How not to solve the Astros’ problems

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Richard Justice has a story today in which he asks Lance Berkman about how the Astros should go about rebuilding when the new ownership group comes on board.

I can’t say I disagree with most of what Berkman says. Sure, he’s a little too kind to the Astros’ current rotation, but it’s not like he’s going to throw opponents under the bus in that kind of setting.  The general idea, though: keep the on-field management you have and think long term rather than short term is the right move.

I did have a chuckle at Justice’s intro to the article, however:

One of the things I hope Jim Crane does over the next few weeks is sit down with Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio about how the Astros got into this mess and how they can get out of it. Why wouldn’t Crane want the perspective of two of the best and smartest players this franchise has had?

How about this: because an overdeveloped sense of devotion and fealty to Biggio and Bagwell and all of the respectable veterany goodness that came with them is what got the Astros into trouble in the first place.  Maybe it’s not their fault — someone in that front office should have burnt things down and rebuilt after it became clear in the 2006 season that the Killer Bs Astros had peaked already — but the Astros’ central problem right now is a direct result of too much deference to those guys.

If Biggio and Bagwell actually have solid baseball ideas, great, let’s hear them. But their views on the matter should carry no more weight than anyone else’s because teams that successfully rebuild do so by looking to the future, not looking to the past.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.