Now that the free agent market is open I thought
I would type up what my team the Houston Astros need to do to be
competitive next season. So here we go.
Brad Ausmus – Catcher
Mark Loretta – Infielder
Doug Brocail – Bullpen
LaTroy Hawkins – Bullpen
Randy Wolfe – Starting Pitcher
than Roy Oswalt the Astros started out with squat in the rotation.
Chris Sampson, Brandon Backe, Wandy Rodriguez and a series of minor
league pitchers. Brian Moehler ended up in the starting rotation early
in the season and ended up being a decent number 5 starter, but that
was the problem. The Astros have 4 number 5 starters already. But never
the less Brian was rewarded for his work and given a new contract
towards the end of the season.
At the trade deadline Ed Wade
pulled off a trade to get Left Handed Pitcher Randy Wolf. It was a bit
puzzling at the time, but I kind of understand what he was doing. He
picked up a starting pitcher to help a weak rotation and to possibly
lay the ground work for signing Wolfe for 2009 and beyond.
If the Astros start the season tomorrow this is what the rotation would look like.
1. Roy Oswalt
2. Wandy Rodriguez
3. Brian Moehler
4. Brandon Backe
5. Any and all Triple-A players in the organization
A rotation like that does not strike fear into anyone. The Astros need to sign two
free agent pitchers. And I mean sign two and not trade for two. The
Astros do not have enough talent to give up. What talent they have they
An Andy Pettite return would make a lot of sense for the
Astros. Andy is not the pitcher he used to be, but if he is brought
back to the National League his numbers would be a lot better.
Wolfe would also be a great signing if Pettite was added to the
rotation. Wolfe but up some very solid numbers after he was traded to
Houston. He went 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts with the Astros and a
combined 12-12 with a 4.30 ERA in 33 starts for the Padres and the
Astros. Not bad numbers for an end of the rotation starter.
the Astros were able to sign both Wolfe and Pettite that would give
them a very formidable rotation. But it would mean that the Astros
would have to non-tender Brandon Backe which would not hurt my feelings
in the least bit.
The new rotation would look like this.
1. Roy Oswalt
2. Andy Pettite
3. Randy Wolfe
4. Brian Moehler
5. Wandy Rodriguez
Yes, that would be an extreme left handed rotation, but that might be a good thing.
bullpen was probably the strongest link in the Astros chain. Jose
Valverde, Doug Brocail, Geoff Geary, Wesly Wright, Chris Sampson, Tim
Byrdak and LaTroy Hawkins all did a greatjob for the Astros and I
would love to have each of them back.
Chris Sampson struggled as a starter, but was great out of the pen. He did a great job as a long reliever.
Doug Brocail and LaTroy Hawkins are free agents and LaTroy has already
been resigned. Now if the Astros can resign Brocail the pen will be set
The catcher position was a
constant nightmare for the Astros last season. JR Towels was believed
to be the catcher of the future, but when handed the starting job he
failed miserably. Towels batted .137 as the starting backstop. His
numbers made Brad Ausmus look like Babe Ruth.
Even with Brad
Ausmus on the bench the Astros decided to split time with Ausmus and
Humberto Quintero. “Q” did a decent job behind the plate and his
offensive numbers were a big improvement over Towels, but they were
hardly respectable. “Q” posted a .226 batting average.
starting pitching, a new catcher is a high priority for the Astros. I
would not expect the Astros to sign a Pudge Rodriguez or Jason Varitek.
They will most likely be out of the Astros price range. I would not be
surprised to see Greg Zaun or Toby Hall in an Astros uniform next year
The Astros infield is pretty well
set for 2009 unless Ed Wade make a huge mistake and trades off someone.
Lance Berkman, Kaz Matsui, Ty Wigginton and Miguel Tejada should all be
back manning their positions for next season.
While Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence are locked into the corner outfield positions, center field is up for grabs. Or it should be.
Baldelli is the best free agent centerfielder out there, but he comes
with a high risk of injury. In the past three years he has not played a
full season. He has a ton of potential, but playing potential leaves a
big opportunity for failure. Just look and the Michael Bourn project.
trade for Juan Pierre would not be a bad idea at all. He is seeking a
trade and the Astros are seeking a centerfielder. He should come
cheaply in what the Astros would have to give up player wise for him,
but the Astros would surely have to pay all of Pierre’s contract. I am
actually ok with that.
I would also be ok with the starting job
being handed to Darrin Erstad. Why he even took a job as a bench player
just baffles me to begin with.
bench was a huge saving grace for the team. With injuries to Ty
Wigginton, Kaz Matsui and Carlos Lee, the bench had to eat up a lot of
playing time. Mark Loretta and Geoff Blum filled in great in the
infield, and Darrin Erstad was Darrin Erstad in the outfield.
but Mark Loretta are signed through the 2009 season. I would not expect
Mark to return, but after the performance of David Newhan I can see how
the Astros would let Mark leave. The Astros are sure to offer Loretta
arbitration because he is a Type-B free agent. It would be surprising
if Mark accepts it, but the Astros were surprised last season when he
accepted their arbitration offer.
If the Astros can pick up two
starting pitchers and a catcher I would expect them to be very
competitive in 2009. Will they be competitive enough to over take the
Cubs to finish on top of the National League Central Division? Probably
not. Then again, you never know.
Each offseason and each trade deadline brings rumor upon
rumor about the Houston Astros considering trading Roy Oswalt. Before all that
starts I am going to let the world know Roy
is not going anywhere this offseason or even at the 2009 trade deadline.
First of all Oswalt has a complete no trade clause and has
no desire to play for any other team than the Astros, the only organization he
has ever been apart of in his professional career.
Grant it Roy
has been quoted as saying he would consider waiving his no trade clause if the
Astros approached him about it stating he would not want to play where he is
not wanted, and the Astros do want him. They realize that Roy is their ONLY pitcher. They have a number
one starter in Roy,
and four number five starters with the rest of the rotation.
Not to mention the fact that Drayton McLane Jr. is greatly
fond of the Astros one and only ace pitcher. He loves Roy so much he bought him a Caterpillar D6N XL
bulldozer for clinching the final game of the 2005 National League Championship
Series. Yeah sure, many a boss have bought extravagant gifts for employees that
go well above and beyond the call of duty, but a bulldozer is a pretty exact and
personal gift. You have to have a lot of love and admiration to know that a man
wants and needs a bulldozer.
Take away the fact that Roy has a no trade clause and is a admired by
team owner McLane, Roy is also a fan favorite. There is not an Astros fan alive
that does not know what this man means to the Houston Astros organization. They
have all seen his grit on the field and love him for what he does on the mound,
and for a team where image is everything this assures that the Astros organization
will not take a Public Relations hit like that.
The final reason Roy
remains with the Astros is probably the most important reason of all. Ed Wade
and his job security is the biggest reason. If by some chance Ed finds a way to
get around the no trade clause, McLane’s fondness of Roy and the PR night mare, Ed knows his
future with the club will ride on this single trade. If the Astros get a
pitcher or two and some minor leaguers and they turn out to flop or not live up
to expectations Ed will be looking for another job and the chances of Ed
finding a third GM job would be slim to none.
So mark my words, Roy will remain in an Astros uniform for
seasons to come.