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Archive for the ‘Luke Scott’ Category

Whatever Happened To The 2005 Ex-Stros?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

These past few weeks, I’ve been editing (had to because of the move) the entries I wrote in 04 and 05 – FINALLY done – those fun years we pulled it together after the ASB enough to make it to the playoffs. Amazing to re-read that stuff – 2004, the year we were supposed to be absolutely an AWESOME team, but lacked 1 starter and 2 relievers, and the team stayed at .500 even after The Lousy Jimy Williams was replaced by Phil “Rah-Rah” Gardner, until Roy-O stirred up a hornets nest by throwing at Michael Barrett on yet ANOTHER losing day when his gloves and bats had let him down yet AGAIN and the team suddenly started winning like crazy, but lost to St. Louis because of Dan F Miceli and also because of the failure of Drayton McLane to allow Gerry Hunsicker to get a starting pitcher to replace Andy Pettitte after he was lost for the year.

2005, the year in which we started off with Luke Scott in left – a guy the Organization HATED and couldn’t wait until he had a cold streak so that they could send him down; the year in which we lost every away game but 3 for the first 2 months; the year in which only Morgan Ensberg managed to hit before Lance Berkman came back in May and found his stroke; the year in which Jason Lane had his only full good year (you talk about a wasted career); the year in which Brad Lidge went from infallible to Dan F Miceli territory, giving up homers to the likes of Scott Podsednick in the World Series – which, by the way, I am REALLY grateful I got to go to, as I am pretty sure I won’t see the Astros in another WS in my lifetime…

But I digress…

I thought, just for fun, that we’d take a look at all the guys who used to be on the Astros, see who they were traded for (if they were traded) and how they’ve done since leaving. I’m also going to include a few minor leaguers who are now major leaguers. Please note that I haven’t made any comments about the guys who are “still here” – that’s for my first half review entry.

2005:

 C Brad Ausmus – played until 2008, left as a FA, then signed with the Dodgers for 09: hit .295 over 107 PA/36 games as Russell Martin’s backup. Still smoking hot, too… 
1B Lance Berkman – still here 
2B Craig Biggio - retired after wrecking the 07 season, beatified in 08
SS Adam Everett – was let go as a FA after the 07 season, spent 08 with the Twins (didn’t play much – had an injured shoulder), 09 with the Tigers, will play with Tigers in 2010 
3B Morgan Ensberg – traded to the Padres for chewing gum 8/07. Signed with the Yankees AAA team in 08, had a few crappy ABs when A-Rod was injured - now OOB - never was able to recover his stroke after injuring his shoulder in May 06
LF Chris Burke – traded to the DBax with Juan Gutierrez and Chad Qualls for Jose Valverde. Never recovered his stroke after HIS shoulder injury, neither. Was a utility guy for the DBax in 08, drifted between SanDiego, and AAA for the Braves and mariners last year. 
CF Willy Taveras – traded to the Rox with Jason Hirsh And Taylor Buchholz for Jason Jennings  after the 06 season. He posted a career high 89 OPS+ (.748 OPS) in 07, then went back to his usual suckage in spite of stealing a NL high 68 bases in 08. The Rox preferred Ryan Spilborghs, and let Willy go after 08, and he signed a 2 year deal with Dusty Baker and the Reds – he’s Dusty’s kind of leadoff guy. In 102 games (437 PA) he had a .275 OBP, a 48 OPS+ and 25 SB/6 CS.
RF Jason Lane – traded to the Padres 9/07  (from the minors) for nothing – still in the minors.

1B Mike Lamb – let go after the 07 season, signed with the Twins, got hurt, sucked, spent last year at AAA Buffalo, sucked
OF Orlando Palmeiro – retired after the 06 season
 
IF Jose Vizcaino – let go as FA after the season, signed with Giants, released, signed with WS champion Cardinals, then retired after the 06 series.
1B Jeff Bagwell - anointed as Saint after he retired after the 06 season. Which he shouldn’t have been, seeing as how he cost the Astros 17 mill by insisting on playing in ST that year (McLane shoulda just said NO, but I digress…)
UT Eric Bruntlett - traded to Phillies with Brad Lidge after the 07 season for Michael Bourn – won a Ring. Still can’t hit for spit, but he can play almost every position
C Raul Chavez – not re-signed after 05, bounced around, now with the Jays – still can’t hit 
LF Luke Scott – one of 5 traded to the Orioles for Tejada after 07 – has done well, a 111 and a 118 OPS+ over the past 2 years. Has more RCAA than Miguel Tejada over the same 2 years for 25 mill fewer dollars.
C Humberto Quintero – still here. Unfortunately. Can’t hit and is a lousy receiver.
UT Todd Self – now playing in the indys – last year in OB was at AA in 07 – had .947 OPS
OF Charles Gipson – retired after 05

RH SP Roy Oswalt – still here
LH SP Andy Pettitte –  wasn’t re-signed after 06, returned as FA to Yankees after Drayton refused to let him play Prima Donna and wouldn’t re-sign him. Still with MFY.
RH SP Roger Clemens – wasn’t resigned after 06, returned to Yankees with his former best bud. Now OOB – hasn’t started 10 year service contract with Astros because Roger chose to deny steroid/HGH use allegations by his former trainer instead of getting all teary-eyed and begging for forgiveness as his former best bud did.
RH SP Brandon Backe – DFA’d  last year after 13 innings – brought back after starting the year hurt, severely screwed by Cecil Cooper, who, in 07, left him in 3 games when he CLEARLY had nothing to “take one for the team” as Coop had exhausted his relievers.
LH SP Wandy Rodriguez – still here
RH SP Ezequiel Astacio - went to Rangers AAA club after 06 season, sucked there too, now OOB 
RH SP Brandon Duckworth – signed with Royals as FA after 05 season, spent 06, 07 and 08 bouncing back and forth between ML and AAA, naturally beat the Astros in his game facing us. Sucked at AAA last year

RH RP Chad Qualls – traded to Dbax after the 07 season for Valverde - used as both setup man and closer in 08, closer in 09. Has done well, will be their closer this year, too.
RH RP Chad Harville – put on waivers 8/05 picked up by Boston, in AAA in 06, now OOB
RH RP Dan Wheeler – great setup/closer in 06, had bad year in 07, traded to the Rays for Ty Wigginton 7/07, did great as setup/backup closer in 08 and 09
RH RP Russ Springer – not resigned after 06 season – Tim Purpura’s STUPIDEST move (I don’t blame him for Jennings, Carlos Lee or Woody Williams because those weren’t his decisions, they were Drayton’s) deciding he didn’t want a great 1 inning guy, replacing him with Rick White, who had 10 scoreless games, blew up, then was gone. Springer had ERA+ of 201 for the Cardinals in 07 and 183 in 08. Was league average for the A’s and Rays last year
RH SP/RP Mike Burns – very successful closer for Astros at AA in 04 and AAA in 05 – had 30 relief innings for Astros with 1.19 ERA, but they didn’t want to keep him, not sure why. AAA for Cincy in 06 did well, had a couple lousy innings in the ML, released, picked up by Boston, who converted him to a swing man/long relief. Spent 07 at AAA Boston, spent 08 at AAA Cubs, spent 09  with Milwaukee, spent the first half at AAA, called up after the ASB, won his start against the Astros 8/15/09. Naturally.
LH RP John Franco – the black hole of massive suckage who cost starters runs and wins, who was almost always bailed out by some other reliever, was mercifully released at the end of June. I STILL don’t understand Phil Garner’s massive infatuation for this guy.
LOOGY Mike Gallo – went from good in 05 to horrible in 06, was sent down at the end of May. Spent 07 at AAA Colorado and 08 at AAA Toronto. Now OOB.
RH RP Scott Strickland – Threw 4 ghastly innings. He never did recover from his injuries in the 03 season. Has spent the last 3 years at AAA for the Padres, Yankees and Dodgers.
RH RP Travis Driskill – threw 1 inning in 05, spent 06 at AAA Round Rock, spent 07 at AAA Round Rock, and threw 6 innings for the Astros which I can’t remember. Now OOB.

