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Archive for the ‘Mike Lamb’ 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.


 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.


3/26/08: Sampson Outpitches Verlander

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Sampson went 3.1 innings, giving up 5 hits, no walks, 4 K and 4 runs. He had been hit on the hip by a line drive in the third and I guess it tightened up on him, so after getting an out in the 4th, he gave up 2 singles, then a triple, then came out. Runelvys promptly let his runner score.
Verlander threw 3 innings, gave up 8 H, 2 BB and 6R/5 ER.


Still no word on what Cooper thinks about the 5th starter – won’t know until after Saturday’s game.

Ty Wigginton has 8 errors this spring and Miguel Cabrera, the worst fielding regular 3B in the the NL last year, has 4. Heck even Brad Freaking Ausmus managed to play 3B for 3 innings today and handled a play just fine. When Brad Ausmus outhits and outplays you at third, well, um, this is NOT good. In case all yall curious, Mike Lamb has 2 errors and 18 assists in 79 innings played. Also, in case yall curious, he’s hitting .371/.450/.514/.964. I would LOVE to know why the Organization was so eager to throw Lamb out on his butt… Ah well…

Oh, and Blum isn’t any better than Wiggy – he has 3 errors at third in 39 innings. And Mo Ensberg made the Yankees roster – don’t guess yall want to hear what he’s hitting, do you?

I suppose I should discuss pitching. It isn’t pretty. Guess who has the best ERA of guys left on the roster?

Borkowski – yeah. 2.70. Then comes Wright with 3.00. Then Roy with 3.60 and Backe with 3.86 and then Moehler with 4.30 and Jack Cassel at 4.85 (AND Cassel has been sent to AAA even though he has CLEARLY outpitched Woody Williams – 6 mill has a way of talking, doesn’t it???)

Our new bullpen (this is 3 bag ugly – WARNING!!!)
Geary – 4.76; Valverde – 5.00; Villareal – 7.45; Sampson – 9.71; Paronto – 12.38; set-up man Brocail – 14.63.
Runelvys Hernandez and his 8.31 ERA have been removed from consideration. Dude never regained any form after his TJ surgery, I guess.
I don’t guess yall wanna hear how Qualls is doing, do you? Didn’t think so.

What I DON’T have is the DER – that is, the number that tells the percent of batted balls turned into outs. I would bet it’s about the lowest in the majors with the lead gloves we have in the IF.

12/21/07: Defending The Astros Defense Is Indefensible

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Man, that headline was FUN to write.
Tom Tango, the famous statistician, has just released data on fielding from 2003 to mid 2007.

The best fielder in baseball during that time was, surprise, surprise, Adam Everett.
Take a look:
Best infielder (by FAR) Adam Everett at +24
Ty Wigginton makes the worst list, coming in at -14
Two OF made the top Worst list: Jason Lane at -15 (and the Astros Organization liked his defense) and Lance Berkman at -16. Carlos Lee just missed the list at -12.

Actually, Lance got to double dip b

cause he made the top worst at first base, too, -16, beating Giambi and Sexson, but not by much.
These numbers were obtained with the UZR system, which is the intellectual property of Mitchel Lichtman, one of the authors of The Book, and backed by Sean Smith, inventor of the CHONE system (as you will read in the comments.)

The only real surprise was that neither Jeff Kent nor Craig Biggio made the list of worst infielders…

I forgot -
click here to check out Tango’s summary of the fans’ scouting report on the Astros (hope all yall voted. He does this every year, you know…)

12/16/07: Mike Lamb Joins Adam Everett In Minnesota

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

The Twins, who desperately need a third baseman who can hit (Nick Punto hits like Everett) signed Mike Lamb, who will join his former teammate steroid-free Good Guy/Bad Bat Adam Everett next year. From Joe Christensen in the Star-Tribune:

“Lamb will make $3.5 million next year and $3 million in 2009. There are performance bonuses and escalators that could make the contract worth up to $12.5 million over three years. I spoke to Lamb. He said, The reality is I’ve been a bench player for 5-6 years now. I realize the Twins are taking a chance on me, and I definitely appreciate it.

