Hunsicker on Baseball Tonight

added 7/31/2001 by Steve Cutchen

Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker was interviewed on ESPN's Baseball Tonight, covering topics such as the trading deadline and Moises Alou. Not everyone was up this late, so I transcribed his comments for you.

The questions are paraphrased to save time, but the answers are quoted as closely as I could manage.


How difficult is it to make a deal for the one player all the fans are saying to get?

Well, it's extra tough, especially when you're talking about pitching, because that is the one commodity where the supply and demand is so skewed on the demand side. I think what you have to guard against this time of year is not overpaying or over-inflating a pitcher's value and getting caught up in the hype and the pressure of trying to make a trade.

Has the Randy Johnson trade made you reticent to make another deadline deal?

Well, I think what it did was it underscored the risk involved in this business. You can have all the stars lined up in your favor. You can have the team on the field playing up to its capability, you can add that one special piece like we did in '98, and still not get very far. I think that as a general manager you wear more than just a baseball cap and that competitive drive to want to win. You have to balance the big picture, namely the budget you have to work with, the team that you're going to be able to put on the field next year and the years thereafter, and you can't keep going to the well every year making two- and three-for-one trades or you're going to find yourself on the bottom more times than on the top. I think what it taught me is that if you have that special year where everything is going right and you really feel like you are that one guy away, then go for it and maybe even overpay to get him. But in a year where maybe you have a competitive team, but you've got a lot more question marks, I think you have to be a little more cautious.

What do you think about Moises Alou and his future with the Astros?

This is going to be yet another difficult decision for this franchise at the end of this year. Moises is one of those special players and it was one of those special moments for me during my tenure as a general manager when we were able to acquire him several years ago. I really think that he was one of the key pieces that started to transform this organization from a pretty good baseball team into a pennant contender. The problem again is balancing the big picture and you only have so much room for star quality players. My fear with our franchise is that we're heading toward that direction where we've got fewer players making up a larger percentage of the payroll and if we are not careful, are not going to have enough money left over for a supporting staff, and more importantly probably a pitching staff. It's not going to be easy. Our owner has indicated that we're going to wait until the end of the year to address this issue. We'll have to deal with that when it comes.

You see the Cubs making deals, and you've assessed where your team is now. How difficult is it to see what Chicago is doing, and say "we have to react to that?"

It's very frustrating, because you have the competitive drive and the competitive juices to win, and from a baseball standpoint your mentality is we've got a team that good enough to win this year, we've got to do everything we can to win. But the scope of the job is much greater than that and we all have different parameters and situations in our various cities. As a general manager there is the big picture to look at, and it's not only what's going to happen this year, but what's going to happen the next year and the year after, and the year after. All you have to do is to go back to the Randy Johnson trade, and Woody Woodward was being hung out to dry back then. Now, three years later, two of the pitchers that we sent there are in their rotation as well as their starting shortstop. So it is very difficult.

Are the Houston Astros going to do some type of deal?

I think there's a chance. The next 18 hours or so is going to be interesting. I found today rather interesting. Some names popped up today that haven't been on the table before. So I think you could see some surprises here between now and 4:00 tomorrow afternoon. We're still in there trying and I still think we have a fighting chance to get something done.

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