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Jeff Luhnow: “We will outperform the expectations”

Feb 25, 2013, 2:31 PM EDT

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Danny Knobler spoke with Astros’ general manager Jeff Luhnow about the outlook for his rebuilding team:

Everyone is talking about the Astros, and the only topic is how bad everyone is convinced they’re going to be. “We will outperform the expectations,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said with some confidence, and also with a smile.

I’ve done a dozen or so radio spots in the past couple of weeks and the Astros have come up in five of them. Each time the host asks me “so, how bad are these Astros gonna be?” with his suggested answer being something like “historically awful, or rift-in-the-space-time-continuum awful?” I’ve had people suggest to me with a straight face that this could be a 120-loss team.

I don’t think the Astros are going to be good. Not even a little bit. But there’s no way on Earth they’re going to be as bad as a lot of people think they are because people are thinking they’re going to be one of the two or three worst teams of all time.

Just playing the odds here and suggesting that I’d take the under if you put the over/under on their losses at “1962 Mets” because that kind of thing just doesn’t happen very often.


  1. number42is1 - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    I expect 108 Wins! Your move Jeff Luhnow

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Cue the cliched yet impossible-to-resist comments. I’ll get the ball rolling.

    So they’re only going to lose what? 95 games?

  3. chacochicken - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    I admire his optimism. It does sound much better than “I’ve got a bottle of Scotch and a revolver on my desk.”

  4. thebadguyswon - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    I doubt it, Jeff. Gotta have some talent first.

  5. icanspeel - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Expectations are so low it’d be hard to under perform expectations. Still, anything can happen.. Maybe a few younger players have break out years or a few bounces go their way and they win a few more games.

  6. southpaw2k - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    This strikes me as an “if a tree falls” type of quote. Does anyone really care if the Astros “exceed” expectations?

  7. cur68 - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    I’ve been asked by my friend Stex, Houston’s Last Fan, to stop with the “sorry stex’ after I speak ill (realistically) of the Houston Astros. It appears that his rooting interest’s GM has a different take, though. Rather than “don’t apologize” he’s on the “you’ll be sorry” page. I bet I won’t be, Mr. Luhnow. I bet your boys ARE going to be as awful as any that have come before. I’m taking the ’62 Mets line for this being an historically bad season (sorry Stex) and if I’m wrong, then that’ll be two of us who’ll be happy.

    • stex52 - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      Ola, amigo. Let me expand on Mr. Cur. I explained that you don’t have to apologize to me; I’m not a part owner. In fact, I am all for the bitter truth in all of this. Why kid ourselves? Reasons why I think this should be a year for a pounding:

      1. AL West.
      2. The Astros made not that many moves over the winter, and only one or two related to 2013 MLB prospects.
      3. The farm system is improved a lot, but almost all of the action is AA or below. And I only count 4 of the top 100 prospects. Over 30 teams that is just a littlle above average.
      4. Jim Crane is talking about how “the team lost money since 2008.” We all know how the books can be cooked, but it reflects the likelihood that he won’t do much until the owners all get their cash back.
      5. The Comcast deal is not generating the excitement they hoped for. If they don’t get on local cable, where are the payments coming from?

      I have a lot of trouble with optimism here. In the AL West, start thinking 2016. I would love to be wrong, but don’t let’s kid ourselves. over/under 110 if they do really well.

  8. Chris Fiorentino - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Considering their payroll is going from 102 million in 2009 to around 25% of that this year, I can see them being historically bad. They are spending nothing and they bought the team and received a $70 million rebate for moving to the American League. Of their likely $25 million payroll, $5 million of that goes to pay a guy who isn’t even on their team(Wandy Rodriguez). And yet, it’s more or less “cute” that they are going to suck. Why? Where’s the outraged Astros fans? You guys should be as pissed as any other fan-base whose team is basically doing everything it can to bottom out the team. This roster has 5 players on it who have more than 2.1 years of MLB experience. Are you kidding me?

    • hackerjay - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      I think most Astros fans aren’t outraged because they realize that building a team up from homegrown players is a better strategy then throwing away $102 million on bandaids like Carlos Lee.

      • stex52 - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:22 PM

        Speak for yourself. I’m outraged.

      • jeffa43 - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:12 AM

        35 years of following the Astros to a point that is borderline insane.
        I just love baseball and loyal.

        Spending 100 mil on Lee made me outraged. Big splash when you needed 3 more arms and 2 more bats. Tired of 100 mil team with nothing!

        Ecstatic about what they are doing. The only way and the best way.

        Yes we will lose 90 to 110.. We will also be above 500, young, and stockpiled in 2015.