We’ll miss the guy. I wish him the best. The Astros were most definitely wrong about no other team wanting either Lamb or Everett as a full time player. Still have NO idea where we’ll find a lefty PH. Or ANY PH for that matter.

I hope.

By the way, check out Aaron Gleeman’s evaluation of Adam Everett’s defense. He provides about every link I’ve ever mentioned over the years about the evaluation of Adam’s sterling reputation with the glove.

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.


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 2008 Infield – Part 2 – Ty Wigginton

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

This entry is going to be a little short for the simple reason that there are only 3 FA 3rd basemen (besides Mo Ensberg and we won’t go there), Pedro Feliz, Mike Lamb and Mike Lowell. Well, there is, of course, A-Rod, but I promise you he wants to play for a big money team on the coast and he already did the Texas thing and he ain’t comin back no mo. Besides, his agent is Boras and that tells you all you need to know.

Tim Purpura and the Organization decided, for some reason I STILL don’t understand, to substitute Mike Lamb, who is one of the FA 3B, with Wigginton. I would be pretty darn surprised if they decided to DFA Wiggy and sign either Feliz or Lowell. I’ve already written plenty comparing Wiggy and Lamb, but let’s do it all again.

OK, starting with the basics – Lamb is 32, just finished a 2.7 mill 1 year contract and is a FA. Wiggy is 30, just finished his 4th year so is under team control for the next 2 years and also just finished a 1 year 2.7 mill contract – who knows what he will get over the next 2 years. I can’t understand why the Astros think that Lamb will get sooooo much more over the next 2 years. Anyway, they both have lead gloves: Lamb had a RF of 2.53 and a RF of .693 (MUCH worse than last year) and Wiggy had a RF of 2.80 and a ZR of .770 (lifetime 2.66 RF and .710 ZR at third.)

As for hitting, Lamb, a lefty who hits the ball pretty well to all fields, averaged  .281/.349/.463/.831 during his 4 years in Houston, including his very down year of 2005. Lamb GIDP about 9 times an average year, walks about 40 times, Ks oround 60.

Wiggy, a righty dead pull hitter, better than†his lifetime stats .268/.327/.449/.776 in Houston – .284/.342/.462/.804 over 187 PA with 8 GIDP (which is Carlos Lee territory) and around 40 walks and 110 K a year average. Lamb has averaged around 350 ABs a year over the past 4 years as a PH and platoon guy and Wiggy has averaged around 420 AB a year over the past 4 years. Big deal.

Lamb this year hit lefties better than rightys – 1.056 OPS to .777 OPS, but lifetime, the difference is not particularly great – .748 OPS vs lefties and .770 vs rightys and that is accounted for almost entirely by BA, .268 vs leftys and .284 vs rightys – power numbers are almost exactly the same, as is the BB/K ratio. Not sure why he was platooned as the numbers really don’t justify it.

Wait – Phil was the manager – I get it. Nevermind.

Anyhow, Wiggy is really the guy who should be platooned – .935 OPS vs lefties and .741 vs rightys this year: and lifetime vs lefties, .280/.354/.494/.848 and lifetime vs rightys, .264/.317/.342/.749.

Pedro Feliz, age 32, is the best fielding 3rd baseman in the NL, and just finished his one year FA contract for 5.1 mill plus a few bonuses. He’s been the full time 3rd baseman for the Giants for the past 4 years because Edgardo Alfonso was basically constantly on the DL and he’s a great glove lousy bat kind of guy. His averages are .252./.288/.433/.751 with 20 GIDP a year with around 28 BB and 93 K. He averages 27 doubles and 20 homers. The Giants fans I know aren’t exactly crazy about this guy, but best I know, unless they sign expensive Mike Lowell, they don’t have an in house replacement for Feliz. Their farm is as empty of position players as ours.

Mike Lowell, age 34, is a GOOD third baseman with both stick and glove. He’s currently employed by the Red Sox and is in the last year of a 4 year 32 mill contract and is receiving 9 mill this year. Naturally, he’s having a career year this walk year and he’s going to get a big ol paycheck from SOMEbody, and I would bet it is going to be at least 10-12 mill a year for 3-4 years.

