Archive for November, 2004

There’s Never Enough Pitching – Part 2: Astros Minor Leaguers

Friday, November 26th, 2004

Continuing the search for homegrown pitchers -
(hopefully starters)

AAA (not on 40 man roster)
- Chris Enochs (29 yrs old 1st round by the A’s in 97 – was OOB for 2 years – looks like he hasn’t been healthy for most of his career – has a 3:1 K:BB and a 4.15 ERA – this was his first decent year like ever – forget starting, but maybe relieving?)
- Jared Fernandez – 32 year old knuckleballer – undrafted FA in 94. Started 6 games for us in 03, went 3-3 with a 3.99 ERA. Started 1 game for us lst year, gave up 6 ER in 1 IP and went back down. Where he’ll stay.
- Jeremy Griffith – 26 years old – drafted 3rd round 1999 – we got him in the Hidalgo trade to the Mets this year. (we also got David Weathers – released, and Dan Wheeler) He’s not real too good – about a 4BB/9 IP and 5K/9 IP and a 1:1 BB:K ratio. Which is why we didn’t protect him. Maybe someone can teach him to pitch…

Relievers:
- Phillip Barzilla (25 yr old, homeboy from Rice (was a reliever there), 4th round 01 draft – about 33 IP/yr, hi BB and lo K – too bad – if I remember, they thought he would be a future closer. Nope.)
- Heath Bost (30 yr old – 18th round by colorado – is definitely minor league – low K and too many BB)
- Miguel Saladin (29 – undrafted from the DR in 95 – lo K, hi BB – definitely minor league)
AA (not on 40 man roster)
- DJ Houlton (25 yr old, 11th round 01 – overmatched in AAA last year, sent back down to AA – looked good this yr – 2.94 ERA, 9K/IP and 2.66 BB/IP – will probably be promoted this year – guess he wasn’t protected cuz he’s “old” but if he does well in AAA, he might could at least relieve. Why would Bullinger be better? Oh yeah, Proven Veteran ™ – but face it, we sure nuff do need relievers too.
- Tim McClasky – will be 29 years old – 36th round 1995 – not bad – 4.62 ERA in 140 IP with 6K/ 9IP and 2.3 BB/ 9IP. He’s durable, but at his age, he’ll be lucky to sniff AAA.
- Greg Powell – 26 year old – did barely OK in 03 in AA, but last year, he did, um, terrible in both AA and AAA. So unless he was hurt and got fixed, forget this guy.

A few more guys who might could have a chance:
- Shaun Babula (16th round in 99 from, are you ready, Philadelphia College of Textiles – who woulda thunk they had any sports teams – 27 yrs old last year – had, uh, a bad year),
- Mike Burns (26 years old – 30th round 00 draft – this guy looks GOOD ERA 1.67 in 82 IP, hi K lo BB- I hope no one takes him in the rule 5,
- Jesse Carlson (23 yr old – 15th round 02, think they’re grooming him to be a closer, but was used to mop up in AA and he needs another year there. fer sher),
- Denny McDaniel (lefty, looks pretty good, 3.48 ERA in 75 IP with a decent K/9 and BB/9),
- Trey Poland (taken from an indy league, only 11 IP, but looks OK, obviously needs more timer) and
- Santiago Ramirez (a 26 year old closer – has been in AAA twice, didn’t zackly sparkle, figger he’s in the minors to stay. Even though he did very well this year.)

Can we please assume that there aren’t any Mark Priors in our A ball or Rookie clubs. Thank you.

Conclusions?
1) doesn’t look as if we have anyone in AAA or AA who could start in 05 for the Astros. (Could Enochs relieve, prove himself and maybe start later in the year?)
2) in AAA, we have a few guys who seemed to have promise but have gotten stuck – Taylor Buchholz, Brandon Duckworth, Tim Redding, Jeremy Griffiths. WHY are they stuck? Do they really have problems that no pitching coach can help? Has the organization just shrugged its shoulders and decided to concentrate on someone else?

