Archive for November, 2005

11/29/05: No Astros News is, Well, No News

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Of course, the Red Sox (the GM search – wanna bet that Larry Lucchino stays, um, “acting” GM) and the Yankees (need I say more) and the Dodgers (STILL lookin for someone who will agree to be managed by Plaschke and Simers) keeping in the news. And of course, the Thome trade and the Marlins sellin off the team as Jefrey Loria throws a temper tantrum bout the Florida citizens preferring to spend tax money on their schools, roads and buildings instead of filling a billionaire’s pockets with even MORE cash.

But Astros? Not a word. Scot Strickland is gone – not resigned to a AAA contract. Not a peep bout possible trades, talks. Not a peep even at Not a peep on ESPN radio. What is Purpura DOING???

I KNEW we weren’t even talkin bout gettin no Delgado or Thome (like we need ANOTHER 1B) but I don’t see us even lookin for a good lefty bat. Luke Scott is playing winter ball in Venezuela and doing quite well, batting .357 – BUT, this NOT the same as hitting ML pitching.
Now WHY do I think that the Organization thinks we can just use Luke Scott as our lefty OF bat, platoon him with Chris Burke and, um, assume that they and Jason Lane will just improve and we won’t need to add another bat, especially a costly bat?

Things better get hopping or I’m gonna hafta start tellin stories bout my kids…. Or even worse, about OTHER TEAMS……

Roger Clemens Wins the 2005 NL MVN Bob Gibson Award

Friday, November 25th, 2005

Since I can’t get the click to the entry on the MLB Baseball Awards page, (Bob Gibson Award is for the pitcher with the best stats, not necessarily the most VALUABLE pitcher in the league) here it is:

Roger Clemens, Houston Astros
Last year he won the MVN award and his 7th Cy Young Award.
This year, he Won the MVN Bob Gibson award. Incredibly, he had almost the best season of his 22 major league years at age 42 – 43. (His best was in 1990)

Let me say that again – he had one of the best seasons for ANY pitcher, ever. At age 42. Incredible.
Started 32 games
53 RSAA (1st in NL)
ERA – 1.87 (1st in NL)
BAA – .198 (1st in NL)
WHIP – 1.01 (2nd in NL – right behind Pedro)
Pitched 211.1 innings (tied for 20th with Glavine)
185 K (10th in NL)
65 BB
11 HR (1st in NL – tied with Dontrelle)
7.88 K/ 9 IP
2.64 BB/ 9 IP
0.47 HR/ 9 IP
100 pitches/ GS (lowest of his career)

Home starts:
Record 7-4
Team record in starts 8-9 (meaning that the bullpen lost 5 of em)
ERA 2.33
BAA .204
3.2 Run Support/ Game (subtracting the 10 run game the day Bess died) 2.64 RS/ game (lowest RS in NL of pitchers who pitched at least 180 innings)

Away starts
Record 6-4
Team record 6-9 (meaning the relievers lost 5 of em)
ERA 1.32
3.60 RS/ Game (and this includes the 14 runs in 1 game at Washington)
Games with 8 IP (4 games – went 1-2 with 1 ND)
0 ER – 1 ND
1 ER – 1 – W
2 ER – 2 L
Games with 7 IP (17 games – went 8 -2 with 7 ND)
0 ER – 6 games, 3 W, 3 ND
1 ER – 7 games, 4 W, 1 L, 2 ND
2 ER – 3 games – 1 W, 2 ND
3 ER – 1 game, L
Games with 6 – 6.2 IP – (6 games – went 3 – 2 with 1 ND)
0 ER – 3 games, 2 W, 1 ND
1 ER – 1 game, W
2 ER – 1 game, L
5 ER – 1 game, L
Games with 5 – 5.2 IP ( 4 games – went 1-1 with 2 ND)
0 ER – 1 game – ND
2 ER – 1 game – ND
4 ER – 2 games, 1W, 1 L
Games with in 20 of 33 games, he received 3 or fewer runs of support
in 11 games, he gave up NO ER – 5 W, 6 ND
in 9 games, he gave up 1 ER – 6W, 1 L, 2 ND
in 7 games, he gave up 2 ER – 1W, 3 L and 3 ND
in 1 game, gave up 3 ER – L
in 2 games. gave up 4 ER – 1 W, 1 L
in 2 games, gave up 5 ER – 2 L

Games in which Clemens was tied or leading when he left the game – 11

Games in which he was tied or leading when he left the game that the bullpen lost – 9

Amazing how many BBWAA think that this is 100% Roger’s fault, ain’t it… And because of it, he didn’t deserve the Cy Young, which is mostly about total number of wins, HOPEFULLY for a winning team (they kinda hafta make exceptions for the Steve Carltons who have the bad taste to win 27 games for a 57 win team) which is why Dontrelle Willis came in second. (Read Ryne Sandberg’s explanation of this if yall don’t believe me:;_ylt=AgxuSggUvS0T6JAHi43l..ARvLYF?slug=rs-nlcyyoung111005&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Last year, some people complained that Randy Johnson should have won the Cy Young based on his stats, but was jobbed because he was on a lousy team and had poor support – but he DID win the MVN Bob Gibson award.

This year Roger is taking Randy’s place.
Randy, of course, went to NYY and got nothing. Except 16 mill….
Also, click here to read my entry from earlier this year about why he should win his 8th Cy Young and here to read my thoughts about why Roger is a “good sport…)
And click here to read Jeff Kallman’s evaluation of why Roger’s win totals are not a good measure of how well he pitched in each start.

