Monday, August 27, 2007

Astros make the tough call

Two seasons ago, Phil Garner and Tim Purpura were riding high as the Houston Astros reached their first World Series.

Garner, the Astros manager, had just overseen the second straight second-half surge while Purpura, the team's general manager, had pulled enough strings to make the roster a playoff contender.

Now, they're fired, losing their jobs earlier today. And rightly so.

Garner has allowed his team to continue to fall into massive deficits in the standings only to rally at the end. Last year, the Astros fell short and this year, well, there's been no sign of a charge.

While Garner has failed on the field, Purpura is the one who truly let Houston fans down. Yes, he signed Carlos Lee. That move has paid dividends already. He also signed ace Roy Oswalt to a lucrative contract extension.

But when Purpura's moves have failed, they've failed miserably. Look at the Woody Williams signing. Not enough? How about the Jason Jennings trade in which the Astros gave up a starting center fielder (Willy Taveras), a young starting pitcher (Jason Hirsh) and a pitcher who has been invaluable to Colorado as a swingman (Taylor Buchholz).

A lot can change in two seasons as Garner and Purpura have learned. Had the Astros won those four games in late October 2005, maybe things would be different. But they are what they are.


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