As Jeff Angus, management expert says, “in big organizations, the wasting of talent is pandemic.”

Yall know about the very strict age prejudices that exist in baseball – do they really hafta insist that if you aren’t MLB ready by 26, to heck with you – and WHY do they insist that? Might could some of these guys benefit from a different pitching instructor? Redding and Duckworth were tried as relievers last year and failed miserably. Could Griffiths and Buchholz succeed? I have no earthly idea why so much talent is not developed and can’t offer any reasons.
3) DJ Houlton and Mike Burns in AA look as though they might could have some promise. If we don’t get all hung up about age. Maybe they might could relieve.
4) Amazing how many ML pitchers we have who aren’t from the first 3 rounds in the draft, isn’t it (think I’ll do Part 3 on this)

SO
- definite starters in 05 – Oswalt, Backe, Pettitte
- possible starters in 05 – Qualls, Hernandez, Munro, Redding
- doubtful starters in 05 – Griffiths, Buchholz, Duckworth (nooooooooo)
- maybe at the end of the year starters in 05 – Astacio, Gothreaux, Holton
- PLEASE COME BACK starter in 05 – Roger Clemens
- minor league relief possibilities in 05 – Astacio, Gothreaux, Holton, Burns, Enochs, Griffiths, Fernandez, Griffiths, Buchholz

- sighhhhhhhhhhh

I think we’ll need some FA help…..
By the way – absolutely NO Astro news in the past few weeks. I don’t think Carlos Beltran will sign with anyone before January at the earliest.

There’s Never Enough Pitching – Part 1: 2005 Astros Starters

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

Has there ever been a team where there was plenty of good pitching and the team really didn’t need another pitcher? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

OK, let’s talk seriously. The season 162 games x 9 innings/game = 1458 innings + some extra for extra inning games. Let’s say 1500 innings/year for the heck of it.

- You need 5 starters (let’s not do the Rany Jazayerli/Steve Treder 4 man rotation argument now, please)
- You need a mop up guy for blowouts,
- You need a long man/swing man,
- You need an ace reliever/closer,
- You need a stopper who pitches well from the stretch – the guy who comes in with MOB and kills the rally.
- You need a lefty (hopefully, who can get righties out, too so you don’t get stuck with a LOOGY)
- You need a few more guys, because more is better, who can hopefully pitch a few innings in a row if you need them to, because more is better.

So, hopefully, your 5 starters will start all 162 games
—-now, averaging from the NL teams’ starters – figures may be a little off because who is in each position changes because of factors beyond my control – injuries, trades, suckiness, etc.
Ace should start 34 – 35 games and average about 7 innings per game, say 230 innings
#2 – should start 32 – 33 games and average 6-7 innings per game, say 220 innings
#3 – should start 32 games and average 6 innings/game, say, 190 innings
#4 – should start 32 games and average 5 -6 innings per game, say 175 innings
#5 – should start 32 games and average 5 innings per game (OK, so most #5s suck more than that – play along) say 160 innings.
Total 975 innings. That leaves 525 innings.

The closer pitches, say, 80 innings. That leaves 445 innings.
Loogy pitches around 35 innings, full service lefty around 70 – 80 innings, say, average 65 innings. That leaves 380 innings.
Divide that up between the remaining 5 pitchers and you get about 75 innings each. Not unreasonable.

Problem is, it’s really unusual that the same 5 guys start all 162 games. It’s so unusual, that last year, when the Dodgers managed it, it was the first time in years.