Mind, for some reason, too many people really do think that even if a starter pitches 7 or innings of shutout ball, if the bullpen loses the game, it is entirely the fault of the starter that his teammates didn’t hit and that’s why he didn’t win…
Oh yeah – STILL no word on whether or not Roger gonna re-up…..

11/05: ML FA Starting Pitchers

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

Well, I STILL ain’t had no real good suggestions from yall bout what Big Bat should we get.
SO, since yall can’t come up with anything there, maybe let’s talk about should we get a FA pitcher – let’s assume for this discussion that Roger isn’t coming back – (maybe we shouldn’t necessarily assume this – click to read story)

So of course, the big money guy is AJ Burnett – the guy who is good. And lousy. One of thos guys who has “great stuff” but don’t live up to his “potential” (determined by someone else of course…) And I hear tell somebody gonna offer him a 5 year contract. I hafta laugh, I really do. Because the owners are always crying bout the terrible mean players who are driving them into the poorhouse, but they the ones doing dumb stuff like offering a 3o year old pitcher a 5 year contract. And NO they do NOT hafta – remember last year with Kevin Millwood – didn’t nobody offer him 5 years. Which is why he signed with Cleveland.

Which reminds me, of course, Millwood, RHP, is a FA again. I STILL don’t think he gonna get any 5 years, or even 4 years, but if he too rich for Cleveland, he gonna go to Boston or NY or maybe even back to Philly. Remember, he was the ERA leader in the AL, even though he had a losing record. He’s been inconsistant from year to year – and he MIGHT could wanna go back to Baltimore to be with his old pitching coach, Leo Mazzone. Also, his agent is Scott Bore-Ass – I have this feeling McLane ain’t gonna deal with that guy no more. And Milwood gonna get $$$$$$$ – WAAAAAYYYY too much for McLane’s liking…

Jarrod Washburn, LHP, basically a #3 guy, barely above league average, gonna get a nice fat contract.

And of course, he not really a FA, but I hear tell Carl Pavano might could want out of NY (sorry, hafta laugh – guess money ain’t everything…) but of course, they’ve gotta WANT to trade him and I would guess they might could thing bout getting a CF for him since they ain’t got the stones to move Mr Gold Glove (sorry – it’s just HILARIOUS he got a Gold Glove TWICE) in CF where he really WOULD be a GG fielder. So maybe they might could send him back to the Marlins for Juan Pierre, seeing as how Jeffrey Loria seems determined to get rid of every good player he got (except Miguel Cabrera – he’s still cheap. Cabrera, I mean…) to get even with the Miami/Florida taxpayers for preferring to spend what tax money they got fixing up the damage from, what, like eight hurricanes, a zillion dollars of damage to property and crops, roads and schools, feeding and sheltering the homeless instead of forking over kazillions to a spoilt billionaire for a new stadium.

And Javier Vasquez has requested a trade from the Phoenix, Arizona Diamondbax to a team closer to his Puerto Rico parents – like say, Chicago or St. Louis or Cleveland – MUCH closer. (And I’m SURE Houston is much closer, too…) He, like AJ Burnett, was good or lousy last year, not much in between – he hasn’t been the same guy since he left the Expos for the Yanks 2 years ago. But you know, seems that a whole lots of teams all desperate and I’m sure someone (NOT the Yanks) will fork over…

