HOUSTON - Houston Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow stopped by the KPRC Studios on Thursday.
We took the opportunity to ask him some questions about the team and the season.
Here's what he had to say:
How hard was it to come from a winning organization in St. Louis to a struggling organization in Houston?
"That was probably the most difficult transition, to come from an organization that while I was there, was in three World Series and won two of them, to an organization that had the worst record in baseball and not a very good farm system. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I also knew that if we were able to accomplish our goal, which is to win a World Series, it would feel very satisfying and rewarding, and it has."
Was there ever a point during the 100-loss seasons that you doubted your plan?
"Not really. I mean, we knew we weren't going to have a good team those early years after Jim Crane bought it, but we were keeping our eyes on the prize, which was building up our farm system, and we knew we had (Carlos) Correa and (George) Springer and other players in our system. We knew we had a good young core of (Jose) Altuve and (Dallas) Keuchel and other guys. So I felt pretty confident that it was just a matter of time before this team was competitive."
What was the key moment when you realized this team could win the whole thing?
"I think the strong start in 2015, which ultimately led to us winning the Wild Card Game in New York and then facing Kansas City in the Division Series and losing in five (games). At that point, I knew that we were going to be in the playoffs most years for the next five to seven years. And even though we didn't make it in 2016, the great start in 2017 just solidified what I already knew, which was that we have a team that's capable of winning -- not just one, but hopefully multiple World Championships."
What's the offseason plan?
"Well, the good news is that we can roll out the same team we had this year for the most part, because most everybody is coming back and we have few free agents, so we have some work to do around the edges, but there's not any major surgery here. This team is good enough to go out and repeat just as-is, so we're going to keep working at it, but we're pretty excited about what the prospects are for next year."
How good was George Springer this season?
"He very much deserves to be the MVP of the World Series. I don't know if any MVP of the World Series has ever struck out four times in Game 1 and come back and delivered such an amazing performance, but he in a lot of ways is the heart and soul of our team. He's got so much energy. He plays both offensively and defensively. He base runs well. He's a guy that is such an integral part of this team."
How will you react if Jose Altuve doesn't win the MVP?
"Well, I'd be disappointed. I think our fans would be disappointed, and quite frankly, I think it would be the wrong choice because while the other candidates are very well-deserving of it, I thought Jose should have won it last year and he certainly deserves to win it this year. So, as you said, I don't think that's going to happen, I think we're going to be celebrating his MVP within the next week."
What can you say about how great of a person Carlos Correa is?
"Well, the funny thing about Carlos is that I've known him since he was very young, 17 years old, and he's always been mature beyond his years -- in respect to baseball and how he handles the professional aspect of his life. And I'm noticing how the personal aspect of his life, too. To make a commitment like he did to Daniella (Rodriguez), to be such a family person so dedicated to where he came from and the people who helped him along the way, and he also is dedicated to giving back to the community and interacting with as many people as possible. I think we saw that yesterday when he was here (at KPRC studios to meet his biggest little fan)."
Is there anything you want to say to Astros fans?
"Absolutely. Whether you jumped on the bandwagon this year, or you grew up with us through the years, Houston is a great sports town -- one of the best in the country -- and I think Houston is now a full-fledged baseball town and we're going to continue to do a good job. I know the Texans and Rockets and the Dynamo are going to continue to do a good job, so we're now becoming one of the great sports cities in the world."
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