It will depend what happens with A-Rod, I would think. The Yanks nor the Sawks will really have an in house replacement (unless the Sawx move Youk back to third and get a 1B) and they may fight over him as he won’t get any 20-30 mill a year, as A-Rod thinks he will. I wouldn’t be real too surprised if the Dodgers and Angels go after him, too. His lifetime hitting stats – .280/.344/.468/828 and they are even better if you ignore his year from the Black Lagoon in 2005. Glove this year – RF of 2.51 (tops 2.90 – Mora) and ZR .778 (tops .803 – Inge) which shows that gloves in the AL are inferior to NL gloves. But we all knew that. I do expect that his stats will decline over the next 3-4 years, even if he comes back to the NL, and I am not sure he will be worth the 12 or so mill a year he is going to get. I don’t want to be stuck with a team of old slow fat guys who cost a fortune for the next 3-4 years.

And that, my friends, is that. We could also trade for Bill Hall (see the second base discussion) and play him at third – he’s got a MUCH better glove than any AL guy at third. I am more than happy to entertain any thoughts on trades anyone has – only they can’t be something like Miggy Cabrera for Chris Burke, OK???!!! Gotta be realistic.

And speaking of Miguel Cabrera, all I can say is – look, fantasy baseball is FANTASY, OK??? Fantasy means make believe. It’s not that Miggy couldn’t be traded for, it is that his team is owned by Jeffrey Loria, who makes Calvin Griffiths look positively benificent. Loria wouldn’t trade Miggy unless he received top notch talent in return who would be dirt cheap for years, say, Hunter Pence. Miggy has let his conditioning lapse completely and he makes Mike Lamb look like Scott Rolen at third. Miggy is headed for first or DH in the very near future. Yes I know he can hit, but this is the NL and Thank Gawd there is no DH, and also, we already have a guy who is set at first for the next 4 years who has a COMPLETE no trade and has made it more than clear that he will refuse any trade and he isn’t kidding.

Miggy just finished his 4th year and won a 7.4 mill salary in his FIRST arb year and you bet that if Drayton thought Mike Lamb would be too expensive at 3 mill a year, he’d pass out at Miggy’s salary for the next few years. I am well aware that Miggy has had a .968 OPS over the past 3 years, grounds into around 20 DP a year, walks about 75 times and Ks around 105. His glove is simply awful – he was saved from the basement only by Ryan Braun – RF of 2.51 (high of 3.27, Abraham Nunez) and a ZR of .714 (high of .859 by Feliz) and he has steadily worsened each year as he has become more and more obese.

Astros Arb Eligible Players And Free Agents For 2008

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Here are the lists – from Cot’s Baseball Contracts – which, by the way, is a great site. Check it out.
Arbitration eligible players:

Brandon Backe, age 29 – 5th year, finished 535K contract
Dave Borkowski, age 30 – 4th year, finished 535K contract
Eric Bruntlett, age 29 – 4th year, finished 525 K contract
Chris Burke, age 27 – 4th year, finished 415 K contract
Adam Everett, age 30 – 6th year. just finished 2.8 mill contract
Brad Lidge, age 30 – 6th year. last contract 5.35 mill
Eric Munson, age 30 – 5th year, just finished 425K contract
Chad Qualls, age 29 – 4th year, last contract 411K
Ty Wigginton, age 30 – 5th year, just finished 2.7 mill contract

Everyone on the list would receive a LOT more money if re-signed and of course, they could be traded. I would guess that if Brad Ausmus does agree to sign the one year contract, then Munson will not be offered arb, but he will be offered another minor league contract. I would guess that he won’t have a problem finding a job as a backup catcher with some other ML team, however. I suppose the team could go cheap and DFA Bruntlett and substitute Cody Ransom, age 32 or Brooks Conrad, age 28, to save a million or so, but Ransom has already proven that he can’t hit ML pitching and Bruntlett can play the OF, which neither of the minor leaguers can do.