So anyhow, here’s the rest of what’s left:
Anderson, Brian LHP – KC – Can you believe he was a first rounder in 93??? 13 yeat vet, gonna be 34. Has thrown over 200 innings twice and threw 197.2 in 03. Has done TERRIBLE with KC for 2 years. Last year, started 6 games, pitched 30 innings and had an OPS+ of 64. Minor league contract type guy. Never pitched at the Box.
Armas, Tony– RHP, WSH – more fragile than Larry Luchino’s ego. One year only he wasn’t hurt. Started 19 games last year, 16 the year before with an 80, 84 ERA+ – of course, he’s still relatively young. He MIGHT could be worth a 1 year contract.
Astacio, Pedro, RHP – SD – sucked with the Rangers (except when he faced us in May) went to the enormous Petco Park and did decent. And we don’t exactly have a real pitchers park here I don’t care WHAT the park factor here was last year – 3 of our pitchers were in the top 10 in the NL in stats and we had 2 very good relievers. (At the Box, he’s 2-2 in 5 GS over 35 IP WITH A 4.11 ERA and a .246 BAA)
Brown, Kevin, RHP – NYY – was good years ago – had a bad back, a bad attitude and no good anymore
Byrd, Paul, RHP – LAA – gonna be 35 – he’s a fly ball pitcher – says he wants to stay in LA – he’s not bad neither, LAA was offering him only 1 year, but there’s hear tell that a few other clubs are offering multi-year contracts, including Atlanta. Had TJ surgery in 03, has had ERA+ of 110, 112 since he came back – pitched 114, 204 innings since he came back. He gonna cost moren we willing to spend, anyhow. But I could sure see giving him a 2 year contract.
Dreifort, Darren – LAD – got paid 55 mill to not pitch. I want that job. He’s had so many operations, don’t know how he moves his arm at all…
Elarton, Scott, RHP – CLE – He was out #1 draft pick in 1994 and our Opening Day starter in 2000. We traded him to the Rocks in 01 and he spent a lot of time on the DL with back problems (he IS 6’7″ and i KNOW he weigh a LOT more than the 240 he say he do – men lie too, you know…) Anyhow, got released early last year and Cleveland picked him up and he started 21 games and had a 100 ERA+ This year, he started 31 games, went 11 – 9 (his first winning year since 2000) with a 4.61 ERA (89 EA+). We don’t want him back…
Estes, Shawn, LHP -ARI – yet ANOTHER former first rounder, by the Mariners in 91 – gonna be 33 in Feb. Has a reputation as a wimp. I guess cuz he didn’t try to hit Roger Clemens in the head in 02 to get “revenge” for the Mike Piazza beaning in 00 when Estes wasn’t even on the same team as Piazza. Anyhow, he’s not exactly a real good pitcher – ERA+ the past 4 years has been 74, 74, 86 and 92. He was (giggle) the Rocks Opening Day starter in 04. Need I say more. Anyhow, he was hurt part of last year and only pitched 123.2 innings. I don’t think we need him and he sure won’t get more than a year. (At the Box, 3-2 in 5 GS over 27 IP with a 6.67 ERA, .306 BAA and SIX HRs – who he think he is – Jose Lima???)
Glavine, Tom, LHP – NYM – Club option for 2006- He’s gonna be 40 – can you believe it – had a pretty good last year – ERA+ of 119. And with all theND and losses he’s had because of the bad bullpen (yeah, I’m lookin at you, Run Fairy) and lousy run support, the Mets owe him. Guy’s only averaged 11 W a year for the past 3 years – he’d have had at LEAST 15 more if he’d stayed in Atlanta…Poor Glavine – took one for the Union and it’s probably cost him his shot at 300 wins… You know this guy hasn’t been on the DL once since he came up in 87? Freaking awesome for a guy who is supposed to be 6′ – so much for the little guys breaking down… If they don’t want him, I’d take him. (At the Box – he’s 1-1 in 3 GS with a 3.92 ERA over 20 IP – and he’s kicked our butts in the postseason, too.)
Helling, Rick, RHP – MIL – well, he looked decent for the 6 weeks he was with the Brewers. But he had, um, sucked for many years before that, so as far as I’m concerned, they can keep him. And by golly they just did.
Johnson, Jason, RHP -DET – Just turned 32. Signed by the Pirates an an amatuer FA in 1992. Started pitching as a starter for the Orioles in 99, signed to a 2 year contract by the Tigers in 04. Never seen him pitch, but ERA+ over the past 4 years – 94, 104, 88, 94. Meh. But you betcha he gonna go SOMEwhere cuz he DID start 33 games a year for the past 3 years, going 189,196 and 210 IP.
Kim, Byung-Hyun, RHP – COL – Believe it or not, he only gonna be 27. Remember how so many Red Sawx fans were SOOOO happy when they got him from the Dbax for Shea Hillenbrand. Until. of course, they found out that he STILL freaked out every time he saw a Yankee? Well he was on the DL for most all of 04 and kinda floated until he got a starting job with the Rocks. And he didn’t do too bad. Sometimes. Of course, that’s kinda true of ALL the Rocks pitches, but I digress. He did GREAT as a reliever (until he went to Boston) but last year for the Rocks, he started 22 games, pitched 148 innings and had a ERA+ of 97. It’s not like they overflowing with pitchers who ROOL out there and I’m surprised they didn’t re-sign him. I don’t know if any other team gonna want to sign him to start. And you KNOW he sin’t going to the AL East (giggle…)
Leiter, Al, LHP – NYY – he really is cooked. Time to run for office Or do BBTN. Or something besides pitch.
Lima, Jose, RHP – KC – um, he was lousy. And he freaks when he LOOKS at the Box – he’s 5-10 in 23 GS and 3 in relief over 133 IP with a 7.51 ERA, .329 BAA and 34 HR over 133 IP
Loaiza, Esteban, RHP – WSH – Mutual option for 2006 – well, I would bet he gonna decline his option because he pitched OK last year – 34 GS, 217 IP and a 105 ERA+ and he gonna want a multi-year deal. And even though he 35 years old, he gonna get one too, the market being as thin as it is. But you can bet it won’t be with the Yankees… Or us.
Mays, Joe, RHP – MIN – Club declined option for 2006 (gonna be 31 – he sucked for the past 3 years – ERA+ 83, 82, 78)
Moehler, Brian, RHP – FLA – he WAS an Astro a few years ago. Bad attitude and he sucked BIG time. He ain’t coming here. And I’m glad, too – he (how does Larry Dierker’s expression go) he like a turd in a punchbowl.
Morris, Matt, RHP – STL – another 1st rounder back in 95 – a 3rd or 4th guy these days- he ain’t staying there and he ain’t coming here – not for the money and years he supposedly wants. And you know who his agent is, right??? Anyhow, ERA+ over the past 4 years – 114, 111, 89, 104. Has onlt missed a few starts since coming back from TJ surgery 5 years ago. Over the past four years, has pitched 210, 172, 202, 192 innings. His best stat is that he doesn’t walk very many guys. (at the Box he’s 5-5 in 10 GS and 1 in relief over 66.1 IP with a 3.53 ERA with 8 HR, 21 BB and 55 K)
Moyer, Jamie, LHP – SEA – The pitcher stat geeks hate cuz he disproves their theory bout don’t nobody get better after he turns 27 cuz it’s all downhill from there… He 43 years old – pitches slow, slower and slowest. Refused any trade to leave Seattle this trading deadline, so if Seattle don’t re-sign him, I’d bet he retires.
Ortiz, Ramon, RHP – CIN – Club declined option for 2006 – don’t blame them and we don’t want him neither. I’m remembering when the media was calling this guy lil pedro (snicker…)
Rogers, Kenny, LHP – TEX – another Scott Bore-Ass client. And after he did his thing to that cameraman this July, McLane wouldn’t touch him with a 10′ pole. Even if he was free.
Rueter, Kirk, LHP – SF – was good for a long long time, but his time is ovah. besides, we have Kirk jr – his name is Wandy… Now if he has any sense, he’ll try to find work as a LOOGY. Cuz you KNOW he get signed SOMEwhere…
Tomko, Bret, RHP- SF – not very good. He’ll get a job somewhere. But not here. He IS a workhorse – he’s averaged 204 IP/ year since he got called up in 97, but average ERA+ is 94 (shudder) – over the past 4 years, 85, 79, 110, 92. Meh. Could be #5 SOMEwhere. Remember he was one of the guys got traded for Junior Griffey?
Valdez, Ismael, RHP – FLA – age 32, hurt most of the year – and it was just as well. Hasn’t been good for a long long time… Not good, not durable.
Weaver, Jeff , RHP- LAD – age 29, 1st rounder by Detroit in 98. Shoulda stayed there. ERA+ over the past 4 years – 121 (mostly from Detroit) 73, 103, 96 (and the last 2 are in Dodger Stadium, mind). However, he’s never been hurt – last 4 years, innings pitched – 199, 159 (relief, remember) 220, 224. Yet ANOTHER Bore-Ass guy. Weaver’s a 4th or 5th guy and he’ll be holding out for the kind of money Boras thinks he worth. Good luck there, boy.
Williams, Woody, RHP – SD -Club option for 2006 – he’s 39, was hurt most of the year and did lousy the rest of it – ERA+ 79. You know he a Houston boy who wants to pitch here – if he dirt cheap and desperate, he just might could get his wish. And I actually hope he does. But It’s just silliness on my part cuz he’s been hurt an AWFUL lot over the past 5 years… (At the Box he’s 8-3 in 12 GS over 68.1 IP with 11 KR, 4.61 EA and a .280 BAA – UGH – I take it back…)
Wright, Jamey, RHP – COL – another 1st rounder – Colorado in1993. He’s not good, or real too durable. Pitched 25 good innigs for KC in 03, 78 innings of 123 ERA+ ball for Colorado in 04 and came back to earth this year – ERA+ of 87 over 171 IP. And that was the most innings he’d pitched since 01 with Milwaukee – had an ERA+ of 90. But you KNOW he’ll get a job SOMEwhere… But not here…