Our starting rotation at the beginning of the year: at the end of the year
-Oswalt : Oswalt 237 IP (drafted in the 23rd round in 1996 – the pitchers we drafted in rounds 1 – 5 never even made it to the ML – interesting, no?)
-Pettite (injured) undrafted FA in 91: Backe (18th round) – 83 + 30 = 113 IP
-Clemens : Clemens (1st round) 214.1 IP
-Miller (injured) 20th round in 1996 – 88.2 IP – not >200 IP since 2001: Carlos Hernandez 42 IP = 132.2
-Redding (el sucko) 20th round (86 IP): Munro 6th round (96 IP) = 182 IP
(we also had spot starts from great pitchers like Darren Oliver, Jeremy Griffiths and Brandon Duckworth, to name a few – let’s just draw a merciful curtain over those…)

As of today, we KNOW that we have 2 starters who will be ready to pitch on opening day – Oswalt and Backe. As far as I know (today) Pettite will also be ready. Or so he says. I have absolutely NO idea if Wade Miller has recovered from whatever injury he had – even Jayson Stark isn’t sure. So we’re missing a #5 (and maybe a #4) starter. Who knows if Clemens will return?!

So what can we do? And we don’t seem to be interested at ALL in free agent starters, do we?! Can we get the other starters from our own rosters, including the minors?

As of today, the other pitchers on our 40 man roster include:
-Ezequiel Astacio – 23 yr old we got from Philly in the Billy Wagner deal – spent most of the year in A ball – looked good, high K/BB ratio and low H/9IP
-Taylor Buchholz – another guy we got from Philly – 22 year old 6th round in 2000, spent the year in AAA – needs another year there. Mediocre everything.
-Brandon Duckworth (why???????????????WHY????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) – undrafted in 1997 – the last guy we got from Philly – I see why they gave up on him – he loses control quickly and often, but he seems to have great stuff. someone needs to teach him control. Or something…
-Fernando Nieve 22 years old – a starter, but only 3 games at AA this year – looks pretty good so far
-Jared Gothreaux 24 years old – 16th round in 02, starterin AA, looks pretty good.
-Wandy Rodriguez - spent the year in AA – looks pretty average as a starter – not sure what the big deal is
- Juan Gutierrez - 21 year old in the rookie league – I don’t understand this one – very uninteresting stats – high walk rate, low strikeouts – why protect this guy?
- Mark McLemore – 4th round 02, 23 yr old in A ball – very unimpressive stats, high ERA, low K and high BB rates – wassup?

plus the guys who were relievers on our 2004 team -
- Mike Gallo NOT a starter
- Chad Harville NOT a starter
- Kirk Bullinger 32nd round in 92, now 35 years old. NOT only NOT a starter, but not a very good major league reliever – ERA of 6.53 over 51 IP over 5 seasons. Is there NO ONE in the minors who should be protected instead?
- Chad Qualls – 26 years old – 2nd round in 2000 – was a good starter in the minors – a little overmatched this year in AAA, but did VERY well as a reliever in the majors, except for one REALLY bad inning (5 ER) when he first came up – but he did pitch 160 – 170 innings every year and has potential
- Tim Redding, who I already talked about - not sure if he really is a major league starter….
- Dan Wheeler – 26 years old, 34th round in 1996 (can you believe it) – was a mediocre starter 98 – 02, even started 15 games for the Devil Rays, but the Mets made him a reliever, and his 14.1 IP for the Astros were his best. I’d be really surprised if he could be a decent starter.
- Carlos Hernandez – the “little” lefty who screwed up his shoulder 2 years ago diving back to first – this year had a 6.43 ERA, a 1:1 BB:K, 4.93 BB/9 and 5.27 K/9 and only one quality start of 9 – didn’t even average 5 IP/game
- Munro, I’ve talked about – barely OK as long as no one’s on base
and of course, BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD – was 1st round 1998 – originally a starter – in fact, started in AAA in 02 and was GOOD. But of course, he is now the best closer in the NL (sorry Gagne and Smoltz) so forget having him start now.

So, what have we got on the 40 man roster who might could start for us next year?
Munro (ugh)
Redding (sighhhh – can’t ANYONE fix this guy’s mechanics or whatever else is wrong with him)
Carlos Hernandez
Chad Qualls – hey, if we could make a starter out of Backe….
the minor league guys sure don’t look ready to be a ML starter – maybe relieve…
and, that’s all folks.