        It is what it is, you either jump in and enjoy the bumpy ride now, or we don’t want you around in 2015.
        Ed Wade had no game plan….. Houston Astros…. Enjoy us now, we will be a thorn in your side tomorrow.

        Ps.. A.L. Move sucks.

    • paperlions - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      The odds are about 50/50 that the Astros will be better than the Phillies in 2016. Yeah, that seems far away right now, but given the trajectories and strategies of the current FOs, it looks entirely plausible….especially if they keep Amaro much longer.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:20 PM

        paperbag, what exactly does that have to do with the price of tea in China? By 2016 the Phillies could be the worst team in the National League. So being better than the worst team in the NL is something to shoot for 4 years from now? I know you were trying to be a smart-ass, but it was a stupid statement and has nothing to do with my question.

        hackerjay has a good point, but then my question to him would be why don’t the Marlins get the same respect? They have the most top-100 prospects and are now going to build from new prospects and all anybody wants to do is rip the owner. Seems a little hypocritical to me.

  9. ryanrockzzz - Feb 25, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Well, they beat the Phillies 8-3 the other day. Granted it was with backup players, was the first game of spring training, and the Phillies made three errors, but if strange stuff like that happens EVERY DAY, then yah…..61 wins.

  10. thomas844 - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    They could lose 100 games….or perhaps Altuve hits .320, Maxwell and Pena each hit 30+ homers, Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris each win 12+ games and post an ERA in the 3.00s (something both of them has done before), Phillip Humber proves that his perfect game was not a fluke, and the Astros contend. Sure it’s far-fetched, but so was Baltimore and Oakland making the playoffs. That’s the beauty of baseball where, unlike in the NFL and NBA, it seems like any team can have a horrible year or a brilliant year at any given time.

  11. kelshannon19 - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    This is why you don’t play the games on paper.

  12. cosanostra71 - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    You never know. If I remember correctly, expectations were pretty low for the Orioles going into last year and they ended up having a great season. I don’t think the Astros are quite there yet though.

  13. mrrodgershood - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Funny! They are expected to lose 120 games this year. Technically, 119 losses is outperforming expectations.

  14. misterfrump - Feb 25, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    The Astros has a 56 game stretch last season where they went 8-48. Extrapolated over 162 games (which I’m not saying would happen at all, it’s just easier for a guy like me to understand the record in a 162 game context), that would be 23-139.

    I mean, they’re going to be terrible, but I kind of doubt they’re even going to be as terrible as they were last year.

    • jeffa43 - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:19 AM

      We also started 23 23 finished 15 14…

      Stats are like a bikini … They show a lot, but not everything.

      Half the year we were 500… Just saying.

      Still expect a lot of L’s…

  15. jwbiii - Feb 25, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    The over/under for wins is 59.5. They could lose 100 games and still exceed expectations.

  16. bouwel92 - Feb 25, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Well anything can happen. One way it could happen is that everybody will over look them, so if they take advantage of that, then maybe, just mayb we can make something happen this season.

  17. jeffa43 - Feb 25, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Fact.. Stros minor league system has been ranked 29-31 for 8 years.

    Fact… Now ranked 9

    They have a lot of young talent. If you are a true fan, you will except 2 years of growing pains, and support the future stars of the game.

    2 years our payroll will still be south of 50( now 20mil) and we will be putting a hurting on the aging halos.
    Albert 10 year deal, might be done in 2 years. Who knows about Hamilton, and trout continues to eat 6 burgers at lunch, his current 40lbs he gained in the off season might soon have him at 300lbs.

    Two years folks, kick us now.. You will be jealous then. True Astro fans will endure now, and appreciate more than most in seasons to come.

    Love the uniforms, still livid you let Deshais go.
    Jeff in the O.C.

  18. yankeepunk3000 - Feb 25, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    probally 90-100 losses or mabye even less. they have a lot of no names but still no team can lose that much these days. I don’t see it.

    • jwbiii - Feb 25, 2013 at 9:30 PM

      They lost 107 last season. They’re moving to a tougher division. Have they gotten better?

  19. swmocardsfan - Feb 25, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Luhnow did an amazing job in St. Louis and left us in a great position. The Astros may be a few years out, but if Luhnow has the success in Houston he has proven in St. Louis, Astro fans need to be excited and looking to the future. I am glad they jumped divisions so we don’t have to run into them as often anymore.

  20. jrod2go - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    I’m sure that’ll get buns in the seats.

  21. jlovenotjlo - Feb 26, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    My bet is they’ll be better than the marlins.. And more fun to watch

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