OK yall, there it is.
I would bet that we are not even looking to add any ML starter. For reasons I am NOT understanding, the Organization thinks that Astacio is an ace ???!!! and so I would guess that Nieve, Hirsh or Buchholz is gonna get called up if anything happens to any of our guys or if Astacio keeps giving up HRs like Lima.

I read that we were talking to Scott Eyre, who, by the way, is NOT bettern Mike Gallo. Waste of money. We SHOULD be lookin for at LEAST one bat…

Astros News and Moves 11/19/05

Saturday, November 19th, 2005

First, the Astros have raised the prices of almost every seat in the Box by $2 – $3. The cheap seats have gone from $5 to $7.00. Sigh.

Next, Todd Self was taken offn the Mets 40 man roster. I see we don’t want him back.

We also didn’t resign Mike Coolbaugh (our 33 year old AAA 3rd baseman for the past like 4 years and he signed a minor league contract with the Royals. No great loss.
BUT, we removed Jared Gothreaux (RHP, gonna be 26 in January, picked in the 16th round of 02, just finished first year at AAA, had a cup of coffee – 3.2 IP this past Sept) from our 40 man. I was surprised about that – guess he’s hurt enough that they not worrying that someone else gonna grab him.

We also released Charles Gipson and Carlos Hernandez, LHP.

We added Josh Anderson (4th round draft of 03, 23 year old lefty CF in AA – so HE don’t need protection), Jason Hirsch (RHP – AA Texas League Pitcher of the Year) plus 3 guys I don’t recognise, Matt Albers (23rd round of 01, will be 23 in January, just finished high A, has a high K rate, a 4.46 ERA and WHY are we protecting him???), Jimmy Barthmaier (will be 22, just finished his first year in the Sally league (A) 13th round of 03 draft, so he don’t have to be protected, so why is he on the 40 man?) and Felipe Paulino (just turned 22, undrafted FA in 2001, just finished his first year in A ball, pitched 54.1 innings with a 2.87 ERA) to the 40 man.

I hope I’m not wrong, but my understanding is that a minor leaguer doesn’t have to go on the 40 man to be protected for 3 years after he enters the draft.

Sorry, there’s no up to date 40 man on the official Astros web site.

11/18/05: Goodbye Mike Burns

Friday, November 18th, 2005

Mike Burns, RHP, was put on waivers and taken by the Mets yesterday.

Of course, we got nothing for him, just as with Todd Self last August. I guess the Organization believes that these guys are SO worthless they aren’t even worth anything in a trade. We have lost a whole lot of guys by waivers, Rule V without getting a thing back. Remember Scott Linebrink? DJ Houlton? Johan Santana? Bobby Abreu? To name a few?

I know that Mike Burns had a GREAT record in AAA and a not so great record in the majors, but the same is true for Zeke Astacio. And Zeke Astacio looks to me like Eric Milton, only not as good – translation – trade bait for a decent bat (and hasn’t nobody yet come up with a bat for us yet. And Dayn Perry, by the way, has Jeromy Burnitz at #5 on his list of no good free agents…)

All I can say is I’m not gonna be real too happy if Burns and Self become good players for the Mets. Yeah, I know, they 26 years old and if a guy ain’t like Pujols or something by the time he 25, he’s worthless. Like, say, Morgan Ensberg. Or, say, Randy Johnson.

