Bud Norris takes the hill tonight against Joe Saunders and the Seattle Mariners. In the first game back since the All-Star break, many wonder how much longer Norris will be sporting the Houston Astros uniform.
Considered to be the biggest talent in the Astros’ starting pitcher rotation, there is no question that Norris would be an asset to a contending club. Houston has garnered an infamous reputation as the club that trades away its talent, much to the joy of its rivals.
The Houston Astros are not a serious threat to division championships for the very near future, but the five-year plan differs greatly. Owner Jim Crane has something of a stingy streak, but he believes in the future of this club. The methods by which he imagines success are strange to many, and sports fans are notoriously impatient; they don’t view their beloved teams in business terms, but rather they pine for short-term production. This is the lambasting nature of all sports supporters, and when things are going as slowly as they are now for the Astros, the expected calls for heads to roll are not far away.
Houston has one of the best farm systems in the majors. At the All-Star Futures game last weekend, they were tied at the top with three representatives, and their minor league teams are either at or near the top in all divisions. For those in the know, things are progressing according to plan.
It is a big gamble by the managers of the club, and it is yet to be seen if it will pay off and Houston emerges as an important club in the majors once again. It may well blow up in their faces, and change is always a worrying endeavor. But should it work, and if the Houston faithful stick with their loyalty to the big picture, then grand aspirations will come surging back to Minute Maid Park.