Free agents:
Brad Ausmus, age 38 – has just been offered a 1 year contract
Craig Biggio, age 42 (if he files)
Jason Jennings, age 29 – just finished his 5.5 million contract
Mike Lamb, age 32 – finished 1 year 2.7 mill contract
Mark Loretta, age 36 – finished 1 year 2.5 mill contract
Trever Miller, age 34 – finished 1 year 1.3 mill contract
Brian Moehler, age 35 – finished 1 year 500K contract
Orlando Palmeiro, age 38 – finished 2 year 1.9 mill contract

Well, I would guess they’ll offer arb to Jennings, who will be looking for (and getting) a multi year contract. And I guess they will offer arb to Loretta, because they want him back anyway (and they can work out a contract). I would be stunned if they offer arb to Lamb, because they are practically riding him out of town on a rail as it is and what if he actually accepted??? At this particular minute, I’m not sure if they will want Miller or Moehler, neither of whom had a particularly good year, back, especially as Ed Wade can surely find more expensive available middle relievers out there…

And in the news,
Milo Hamilton had a mild heart attack over the weekend and is now doing fine.

And other news, I wrote a column for The Hardball Times and will be writing a column regularly for them every other Tuesday. Check it out.

10/8/07: Seems Like 05 WS – Roger Clemens Only Lasts Two Innings

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Even though I don’t like AL baseball, as yall know, I wanted to see how Da Rajah and his leg/butt/groin would hold up, remembering how poorly they help up 2 years ago in the Series in freezing windy Chi-town.

His performance was eerily similar – 2.1 IP, 4 H, 1 HR, 3 ER. Only he was lucky in that his teammates hit the darn ball and bailed him out. In case anyone doesn’t remember, 2 years ago, Wandy went in, pitched 4 innings, giving up only one more run, which was, unfortunately, the game loser. Ah well…

Amazing that both the White Sox and the Astros have fallen so far, so fast. This year, they ended the year 72-90 and we ended the year 73-89. Did everyone know that our bullpen blew 25 saves??? Or that we had only 5 come from behind victories?

Well, according to Lee Sinins at www.baseball-encyclopedia.com, we had the second worst pitching in the NL, according to his RSAA (runs saved above average) – partly because we had 2 of the 10 worst pitchers in the NL as starters, Woody Williams and Jason Jennings.

Take a look at these:
1††† Cubs††††††††††††††††††††††† 118††
2††† Diamondbacks†††††††††††††††† 88††
3††† Rockies††††††††††††††††††††† 78††
4††† Dodgers††††††††††††††††††††† 59††
5††† Giants†††††††††††††††††††††† 33††
6††† Padres†††††††††††††††††††††† 28††
7††† Braves†††††††††††††††††††††† 25††
8††† Brewers†††††††††††††††††††††† 3††
9††† Mets†††††††††††††††††††††††† -6††
10†† Phillies††††††††††††††††††† -43††
11†† Reds††††††††††††††††††††††† -52††
12†† Cardinals†††††††††††††††††† -55††
13†† Marlins†††††††††††††††††††† -60††
14†† Nationals†††††††††††††††††† -65††
15†† Astros††††††††††††††††††††† -79††
16†† Pirates†††††††††††††††††††† -99†


Roy Oswalt†††††††††† 24
Chad Qualls††††††††† 11
Brad Lidge††††††††††† 6
Dennis Sarfate††††††† 3
Brandon Backe†††††††† 1
Mark McLemore†††††††† 1
Brian Moehler†††††††† 1
Troy Patton†††††††††† 1
Travis Driscoll†††††† 0
Trever Miller††††††† -3
Juan Gutierrez†††††† -4
Chris Sampson††††††† -5
Dan Wheeler††††††††† -5
Felipe Paulino†††††† -6
David Borkowski††††† -7
Wandy Rodriguez††††† -7
Rick White††††††††† -11
Stephen Randolph††† -12
Matt Albers†††††††† -20
Woody Williams††††† -22
Jason Jennings††††† -25