The one thing I REALLY hate about stats and all the prediction formulas is that the inventors/writers stereotype guys so tightly that they WON’T allow for any out of stereotype variation. To me, this is like giving an IQ test to a 5 year old and refusing to ever re-evaluate her potential or ability for the remainder of her life. Or, back in baseball terms, why too many people believe that no guy under 6′ tall can be a good ML starter – they REALLY believe it. Or why they insist that a low strikeout pitcher can NOT be a ML pitcher. Or why they like “projectable” body types. Like Ryan Franklin should pitch just like Randy Johnson because they look the same from the neck down.

Anyhow, back off the soapbox and back on the subject, let’s just hope that one team’s trash is another team’s trash, instead of its treasure…

Morgan Ensberg 4th in 2005 MVP Voting

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

Yes, some other guys came in first, second and third.
Yes, I AM biased, an Astros fangrrrrl. I confess. (I am NOT sorry.)

Morgan was the one steady bat on this team from Opening Day to the Last Game of the regular season.
In fact, he was the ONLY guy on the team to hit well in May – you know, THAT month, the one that got us to 15 – 30. Take a look at this chart (courtesy of and remember, he was hit by a pitch in his wrist on Sept 6 – he wasn’t really the same guy afterward… also, most of those CS are screwed up hitnruns that Phil tried so (predictably) often in the first few months.

And please take a look at THIS table (also from – note he hit his very best with RISP, Man on 3rd and man on 3rd with 2 outs. This is called clutch (something the AL voters disbelieve in which is why they picked Mr. Purple Lipstick over Big Papi…)

For the year, he hit .283; .388 OBP; .557 SLG (9th in NL); .945 OPS (8th in NL) – 86 runs scored, 30 doubles, 3 triples, 36 HR (6th in NL), 85 BB + 9 HBP, 119K, 12 GIDP in 624 PA. (note that he greatly decreased his GIDP from last year – 17 GIDP/ 426 PA)

Morgan received 10 3rd place, 7 4th place, 7 5th place, 2 6th place, 1 7th and 1 8th place votes – 160 points

Other Astros who received votes:
Lance Berkman was 14th with 21 points
Roger Clemens was 22nd with 8 points
Roy Oswalt was 23rd with 6 points
Andy Pettitte was 25th with 5 points
Brad Lidge was 31st with 1 point

Click here to read the full tabel of results (
If yall will notice, 6 Houston players received at least one vote – we had more players receive a vote than any other NL team.

p.s. – congratulations Albert. You deserved it, NO question. I hate you. I wish you were on MY team…
and Derrek Lee picked the wrong year to do that well. Andruw Jones hit a lot of HRs, he surely did, but Jason Bay shoulda got a LOT more respect than he did – can you say Brian Giles all over again???!!!

Going Bats, Part 2: 2005 FA Infielders

Sunday, November 13th, 2005

Last time, I talked about FA outfielders.
So this time, let’s look at FA infielders (ignore Furcal – he ain’t coming here – and most DEFINITELY not for at least 50 mill for at least 5 years. Watch the Yanks sign him and put him in RF or something so Captain “Gold Glove” can stay put…)
(all stats from, and
(all contract info from

Catchers: (note – must be BETTERN Brad Ausmus – we already got no-hit backups, so whoever would have to be a full time, like say, 120 games/ year at LEAST) Brad, by the way, just finished a 4 mill for 2 years contract.
– Alomar, Sandy TEX – um, NO
– Bako, Paul LAD – puhleeze
– Bennett, Gary WSH – OPS and OBP even worse than Ausmus – yes, it CAN happen
– Casanova, Raul CWS – even they didn’t play him
– Castillo, Alberto OAK – see Casanova
– DiFelice, Mike – NYM yeccccccchhhhhh
– Diaz, Einar STL – the backed up-est backup – he musta got maybe 10 AB last year
– Fick, Robert SD – hasn’t been a real catcher since his Tigers days 5 yers ago
– Flaherty, John – NYY – Randy Johnson’s private catcher. He staying. He also sucks (to put it nicely) – –
– Greene, Todd – COL – Club declined option for 2006 – he’s a backup who spent the last 4 years in extreme hitters parks – he’s not great, but he hits more HRs and doubls than Chavez, but he’ll be more expensive than Quintero and he’s another righty hitter.
– Hernandez, Ramon SD $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ – to put it mildly. He’s gonna get 6 or 7 mill a year for 4 or 5 years. BUT not from us.
– Hinch, A.J. PHI – Declined minor league assignment (he’s no good)
– Huckaby, Ken – TOR – Declined minor league assignment (also no good)
– Johnson, Charles – TB – puhleeze – he been outta baseball for 2 years
– LaRue, Jason – CIN Homeboy – we’ll talk about him
– Lieberthal, Mike – PHI – Club option for 2006 – well, he’s slow, can’t throw, can’t hit. nuff said
– Molina, Bengie – LAA $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ – probably going to the Mets or back to the Angels
– Perez, Eddie – ATL – we already GOT 2 backups who can’t hit
– Piazza, Mike – NYM – needs to be a DH
– Pratt, Todd – PHI – we already GOT backups – his hitting numbers are almost like Brad’s except that he slugs a little better.
– Santiago, Benito – NYM he’s retired (?did he do roids???!!!!)
– Stinnett, Kelly – ARI Declined minor league assignment – yet another backup, he gonna be 36 and he hits like Brad
– Jason LaRue – Houston boy – would like to have another homie – the Reds have Javier Valentin, maybe they’ll let LaRue walk – lessee: he gonna be 32 in March, catches 110 – 120 games/ year, had his best hitting year ever last year (still not exactly Piazza 99) has lifetime .243 BA, .326 OBP, .421 SLG, .747 OPS – a little bettern Brad, but not much. He was paid 3 mill this year, 2.6 mill and 1.25 mill the 2 years before

Well, forget the 2 biggies. I would think the only guy we really might could go after is La Rue – he’ll probably be more expensive than Brad, although not real too much, and I’m not sure that the few extra XBH are really worth it.
What do yall think?