————————————

Miguel Tejada Returns To Baltimore And The Astros Get No Picks

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Miguel Tejada just signed a 1 year deal to play 3B for the Orioles – not sure for how much. He hasn’t played third before, but he should be able to be a better fielder there than he was at short.

Baltimore made out great on their deal with the Astros 2 years ago – they saved 28 million dollars on Tejada’s salary and paid out approximately 2.8 mill of that to Luke Scott, who alone, had more RCAA and win shares than Tejada over the past 2 years – as well as Matt Albers, Troy Patton (who has been injured) and Dennis Sarfate (who was not exactly successful as a starter.)

Actually, I’ve been meaning to check out the totals of that particular (STUPID) trade, so here goes (note – I don’t get Bill James, so I can’t get Win Shares any more, because THT no longer carries stats and you have to go to Fangraphs, which doeasn’t have WS.)

Miguel Tejada: OPS+ of 92 and 109 over 666, 673 PA: averaged 86 runs, 28 doubles, 2 triples, 15 HR, 21 BB, 60 K, 31 GIDP (actually 32 – all time NL record, and 29, 2009 NL record), 76 RBI: .298/.326/.435/.761 – averaged 74 wRuns Created and averaged (-) 8.2 and 8.7 RCAA each year. Salary for 2 years was 28 mill.

Luke Scott: OPS+ of 111 and 115 over 506, 536 PA: averaged 64 runs, 26 doubles, 2 triples, 24 HR, 54 BB, 103 K, 5-6 GIDP, 72 RBI: .257/.338/.480/.818 – he averaged 71 runs created/year (fangraphs.com) and was 6.5 and 11.0 Runs Created Above Average. Salary for 2 years + 2.83 mill

Matt Albers: 49 IP in 2008 – 3 (lousy) GS: 38 IP in relief with a 2.28 ERA, overall 127 ERA+ and 1.33 WHIP. In 09, 67 IP over 56 games with a 5.51 ERA, overall 89 ERA+ and a 1.73 WHIP – probably because the BABIP went from .258 to .355, even though he increased K/9 and decreased HR/9. Salary over 2 years – 1.09 mill

Dennis Sarfate: 79.2 IP (4 GS – 15.2 HORRIBLE innings, and 53 G in relief) in 2008: as reliever, 65.2 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, .195 BAA; overall ERA+ of 94. In 09, he was hurt a great deal, pitched only 23 innings, had a 5.09 ERA in 20 games over 23 IP with a 1.52 WHIP. Total salary 0.8 mill over 2 years.  

Troy Patton: missed all of 2008 after shoulder surgery (thank you Cecil Cooper); 2009, threw 63 innings of 1.99 ERA/1.09 WHIP ball at AA, then 44.2 innings of 6.45 ERA/1.70 WHIP ball at AAA. Who knows what will happen next year. Salary for 2 years – 0.643 mill.

Mike Costanzo: minor league 3B who had a .728 OPS at AAA in 08, was demoted to AA in 09 and had a .606 OPS. No great loss. Minor league salary – he’s not on the 40 man = pennies.

Salary for Tejada – 28 mill: Salary for the 5 guys combined – 5.363 mill.

Just THINK what Drayton could have bought for 23 mill – like, say, pitching which was better than Russ Ortiz/ Mike Hampton. Or even a manager/pitching coach worth more than a coupld bucks. Or even gotten a couple of great draft picks who he would have to overpay.

sigh

Trick Or Treat – Reviewing Ed Wade’s 07/08 Trades

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Well, there are Effing A trades, Effing F trades and everything in between.

There are trades done for short term gain, for long term gain and because your owner told you to trade some guy. Given the fact that it is extremely difficult to ascertain just how much input Drayton had on each trade, given that Drayton’s middle name is – I’m a better GM than You Are, I am not going to call Eddie Wade either a genius or a nincompoop. Well, not a total nincom POOP (dang I LUUUUVVV that word. I watch too much Daffy Duck…)

Remember that Ed was not responsible for the trades of Ensberg, who fetched a couple pieces of chewed gum or something, which is what he was worth by then (let this be a lesson to stupid macho types who think that playing hurt is a wonderful terrific selfless thing to do for the team. The “macho” refers to stupid players, their stupid teammates, stupid fans and stupid sportswriters, both amateur and professional.)

The Dan Wheeler for Ty Wigginton trade was also Purpura’s. Poor ol Pur-puppet is pretty much remembered for trading future Hall of Famer Willy Taveras for Jason Jennings and (supposedly) running off Pettitte. Ahem.  

Also, from the 2007 team, Adam Everett, Mike Lamb, Eric Munson and Jason Jennings were not tendered a contract and Biggio and Orlando Palmeiro retired.

And I strongly suspect that Ed Wade was ordered to get rid of Lidge, Burke, Albers and Scott (of those traded, not non-tendered) and ordered to acquire Tejada (who Drayton has wanted since the HR Derby in 04 – or so I hear tell.)

OK. Trade time.

1 – Jason Lane to the Padres for 10 bucks and a dollar dog.

sigh. Unfortunately, this is one of those trades in which both sides came out even. Poor Jason Lane. Damm I wish I knew what on earth happened to that poor boy. The Astros wasted away at least 2 years of his youth keeping him in AAA, then keeping him on the bench. Sigh. But let’s remember he was instrumental to the 2005 pennant, just as Mo Ensberg was.

2 – Chris Burke, Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez to the Diamondbacks for Jose Valverde.

Money -  955K + 1.3125 mill + 390K (2.66 mill) : 4.7 mill 

Performance:- Juan Gutierrez: AAA – 116.2 IP over 22 GS, 3 relief – 6.09 ERA, 1.68 WHIP – 44BB, 87 K 11 HR, 11.73 hits/9 IP. His worst performance of his career.
- Chris Burke: he never recovered from his shoulder injury. 199 PA over 86 games: 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 22 BB, 33 K, 2 GIDP, 3 sac fly, 12 RBI. .194/.310/.273/.583 and (-) 12 RCAA
- Chad Qualls: Good – 73.2 IP/77 G with a career low ERA of 2.81 and a 1.05 WHIP, 18 BB, 77 K, 4 HR and .597 OPS against. Bad was him blowing 8 saves (and they lost every one of those games) as a set up man and 2 more losses. Oh yeah – and he Francoed 4 more games, blowing the lead and getting inherited ruinners assigned to the other guy so that THEY were tagged for the L. Total – he lost his team 14 games. However, with the collapse of Brandon Lyon in September, he was made the closer and saved 7 of the last 8 games, giving up only 2 hits and a BB. + 15 RSAA. Interesting that RSAA does not reflect games lost/blown.
- Jose Valverde – After a VERY rough beginning over the first 3 weeks, he only blew 4 more saves and lost 1 more over the remainder of the year while saving 44. Not Lidge, but darn good. 72 IP over 74 games – 10 HR, 23 BB, 83 K and a .686 OPS against. Total – he lost his team 5 games, but unlike Arizona, the Astros came back to win 4 games. 8 RSAA

Conclusion: I would have to say that the Astros ended up on the winning side of this trade in spite of paying 2 mill for just 1 player – at least so far. Since they got rid of Lidge, they simply HAD to have someone who could close, and there was absolutely no one on the 40 man who could take Lidge’s place and they obviously either wanted Qualls gone or didn’t think he had what it takes to close. Valverde saved 44 games and won 2 more while losing the team only 5 games (although it could have been 9) and Qualls, although he had better numbers, lost his team 14 games. Burke provided next to nothing as a utility guy. The Astros have control of Valverde for 09 and the Diamondbacks have 2 more years of Qualls and I would guess that Burke is finished and Gutierrez looks as if he won’t make the majors. (Interesting that Qualls has 15 RSAA and Valverde 8 – and Brad Lidge only 19??!!!?)

