The lashing out by fans this weekend has been much more intense than I expected. I knew people would be upset when Hunter Pence was traded. Heck – I was a little teary-eyed over that one, but I didn’t think the anger would go so deep. And now with this morning’s announcement that Michael Bourn will be playing in Atlanta in exchange for four players, the outrage hit a new height.
I’ve been reading Facebook statuses, twitter posts, Google + comments and the thoughts and words being directed towards Ed Wade and the Astros organization are scathing. It seems people feel that the team gets talent and immediately ships them off in the lead up to the trade deadline. I get why it feels that way. I get why it seems all our good players end up on other teams. Plus, we’ve become attached to these guys.
Players like Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn are friendly, good guys who contribute to the community and are generous with time and attention to fans. They’re fans’ ball players. Oh, and they’re pretty darn good ball players. They’re the hardest kind to lose. We had been spoiled in Houston for a long time, though. We had a core group of guys who were with the Astros for long, long stretches. They were “career Astros”. The team’s not like that anymore.
BUT – and this is a big but – we needed to lose some talent this year. Let’s face it folks, it’s not about winning this season. It probably won’t really be about winning next season. The Astros have used the term rebuilding for a couple of years, but haven’t fully committed to it. This year, it appears they’re committing. The next couple of years will be all rebuilding. I think I’ll custom Â make a shirt that says “Astros 2014″ because I think that season will be their true rebirth.
Until then, the name of the game is to trade for the best prospects that they can. The Astros’ farm system was neglected and the talent pool was starting to resemble a dust bowl. Without a strong farm system feeding talent up to the majors, a team is going to stink. That’s what had been happening. The good news? There’s some real potential in the kids that the Astros have acquired this season. Will they all pan out? Only time will tell.
So, yes, there’s some risk involved in these trades, but it’s risk that HAD to be taken. The Astros were not going to win more often with aging players and no one to pull from in the system when they needed help or depth. It’s been time to strip the major league club and rebuild the farm for a while now. They’d dipped a toe in previously. Now it appears they’ve really jumped in with both feet.
I know you’re mad. I know you’re sad. I know you’re upset. I also know that if you’re reading this, odds are you’re a true fan. True fans stick with the team through the good, the bad and the ugly. Hang in there, Houston. I know you’re mad about the trades, but think about it and I’d bet deep down you’ll agree…it’s about time.
Terri Schlather (AGirlintheSouth) is the Senior Houston Astros Writer for Aerys Sports. You can read her Astros blog atÂ www.talesfromthejuicebox.com, email her atÂ email@example.com, or follow her on twitter @agirlinthesouth.