First Base (like we need another, but let’s look for utility guys)
– Anderson, Marlon – NYM – gonna be 32, does bat lefty, lifetime OPS of .694. yeccccchhhh
– Colbrunn, Greg – TEX – I think he been hurt most of the last 2 years. He was VERY good before that – lifetime OPS .799, but he is a 1B/DH, although he did play a little 3rd, but he’d really hafta be a PH and he’s a righty.
– Franco, Julio – ATL – 1B only
– Hansen, Dave – SEA – gonna be 37 in a few weeks, spent most of his career with LA as a platoon guy, 1B/ 3B, not real too impressive – had a BAD year last year with Seattle (who didn’t?)
– Hatteberg, Scott – OAK – Club declined option for 2006 (we don’t want him neither)
– Hernandez, Jose – CLE – Mr. K – had 1 good year with Milwaukee and that was a LONG time ago.
– Konerko, Paul – CWS $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
-Lee, Travis – TB – 1B only
– Martinez, Tino- NYY – Club option for 2006 – ugh – they can keep him – if you can’t make it in St. Louis, we don’t wantcha neither
– Mientkiewicz, Doug – NYM – Club declined option for 2006 – 1B only
– Millar, Kevin – BOS – um, he might could think bout Japan
– Offerman, Jose- NYM – I do NOT understand how it is possible this guy keeps getting ML jobs he so bad
– Olerud, John -BOS – most likely staying there – 1B only
– Palmeiro, Rafael – BAL – the absolute STUPIDEST person to ever play baseball. Makes Rube Waddell look like a rocket scientist. He gone from baseball and I’ll bet forever. Dumbass.
– Perez, Eduardo – TB – 36 year old righty – we’ve seen him for years – 96 – 98 with Cincy then 99 – 03 with the Cards. He’s spent the last 2 years with the D-Rays. He’s an actual utility guy, plays 1st, 3rd, RF and LF. Lifetime .247 BA, .326 OBP, .429 SLG, .755 OPS. He isn’t as handy with the glove as Viz or as good with the bat as Palmeiro…
– Saenz, Olmedo – LAD – they need his bat – they ain’t got much and I think he’ll probably stay.
– Snow, J.T. – SF 1B only – good glove, too. still.
– Sweeney, Mark – SD 1B and OF – 36 YO lefty. He’s been all over, is a bench/platoon guy and is pretty good. Had a career year with the Padres in that tough pitchers park last year – .294 BA, .395 OBP, .466 SLG and .861 OPS over 221 AB. Unusual to have a career year at age 35 (I can just hear Mccain and Bunning from here) but his lifetime stats are .262 BA, .356 OBP, .404 SLG and .760 OPS. Salary $550 K and has been 400 – 500 K for several years. Worth thinking about if the Pads don’t want him back…
– Ward, Daryle – PIT bad glove, not consistent at the plate – don’t think we want him back

Taveras Just Misses 2005 R.O.Y.

Monday, November 7th, 2005

Ryan Howard of the Phillies won the NL ROY, beating Willy Taveras.
Howard received 19 of 32 first place votes and a total of 109 points.
Willy received 7 of 32 first place votes and a total of 78 points.
Jeff Francoeur of the Atlanta Braves received 2 first place votes and a total of 60 points.
Garrett Atkins of the Rockies, received a 1st place vote and 17 points.
Zach Duke of the Pirates, who didn’t come up until July, received 3 first place votes and 16 points.

A lot of people thought that Willy should win because he had played the whole season, while Howard was called up in May. The truth is that Howard was the far better offensive player. In 88 games, he hit .288 with a .356 OBP, .567 SLG and a .924 OPS with 17 doubles, 2 triples, 22 HR, 33 BB and 1 HBP and 100K over 348 PA . He GIDP 6 times (2.3%) and he saw 3.94 P/PA.

Willy hit .291 in 152 games with a .325 OBP, .341 SLG and a .666 OPS. with 13 doubles, 4 triples and 3 HR, 25 BB and 7 HBP, 103 K, 34 SB/11CS in 635 PA. He GIDP 4 times (0.8 %) and saw ONLY 3.54 P/PA – WAAAAYYYYY too low for a leadoff guy. It is true that Willy played a more difficult position, CF, and that DOES count for something, but an OBP of .325 for a leadoff man is NOT acceptable, and he basically stopped stealing bases in the second half of the year, so that valuable part of his game vanished.

Willy is younger than Howard, and came to the majors directly from AA after 1 year while Howard rotted away in AAA for 3 wasted years. So WIlly, IF he can learn to see more pitches and take more walks, has a good chance to get better and hopefully have a good long career. The Phils have a very expensive first baseman already, Jim Thome, so SOMEONE will hafta play first and the other one will either sit on the bench, go to AAA (ridiculous) or be traded.

Going Bats: 2005 OF FA Hitters

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Well, no news is good news?
Like the old saying goes, they have not yet begun to trade.

There’s Vinny Castilla, ex-Astro, current ex-Expo going to the Padres for Brian Lawrence, pitcher. Translation – the Nats need arms after letting Tomo Ohka and Sunny Kim walk for nothing and they didn’t need Castilla’s wimpy bat with Ryan Zimmerman ready to mash for a LOT cheaper AND the Pads have basically given up on can’t miss 3rd baseman Sean Burroughs, who, um, missed. And don’t like Joe Randa bettern Vinny, which I do NOT get at ALL.

