Drayton McLane, Gerry Hunsicker and the rest of the Astros front office weren’t exactly met with holiday cheer after the announcement of the Mike Hampton trade two days before Christmas. The Astros were blasted by radio callers and the local newspaper alike. Houston Chronicle columnist John P. Lopez carped, like he did when Carl Everett was traded a couple of weeks earlier, that the Astros have become a farm system for big-market teams.
For much of the season I savored the prospect of Jeff Bagwell winning another MVP award by an overwhelming margin. Yet Bagwell has allowed the gap between him and the rest of the league to close in the last couple of months. Many commentators now believe that Chipper Jones is the frontrunner for the award due to his sparkling performance against the Mets last week. Folks shouldn’t be so quick to annoint Jones, however.