Up first are the Houston Astros who are under new ownership and entering their final year in the National League. The folks over at The Crawfish Boxes were kind enough to answer our questions and give us their insight, so without further delay here is the Houston Astros eCentral Information Part One:
TBB: There are a lot of rumors about the Astros changing their name and or colors once again when they switch over to the AL, do you see that as a good or bad idea? What is your impression of the new owner?
Timothy: The name change idea has officially been put to bed. The Astros got a lot of negative feedback about the possibility of changing the name so they've announced there will be no name change. On the other hand the uniform changes are very much still in play and a lot of the fan base is excited about the possibility of a uniform change in 2013. The current color scheme is based on Drayton McLane's other business venture and many fans are longing for the days of the blue and orange color scheme. Unfortunately, we won't here of announcement on the changes until after the season, but Jim Crane seems to be taking a hard look at it. It's a change I full support.
As for Crane himself, he's been open minded and very determined to get this organization back into contention. That's been a pleasant change of pace for Astro fans.
TBB: Clearly this is a team with a youth movement at foot, but your manager recently made a lot of noise (and a lot of jokes followed) by announcing Brett Myers as your closer. Is this a good move for you or is this a reach?
Timothy: This is a good move. The argument seems to boil down to whether it's better to have Myers as a closer or a starter. It doesn't matter, because Myers will likely be gone at the end of the season or if his option vests the end of the 2013 season. So what's it matter if he starts or relieves he's not part of the future. His trade value as a starter is non-existent and the difference in return for an average to below average starter vs. an average to above average relief pitcher wouldn't be that much different.
What moving Myers to the bullpen allows the Astros to do is look for a possible future starter that could contribute to a competitive team. There are no Matt Moore's or Jeremy Helickson's ready to step into the rotation, but baseball has a way of surprising us from time to time. Finding a surprise starter is a lot more important than finding a surprise reliever. Besides the bullpen could use some help.
TBB: With this being your swan song in the NL Central, what memories will you take with you?
Timothy: Early game times (I live on the East coast), the pitcher batting (as a representative of the Astros fan base I'm required to say this even though I actually like the DH), watching Bud Norris own the Cardinals, the 2004 and 2005 season and the awesome NLCS' with the Cardinals and last but not least the Milwaukee slide.
TBB: Brad Mills - Good, Bad, Indifferent?
Timothy: Last season the Astro fans had the hashtag '#millslogic' going, which had a negative connotation attached to it. He drove me crazy last season with the players he played (Angel Sanchez over Matt Downs) and the moves he made (bunting). But with a new front office in place and a new direction I'm willing to give him a clean slate this season to see if he makes an adjustments.
TBB: What is one position battle that you are keeping an eye on?
Timothy: Third base, Chris Johnson, Brett Wallace, Matt Downs and Jimmy Paredes are all in the hunt for the spot. I realize that outside of Houston those names wouldn't mean much to people, but Johnson may bounce back, Wallace is switching back to his college position from first, Downs opened some eyes last season and Paredes is very raw. All that should make for an interesting position battle.
*Bonus Question: Division Winner and why?
Timothy: Astros, because we're switching to the AL in 2013 and it would be cool to exit the National League with a championship and enter the American League with a championship. Back to back baby!