Anyone besides me wonder what on earth happened to Dan Wheeler, why he suddenly lost it at the end of June? And, in case anyone is curious, just guess who led the Cardinals in RSAA? Yep, you got it – Russ Springer, with 16. I don’t know whether or not the decision to get rid of Springer, who WANTED to stay was Phil Garner’s decision that Timmy merely agreed to, or whether he also believed that Springer shouldn’t stay, but as Springer had pitched very well in 2006 and showed no sign of weakening, AND as at the time there wasn’t anyone better to replace him (Moehler and White were signed during ST) this has to go as one of Purpura’s stupidest moves.
As for the offensive part? Again, according to Lee Sinins’ RCAA (runs created above average) the Astros were tied for 8th in the NL, with zero.
1††† Phillies††††††††††††††††††† 139††
2††† Mets†††††††††††††††††††††††† 95††
3††† Braves†††††††††††††††††††††† 79††
4††† Brewers††††††††††††††††††††† 48††
5††† Rockies††††††††††††††††††††† 41††
6††† Marlins††††††††††††††††††††† 36††
7††† Padres†††††††††††††††††††††† 29††
T8†† Astros††††††††††††††††††††††† 0††
T8†† Reds††††††††††††††††††††††††† 0††
10†† Pirates†††††††††††††††††††† -39††
T11† Dodgers†††††††††††††††††††† -45††
T11† Nationals†††††††††††††††††† -45††
13†† Cardinals†††††††††††††††††† -48††
14†† Cubs††††††††††††††††††††††† -58††
15†† Giants††††††††††††††††††††† -96††
16†† Diamondbacks†††††††††††††† -102†

Anyone else surprised that the Cubs hitting was so poor?
Anyway, Carlos Lee is CERTAINLY not the team MVP – even in hitting alone (remember all those GIDP???)
Lance Berkman††††††† 35
Hunter Pence†††††††† 24
Carlos Lee†††††††††† 19
Luke Scott†††††††††† 13
Mike Lamb††††††††††† 10
Josh Anderson†††††††† 4
J.R. Towles†††††††††† 4
Cody Ransom†††††††††† 1
Ty Wigginton††††††††† 1
Humberto Quintero††† -4
Orlando Palmeiro†††† -5
Eric Bruntlett†††††† -6
Morgan Ensberg†††††† -6
Eric Munson††††††††† -7
Mark Loretta†††††††† -9
Adam Everett††††††† -12
Jason Lane††††††††† -12
Chris Burke†††††††† -15
Brad Ausmus†††††††† -16
Craig Biggio††††††† -19

Luke Scott, with only 369 AB, created 13 RCAA to Carlos’s 19 RCAA over 627 AB. And Luke had virtually the same OPS against rightys vs leftys – .856 : .850 AND 28 of those ABs came as a pinch hitter, a job at which Luke frankly sucks.
Luke also only GIDP 8 of 425 PA, as opposed to Carlos, who GIDP 27 of 697 PA. They both had 53 BB, but take a look at the rate. Luke also saw 3.98 pitches/PA as opposed to Carlos’ 3.56. And do I need to mention that Carlos was the second worst LF in the NL, ahead of only Pat Burrell – yes, worse than Adam Dunn, and that Luke was the third best RF in the NL?
Somebody needs to explain to me why this Organization hates Luke Scott. And somebody also needs to explain to me why this Organization greatly prefers Ty Wigginton to Mike Lamb. It isn’t hitting (see above) and as far as fielding, well, we all know Mike Lamb has a lead glove, but his lifetime ZR at third is .730 and his RF is 2.83 whereas Wiggy’s is .710 and 2.62. Lamb, who WANTED to stay with the Astros, made 2.7 mill this year, his last arb year. Wiggy, who is in his 4th year, made exactly the same salary. Who thinks that 2 years of Lamb would be significantly more than 2 years of Wiggy? Lamb was 32 in August. Wiggy will be 30 next week. Not exactly a big difference in age and there is a BIG difference in ability.
Other than all this, there is no Astros news, except that a contract has been offered to Brad Ausmus, which is leading me to believe that Brad will catch one pitcher and J.R. Towles will catch the other 4, which means that Munson will either be offered another minor league contract or will not be offered any contract. He is arb eligible, but if offered arb, would most likely command a salary significantly greater than his 2007 salary of 425 K, so I would bet that he will be with some other club next year.
And oh yeah, third base coach Mansolino has been fired (surprise, surprise) and replaced with Ed Romero, who Cecil Cooper knew from Milwaukee, who has not coached third in the majors before.

