Should Astros temper excitement, expectations?

Should Astros temper excitement, expectations?
January 28, 2013, 11:00 am
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The Astros’ won a league-low 55 games last season and had their second-straight 100-loss season, so it might be wise for this year’s team to temper their expectations.

Sure, there’s a new manager to go along with new uniforms, a new league and plenty of talented youth on the roster but there’s no guarantee that will translate to wins. It’s even less likely it will translate to wins next season.

But new manager Bo Porter has a job to do. He has to try to win baseball games, even if no one else thinks his team can.

“You are who you believe you are,” Porter said during FanFest at Minute Maid Park on Saturday. “Most people don’t fail because they aim too high. Most people fail because they aim too low and they actually hit their mark.

“When we report to Spring Training, we’ll talk about it but every team in major league baseball is going to start 0-0 and we’re just like every other team. We’re going to go out each and every day.

“We don’t have to be better than every team in Major League Baseball, we just have to be better than one team each day.”

And that’s probably the right message for Porter to deliver to his players. It’s their job to win baseball games whether they have the talent or not.

But for fans, it might be smart to not put the carriage before the horse. Some of the most talented players in the organization aren’t starting with the big club in Houston. Some of those players are years away from contributing at the Major League-level, let alone becoming stars. The Astros’ payroll is $17.5 million right now. In 2012, there were 23 players who made more than that.

General manager Jeff Luhnow has invested a lot in building the farm system for the future and it speaking with fans, has been happy to see they’re able to be realistic about their expectations.

“They’re optimistic,” Luhnow said of Astros’ fans. “I think everybody is realistic about the situation we’re in but they’re appreciative and they understand the plan and they’re optimistic because they see the players and how talented they are and it’s just a matter of putting together.”

But realistically, it will take some time for the Astros to have a winning team. It will probably take even longer for them to make the playoffs.

“It’s nice having a solid team and new uniforms, new league,” said outfielder Justin Maxwell, who led the team with 18 home runs last season. “Everything is looking up. Jeff’s been making a lot of moves in the right direction. Last year we made those moves at the trade deadline to get all those prospects. We’re looking to rebuild and refocus and having Bo Porter as our manager will be good.”