Astros' Crane: Goal is to make playoffs this season

Owner reiterates expectations of Luhnow, Hinch after winter overhaul

Astros' Crane: Goal is to make playoffs this season

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch has said expectations are high this year, and general manager Jeff Luhnow is on the record as saying his team could finish 2015 with its first winning record since 2008.

Owner Jim Crane believes the roster additions made by Luhnow and his staff this winter have put the club in position to possibly make the playoffs for the first time since it reached the World Series a decade ago and for the first time in the American League.

"The goal is to make the playoffs," Crane said Wednesday after addressing the team prior to the first full-squad workout of the spring. "The message was clear from A.J., and Jeff said probably the same thing. The goal is to make the playoffs."

Astros on opening workouts

There's no question expectations have been raised with the additions of free-agent relievers Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson, shortstop Jed Lowrie and outfielder Colby Rasmus and trades that netted catcher Hank Conger, third baseman Luis Valbuena, outfielder/designated hitter Evan Gattis and starting pitcher Dan Straily.

The Astros went 70-92 last season, which was a 19-game improvement, and would need to take another giant step forward in the competitive AL West to make the playoffs.

"I think it's possible," Crane said. "There's a lot of things that have to go right and we've got to stay away from injuries. We have a lot of talent in the system that could pop through this year. … Certainly, if we can get above .500, you have a chance. That, in my opinion, would be a disappointment if it doesn't at least get there."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.