8/14/07: Lane Hits Homer #8 And Roy Oswalt Beats The Dodgers

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

First, I guess I should mention that the Organization put both Loretta and Lamb on waivers, they were both claimed and they were both pulled back. Such a waste – all I can say is that I sure do hope Drayton heard the LOUD booing on Biggio’s Day when Purpura’s name was called. He didn’t trade either one at the deadline – couldn’t get ANYthing decent?! wouldn’t extend Lamb, who wanted to stay here, earlier this year when he could have and he didn’t try to get anything for either player now, either. I suppose it is just more of Drayton pretending that this team can make some sort of more-than-miracle comeback.

On the other hand, maybe it is a sign of hope that he is FINALLY recognizing that the farm is bare, Timmy couldn’t trade a dollar for a dime, and that at least he can get 2 draft picks for Lamb and Loretta at the end of the year.


Where was I?

Oh yeah. Brad Lidge needs an operation on his knee, but the team has decided to keep him on the team instead of having him shut it down before he hurts his elbow/shoulder trying to compensate (remember Gagne???!!!) which is even more of this – oh, we can surely go 40-2 the rest of the season to pull it off as we do every year – bullstuff.


And now, to the game. Dodger Stadium had not exactly been pitcher friendly to Roy – he was 1-3 with a 6.87 ERA before today’s game. But Roy has been absolute nails since the 9 run debacle in Chicago on July 14th, has given up 3 runs over the past 33.1 innings and has won his last 5 games in a row. He’s getting into his post ASB groove. He’s won more games post ASB since he came up in 2001 than any other ML pitcher.

He was just great tonight – gave up 6 singles, 3 of them bunt hits to Juan Pierre. He only got 3 Ks, but all of them were looking – and Nomar was unhappy about his (yes, let’s call it unhappy, and in his misery, he related tales to the HP ump about – I guess – his sexual escapades with the ump’s mother and wife. Or perhaps, he expressed some sort of desire to get to know the ump better and, um, in depth, you feelin me here…) Anyhow, he got the old heaveho. And he looked pretty silly. The ump had a VERY wide strike zone, but that strike was CLEARLY inside the plate and above the knees.

Interesting that in spite of the generous strike zone, that Roy got so few Ks. He threw mostly his fastball tonight, located it VERY well, and threw about 12 curves in there.

I knew that Billingsley had lost his past 2 games, both 1-0, so I figured he’d be tough. But even with the swing at the first pitch Astros, he needed a lot of pitches to get through each inning. And in fact, he got 4 Ks in the first 2 innings, but gave up 2 walks and was at 55 pitches by the end of the second. Of course, he WAS helped a LOT by the ump’s VERY generous strike zone.

And the Astros, as usual, weren’t very good with getting the runs home. They left 1 on in the first, bases loaded in the second, 2 on in the 3rd, 1 on in the 4th, then FINALLY Lane cleaned the bases with a 2 run homer in the 5th. Burke and Scott also drove in a run each.

As for defense – I was impressed with Lamb tonight – he made 3 tough plays, plays he used to miss. Burke and Bruntlett turned 2 DPs tonight. Amazing what you can do when you have quick guys. (You notice Kent still has the range of a statue – can NOT get near any ball not hit right at him. Some things never change.) Berkman made a stupid throwing error on Furcal’s grounder in the first, and fortunately, Ausmus was backing up first and got to the ball before it headed into the dugout. And the first base ump DID miss the call on Loney’s grounder to first. Lance’s foot DID in fact touch the bag before he threw to Bruntlett for the DP that didn’t happen – and Brunt didn’t make it either. But Roy got Kent to GIDP, so it didn’t matter. BUT, it could have gotten bad.

And the kick in the butt REALLY lousy defensive play goes to the usual winner (or should I say loser) Carlos Lee. Slow Mark Sweeney on first, speedy Juan Pierre on third. Furcal hits a sac-fly to Lee, who is so slow getting the ball to second that Sweeney has time to go back, tag, then advance to second.

