The title of this piece reflects the attitude around the old regional sports network HSE (Home Sports Entertainment) from its founding in January 1983 in Houston to its being absorbed by the deeper pocketed Fox operation in 1997.
Until Fox game in with more money to spend on game productions the adage fit. HSE would put out a good looking product on Astro and Rocket games, but without the extra cameras, tape machines or support more common on over the air networks.
The Houston Astros are somewhat in the same boat right now. The pockets are not as deep as many of the teams they are competing with and thus they have to find ways to improve both from within and outside while not throwing down too much money.
Evan Gattis is the most recent example. Gattis has put together back to back seasons that qualify him as a experienced major leaguer, but not so experienced that his salary levels are too much to bear. He is exactly the type of veteran the Astros need to be pursuing to more closely fit their revenue stream. It will be awhile before the Astros will be linked with the top level free agents and/or trade acquisitions that carry large price tags. And what they have to offer in return will be some of the minor league talent that Ed Wade started to sign and Jeff Luhnow and his staff have expanded to the point the Astros farm system has a great deal of potential future major leaguers.
The key word is potential. No one makes the major leagues and sticks in the major leagues until they show that potential results in true major league success.
Some, including yours truly, wonders about dealing strong armed pitchers like Jarrod Cosart last year and Mike Foltynewicz in the Gattis trade. There is less concern about trading minor league position players. They are more easily replaced than star arms. But then, will Cosart and/or Foltynewicz become star arms? More hurlers fail to live up to expectations than do. Cosart went 13-11 overall in 2014 for Houston and Miami combined with an ERA less than 4.00. He has the look of a future MLB success. Foltynewicz has shown only bursts, but can throw the ball up to 100mph. There is a lot more room for command problems with pitchers who can throw that hard. It is comparable to the hitters who strike out too much, but also hit home runs. Neither the hard throwing hurler who had some command problems nor the strikeout prone home run hitter is a complete player, but both can be dominating at times.
For the Astros at the point they are the deal for Gattis was a good one. Whether we feel the same in a year or two is part of the business. But the Astros are “doing the best they can for the least they can.” Until games at MMP start to be tough tickets again and the ball club proves itself back to the general public, that is the only way they can operate.