I should mention that one of the reasons (besides $$$) that the Dbax were comfortable trading Valverde away was that they thought Brandon Lyon could step and be an A-list closer and they could get 2 prospects at the end of the year when they let him walk. They sure were wrong on that score.

3 – Luke Scott, Matt Albers, Dennis Sarfate, Troy Patton and AAA player Mike Constanzo to the Orioles for All-Star Miguel Tejada.

Money - 430K + 395K + 390K + 390K (1.61 mill) : 13 mill (and 13 mill next year)

Performance:- Luke Scott: 536 PA over 148 G: 29 double, 2 triple, 23 HR, 53 BB, 102 K, 7 GIDP, 3 SF, 65 RBI from the 6-hole (mostly) 7 RCAA
- Matt Albers: as a reliever, 37.2 IP over 23 G: 31 H, 19 BB, 3 HR, 22 K, 2.63 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, .230 BAA; as a starter, terrible – 3 games, 11.1 IP, 8 ER and he still ended up with 5 RSAA
- Dennis Sarfate: as a reliever, 64 IP over 53 G: 43H, 48 BB, 3 HR, 71 K, 3.38 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, .195 BAA; terrible as a starter – 10.38 ERA over 14 IP and 4 GS – lowered his RSAA from 5 to (-3)
- Mike Constanzo: AAA (his first year) .261/.333/.395/728 – 52 BB, 159 K over 483 AB. Not great for a 3B – and I also remember he made 30 something errors, too – can’t find the stat page, unfortunately,
- Miguel Tejada: 666 PA over 158 G: .283/.314/.415/.729: 38 double, 3 triple, 13 HR, 24 BB, 77 K, 32 GIDP (a new NL record) 7 SB, 7 CS, (-)26 RCAA.

Conclusion: Definitely an Orioles win, both in terms of players and money. Sure I know that All-Star Tejada (reminds me of All-Star Lance Carter with the 6 something ERA a few years back) is popular in Houston because he is “energetic” and hits for average and seldom (shudder) walks. His glove was better than I dared hope, but I am not sure that at age 36, his agility will allow the same performance. His glove most certainly is not worth 13 million and his bat most definitely is not. He is essentially untradable because of his enormous salary and his rapidly declining power. I am still amused by all the people who were sooooo sure that Miggy would hit 50 homers fer SHER this year. And saddened by the number of people who think Barry Bonds is evil personified for (supposedly) using steroids but don’t mind one bit that Tejada did.

Oh, and by the way that (-)26 RCAA is exactly the same as Adam Everett’s 2006, his last full year. Tejada had 66 RBI batting 2nd, 3rd or 5th. Everett had 55 RBI batting 8th, behind Brad Ausmus. Yet, Everett’s bat was vilified and Tejada’s praised. It’s all in the BA.

Meanwhile, Luke Scott outplayed Hunter Pence (who had -7 RCAA), Albers was a nails reliever until he got hurt, Sarfate was good as a reliever, terrible as a starter and Troy Patton spent the year on the DL with a torn labrum – who knows if he will ever be able to pitch.

4 – Josh Anderson to the Braves for Oscar Villareal.

Money -  380 K : 2.6 mill

Performance:- Oscar Villareal: 37.2 execrable IP over 35 G – 5.05 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 12 HR, 17 BB, 21 K. He got tagged with 3 L and he blew 3 more that the Astros lost. (-) 3 RSAA
- Josh Anderson: in AAA, he hit .314/.358/.405/.763 over 453 AB with 23 double, 4 triples, 4 homers, 30 BB, 57 K, 42 SB, 7 CS; He had almost the same line over 142 AB in the majors once the Braves traded Kotsay and he had 2 RCAA. Did I mention that the guy is a great CF?

Conclusion: This is most DEFINITELY an effing F trade. Ed Wade needs to learn an important lesson here: John Schuerholz has been GM of the Braves since 1991. I can think of exactly two good pitchers he has traded since then – Jason Schmidt and Adam Wainwright (I would call Odalis Perez and Jason Marquis – OK major leaguers, some good years some bad. And they were both traded because they did not get along with Bobby and/or Leo.) That is it. He was wrong about exactly TWO guys. Two guys in 17 years should make you think a bazillion times before trading for a Braves pitcher, let alone signing him to a 2 year deal BEFORE you see how well he pitches. The Astros never thought much of Josh Anderson, who, like Bourn, is a lefty – and he was essentially a AAA lifer as far as the Astros were concerned. Ed’s high opinion of Michael has not been Bourn out by his performance, at least so far, and if Michael does not improve this year, it will essentially be a flushing of 2.6 mill down the toilet. Plus the loss of a Michael Bourn clone, only better, that we already had.

5 – Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett to the Phillies for Michael Bourn, Geoff Geary and AAA player Mike Costanzo.

Money – 6.35 mill + 600K  : 396 K + 1.125 mill (Philly got incredibly more value for their 7 mill than the Astros did for their 1.5 mill)

Performance:- Brad Lidge: 69.1 IP/72 G: 2 HR, 35 BB, 92 K: 41 saves, ZERO BS, but he did cause the team to lose 1 by letting inherited runners score. 19 RSAA. An Effing A year, that is fer SHER. He only gave up runs when his team was already losing.
- Eric Bruntlett: .217/.297/.297/.584 over 238 PA with 15 RBI – used mostly as a DR after the 7th inning when the Phils were ahead (-) 16 RCAA
- Michael Bourn: 514 PA over 138 G: .229/.288/.300/.588: 10 doubles, 4 triples, 5 HR, 37 BB, 111 K, 41 SB, 10 CS, (-)29 RCAA. He did have a .603 OPS from the 7-hole instead of the leadoff spot, but it wasn’t particularly noticeable – well, his BA was .260 which is almost high enough to make the fans happy.
- Geoff Geary: 64 IP/55 G: 2.53 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 12 hold, 2 BS,13 RSAA
- Mike Costanzo (see the Orioles trade)

Conclusion: So far, this looks like an effing F trade. Or at least a D- as Geary was a good middle relief guy when he wasn’t hurt. Bourn certainly has a better glove and is a much better baserunner than Pence, but as a leadoff guy, Bourn flunked. People LUUUVVVV to insist that Lidge had a mental problem, but it sure looks to me as if Lidge had an injured KNEE problem. But nonetheless, the fans and probably the owner wanted him gone and all I can say is that Bourn had better turn into Kenny Lofton for this trade to not be an unmitigated disaster. Oh yeah – and Eric Bruntlett was nails in the World Series – hit a homer and scored the winning run in 2 games.

As for Bourn, the team would have been a lot better off keeping Anderson and getting a starter for Lidge instead of yet another middle reliever and a guy who looks as if Gillick was right in assessing him as a DR.  

6 – AAA pitcher Chad Reinecke to the Padres for Randy Wolf

Money - around 80K : 3.7 mill

Performance:- Chad Reinecke 18 IP over 3 games and 1 in relief – 5.00 ERA, 1.44 WHIP (-) 2 RSAA: in AAA, 129 IP over 22 GS – 1.32 WHIP, 4.35 ERA, 20 HR, 41 BB, 113 K
- Randy Wolf: as an Astro - 70.1 IP over 12 GS (5 2/3 IP/GS) 3.57 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 7 RSAA; As a Padre:  119.2 IP over 21 GS (5 2/3 IP/GS)  4.74 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, (-)11 RSAA

Conclusion: Well, the Astros had no use for Reinecke except as a AAA lifer and Wolf was most certainly better than Runelvys Hernandez and all the others who were run out there as #5 guys. Ed Wade wanted to sign Wolf before the season, still wants him to sign this year and he provided decent pitching. However, he is not the “horse” too many people think he is and he is definitely not a better pitcher than Wandy. I seriously doubt that Reinecke will suddenly turn into a good, let alone serviceable ML starter or ace reliever, but youneverknow. So unless Reinecke does the almost impossible in the future, this trade is a win for the Astros even if Wolf never plays another game in an Astros uni.

7 – A-ball infielder Matt Cusick to the Yankees for LaTroy Hawkins

Money – piddling minor league salary: an insignificant portion of 1.375 mill = wash

Performance:- Matt Cusick – in A ball before trade: .285/.356/.462/.818 – had 23 lousy AB after trade.
- LaTroy Hawkins: as an Astro, 21.1 IP/24 - 11H, 5 BB, 23 K, 1 ER - 9 RSAA; as a Yankee – 41 IP over 33 G – 42H, 17 BB, 23 K (-) 6 RSAA

Conclusion: In 08, certainly a win for the Astros, with LaTroy being almost perfect and Cusick being just some guy in the low minors. Some day, who knows, it may turn into a Jeff Bagwell trade, who knows. Hopefully, Hawkins can be re-signed as the setup guy (please, oh Lord, don’t let Ed Wade figure Hawkins can close because he can’t.) Even if Cusick turns into Albert Pujols, I would still consider the trade a win, as the Astros desperately needed an 8th inning guy for cheap, and Hawkins was just that.

6/17/08: Miguel Tejada vs Luke Scott – Interleague 2008

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

note: before I get started, I’m going to say that seeing as how the Astros are playing in an AL park with a (yeccccch) DH that they had DARN well better be using Carlos Lee in that position. He has ZERO business putting on a glove if there is an alternative. But I would bet that Coop doesn’t have the guts to do it for every IL game.

Anyway, I  thought, for fun, seeing as how we are going to play Tejada’s old team – who, by the way, thought he was expensive, sulky, unmotivated and a lousy defended and couldn’t interest any trade partner except for Drayton McLane, who had coveted Tejada ever since he won the HR Derby in 04 – that I’d take a look at the trade, see how it stands after 2 1/2 months. And yes, I know, small sample size and this trade will need to be revisited after 2 years…

Here is the trade:
Miguel Tejada for Luke Scott + Dennis Sarfate + Matt Albers + Troy Patton + Mike Constanzo

Here are the salaries:
$13,000,000 : $1,650,000 ($430K + $390K+ $390K + $390K + $50K) – only Luke Scott’s salary will increase next year as he will be arb eligible

Here are RCAA (courtesty of Lee Sinins): (-)1 : 11 (yes, that IS Tejada: Scott. Yes, you saw that right – Tejada has a negative runs created score.)

Here are RSAA for their pitchers: Albers, 7; Sarfate, 3; Patton (DL for the year)

Win Shares (courtesy of Hardball Times)
Tejada 9: O’s 15 (Scott, 8 + Albers, 4 + Sarfate, 3)

hmmmmmmmmmmmm

Now I know that a whole lot of people are going to point out that if we had NOT gotten Tejada, then we would have had to keep Everett and he’s been injured all year (basically) – and we would have had to call up Tommy Manzella, and who KNOWS how he would have hit in the bigs.

Correctamundo, but we would have had Pence and Scott instead of Pence and Bourn. And win shares (8 + 8: 8 + 3) show that to be a winner. Yes, I know that win shares is dependent on the number of wins a team has and it is by no means perfect.

But, you know, this is all on paper. The fact is that the Organization simply, for whatever reason, had something against Luke Scott personally and they also thought Matt Albers had bad character – and they wanted them both gone. And the fact is that most Astros fans believed that Adam Everett’s glove had zero value to the team and that every shortstop should hit like a first baseman – and so he had to go. And the fans are absolutely delighted with Tejada, mediocre defense, steroid use and all.

As of June 17, 2008, the Astros are 33-37, 5th in the NL Central

As of June 17, 2007, the Astros were 30 – 39, 5th in the NL Central

Whoaaaaaa, that is SOME improvement. Of course, everything would be different if they just sent Bourn down to AAA and played Erstad full time. And DFAd Ausmus and played Quintero and his .200 BA full time. And got rid of Roy and every starter except Chacon and called up all those minor league pitchers who are eager and hungry and, of course, not getting a lot of money because that would make ALL the difference. Not to mention trading someone for CC Sabathia. Like Carlos Lee (hahahahahahahahaha)

Anyhow, here are the pitching matchups:

Tuesday: Brandon Backe, RHP vs Garrett Olson, LHP
Brandon had best get his head out of his butt – he has pitched 3 lousy to mediocre games in a row – and develop a plan for when the umps squeeze him and won’t call a strike a strike. So far this year, he’s 4-8 in 14 GS: 77.1 IP (5.2 IP/GS) 86H, 18 HR, 35 BB, 56 K: 5.00 ERA (83 ERA+), 1.56 WHIP and a .278 BAA.

Garrett Olson, age 24, was drafted by the Orioles as their first round supplemental pick in 2005 (you notice that the Astros 2005 supplemental pick is still in A ball and sucking, right?) He started 7 games for them last year, and struggled (let’s be nice here) and of course, the team wasn’t exactly, uh, any good. But the O’s didn’t throw him out on his butt and decide he was worthless after only 32.1 IP – as Astros fans would have wanted to do, and he was put into the rotation this year.

So far, he’s 5-2 in 9 GS and has had only 2 really bad games, one against NY and the other against Boston, although he did very well in his other 2 starts against them: 49.2 IP (5.1 IP/GS) 54 H, 5 HR, 19 BB, 32 K: 4.53 ERA (94 ERA+), 1.47 WHIP and a .276 BAA

Wednesday, it’s Moehler vs Jeremie Githrie

Thursday, Chacon vs Brian Burres

I think I should run a contest – name any differences you can find between Angelos and McLane over the past 4 years…

Checking Up On The 2007 Astros Most Fans Wanted Off The Team

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

So, in 2007, who were The Most Hated Astros? Or perhaps I should say, who did the fans want off the team?

Brad Lidge, Chad Qualls (you can’t have a reliever who ever gives up homers), Chris Burke, Mo Ensberg, Jason Lane,  Adam Everett, Jason Jennings and Woody Williams. The fans, unlike the management, for the most part, wanted Luke Scott to be the regular RF. The fans WANTED to keep Mike Lamb, but the Organization didn’t let the door hit his ass on his way out. And of course, Drayton was most certainly NOT willing to eat Woody’s 6 mill and no other team would even consider it.

We all know that Lidge hurt his knee, needed some surgery and hasn’t pitched, but let’s see how those guys are doing with their new teams – just curious, you know.
- Chad Qualls (D-bax) – 5 IP, no homers, 3 hits, no walks, 5 K in 5 games. Good thing we got rid of THAT good for nothing. Our NEW bullpen guys are SOOOOOOO much better.
- Chris Burke (D-bax) – 15/38 in 14 G – 11 RS, 15 H, 5 doubles, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 2 K, 2 SB, no CS: .395/.489/.763/1.252 – yeah, GOOD thing we got rid of that worthless good for nothing in favor of Kaz Matsui. Oh yeah, of COURSE these numbers are perfectly valid – didn’t we all decide by 20 ABs last year that Burkie-poo was washed up, useless, worthless? That he should be DFAd and Pence installed in center? Oh yes, you did.
- Luke Scott (Orioles) – 7/24 in 8 G – 4 RS, 3 doubles, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 9 K, no GIDP: .292/.346/.667/1.013 – yeah, the Organization was right, he can’t hit/is always hurt (he DID have the flu – what a bad person to catch the flu)/is
- Adam Everett (Twins) – 7/29 – 3 RS, 3 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, no GIDP, no SB/CS: .241/.267/.345/.612 – yep, he’s hitting like Adam Everett AND fielding like Adam Everett. (Tejada is hitting like Adam Everett and fielding like Mark Loretta. NOT much improvement, I’d say…)
- Mike Lamb (Twins) – 8/21 with 4 RS and 3 doubles – 2 BB, 2 K: .381/.435/.524/.959 – he always was a better hitter than Ty Wigginton and his glove isn’t THAT much worse…
- Morgan Ensberg (Yankees) – 10/30 in 14 G – 7 RS, 5 2B, 2 BB, 9 K, 6 RBI: .300/.394/.500/.894. Well, seems he sure has cut down on all those walks that Astros fans so hated.
- Jason Lane (Yankees) – 9/35 in 14 G – 7 RS, 9 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K: .257/.297/.543/.840. Not bad, doesn’t hit for a high average, but he hits for power. How many Astros fans prefer a Mark Loretta hitter who hits for average but no power? Answer – most of em.
- Jason Jennings (Rangers) – 2 ER(3 R)/11.2 IP in 4 GS – 6 H, 1 HR, 4 BB, 7 K – 1.54 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, .239 OBA. Too bad he couldn’t have fixed his owie BEFORE the season last year. He won’t stay THIS good pitching at The Ballpark, but I bet he looks a LOT better than he did LAST year. And I bet he outpitches the carcass of Woody Williams, too.
- Juan Gutierrez (D-bax) – 4G/1GS – 6 ER/8 IP – 7 H, no HR, 3 BB, 4 K – that’s OK, he looks like the AAA pitcher he should be this year no matter whose club he was sith
- Dennis Sarfate (Orioles) – 3 ER/6.2 IP 0ver 7 games: 5 H, no HR, 7 BB, 8 K: 2.70 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, .353 OBA – doesn’t look NEAR as good as he did in Sept, hunh? He’s walkin guys like he was still in the Astros bullpen…
- Mike Costanzo (Orioles) 11/35 in 17 games: 3 doubles, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 10 K, 1 CS: .314/.333/.571/.904 – don’t know how he fields, but he sure looks better than Ty Wigginton
- Matt Albers (Orioles) – 5 ER/8.1 IP in 4 G/1 GS – 9 H, 1 HR, 3 BB, 9 K – 5.40 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .333 OBA. Well, every now and then, he actually did pitch well for the Astros. Guy was good n lousy – usually more lousy than good. Some things never change.
- Troy Patton (Orioles) – shredded shoulder – out for the year.

OK
Conclusions?

So far, Burke and Qualls are paying off BIG time for the Dbax who didn’t need Valverde. I agree that Lidge NEEDED a change of scenery and I would still feel that way if he had pitched 10 innings with 30 K, no BB, no H and had 10 saves. I know we had to find a closer SOMEwhere, but a guy who has one year’s success as a closer is not exactly a guarantee to do it the next year – remember what happened with Danny Kolb when he went from Milwaukee to Atlanta.

Tejada is not hitting worth spit and his fielding (according to people I know who have been watching the games in Fla) is worse than Loretta’s. Luke Scott and Costanzo are hitting great, Albers is his usual meh self, Sarfate seems to have regressed to his Brewers days and Patton has a torn shoulder – something from which a lot of pitchers don’t recover (think Carlos Hernandez – sob sob…) Tejada ALSO costs 13 mill a year for 2 years.

Lane and Ensberg are hitting just fine (of course, they hit just fine last year in ST too, and even then, a WHOLE lot of Astros fans weren’t willing to give them the benefit of the doubt – remember?)

Lamb is tearing the cover off the ball, Wiggy is not.
Even Dan Wheeler (3.40 ERA) and Trever Miller (1.93 ERA) are pitching well for the Rays (and our old friend Gerry Hunsicker.)

Yes, yes, I know ALL about small sample size. Yes, yes, I know that ST stats are irrelevant starting March 31, but so far, the guys we threw away are in general looking a WHOLE lot better than the ones we got, with the exception of Michael Bourn.

I think I’ll do a check on these self same guys at the ASB and compare them to the guys who replaced them – see how things worked out…

12/12/07: Astros Trade For Tejada – So Much For Pitching And Defense

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Well, if Miguel wanted to be traded to a winning team, I can’t imagine why he agreed to come to Houston. I guess anywhere but Baltimore. I would also guess McLane asked Bud if Tejada, who has been fingered in steroid RUMORS, was on Mitchell’s poopoo list, the names of which haven’t been released, and the answer was no. Remember? Goody 2 Shoes guys???

McLane has been drolling over Miggy since the 2004 Home Run Derby, remember?

Here’s the trade:
Luke Scott (who might could be re-traded) who became persona non grata for reasons I STILL don’t know. I hope he wins the AL MVP.

Troy Patton, LHP, 1st year, who pitched only 12.2 innings in the majors, but was our #3 prospect this year, and projected to be a #3 or 4 starter

Matt Albers, RHP, second year – 5.87 ERA, .292 BAA and 1.60 WHIP over 125 IP

Dennis Sarfate, RHP, reliever, 1st year, who gave up only 1 ER over 14 IP in Sept, with 1 BB and 14 K. Had a serious problem with wildness in the Brewers minor league system.

Mike Costanzo, minor league 3B who we just got from Philly for Brad Lidge. Every projection system I checked had him as a AAAA type guy…

AND THE ASTROS PICK UP EVERY PENNY OF TEJADA’S CONTRACT!!!

Well, unless Albers really turns it around in Baltimore against the Yanks and Red Sox, Patton turns into Eric Bedard and Sarfate ROOLZ, the Orioles got rid of an aging lead glove 14 mill a year SS who had been, um, making it clear for 2 years (yeah, I’m not allowed to say complaining, am I, now that he’s a “good guy”) that he did not want to stay with the Orioles for 2 young pitchers and a GOOD lefty OF with a good glove for a grand total of a little over 1.5 mill. Pretty good, I would say.

As for Tejada, for some reason, everyone thinks this guy hits like A-Rod. He doesn’t. Sure I remember him winning the HR derby in 04 – I was there. But when guys start just aiming for that fence, well, unless they are Biggio, they run into trouble…

And let’s not forget that Orioles Park is a MUCH better home run park than the Box – they were 3rd in the majors with a HR Park factor of 1.228 and the Box was 14th with a HR factor of 1.049. And yes, that DOES keep in mind that the better pitchers are in the AL.

Astros Unchanged After 2007 Winter Meetings

Friday, December 7th, 2007

I apologise for not writing for a week – first my husband and kids were sick, then I was. And you know that if I’m too sick to read any baseball news, that’s sick.

Anyhow, of course I had heard that Ed Wade has been trying to package Luke Scott and Chris Burke for pitching. We all know that there are no available number 2 pitchers and if there were, he would most DEFINITELY cost more than Burke + Scott. I don’t know who he asked for who, but seems as if either Wade wanted too much for 2 players who aren’t good enough for a lousy team or that no other team would offer him much of anything for them.

I heard that we were again trying to acquire Miguel Tejada – so much for the importance of defense up the middle – this time for Everett + Burke + a pitcher. Why the Orioles would want Burke I don’t know as they already have Brian Roberts at second, unless they planned to put Burke back in center. Believe it or not, he’s better than Corey Patterson… But of course, dealing with Peter Angelos is, um, difficult and yeah, I know that Andy MacPhail is now “running” the club. Yeah. Surrrrrrre. So naturally, no deal got done.

But I’m sure that Ed Wade will eventually be able to acquire another crummy middle reliever for his unwanted guys. And I am sure that Luke alone will create more runs than Bourn PLUS Matsui. I have no idea why people really really believe that guys who run fast create more runs than guys who run more slowly but hit for a lot more power. I have never found any evidence to support the idea that singles hitting base stealers create more runs. Have any of yall?

Here is Steve Caimano, another blogger’s opinion of the Matsui signing…

The trade that really stunned me was the Marlins dumping BOTH Cabrera AND Willis for 6 Detroit minor leaguers. Unless the Marlins sign an actual ML baseball player before the season starts, their payroll will be approximately 12 mill. And Selig – some commissioner – let a deal like that go through. The Marlins will receive approximately 70 mill from MLBAM and another 25-50 mill from revenue sharing, which means that Loria will make some 80 mill or profit BEFORE he sells a ticket.

Which reminds me – anyone who really thinks that ticket prices are a reflection of the payroll needs to check out the price of Marlins’ tickets – 60 bucks for field level seats and 20 for upper deck. Not that any fans except corporate offices (and they are not fans) are going to buy any. Well, except if the Mets are playing…

If a billionaire baseball owner can make 70 mill a year putting a bunch of (essentially) minor leaguers on the field and losing most of their games and having the kind of low attendance figures that haven’t been seen since the 70s, well, why should other owners bother to put competitive teams on the field? Let the Yankees/Red Sox/Mets/Cubs/Tigers fight it out every year and spend the money. We can go back to the Good Old Days of the 50s that the sports writers long to see (Yankees/Dodgers/Giants/No one else.) It would be interesting to hear what is going on at owners’ meetings.

Me, I sincerely doubt that the Yankees/Red Sox/Mets/Cubs/Tigers are even a little bit upset by the Marlins – I mean, having to give them money that goes directly into Loria’s pocket instead of the team on the field. They make millions too and after all, SOMEone has to be the Washington Generals, right? But what about the rest of the owners? Drayton McLane has been a good little Selig syncophant, refusing to pay a penny over slot, not signing 5 of his top 10 picks last year because of that. He must be thinking – hey, I could make an additional 70 mill a year if I could get rid of everyone who makes over league minimum (except Lance Berkman who has been very clear about his refusal to leave Houston.)

But what I don’t get is this – these owners have BILLIONS. Why on earth don’t they want to spend ANY of it to win? Why don’t they want to win, why on earth don’t they care? I can understand CORPORATIONS not caring one bit, but these ultra-competitive men? What on earth good is that 20-70 mill a year going to do when it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what they ALREADY have?

Ah well, it is Bud’s job to make sure the owners make as much $$$ as possible and the players as little as possible as the owners believe that this IS the “best interest of baseball…”

The only Astros news is that Wesley Wright (real name DeQuam LaWesley Wright) age almost 23, LHP, little guy at 5′10″ 150 lb, was picked from the Dodgers (who picked him in the 7th round of the 03 draft out of an Alabama HS) in the Rule V draft. His overall minor league numbers are pretty good, except for the walks – 7.78 H/9; 0.53 HR/9; 5.37BB/9; 10.95 K/9. He has a 3.66 ERA, 1.46 WHIP over 253.2 IP and 137 games. He only started 4 games and saved 4, and he always had more IP than games played, so it seems as if he was used as a middle reliever and not a LOOGY. Of course, they don’t really have LOOGYs in the minors. I wonder how he did with stranding runners he inherited.

Problem is that he’s only thrown 16.2 innings over 14 games at AAA (and did not do very well – I’ll start and finish with the 9.18 ERA) and he has to make the 25 man in ST or be returned to the Dodgers.

Me, I sure hope he makes the team as our second lefty – that would be kewl. The Organization is still unfortunately talking about Steve Randolph, who has proved more than once that he does not belong on a ML roster. Besides if Lil Dude makes the ML roster, he can go back to using his real name.

11/25/07: He Put In His Thumb And Pulled Out A Blum

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

I know that Orlando Palmeiro really isn’t a particularly good baseball player and is at the end of his career. I know that the Astros HAVE to assemble some sort of bench. I know that I have complained about the leadness of Mark Loretta’s glove and that his bat fades in the second half of the year if too heavily used in the first half.

But for the life of me, I can NOT understand why this club is so eager to throw Mike Lamb out on his butt. All I can think is that they want new guys on the team because the guys on the team last year lost.

Ed Wade has signed ex-Astro, Geoff Blum, a 34 year old switch hitting utility infielder – almost all games played at second, short and third with a couple in the OF and at first. He was last on the team in 2003, when Jimy Williams had him (for some unknown reason) platooning with Mo Ensberg back when Mo was good, in fact, was incredibly better than Blum. He was traded at the end of that year for Brandon Backe – yet another great Gerry Hunsicker pick up.

Sigh

Anyway,since then, he has posted OPS of .614, .696., .656 and .685 which are OPS+ of 61, 72, 75 and 84. Or (according to Lee Sinins) RCAA of -11/478 PA, -12/252 PA, -11/299 PA and -8/370 PA. Or a lifetime line of .251/.312/.386/.699. His 162 game seasonal averages are 473 AB, 40 BB, 80 K, 26 doubles, 2 triples, 11 homers, 7-8 GIDP, 55 RBI and 55 runs scored. And fans are complaining about Everett????

Oh yeah
- batting righty, lifetime line – .233/.295/.380/.675
- batting lefty, lifetime line – .256/.317/.388/.709
Mark Loretta, a righty, had -6 RCAA/511 PA with a line of .287/.352/.372/.724 with 23 doubles and 5 homers, 52 RS and 41 RBI.
Mike Lamb, a lefty, had 10 RCAA over 355 PA, with a line of .289/.339/.427/.819 with 14 doubles, 3 triples and 11 homers with 36 BB and 41 K. Yes, I know he can only play third and first and yes I know that he hits leftys VERY well.

Now I will admit that both Lamb and Loretta are terrible gloves, but Blum is not even league average at any position with the glove. Yes, I know he’s a much cheaper substitute for Loretta + Lamb, but he’s basically Eric Bruntlett with a lesser glove and a smaller paycheck. We need SOMEbody on the bench who can hit. Besides, Wiggy SHOULD be platooned: .848 OPS against leftys, .749 against rightys. You notice that both numbers are greater than Blum’s, right?

The supposed party line from the Organization is that both Lamb and Loretta are looking for starting positions and multi-year contracts. I must have read a kabillion A-Rod/Miggy Cabrera/Mike Lowell columns over the past few months which discuss all of the other options that teams have for third basemen and not a single one has mentioned Mike Lamb as a possible starting third baseman. He’s been tabbed as a platoon guy/bench hitter and at his age, he’s not likely to shake that one off.

Loretta is basically a singles hitter who doesn’t strikeout very much, but he couldn’t get ANY starting job last year and that was coming off an ALL-STAR (oh that is SOOOOOOO meaningful, playing for the popular kids) season. So exactly who is it that is dying to give these guys these multi-year contracts for regular jobs?

Answer – NOBODY!!! This is just flat out cheapness, getting crappy guys for peanuts to reduce payroll to maximize profits for McLane, let’s be real here.

Neither the players nor the mainstream media writers are saying much of anything about the fact that MLB pulled in over six BILLION dollars in income this year, forcing Bud Selig to admit that MLB is doing well, and that the players are taking only 41% of that sum (unlike every other professional team sport, in which the players take home well over 50% of the total take) which you best believe Bud Selig isn’t talking about. Only 7 years ago, the players took home 56% of the take. All I hear are complaints about the greedy ballplayers and their enormous salaries – so why am I not hearing complaints about the greedy OWNERS who keep increasing ticket prices in spite of the fact that their increasing percent of the take is enabling them to make much more money???!!!

The local Houston reporters barely mentioned last year that the Astros lowered payroll and they have barely mentioned that they are lowering it again this year in spite of the fact that they are raising ticket prices.

With the exception of the Mets and Cubs, all the National League clubs have lowered payroll over the past 4 years, but it has happened without much of any mention in the media. It seems as if most of the clubs have decided that all they need to do is make the playoffs and that they can do that with 85 or so wins, so why bother to actually have a great club?

It’s all about screwing the players, my friends, and the MLBPA has taken a seriously bad hit with all the steroid stuff, not just because they didn’t pretend to have a drug policy, as the NFL does, but because they didn’t protest the appointment of George Mitchell, a career politician who is on the board of directors of both ESPN and the Red Sox, as the person who is supposed to ferret out all the horrible ballplayers since time immemorial (since the last strike, that is) who – shudder – used drugs. Well, anabolic steroids (even before it was against MLB rules to used them, instituted in 2005.) And Growth Hormone, let’s not forget that evil drug, which turns Mario Mendozas into Barry Lamar Himself.

Between finally indicting Barry Lamar, the only ballplayer who ever did steroids or HGH (so they say), the epitome of everything that is wrong with baseball (except for Scott Boras, who commits the unspeakable act of trying to fulfill his clients wishes of getting the biggest contract/endorsements they possibly can.) You don’t see anyone heaping the kinds of invective and abuse upon roids users who have actually been caught with positive tests such as Ryan Franklin and JC Romero, do you?

Why am I mentioning all this? For the simple reason that the owners have FINALLY figured out how to make the ballplayers look bad to the public so they can get away with paying them less and keeping more of the profit for themselves while continuing to raise ticket prices.

Me, I am hoping the MLBPA will have the good sense to try to seek out some of the more reasonable mainstreamers and provide figures showing that the owners are making more of the profit and they are making less, so perhaps the owners will have to wait a little bit before crying poverty and continuing to make tickets too expensive for all but the corporations and the very rich and blaming it on the very people who are providing the entertainment.

I hear tell that McLane is planning on lowering the payroll again this year to 80 mill (approximately) in spite of the fact that the Astros pulled in over 3 million fans last year and in spite of the fact that he’s raising ticket prices. Let’s start demanding to know why he won’t sign decent bench players for a couple mill instead of the Blums and Abercrombies of the world. Yes, I know we don’t have anyone to trade for Miggy Cabrera or even Tejada, so I’m not complaining about that. And yes I am GLAD we didn’t sign either Linebrink or Cordero.

But we can’t get rid of 2 of the 5 guys on the team (Luke Scott and Mike Lamb) who actually had positive RCAA and still expect to actually score runs.

And what makes me sad is all the people who feel optimistic because Ed Wade, unlike Purpura, is doing SOMEthing, ANYthing…

Astros In The Outfield For 2008, Part 2: Right Fielders

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

No Astros news this past week. The Yanks hogged the team-out-of-the-playoffs-spotlight with the Joe Torre drama. So back to checking on the free agents.

Part 1 looked at free agent CF.

Now, let’s take a look at free agent RF and at out own OF on our 40 man:

Right fielders (and 2 guys who could play right)

Bobby Abreu, age 34 -Yanks have a 16 mill club option. As for fielding, well, he has a very bad rep, which he doesn’t totally deserve with a RF of 2.15 (high is 2.68) and a ZR of .858, which, I admit is not quite as good – high is .971 (among guys who played at least 400 innings in right – 11th of 16, and, in fact, Jack Cust had a better rating – yikes!!!) Offensively, he’s definitely on the downslide of his career. He steals between 22-35 bases a year and usually hits 20 homers, but his walk rate and slugging rate dropped considerably this year. He has a career OPS of .908 and he slid to .814 this year. Of course he won’t get any 16 mill on the open market, but I wouldn’t be surprised if SOMEone will give him a multi year deal, which I sure wouldn’t.

Shawn Green, age 35 – Mets have a 10 mill club option. Dude can NOT field and he can’t hit lefties at all and barely hits rightys. Ummmm, no.

Jose Guillen, age 32 – Mariners have 9 mill club option. Good hitter, and I will be absolutely stunned if the Mariners don’t keep him. He has the reputation of, uh, whatever the Latin is for uppity, so much so that his team, the Angels, chose to bench him at the cost of losing the playoffs. As for fielding, he has the reputation of being good, but I was surprised to see that his numbers are below those of Bobby Abreu with a RF of 1.96 and a ZR of .796 – interesting that Bobby has the rep of being a totally lead glove and Guillen of being a totally golden one. Neither one deserves it.

Geoff Jenkins, age 33, who really can’t hit lefties very well any more. Had a VERY good glove most of his career, but had fallen the past few years. He’s still got a good RF – 2.30 (5th of 15†NL fielders with over 500 innings. You DID guess correctly that Carlos Lard was dead last with 1.77) and a decent ZR of .889 (again, 5th of 15 and guess who is last)†

Luis Gonzalez, age 41 should consider himself lucky that he got a contract THIS year. He’s been cooked for several years. He is only a part-timer at best and these days, he can’t even hold a candle to Luke Scott with either bat or glove.

Reggie Sanders, age 40. Has been hurt for almost 2 years straight and it is most DEFINITELY time to retire. I always liked Reggie and he had a very nice career and it’s a shame he never played for us – he hit like Barry Lamar 2001 in the Box.

Shannon Stewart, age 34. Has that nice high average low power sort of stats that Stros fans clamor for. Bats around .295 with a .390 SLG. Few Ks, few BB, 13-15 GIDP a year. Thing is, he’s been playing left for the past 6 years and at his age, I doubt he could move to center and do well – he’s about a league average fielder in left. Needless to say, with an 88, 88 and 96 OPS+ over the past 3 years, yes I know, in the AL, he certainly isn’t better than Luke Scott, who hits for power.

Brad Wilkerson, age 31 – only had 320 AB this year and 358 last because of injuries. He’s lifetime .250/354/451/804, but since the Expos left Montreal, he’s declined. This year, he’s walked 43 times and K’d 107. That, my friends, is a higher rate than the King of K Preston Wilson. He only played 275 innings in left, which is really not the best sample size, but he had a ZR of .880. However, last year, he played 664 innings in left and had a ZR of .814, which is seeping dangerously down to Carlos territory. He has spent very little of his career playing right, and the sample size over the past 6 years is only 356 innings.