Part 2, I’ll look at the guys in the minors who were left off the 40 man roster.

MVN Baseball Awards 2004

Friday, November 19th, 2004

I apologise for no entry this week.

First, there has been absolutely NO news about the Stros, except that Purpura, our new GM, has been talking to the agents of Jose Vizcaino and Orlando Palmeiro.

Second, Husband brought home a lovely present from work, the flu, and I have 2 small kids and 1 giant kid to take care of. And now, I’m sick, too, and as yall know (or SHOULD know) Mamis can’t get sick…

I will try to get out the entry on pitching this weekend.
In the meantime, please check out the MVN awards. Today’s award in the AL Bob Gibson Award, given to the best AL pitcher.

- Editor’s note 1/2010: In case anyone ever looks up this page, I apologise that neither link is available. MVN had this great idea of awarding two different pitching awards, the BEST pitcher and the most VALUABLE pitcher. Too bad the links are long gone as well as the idea…

Astros News 12/8/04: More Options

Friday, November 12th, 2004

Item #1 – GM Tim Purpura has met with Jeff Kent and has offered him a contract, no other details at this time. Kent is described as “a proud and private man” who didn’t have much to do with his teammates and seldom spoke except to chew ass during the playoffs and contributed “intangibles” (even though the magic word “leadership” was not used. ) But he did contribute 107 RBIs…
Item #2 – Purpura has met with Orlando Palmeiro’s agent to discuss Palmeiro returning to the Stros.
Item #3 – NO news about contracts for Oswalt or Berkman or Everett or Ensberg
Item #4 – Roger Clemens has filed for free agency.
Item #5 – We have not, to my knowledge, signed any minor league free agents.
-Remember, we NEED 2 decent OF, 2 starting pitchers and at least 4 decent relievers.
-Remember that we HAVE a decent 3B, a really good SS, a 1B and C who aren’t going anywhere and a young guy who is a ML ready 2B, Chris Burke, and a guy who is probably gonna be a utility infielder, Eric Bruntlett. And Biggio, who I WISH would be a utility guy.

Yesterday, Adam asked me, “Other than the minors, I see two options for your ‘Stros OF problems: You could go after a free agent (J. D. Drew, Magglio Ordonez or even Steve Finley). Or you could trade a prospect for some team’s 4th outfielder and try to improve your other positions to make up for what you’ll be losing in the OF. Which of those things do you think the ‘stros will do, and which would you like to see them do?”

#1 – what do I THINK the Stros will do?
What is really bothering me is that I don’t know what McLane is up to. I have a bad feeling that he wants to go cheap and is gonna pretend that he’s trying hard to get Carlos, etc, but will bring back Kent, who we don’t need, and show that at least we could “afford” Kent. I’m sure he regrets the giant, long, expensive contract he gave to Bagwell (interesting that you NEVER hear his name when all the knowitalls talk about big expensive contracts that hurt the team) and he isn’t gonna try to sign either Berkman or Everett long term. He’ll make the excuse that Berkman’s hurt, so he’ll hafta see, and of course, he CAN get Everett for 3 more years for pretty cheap and non-tender him if he gets too expensive his arb years.

Problem is, this isn’t gonna go over with the fans. Next to Roger, Lance is the most popular player and if the fans think that Mclean doesn’t want the homeboy hero, he’s gonna lose a LOT of fans and a LOT of $$$. I don’t know if Purpura is a yes-man, but Hunsicker sure nuff wasn’t. I know that Hunsicker actually answered questions and was pretty open. I know that Purpura sounds like a politician (and on the scale of humanity, I put ALL politicians just barely above baby rapers) and I don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth. So I don’t know what’s up.

