The Houston Astros and general manager Jeff Luhnow have taken a lot of heat over the past couple of months for their decision making and general way of going about business. They have been criticized for their contract negotiations with George Springer and Jon Singleton. They have been criticized for letting their team’s network get hacked, which released very sensitive material that involved other teams onto the internet. Now, they are coming under fire for not signing first-overall pick Brady Aiken.
The only thing that matters in baseball is the only the thing the Astros should be worrying about — winning. It seems as though the Astros are always in the wrong when it comes to what they are doing while building their team from the ground up. If the plan to build a winner doesn’t fit and goes against the “standard” way that many major league executives feel a team should be ran, the team is ostracized. The same thing happened to Billy Beane with the Oakland Athletics introduced money ball.
First, it was wrong for the Astros to not sign veterans that would help them finish .500 at best. What is the point in signing a player just to sing them? If they don’t make the team a winner then it is better to not waste the money. Instead, they chose to trade off any major talent from their roster to help fill their farm system.
After they were accused of tanking, the Astros drafted Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers Jr. and Mark Appel in consecutive drafts to help deepen their farm system. After time, the negativity silenced and the Astros were glorified for sticking with their plan. The farm system was voted best in baseball and the Astros were all of a sudden doing things “right.” Then, the way the Astros negotiated contracts with their top prospects offended people.
Springer was offered a contract by the Astros before the season started and he turned it down. The Astros got huge backlash, claiming Springer was low-balled and he was sent down because he declined the contract. The Astros didn’t keep him on the roster because he strikes out a ton, which is still an issue for him. He has struck out more than 100 times in less than 300 at-bats. It shows the Astros were telling the truth in their reasoning for sending him down.
The Astros eventually signed Singleton to a team-friendly deal and everyone not in the Astros’ organization claimed the Astros took advantage of him. Singleton chose to take the money now instead of waiting on what the future may hold. They didn’t force Singleton to sign the contract. Claiming they took advantage of a player that voluntarily signed a contract worth millions of dollars is ludicrous.
Now, the Astros are dealing with the backlash of not signing Aiken. Their best option at this point is to continue to do what they are doing. They need to build the team their way and not worry about what other negative critiques they may receive. Winning is all that matters, and the Astros are headed in that direction.