No more waiting
We have seen today two moves by Tim Purpura and the Astros that finally mark a radical shift in direction: the acquisition via trade of slugger Aubrey Huff for two prospects and cash; and the departure, just announced moments ago, of hitting coach Gary Gaetti (not to mention Jason Lane leaving for Triple-A).
Purpura has made his first big deal as General Manager; and what we have seen today portrays a very simple yet powerful message: Start hitting the ball.
Something we’ve all said all along. This is the worst offense in the Senior Circuit, no doubt about it. And it better improves, no excuses allowed this time.
It’s nice to see the lines of communication working well between Purpura and his former boss, Gerry Hunsicker, now Rays GM. Hunsicker agreed to trade Huff, a much-needed step to get his plans to build a franchise going (not a rebuilding process, they have never been contenders). He takes with him two interesting promises, including highly-coveted Ben Zobrist. But a baseball cliche says "prospects are just a promise". The Astros need to fix the here and now.
Houston is the defending NL Champion. And most certainly its boys of summer haven’t swung the bat the right way. Huff’s arrival must be interpreted as the hope the hitting improves; and now, because of the fact the roster is a bit crowded, Morgan Ensberg is on the hot seat, more than anyone else.
Ensberg is a victim of his poor performance, while Mike Lamb steals the show with a happy bat. Now Huff adds more pressure to the mix. His playing time will be reduced. Ensberg has hidden shoulder injuries in the past so he could keep on playing. Purpura wonders if that is the case right now.
Gaetti’s exit as hitting coach, and bringing Sean Berry as interim coach is a step on that same direction. That collective BA needs to go up. Zero tolerance this time. And that’s welcome.
Are there more moves on the horizon? The Astros, starting today, supposedly the quietest day in sports, stop being passive spectators. They are more involved in the trading field, looking for a tweak (not major surgery, there is no need for that), in order to get the machine up and running smoothly once again.