By Derek Fogel

Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – Pitchers and catchers report on February 14th with their first workout the following day. The first spring training game is February 25th. It’s hard to believe that our first look at a potentially dangerous Astros team is within our grasp.

The addition of Carlos Beltran has caught the city of Houston with mixed feelings. His return is like your best friend that moved away when you were young, and came back a little different but expects to pick up your friendship where it left off. The only thing left to do is throw a couple back and embrace him.

His veteran experience is perfect for this Astros team that seemed to have lost their way last season, falling just short of another playoff run. A handful of Houston’s most impactful players are under 25 years old. Beltran’s impact on even just one of those players could be like Vince Wilfork’s effect on Jadeveon Clowney, which we found out recently has been the monumental.

Another introduction to the Astros this offseason was outfielder Josh Reddick. The big contract was met with some criticism, but one thing worth noting is that he spent five seasons in Oakland where General Manager Billy Beane found abstract value in him. Whether you believe in money ball or not, Reddick clearly has worth to the team.

Not including other winter additions, factor in the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel. This team has the flare a fan base is looking for. The only thing left to do is find out if they’re cohesive.

Despite baseball being an individual sport disguised as a team sport, there’s always a bond in the clubhouse. Lack there of can be detrimental to a team’s success. With the right manager, anything is possible.

Looking at what the Chicago Cubs accomplished with Joe Maddon has to be uplifting to any franchise. His antics drove the team and even the city. For Astros Manager A.J. Hinch, the pressure is on.


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