position. Obviously something needs to be done about the back end of the rotation, because Wells and Lopez aren't going to cut it. Casey Coleman could get a full year in the rotation if he improves his command some, but things are still pretty open behind him and Garza. Cubs' fans (and everyone, really) are expecting a lot from Epstein and Hoyer and rightly so, but it's not something that's going to happen overnight.

This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Baseball may soon enter an era of two-way players

Kyrie Irving: Cavs were served ‘slice of humble pie’

Report: NFL teams question Darrelle Revis’ commitment to the game

Zaza Pachulia partially blames Gregg Popovich for his family receiving death threats

Sens coach Guy Boucher: We know Pens 'are the better team'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

IndyCar drivers Dixon, Franchitti robbed at gunpoint in Taco Bell drive-thru

Fans in new Raiders Vegas stadium will be able to place bets on mobile devices?

Luke Walton not stressing LaVar Ball, cites his dad's 'big personality'

Ex-motorcycle champion Nicky Hayden dies after collision in Italy

Durant says he was ‘100 percent correct’ in joining Warriors

Medals handed out at Rio Olympics literally falling apart

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Box Score 5/19: Heartbreak in OT

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA power players continue to speak against Trump

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker