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.
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.