We have the White Sox (gag – cough) forking over 3.5 mill to Frank Thomas so they won’t hafta pay him his guaranteed 10 mill option. Frank’s a great bat and bad glove so I’m sure SOMEONE will want to take a chance on him as a DH. But we already have the Bagwell/Berkman/Lamb overstuffing. so not us.

Now yall KNOW we need a good and I mean GOOD bat, preferably lefty.

I have absolutely ZERO idea how long the team is gonna give Roger Clemens to make up his mind bout whether or not he wants to play next year. I have heard that he wants to play for team USA in the March exhibition games (yall think this gonna last long if teams lose their players to injuries?) and that means he has a shorter time this year to get into playing shape. It also means that his yearly September breakdown because of tired legs is gonna happen even sooner. Unless, of course, the team decides that he’ll pitch like only every 6 days, or never on the road, or something, to give him more rest, so that he’s not cooked by September 1, like he basically has been for the past few years. But if there will be fewer starts, he might could sign for less than 18 mill.

But if he DOES sign for 18 mill again, and Baggy insists on playing, even if he’s terrible, this means we have no money to sign free agents.

So no Brian Giles, and I’m not real too sure it’s the best idea to sign a 35 year old guy to a long term contract anyhow. I would guess that he stays with the Padres, if I had to guess.
(all stats from and – all contract information from – a great site, BTW)

Jeromy Burnitz, a lefty, is a FA. He was paid 5 mill this past year. Now, I know a lot of yall gonna look at his .258 BA, .322 OBA, .435 SLG and .757 OPS – his 31 2B, 2 triples, 24 HR, 57 BBand 3 HBP, 109 K and 87 RBIs and sneer (why???) cuz even the Cubbies didn’t want him back and Dusty LUUUVVVVV veterans like grrrls LUUUVVVV shoes…
now he did GIDP 12 times
and he’s not a good base stealer – 73 career steals with 57 CS – ugh.
But he’s a fantastic glove and for a lefty, he does GREAT in the Box:
lifetime over 106 AB: .321 BA, .421 OPS, .585 SLG, 1.006 OPS – 7 doubles, 16 BB, 27K and 18 RBIs.
He’s from Conroe and I heard he wanted to play for the Astros last year but couldn’t get his calls returned. Another local boy who wants to play here – what could be better? I disbelieve he’ll get 5 mill again, but he’ll probably get more than Palmeiro would. He plays RF and is VERY good – I don’t know if he or Jason Lane could play left – some guys can’t (like Larry Walker.) But if Lance has to play left because of Baggy, Burnitz would be a bench or platoon guy and I don’t know if he’d want that.
I just don’t see another FA OF we’d want – do yall?

Another option, of course, is a trade. Stroman (and others) dyin to see Adam Dunn in an Astros uni. Adam, of course, is another homeboy who has said that he wants to play for his hometown team. Adam just finished his 4th full year of ML service, was paid 4.5 mill and is arb eligible. I hear tell that the Reds are looking to dump him (whatever – guess he too rich for their blood) and want to trade him, although this is rumors. Dunn is infamous for taking the ML strikeout/season record away from Bobby Bonds last year and is the all time record holder at 198. Yall know Phil has a reputation of not liking guys who strike out a lot…
so last year, he had a .247 BA, .387 OBP, .540 SLG, .927 OPS
yes, a lot of Ks, 168, with 114 BB and 12 HBP, 40 HR, 35 2B, 2 3B and 107 runs scored
77/134 hits were for extra bases
AND, by the way, GIDP only SIX times last year – so although he Ks a lot, he very seldom causes 2 outs.

Only Bobby Abreu and Brian Giles had more walks (in the ML)
7 guys had more HR (in the ML) – 4th in the NL
15th in runs scored (in the ML) – 5th in the NL
and was 17th in the ML in OPS (by the way, did yall know that Derrek Lee had a higher OPS this year than Albert Pujols? Dude picked the wrong year to be great…) – and 10th in the NL
So judge ye not by BA and Ks alone.
Little problem (other than he’s not a good glove and the Organization think he dogs it in the field)
lifetime @ the Box: over 111 AB – .189 BA, .302 OBP, .396 SLG, .699 OPS
with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 5 HR, 17 BB, 36 K

