2012 Houston Astros
2012 Houston Astros / Franchise: Houston Astros / BR Team Page
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2012 Houston Astros celebrated the 50th anniversary of the team's creation, as the expansion Houston Colt .45s in 1962. It was also their last season as a member of the National League, the team having agreed to move to the American League West in 2013 as part of new owner Jim Crane getting approval from Major League Baseball for purchasing the team the previous year. They wore various uniforms from previous decades over the course of the season, including the "smoking pistols" uniforms of the original Colts (which caused some controversy in these days of mass shootings and awareness of gun violence) and the infamous "rainbow" uniforms from the late 1970s. On the field, however, they played no better than an expansion team.
In July, the Astros set a team record with 12 consecutive loses from July 17-28. That streak followed a string during which the Astros went 2-13, for a ghastly 2-25 mark from June 28th to July 28th. In the middle of that streak, the Astros decided to clean house sending away a number of veteran pitchers in a pair of trades before the trading deadline. On July 20th, they sent J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter to the Toronto Blue Jays in return for two big league veterans, P Francisco Cordero and OF Ben Francisco, and four prospects, Ps Asher Wojciechowski, Joe Musgrove and David Rollins and C Carlos Perez. Then, on July 24th, they shipped P Wandy Rodriguez to the Pittsburgh Pirates, receiving three more prospects in OF Robbie Grossman and Ps Rudy Owens and Colton Cain. They finally ended the streak by beating the Pirates, 9-5, on July 29th, but not before they had made another trade, this time sending 3B Chris Johnson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for two more prospects, OFs Marc Krauss and Bobby Borchering. Another inauspicious streak occurred when the Astros lost their first 11 extra-inning contests of the season.
Realizing that season-ticket holders were worried about the pathetic on-field performance of the team, new GM Jeff Luhnow wrote to them in mid-August stating: "The future is bright. We are building a front office team with analytical capabilities that not only are among the best in baseball but would rival the best in sports and other industries. Our focus in 2012 was on creating and fostering a winning mindset throughout the Minor Leagues that will eventually flow up into our big league team". The focus on building through the minor leagues was a break with the previous front office and ownership group, which had been enamored of signing veteran players of dubious value in order to maximize immediate wins, with little to show for it. However, the new approach meant that the Astros would have to continue to take their lumps on the field for the remainder of the year and 2013 as well.
Shortly thereafter, the housecleaning of appointees from the previous regime began in earnest. First to go was scouting director Bobby Heck, who was replaced by Mike Elias, then on August 18th, following yet another brutal loss that brought the team's record to 39-82, it was manager Brad Mills and two of his coaches - hitting coach Mike Barnett and first base coach Bobby Meacham - who were dismissed. Tony DeFrancesco, manager of the AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks, was tapped to be the interim manager, while Ty Van Burkleo became the interim hitting coach and Dan Radison the interim first base coach. Luhnow explained that the search for a full-time manger would begin immediately but would likely last into the off-season. The change of managers did not extinguish the club's losing ways, though, as the Astros lost their first four games under DeFrancesco before beating the New York Mets, 3-1, on August 24th. Not surprisingly, the Astros were the first team to be mathematically eliminated from the post-season, achieving the feat on August 29th, when they suffered their 90th loss.
The Astros finished with the worst record in the major leagues at 55-107, managing to be 5 games behind the Chicago Cubs, who lost 101 games themselves. On September 27th, they announced that they would be hiring Bo Porter, the third base coach of the Washington Nationals to manage the team in 2013 for their American League debut, although DeFrancesco was allowed to complete the season at the helm, given that Porter's Nationals were headed to the postseason and wanted him to stay on-board until the end of the season.
Awards and Honors
- All-Star: Jose Altuve