Porter pleased with Astros' offseason additions
Manager excited to bring Fowler, Feldman, Qualls into fold for '14
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- You can't blame Astros manager Bo Porter for feeling a little better about the club he'll have on the field next year.
Within the last week, the Astros have added outfielder Dexter Fowler, relief pitcher Chad Qualls and starting pitcher Scott Feldman in moves that should improve a team that lost 111 games last season. The Astros still want to add a relief pitcher and another bat.
"I think each one of [the moves] increased the smile on my face as the days went by," Porter said Tuesday from the Winter Meetings. "Being able to add three players ... gives us quality in three areas in which we had room to upgrade.
"Dexter gives us a potential leadoff hitter, switch-hitter that can play center field. He's been productive at the Major League level. We were able to add a front-line starting pitcher and also get Chad Qualls to shore up the back end of our bullpen."
Fowler, 27, hit .263 with 18 doubles, 12 home runs, 42 RBIs, 19 stolen bases, 65 walks and a .369 on-base percentage in 119 games with Colorado last season, starting 106 games in center. In 2012, he hit .300 in 143 games with a .389 on-base percentage.
"He's the complete package," Porter said. "When you talk to people in the Rockies organization -- I know several people over there that have spent time with him -- and they praise not only Dexter Fowler the baseball player, but Dexter Fowler the man. It's a great asset for us and we're excited to have them."
Porter said Feldman and Qualls had other options, but had faith in the direction the Astros are headed.
"I think it's pretty clear we have a plan in place and guys are interested in coming here," he said. "We go about our business and we do a good job of making sure we explain to them not only how they fit into the long-term plan, but also the short-term plan as well."
Ryan has plenty on his plate at Meetings
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- There might be no busier man this week than Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan, who's at his first Winter Meetings since being hired in May. In addition to Ryan's duties with the Astros, he's on Minor League Baseball's board of trustees.
"I'm doing two things here," Ryan said before darting away from the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort on Tuesday afternoon for the Astros' annual Minor League affiliates dinner.
Ryan has deep Minor League ties, having founded the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks -- who earlier this year were purchased by the Astros -- and the Round Rock Express, the Rangers' Triple-A club.
"The Minor Leagues are important and a big part of it is not only growing our Minor League players but our fan base and making sure what we want to have happen at the Major League level is starting in the Minor Leagues," he said. "That's taking a lot of my time."
Ryan has met with baseball officials to discuss the Civil Rights Game, which the Astros will host next year, as well representatives from the Double-A San Antonio club. The Astros and Rangers will play a pair of exhibitions in March at the Alamodome as part of Big League Weekend.
He also talked to reps from Daktronics about a new scoreboard that will be installed in Corpus Christi next year, as well as being bombarded with dozens of job requests.
Ryan insists he stays out of any baseball-related decisions, leaving those up to general manager Jeff Luhnow, assistant general manager David Stearns and the baseball operations staff. He's not afraid to give his opinion, if asked, or pass along any information he hears on the lobby floor.
"I'm not kidding anybody," he said. "I'm not making those decisions. But what I appreciate is Jeff and the guys value my years in the game. I feel like they value my opinion and I'm an influencer who's not afraid to give my opinion. Sometimes that's good to have somebody that's a little bit on the outside testing the waters to see what's going on. If I hear of information from other clubs, because my network is so vast, I try to share it with those guys and see if I can help the organization out."