Our OF (not including Carlos Lee, who is cemented – hahahaha – in left)

Luke Scott, age 29 – not sure exactly what he did to earn the enmity of the Organization, but here is a guy who hits a homer every 20 AB. His seasonal average in the ML is 36 doubles, 9 triples, 20 homers, 65 BB, 112 K and 74 RBIs. And as I’ve said before, Luke’s glove in right is excellent – 4th best among regular RF in the NL. AND he’ll earn a salary barely above league minimum.

Hunter Pence, age 25. Will of course be paid barely above minimum. In 484 PA, he hit 30 doubles, 9 triples, 17 HR, 26 BB (kept em low, didn’t he) 95 K, 10 GIDP, 11 SB, 5 CS. Hit hitting line .322/.360/.539/.899. VERY good for a CF, in fact, first among CF with at least 400 AB. His glove wasn’t bad either – RF of 2.83 (believe it or not, Jason Lane was better at 2.85, but Ryan Church was best among fielders with >300 innings at 3.02) and a ZR of .866 (and again, Jason Lane was better with .876 and Hunter was 15th among CF with >300 innings.) And Willy Taveras, so terribly missed by so many Stros fans, had a RF of 2.76 and a ZR of .823 – so much for Willy’s “incredible” defense.

Reggie Abercrombie, age 27. Claimed off waivers from the Marlins in spite of the fact that he, uh, well, um, got some, uh, flava to him and he hits worse than Jason Lane. In 2006 in 225 AB, he hit .211/.271/.333/.604. He was even worse this year – in 76 AB, he hit .197/.238/.316/.554. His minor league numbers aren’t exactly outstanding – in almost 3000 AB, he hit .266/.310/.438/.748. I don’t have minor league fielding stats such as zone rating and range factor, but in 716 innings in the majors (104 games) he has a 2.90 RF and a .909 ZR, both good, but VERY small sample size. Of course, he’d get the ML minimum, but unlike Josh Anderson, he’s a righty. Not sure exactly why we bothered to get him except to show that the Astros aren’t opposed to having brothas on the team.

Josh Anderson, age 25. Would earn ML minimum, of course. Had only 67 AB in the majors – 21 singles, 3 doubles, 5 BB, 2 HBP, 6 K, no GIDP – hit .358/.413/.403/.816. He’s essentially a singles hitter who doesn’t walk much, just like Willy T. His line is .290/.342/.373/.715 over his minor league career.

And there you have it.
Unless we TRADE for someone, and let’s be honest here, we really have almost nobody to trade, best to stick with who we have.

10/15/07: Astros In The Outfield – Part 1

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Ed Wade has said that the Astros are looking for outfielders and that Luke Scott is “in the mix” and that he supposedly has had problems with his Achilles’ tendon so who knows if he could really be a full time fielder blahblahblah. Which is why, of course, he is going to play winter ball on that bad tendon that is hurting him so much, I guess.

Of course, I’ve been hearing all this goop about how terrible it was that we no longer have Willy Taveras, the second coming of Willie Mays – or at least Kenny Lofton. Oh yeah, sooooo terrible. All those bunt hits make a world of difference, I guess. Color me unimpressed. Yeah, I know he made a great catch in Game 1 of the NLCS to rob Eric Byrnes of a sure 2 RBI single/double and preserve the W for the Rockies and yeah, it sure looked exactly like Jim Edmonds catch of Brad Ausmus’ sure 2 RBI double in game 7 of the 2004 NLCS to preserve the W for the Cards. Shrug. At least Edmonds can hit the cutoff man.

Anyway, seeing as how Willy will stay in Colorado, at least until Ryan Spilborghs takes his job next year, let’s look at the OF already on our roster as well as the available FA. (Stats from ESPN, The Hardball Times, baseball-reference.com)

First, as to FA center fielders: – age as of Opening Day

- Milton Bradley, age 30 (on DL with ACL tear, and anyhow, he’s an uppity N-word) – great hitter and fielder when healthy, but unfortunately, seldom healthy – he’s had exactly one full, uninjured season, back in 04, then he played in 75, 96 and 61 games in each subsequent year. He has a lifetime 110 OPS+ and can play right and center and has an above league average RF and ZR

- Mike Cameron, age 35 (lots of Ks, frequently injured, looks like a N-word) has played approximately 140 games a year, except in 05 when he was injured in an OF collision with Carlos The Jackal. Has a lifetime 107 OPS+ (actually 109 over the past 7 years) has averaged 22 homers, 32 doubles and 156 K (!!!) over an average season and also has a .251 BA, which will NOT fly with a whole lot of Astros fans, who value a singles hitter who hits .300 over a guy who hits for power whose average is only .250. He has won 3 GG and unlike Derek Jeter, actually deserved them as his RF, ZR and UZR have greatly exceeded league average. However, he WILL be 35 years old and for a guy who has a lot of leg problems, I can’t see a multi year contract as he will surely get a GOOD 8 mill a a year, at least.

- Darin Erstad, age 34 – gritty white boy who makes Jason Lane’s hitting look like Barry Lamar 2001 – White Sox have a 3.5 mill option. Erstad is a great fielder the few days a year he’s not hurt. Not even worth wasting time discussing.

- Torii Hunter, age 32 (a FINE lookin brotha if I say so myself and I do say so myself) who will very likely get a Vernon Wells sort of payday. Well, maybe for fewer years as he IS 32. Naturally he’s had a career year in his walk year, but he’s good for around 35 doubles and 25 homers a year, 114 K and 78 BB, 15-20 SB with 7 CS a year and also, don’t let me forget, 15 – 20 GIDP a year. Of course he’s famous for his fielding but he has lost some range since his ankle injury e years back, but he still is above league average in range factor and waaaayyy above league average in balls out of zone.

- Andruw Jones, age 31 (Boras client AND he doesn’t know how to ride a horse, so honestly, since heck will freeze over before he comes here, no point in discussing him.)

- Kenny Lofton, age 41 – yet ANOTHER brotha, and originally an Astro, who was traded for being uppity, for some crummy someone who wasn’t near as valuable. Good thing is that he can be signed to a 1 year contract.

- Corey Patterson, age 28 (Boras client AND Black. also ex-Cub. We all remember him – he was forced to hit leadoff by Dusty Baker, and did worse and worse until finally he was practically run out of town on a rail. He can’t/won’t walk, had some power and is a decent OF, but really isn’t worth much, especially as we ALREADY have Josh Anderson, who is younger, cheaper, and better)

- Aaron Rowand, age 30 – FINALLY a white boy. High Grit Factor. AND no Boras, neither. Beloved of sportswriters because he does stuff like smash his face into brick walls to catch a ball, then miss 60 games healing. It’s what too many males proudly refer to as “testicular fortitude” and females contemptuously refer to as “testicular stupidity.” Anyway, of course he’s having a career year in his walk year, but on average, he is ..286/.343/.462, an 805 OPS or 106 OPS+ and it is interesting to note that he gets HBP a little more often than he GIDP – over the past 3 years, he’s 58:48. That just might could get him some of that “gritty” Biggio luuuuvvv. He’s basically a league average CF for RF and ZR, but he seldom makes errors, which means a lot to the Astros community.

So, to summarize, the only guy listed who isn’t Black might could look good on a horse, is Mr. Grit #2, who will probably get a GOOD 12 mill a year for 5 years, if even that low…

Part 2 will look at available free agent RF as well as the OF we currently have on the 40 man.

- And to change the subject for a minute, speaking of the 40 man, Eric Munson was put on waivers and claimed by Milwaukee, so it DOES look like a battery of Justin Towles and Brad Ausmus next year, as I thought. Hopefully, Quintero will not be back either. Also, Steve Randolph and Cody Ransom were outrighted to AAA – so hopefully, I won’t have to be hearing nonsense about how Ransom should replace Adam Everett