Didn't the astros net Alex White from the Rockies? I like his upside in the rotation if so.. Also, I thought they were moving paredes to the OF in order to make room for him. He looked to have a decent season in AAA... I think they will be bad, potentially historically bad.. But I like the direction they're headed. They can fast track some talent, let the kids play.
And this assumes that either or both of these players will sign with a bottom feeding team like Houston, decline a no-trade clause, and allow themselves to be flipped at will.
It seem slike a great idea on paper, but rthese types of signings rarely, if ever, occur for top level players.
The question is for the Astros: "Will this guy be on our team when we're good?" Meaning, is this guy a Brandon Phillips or Joey Votto type, or is he a Ryan Freel or Ken Griffey Jr type?
The Astros apparently decided that their window will not open for 3-4 more years because they didn't want to keep Lowrie just to play on bad to average teams.
By that rule, they did well to cash in on Lowrie, who they got for a reliever. So Mark Melancon = a young starting DH, another reliever, and a 21 year old advanced catcher. I wouldn't say they are treading water at all.
As far as payroll, I do agree that it's pretty insulting to the Houston market to provide a team without any real FA talent. I think there is a lot of sense in picking up a big name to help sell tickets. They could do that no problem.
OTOH, if they are stashing that money, then in 2015 or so, they may be able to buy whoever they want. 50 million per year over 3 years and all the sudden they have a huge money tree to pluck from for a decade.
But I don't think they're going 100% prospects. They've got some guys with MLB experience with legitimate upside who've struggled recently. Bedard comes to mind.
My main point was that they really didn't have many other viable options on a route to take. The FA market really wasn't very good, at least not good enough to make that dud of a franchise into a contender. And if you're going to spend a boatload of money in the FA market, if you're not shooting for a contender...what's the point? Spending money just to make your team stay above water without striving for a championship is kinda crazy IMO.
I can get behind the idea of signing FA's in order to keep from rushing prospects. But to just sign them to avoid looking like an embarrassment...nah.
As for FAs, the Astros could do something like the Reds did signing Dave Parker in 1984 after two years of embarrassing teams. They gotta start somewhere, not just continuing to deal anybody with value for prospects, throwing them all up on the wall, and hope they stick.
There's no reason why they couldn't have spent some money on a few reclamation projects or vets on one year deals to make the team not a complete joke. Also, having the club be in a position where they aren't forced to call up prospects early is beneficial long term for the player development.
I guess I"m not too upset, because I'm not an Astros fan, but they are as bad (if not worse) than the Marlins franchise right now. Maybe down the road it pays off, but then they are going to have the same problem many of these "burn" franchises have.. When the team becomes respectable again, are there going to be any fans left that care (after 5+ horrible seasons)
Plus, I suspect the real drag on those two getting signed is their agent. Of course more than a few teams deserve to be pilloried for not signing Bourn and Lohse. The Orioles are placing their bets on Nate McLouth when they could have Bourn instead? Seriously? The Boston Comedy Sox pitching staff couldn't benefit from signing Lohse? Or the White Sox? The Twins ought to want him back. In other circumstances fans ought to be up in arms that their teams are letting quality players sit on the shelf. Why spend you money if the team won't spend its money? The mitigating factor is Boras. It's reasonable to believe he's still being unreasonable.