Roy was so angry about that that Brad had to come out to the mound and calm him down. I can tolerate someone who really tries and doesn’t do a good job a LOT better than a lazy dog like Lee. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Qualls pitched a great 1,2,3 inning for his third save.

Luke Scott is lookin gooooood. I hope Drayton and Timmy boy can try to work to overcome their foolish prejudice against him. Scott told Alyson Footer that he really has always been much hotter in the second half, and we’ve seen this 2 years in a row. Actually, he only really had a lousy first 6 weeks, but it is tough to get into a rhythm when you are being platooned for no reason except Philishness. As for his defense, he is visibly better than he was last year. Berkman is the guy who takes very bad routes to the ball, not Luke, who DOES have to do a lot of chasing because a WHOLE lot of balls have headed to the bullpen corner. Hardball Times has their RZR – Scott .906 and Berkman .857 – Randy Winn is tops with .932.

I know Lance did a decent job in center 6 or 7 years ago, I know he has a very strong and accurate arm, but he is no longer really good enough to regularly play RF.

Tonight, it’s Matt Albers vs Brett Tomko.

6/17/07: Roy Oswalt Gets Serious Run Support And Wins #7

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

It’s not that Roy pitched really well – actually, he didn’t. Again. TWELVE hits, 2 walks, 6 K, 3 ER in 5.2 IP – 114 pitches, 75 strikes. Only 3 hitters went to 3-2 counts, but Roy didn’t have even one 1,2,3 inning. Looking at the defense, the only fielder who is playing out of position was Chris Burke in right – there were 5 hits to right, but they weren’t the result of poor fielding. I doubt that Luke would have gotten Ibanez’ double either.

I really am not sure what is wrong with Roy – he hasn’t pitched a really ace game in a good 3 weeks. Not sure what’s up with all the walks – he didn’t used to do that. Whatever strategy he’s using to go deep into games is not working.

But he sure deserved this win for all the great games he’s pitched and NOT won.

And with the exception of Carlos Lee, who had a miserable 0-5 with his league leading 16th GIDP, the rest of the lineup got on base at least once and scored at least 1 run. Mike Lamb, who has really heated up since I wrote about how lousy he was with the bat 5 days ago hit a grannie in the first inning and drove in another run in the 5th. Even Mo Ensberg, who didn’t get a hit, contributed by getting base twice and scoring both times.

This team got 12 hits, took 7 walks and a ROE and scored 10 runs. Could this REALLY be the Astros???

AND, mind you, we scored all these runs without either Lance Berkman, who was sick, or Carlos Lee.

We are talking about 41 hits and 11 walks and 24 runs these past 3 games AND this is with Lance going 3-8 with no runs scored or RBIs and Lee going 4-12 with no runs scored and 1 RBI.
I’ll drink to that. (Well, if I was a drinkin grrrrl, which I’m not)

We’re off to Anaheim to face the Angels of Los Angeles, who are just behind the Red Sox for the best record in baseball. Chris Sampson will face John Lackey, a VERY tough righty who is 10-4 in 14 GS with a 2.53 ERA (ERA+ 169) and a 1.14 WHIP. He has 9 of 14 QS and is averaging 6.2 IP/GS and has lasted at least 5 IP in each start. The HIGHEST his ERA has been this year is 2.70.

Amazing. This guy came up in 02, helped the Angels beat the Giants in the WS. He then had league average seasons in 03 and 04, but has steadily improved since. He has a lifetime 3.88 ERA (1.12 ERA+) over 1083 IP and a 70-53 record over 163 GS.

Oh yeah – Phil and Mansolino better not be running on Vlad Guerrero, who is having a career year with the bat, or Gary Matthews Jr, who Mike Lamb remembers REAL good from last year’s interleague game in Arlington when GMJ made the WebGem of the year catch at the CF fence to rob Lamb of a sure fire homer…

And last but not least, Rick White is back from the DL and Mark McLemore, after wasting 2 weeks in the dugout, is back at AAA where he at least can be starting. In his 3 weeks in the bigs, he threw exactly 2 innings. What a waste…