Grading Dana Brown and the Houston Astros front office at the season’s midway point

Jun 14, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros general manager Dana Brown speaks to reporters in the dugout prior to a game against the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 14, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros general manager Dana Brown speaks to reporters in the dugout prior to a game against the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports /
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Astros owner Jim Crane.  Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Astros owner Jim Crane.  Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports /

Overall

The signing of Abreu was supposed to be a master stroke for the Astros front office, and maybe it will be if he has a huge second half. To this point, not so much. Aside from his signing and the promotions of Brown and France, the champs really haven’t done all that much.

Laissez-faire is okay if the team is winning, but the fact is that the Astros are on the fringes of playoff eligibility at the halfway point. They’re five games behind Texas for the AL West lead and six percentage points behind the Blue Jays for the final Wild Card spot.

Here’s the first-half report card on the Astros front office. Note that grades for players departing the organization are based on the reverse of those players’ WAAs with their new teams.

Mode                    WAA               Grade

Acquired              -0.1                       C

Traded                    0.0                       C

Signed                  -2.4                       D

FA Lost                 -2.1                       B

Rookies                -0.4                       C

Overall                 -0.8                       C

Astros officials made a skimpy 19 personnel moves impacting the defending champs’ roster, and most of them have not worked. Only six, in fact, have to date produced positive value for Houston against 12 that have gone negative and one neutral.

It is, of course, still early in the season. Beyond that, the Houston Astros are still the champs and if they are not solidly in a playoff position they are very much within tickling distance.

One interesting thing to watch at the trade deadline will be the aggressiveness level of Brown and his administrative team. Thus far, that aggressiveness level is close to flat-lining. Or perhaps Houston’s new GM is just waiting for the proper late July moment to spring into action.

Next. Staying in the division and grading the Rangers front office. dark