I think McLane doesn’t want a losing team, but he doesn’t trust baseball people enough to let them run things, and he wants enough to end up with records over 500. I haven’t heard a WORD about negotiations with Carlos. Of course, ain’t nobody, even George, gonna give him 10 years, and I disbelieve that anyone will give him over 7. So I THINK that we will resign Kent, (yeccccccccccccccch) waste Burke on the bench or in AAA, keep Lamb, put Biggio back in the outfield (God help us), have Palmeiro play right (God help us) until Lance comes back and have Taveras (God help us) play center. No free agents. Forget Carlos. Forget Roger. (And I haven’t even gotten around to pitching problems, but that’s for another entry.)

#2 – what do I WANT the Stros to do?
-SIGN CARLOS!!!!!
-sign Berkman and Everett
-let Kent go and play Burke
-use Biggio as our Vizcaino utility guy
-keep Lamb for the bench, maybe try Royce Huffman for the bench, relieve at 1B if possible.
-Lane full time in the OF
-bring up either Luke Scott or Todd Self, who look pretty good, because face it, I’ve seen Taveras and he has a bad glove and is NOT a major league hitter and if we’re going to use a AA guy in the OF, why not guys with decent plate discipline? Let these guys play right until Lance comes back (or, I guess, play Palmeiro.)

I DON’T want JD Drew, who has had exactly one year he wasn’t hurt, because we can’t get him for just one year.

I DEFINITELY don’t want Magglio Ordonez, (he’ll be 31 on opening day) who will demand an expensive long term contract, and who refuses to get a physical until after he signs the contract.

I DON’T want to give a multi-year contract to Steve Finley, who will be 40 years old on opening day. Anyway, he wants to go to the west coast.

Trade prospects? There’s NO ONE in AAA, (see yesterday’s entry) except Royce Huffman, who’s “old” and a Mark Grace type guy. We have a few decent looking “old” (25, 26 years old) guys in AA and who can tell who’s gonna be any good in A ball or the rookies? And we can’t afford to give away any pitchers – we need em.

So if there’s gonna be a trade, I hear that the DRays don’t want to keep Aubrey Huff, who’s good, or Jose Cruz Jr (another homeboy) who is a decent hitter and a GREAT glove. I’d LOVE to have either one of those guys. I looked at the FA OF list and absolutely no one except Carlos is anyone I’d want here.

Dan Lucero, who blogs on the Rockies, says he’s heard rumblings that we don’t want Ensberg back. I know that I’ve heard that the Stros organization doesn’t really like him, and I heard that many times when Morgan was in the minors. I’m positive that Jimy Williams didn’t like him, because he kept playing Geoff Blum (WTF???!!!) and Lamb instead. I think it’s a personality thing. I wouldn’t be even a little surprised if we got rid of him and he went somewhere else and turned into Troy Glaus. Then we could play Lamb full time, live with his 50 – 60 errors and missed plays/year, worship his HR and pretend that it doesn’t matter that between him and Biggio, the entire left side of our field is a sieve.

I know I sound like doom and gloom. I hate winter, cold weather and no baseball in sight for too long. And I REALLY hate it when I haven’t heard a single good piece of news about my team and all the rumblings I hear are all bad news. So if yall have ANY good news, let me know…

Astros Minor Options As Of 11/11/04

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

As you know, Lance Berkman will be out for at least 6 months, and we may not be able to resign Carlos Beltran. The good news is that Jason Lane will finally be freed. The bad news is that not only will we be stuck with Craig Biggio and his horrible defense, we will need a right fielder. I’ve spent the past week looking at our AAA and AA teams to see what we might could have, and believe me, it’s not good news. No glove guys, and definitely, no bat to replace a guy who has been in the top 10 in OPS and RCAA for the past 4 years.

