Support from ownership makes Astros’ overhaul easier

Support from ownership makes Astros’ overhaul easier
February 9, 2013, 5:45 pm
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The Astros turned over 50 percent of their roster from last season. But they’ve done a lot more than that since general manager Jeff Luhnow took over in December of 2011.

They traded Carlos Lee. They traded Brandon Lyon. They traded J.A. Happ. They traded Wandy Rodriguez. They traded Brett Myers. They traded Chris Johnson. They traded Wilton Lopez. This week, they traded Jed Lowrie.

And they did it all in the name of rebuilding the farm system and planning for the future. Luhow’s vision of the future wouldn’t have gotten this far without Jim Crane and the Astros’ ownership group.

“We discuss every move internally with the baseball operations and coaching staff and ownership group and we ultimately all end up on the same page as far as what we should do,” Luhnow said on Tuesday, the day after trading shortstop Jed Lowrie. “Every move we’ve made has been supported by those camps.”

There have been plenty of moves. And there might be even more. While on Tuesday, Luhnow said there weren’t any deals that were imminent, he did admit that there’s not guarantee they wouldn’t make another move. There’s even been talk that the Astros are listening about their highest-paid player, Bud Norris.

Norris, who will likely battle with Lucas Harrell to start on Opening Day, is set to make $3 million this season and owns the biggest contract on the Astros, whose payroll will be around $25 million.

The Astros have traded their biggest names and drastically changed the face and direction of the organization. It’s Luhnow’s vision realized. And that wouldn’t have happened without an ownership group that allowed it.

“I think that the fact that we’re aligned from Jim Crane all the way down, and Jim and I are very much aligned as far as our vision and the way it’s been executed, it makes it much easier,” Luhnow continued. “Ultimately I know I’m accountable for the moves that we make at the big league level on our roster and I’m fine with that. But I do survey the crowd and I get everybody’s opinion and not everybody has the same opinion all the time but ultimately you have to go with the decision that you think is right for the organization and that’s what we’ve been doing.”