This is an interesting piece over at Grantland. Here’s the jist of it, beginning with the fact that the Astros are basically the worst team in baseball:
Perhaps alone among all the teams on the above list, the Astros are there by design, and not the design of an owner simply looking to fill his coffers. The Astros were terrible in 2011 because of a decade of poor, shortsighted decisions. That they were even worse in 2012, and are on pace to be worse again in 2013, is not because they are still paying for their sins. It’s because, the way baseball works under the current collective bargaining agreement, sometimes the fastest way for a bad team to get to the top is to take a shortcut through hell. The more a bad team loses in the present, the easier it will be to win in the future.
I think the scenario Jazayerli paints here is a little more rosy than reality, but his overall points are pretty sound. Read the whole thing, it’s definitely worth that.
When the Astros joined the AL West, I’m guessing most Ranger fans were either indifferent, or perhaps a little excited to have a crappy team the Rangers could beat up on in divisional games. The Astros could help pad that record some, and that’s never a bad thing. However, recently I have been a little concerned. Not about this season, but about three, four, five seasons from now. The Astros of today look very similar to the Washington Nationals of a few years ago, and that should make any Ranger fan stand up and take notice. The Nats have gone from the “worst” team in baseball to one of the best, by cleaning house, losing a ton of games, and drafting stellar prospects. That seems to be the same game plan the Astros have, which could mean a very, very competitive AL West in just a few years. I know the idea of this happening is probably the major thing that keeps my friend Wayne over at H Town Sportstake optimistic. Will that happen? I’d say the odds are 50/50. I know that’s sort of punting on the question. I don’t think it’s as pre-destined as Jazayerli at Grantlands thinks, but there’s definitely a reasonable chance that the Astros will be competitive in just a few short years. That will make the AL West a much more fun division to watch, but also make the chances of reaching another World Series that much tougher.