AAA New Orleans is mostly career minor leaguers – only 2 players had an OPS over 750
-Ryan Thompson, OF, age 35, several MLB callups, not very good
-Kyle Logan OF, age 29, career OPS 650
-Phil Hyatt, OF, age 35, career minor leaguer
-Mike Hill, OF, age 28, first year at AAA, OPS 726, no power
-Mike Coolbaugh, age 32, 3B, several brief callups, career minor leaguer
-Emil Brown, age 29, hits well in AAA (940 OPS,) hasn’t hit well in 3 MLB callups (ave .210, with Pitt)
-Alex Eckleman, age 30, 2B but can play 3rd and OF
-Royce Huffman, age 27, 1B – (unfortunately for him) – OPS 843 with a .393 OBP, 32 2B, 10 HR, 71 BB, 94 K – and he’s a Houston boy, too (and we sure do love our homies.) Too bad he can’t play the OF because he’s just had his second year in AAA and he looks decent.

And a couple possibles -
-Jason Alfaro, age 26, IF (bad glove, just what we don’t need) hit .325, 363 OBP, 840 OPS, 32 2B, 13 HR 26 BB, 58 K, 3 SB, 6 CS – don’t know if he can play OF..
-Eric Bruntlett age 26, who already has seen MLB playing time, mostly at SS, good basestealer with an OK glove (maybe he can be a utility guy to replace Vizcaino) and bat kinda the usual for a middle infielder. Don’t know if he can play OF.
-Tommy Whiteman, age 25, who was just called up to AAA this year, had 98 AB and hit .276 – nothing special\

AA Round Rock has a few possibilities -
-Charlton Jimerson (was supposed to be the next great thing 2 years ago) age 25, OF, just finished first year in AA – didn’t do so well – 704 OPS,22 doubles, 18 HR, 31BB, 163 K – so forget it…you can only get away with that many Ks if you hit a LOT of HR. Don’t know about his glove.
-Todd Self, age 25, OF, also first year AA – 880 OPS with a 420 OBP!!!, 89 BB, 95 K, 34 2B and 11 HR- looks as if he already has decent plate discipline, so why do we never hear about THIS guy? I guess he’s too old. or something – wonder how his glove is
-Mike Rodriguez, OF, age 23, was 2nd round in 2001 – was supposed to be another next big thing – he spent some time in the indys this year- don’t know why, but in AA, he had a 728 OPS, 39 BB and 59 K in 250 AB…
-Willy Taveras, OF, age 23,who we got from the Indians for Jeriome Robertson, hit 335 with a 788 OPS, 13 2B, 2 HR, 38 BB and 76 K in 409 AB. From what I’ve seen of him, he definitely needs more time in the minors. Definitely.
-Luke Scott, OF, age 26, first year in AA – got a late start in OB because he didn’t finish college until age 23, and was also out a year with TJ surgery - but he sure is doing well – in 208 AB, he has a 1055 OPS and a 401 OBP.

I don’t have any information about their fielding, but Todd Self and Luke Scott look like they might could be something. They probably won’t get much of a chance because of the age discrimination problems – it’s incredibly hard to get promoted to the majors if you’re over like 26. Why they prefer some guy who is already there who sucks instead of taking a chance on someone “too old” who doesn’t, I don’t know… And I wish I knew exactly why a certain player gets “the next big thing” label when other guys look better…

But this is it. IT. So we have NO major league OF waiting in AAA and who knows if the AA guys could make it. This means either we have to sign some FA to be a 1 year guy while waiting for Lance to be ready, or go with some guy from AA, and if we do, just forget resigning Carlos. Not that anyone except Peter Gammons thinks we have any chance of doing it…..

Oh, forget Alfaro – he just signed with the Blue Jays. They can DH him and his bad glove won’t matter….

Roger Clemens wins Cy Young #7

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Roger Clemens won his 7th Cy Young award today with 23 of 34 first place votes.

Although Randy Johnson had better stats in every category except wins, he came in second because BBWAA demand a lot of wins with few losses, preferably on a winning or pennant contending team.

Roger was 18-4 and Randy was 14-12. Roy Oswalt was third – he was the only 20 game winner in the NL this year, but his ERA was 3.49 and Roger’s was 2.98.

