Making it into the postseason and then advancing to the divisional round has “brought a measure of validation” to the Astros’ all-out rebuild, Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal writes. “Your work speaks for itself,” said GM Jeff Luhnow after last night’s win. “There’s always critics along the way if you’re trying to do something different or something unique. But we had confidence that we were on the right path, and I think the results are starting to show.” As Costa rightly notes, it’s important to bear in mind that “many of the most promising young players acquired by Luhnow haven’t even reached the majors yet.” The true measure of the Houston project, I’d suggest, is in how lengthy and fruitful an overall contention window it creates (with all the economic benefits that would be expected to come with that).
- Of course, Houston did not manage to hang on to its division lead, and the Rangers’ surprising surge to the top of the West is every bit as validating to its general manager, writes Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Engel praises Jon Daniels for a series of moves that helped the club wade through its significant injury and performance issues of 2015. Certainly, it’s impossible to argue with the results, particularly since they came as Daniels and company were simultaneously making various future-oriented decisions.
- Left in the wake of the those two division leaders were a trio of disappointing teams. Whatever other issues were involved, the Mariners never recovered from a single disastrous homestand in late May and early June, writes Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. They’ve turned the baseball operations department over to Jerry Dipoto, of course.
- As for the Angels, who parted ways with Dipoto in mid-season and fell just short of qualifying for post-season play, new GM Billy Eppler faces a lengthier to-do list than Dipoto did last winter, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. Another middle-of-the-order bat, preferably left-handed, might be the biggest need, while a resolution at third base is also critical. Fletcher also says that the club could look to bolster its output at second base and catcher, while contemplating the addition of a top-end arm. The piece goes on to talk about possible trade chips, theoretical trade and free agent targets, and other contractual matters.