Why I Would Be Happy With The Houston Astros Finishing In Dead Last


It pains me. It really does. I was hoping I would not have to write this article in 2014, but I do.

There is nothing more in life, save for a few things, that I want more than an Astros World Series win. I think I speak for 99 percent of people actually reading this article. Right?

So hear me out.

The Houston Astros stink. They do. Any outsider would agree. Many members of the front office would agree. Heck, many players will agree. They are not a good baseball team. They just aren’t. It happens.

There are three players hitting above .275 this season that have donned the Astros orange; Jose Altuve, Enrique Hernandez, and Gregorio Petit. One of them is no longer an Astro, the other has just 22 at-bats this season.

Jun 22, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Houston Astros 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Their pitching, surprisingly, has actually done quite well. Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh have been outstanding this season. Tony Sipp and Chad Qualls have done pretty well. Not too bad.

But as a team, they just are not good. Not consistently good.

We saw a nice stretch of baseball in May and June where the Astros were actually playing competitive baseball. It was awesome. Those days were amazing and I long for them to return. However, I just don’t see them coming back this season, and frankly they shouldn’t.

As it stands today, the Astros are in 28th place in MLB. They are 2 games ahead of the Texas Rangers and 1.5 games ahead of the Colorado Rockies. They aren’t going to be playing into late October.

The last three seasons of Astros baseball has been pretty much the same; horrendous. This year we have seen some light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still far away from the end.

56, 106, 55-107, 51-111. Those are our records the last three years. I hate it. You hate it. Jim Crane hates it. Jeff Luhnow hates it. We all hate it.

Each of the last three seasons the Astros broke their franchise record for most losses in a season. Each of the last three seasons we asked ourselves when this would change. Each of the last three seasons we argued about how the Astros should improve their team, spend money on their current roster, stop the rebuild.

But the Astros haven’t veered from their plan. It wasn’t meant to be a three-year rebuild. Realistically (unless there were Stephen Strasburg‘s and Bryce Harper‘s available in each draft at 1.1, AND everything else turned 100 percent in the Astros’ favor), it wasn’t going to be a five-year rebuild, either. It was likely going to be at least six or seven years before the Astros played over .500 baseball.

2014 was a season in which many Astros fans were hoping for an improvement, myself included. Unfortunately, things haven’t exactly turned out the way the Astros had hoped. They lost their 2012 #1 overall pick, Carlos Correa, to a season ending leg injury. 2013 #1 overall pick, Mark Appel, lost about a half a season with several injuries. 2014 #1 overall pick, Brady Aiken, wasn’t even signed.

Jul 9, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (left) celebrates the victory with first baseman Jon Singleton (28) against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The rest of the farm system hasn’t been as dominant as it was in the past (George Springer and Jon Singleton‘s promotions are a big reason for that), but they have played well enough, with several surprises, to continue to give the Astros a bright future.

So why would I not be upset if the Astros continue to lose? First, let’s get this one point clear; I’m not going to be watching the next 50 or so games and rooting for the Astros to lose. I won’t. I can’t. I never will. However, a loss won’t hurt me. I won’t be upset with a loss. Why? Because I know it will help the team’s future at the end of the day.

I want the Astros to end this season in last place. Whether that’s 60 wins, 65 wins, 70 wins, or even as low as 50 wins. I would much prefer this team in last place, rather than second or third to last.

Just think about it. When we are in the month of December, no one is going to care about the 2014 season. No one is going to care if we had 60 or 65 wins. No one. It won’t matter.

I want that #1 overall pick. I want this team to have the most money to spend in next year’s draft class. I want this team to have #1 waiver priority. I want this team to have the most international money to spend on international prospects next season. There are sooooooooooooo many more perks for being last place in MLB, than 28th, than 25th, than 29th.

I could care less if we finish with a worse record than the Texas Rangers. We aren’t even real rivals yet. Who gives a hoot?!? You know what finishing ahead of the Rangers means? It means they have a better pick next season. It means they have higher waiver priority. It means they have more money to spend for international prospects. That would upset me more than beating them by a game or two in a lost season by both franchises.

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When we come to December, what do I care if we went 63-99? What do I care if we went 67-95? What do I care if we went 72-90? So what, now we finished 26th in baseball? 27th? What good does that do for this team’s future?

I don’t believe winning 50, 60, or 70 games would have any positive or negative result to this organization’s play in 2015. But you know what winning just 50 games or winning just enough games to be in last place would do for this franchise? It would help them out much more than winning enough games to be in 28th or 29th place.

I can handle another season of being in last place. I know a last place finish would do much more for this team’s future, than 26th place. And as an Astros fan, I care much more about this team’s future, than a meaningless finish to an already bad season.

In the famous words of Ricky Bobby, “if you ain’t first, you’re last.”

May as well actually be in last.