Roger has now won a Cy Young in both leagues and is the oldest player to win one. Well, he WAS going to the HOF before this, but I hope this last award will make him want to return instead of going out on top. One of these days, Roy is FINALLY gonna win – wait and see. And yes, he is my favorite player, and yes, I know this wasn’t his year.

I have already compared Roger and Roy’s stats as well as Randy Johnson’s comparable stats .

MVN’s Most Valuable Rookie NL 2004

Monday, November 8th, 2004

The results of the MVN voting for the NL Most Valuable Rookie are available. Click here to read. (Sorry, link no longer works and I no longer remember who won…)

The Astros have only had one ROY – Jeff Bagwell in 1991.

Since the ROY was first awarded in 1947:
Dodgers have 16
Cincy has 7
ATL and St. Louis have 6 each
Giants have 5
Cubs and Mets have 4 each
Phillies have 3
Montreal and Padres have 2 each
Hou, Colorado and Fla have 1 each

More Bad News: Berkman Tears ACL, Beltran Wants 10 Years

Friday, November 5th, 2004

Newsflash -
Lance Berkman has torn his ACL playing flag football and will go to the operating room next week. He will miss at least 6 months. This is BAD news. Lance, by the way, has more RCAA over the past 4 years than every player in MLB except Barry, Todd Helton, Pujols, Thome and Manny. (RCAA is an offense only metric created by Lee Sinins.)

At this time, Carlos Beltran’ agent, Scott Boras, says he wants a 10 year deal. Remembering what happened to Jeff Bagwell, who has 2 years left and is a shadow of his former self, I’d say any team who would agree is crazy. (How many 10 year contracts have been a good idea? Derek Jeter? Todd Helton? A-Rod? These giant contracts make it hard to trade these players after they have lost value, so…..) Remembering that insurance now only covers 3 years of any contract. Maybe George would agree. Or maybe Wilpon. But we sure won’t.

Roger says he won’t decide whether or not he is returning until January.
So now we need:
1 – At least 1 outfielder, 2 if Carlos doesn’t sign. But we’ll probably sick Biggio back out there, even though he stinks.
2 – A utility infielder besides Lamb.
3 – At LEAST one starter, 2 if Roger doesn’t come back.
4 – Like 5 relievers.

I’ll review what we might could have in the minors (who we could use next year) next entry. And it’s not much, fer sher.

Newsflash – Gerry Hunsicker Resigns 11/1/04

Monday, November 1st, 2004

Gerry Hunsicker has suddenly resigned as Astros GM. He will be kept on staff as a “special advisor.” Tim Purpura, asst GM in charge of player development has been named as new GM.

Gerry has done an excellent job over the past 9 years, and I am absolutely stunned that he is leaving. This was, to put it mildly, sudden and unexpected. I am very worried about what this means with respect to signing Carlos. I am worried that this means that we won’t sign our core young players to good deals. I am worried that this means that Gerry and Drayton had a strong falling out and the “special advisor” thing is hush money.

So I have decided that it is wiser to not hope for the best next year and get used to the idea that we will have to re-build without Carlos. (I just hope we don’t resign Kent so we will at least have some of our own players to cheer for.) The local media aren’t gonna say anything except the party line, so we’ll have to guess what went down by seeing who Purpura does or does not sign.
As a side note, I will say that both Gerry and Purpura are well thought of by the stat community.

UPDATE 11/2 – I was wrong about the local columnists toeing the party line. Richard Justice doesn’t bother to hide his disgust, says letting Hunsicker go is Bad News.

Been thinking this over. I think this has to do with the question of re-signing Carlos. It was a SERIOUS public relations disaster when the last owner let Nolan Ryan, Local Hero, go because he was “too old.” It will be an even MORE serious disaster if the fans think that we are not making every effort to get Carlos. I’m suspicious that Hunsicker didn’t want to go along with the pretending and just decided **** this. Keeping Biggio and Kent is just plain silly, but I guess it will cost less than Carlos. In the short term. Don’t buy now, pay later.