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Why the Astros' farm system is in the dumper

Feb 22, 2010, 4:10 PM EDT

There was a story about the state of the Astros’ farm system in Saturday’s Houston Chronicle, painting a bleak yet accurate picture of what happens when you spend a decade signing free agents, skimping on international signings, drafting poorly and failing to come appreciate when it’s time to add talent and when it’s time to rebuild. Today Buster Olney adds another factor:

Here’s the bottom line: The teams that have adhered closely to the
slotting bonus guidelines set forth by the Commissioner’s Office have
seen the quality of their prospects dwindle, and the teams that have
painted outside the slotting system lines — the Tigers, the Red Sox –
have thrived. The Astros have been one of the teams that followed the
slotting guidelines.

This is not terribly shocking, of course. When you have a system in which some clubs agree to arbitrarily limit the things they’ll do to make their team better and others do not, those in the former camp are bound to suffer.  What’s so surprising to me is that so many teams value loyalty to Bud Selig and ownership politics more than they do, you know, winning.

  1. Joey B - Feb 22, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    “When you have a system in which some clubs agree to arbitrarily limit the things they’ll do to make their team better and others do not, those in the former camp are bound to suffer.”
    I’m not sure how much slotting has helped the RS. Westie and Lars come to mind, but the improvement in the RS minor league system really revolves around understanding the value of a pick when assessing whether or not to sign someone or allowing one of your own to walk. By allowing JD, Pedro, Mueller, Lowe, and OCab to walk, we added another 10 draft picks in a relatively short period of time.

  2. Ed Wade Re-signing = Idiocracy - Feb 22, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    Slotting bonuses didn’t force the Astros to choose C Jason Castro instead of 1B Justin Smoak in the 2008 amateur draft. The Texas Rangers say thanks!

  3. jwb - Feb 22, 2010 at 9:12 PM

    Smoak was the pick after Castro and signed for quite a bit more ($2.07M v. $3.5M), so money might have played some part in the decision.

  4. Kepros - Feb 23, 2010 at 5:29 AM

    Maybe I’m just a nerd, but I feel compelled to point out that in most common English usage, “in the dumper” means something different than “in the dumps” or “really sucks.” Just saying, is all. The dumper is the thing what do the dumpin’, not the place where be all the stuff what done got dumped.

  5. can i buy amazon thunder acai in canada - Mar 2, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    I follow your blog for quite a long time and should tell that your articles always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers.

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