Now, here are the rest of the unsigned FA OF:
Cedeno, Roger – STL (yecccccch)
Conine, Jeff – FLA (righty – pretty decent – bet he stays where he is)
Cordero, Wil – WSH (yecccch)
Cruz, Jacob – CIN – lefty, well, let’s take a look
Damon, Johnny – BOS (Scott Bore-Ass is his agent – need I say more?)
Encarnacion, Juan – FLA – ho hum
Gonzalez, Juan – CLE (couldn’t make it on a 10 year old GRRRLS team)
Grieve, Ben – CHC (see Juan Gonzalez)
Grissom, Marquis – SF (see Ben Grieve)
Guillen, Jose – WSH – Club option for 2006 (he’s too mouthy – too bad – he’s good)
Hidalgo, Richard – TEX (nope – not here)
Higginson, Bobby – DET (see Juan Gonzalez)
Hocking, Denny – KC (and he sucked on KC – need I say more)
Hollandsworth, Todd – ATL (even Dusty didn’t want this Veteran Presence)
Jones, Jacque – MIN (a good lefty but can’t hit rightys – is gonna get a GOOD fat contract, so not here)
Jordan, Brian – ATL (cooked)
Kotsay, Mark – OAK – Club option for 2006 (GREAT glove, lousy bat)
Lawton, Matt – NYY (horse’s ass – I mean, that’s where his roids shoulda gone)
Lofton, Kenny – PHI – (money says they gonna keep him – he gonna wanna be the starting CF and we already got Willy)
Long, Terrence – KC (uh, NO – see Denny Hocking)
Mabry, John – STL (now THIS guy I like)
Magruder, Chris – MIL – Declined minor league assignment (uh, NO)
Marrero, Eli – BAL – (hasn’t been worth much in at least a few years)
McCracken, Quinton- ARI Declined minor league assignment (yeccccch)
Mondesi, Raul – ATL – (see Juan Gonzalez)
Sanders, Reggie – STL – now Reggie, I LIKE – he’s a great guy, a righty)
Sosa, Sammy – BAL – Club option for 2006 (hot dog is overcooked)
Surhoff, B.J. – BAL (gonna stay there or retire)
Tucker, Michael – PHI (a lefty, yes, but he sucks)
White, Rondell – DET (more fragile than a china doll)
Williams, Bernie – NYY – Club option for 2006 (uh, NO)
Williams, Gerald – NYM – (yeccccccccchhhhhhhhhhh)
Wilson, Preston – WSH – (not bad, but he’s gonna want too much money and he’s not near as good as either Burnitz or Dunn)
Young, Eric – SD – Club option for 2006 (a better IF than OF – but he’s like 38 and he was out all last year – maybe as an el-cheapo replacement for Viz?)

OK, well lessee the better looking ones –
we got
Jacob Cruz – lefty, 33 in January, was paid 500,000 as a back up RF – been a backup since he came up in 96 with SF – had more AB with Cincy these past 2 years than with any other club. Not much of a hitter .241 BA, .331 OBP, .377 SLG, .708 OPS – lifetime 729 AB, 95 R, 176 H,38 2B, 2 3B, 19 HR, 105 RBI, 85 BB, 207 K. Not a very good glove, neither. Not worth swapping Palmeiro for.
Jose Guillen – righty, 30 in May – 3.5 mill – probably the best of the bunch, but he’s not a nice quiet type guy who gonna say nothin and fit right in, and I would bet that the “clubhouse chemistry” issue gonna stop him from signing him even if he was ML minimum. which he’s not. He’s not just a good bat, he’s a good glove.
Won’t walk – he’s in Willy Tavares territory – 31 this year with 107 Ks
In 148 games – 551 AB – 2B, 24 81 runs – .283 BA, .338 OBP, .479 SLG, .817 OPS (remember he hits at RFK for half the games – a major pitchers park…) Has a rep as a great arm, has a great ZR, but has only a .970 FPCT.
Actually, after looking at this, don’t think he’s really better than Jason Lane, who is a LOT cheaper (he be 29 in december – and to think this guy wasted like 3 years rotting on the bench – ARGGGGH!)
John Mabry, lefty, 35, paid 725K last year, was a bench guy for the Cards and we saw him plenty. Interesting, he’s almost always been a platoon guy, but he had his second best year the only year (1996) he was a full time player. His best year, naturally, was the year he got traded from Philly to Oakland for little Giambi – you know the guy with the lead glove who runs slower than I did when I was 8 months pregnant with twins, who has about as much sense on the basepaths as a drunk do on the highway, who Philly thought would be a great leadoff guy (snicker). Anyhow, he’s decent glove, hits leftys pretty well for a lefty – he’s a low walk, highish K guy -with OK power, but low for a corner OF – about 15 HR, 28 2B/ 500 PA, but a high GIDP rate of 20/ 550 PA. So, he’s not this great improvement over Palmeiro and not a guy for full time work.
Reggie Sanders, righty, 38 in December – 4 mill last year. AKA Traveling Man – I can’t help it, I like Reggie, always have. He spent the first 8 years with the Reds, then changed teams every year until last year. Missed over half the year with a broken leg – ROOLED in the playoffs until he smashed his head and back trying to catch a ball and wasn’t hisself, (thank goodness for our pennant, sorry Reggie, hope you OK). Actually, he had his best year in a LONG time last year – 14 doubles and 21 HR with 49 Runs over 329 PA – pretty good: 28 BB, 75 K and 14 SB with 1 CS – 271 BA, .340 OBP, .546 SLG, .886 OPS. Only bad was GIDP 8 times. I wouldn’t mind having Reggie on the team. I think he’d be great. But not cheap, unfortunately. He is, BTW, a better RF than LF, but he is a decent glove.
Eric Young, righty, will be 39 in May, 850K last year with the Padres – dislocated his shouder and missed most of the year. Was a 2B almost all of his career, with a few games here and thee at other positions, but did not become a real utility guy until he spent a year with the Rangers in 04. He’s got low BB, but low K, few HR, some doubles. He spent 4 1/2 years in Colorado, so I don’t want to give career stats, but here’s his line as a utility guy with Texas in 04:
over 402 PA in 104 games: .288 BA, .377 OBP, .381 SLG, .758 OPS
25 doubles, 1 HR, 3 triples, 14 SB, 9 CS, 43 BB and 8 HBP, 28K and 9 GIDP. As a fielder, he spent most of his life as a 2B and had a decent RF and an average FPCT – he’s only had a few games in other positions, mostly left, and he looked to be a little lower than league average, no surprise there. So he hits bettern Viz, but isn’t a switch hitter, and is older and more expensive than Bruntlett, AND I’m not sure he can come back from shoulder surgery at his age…

So my friends, there you have it. Infielders next…

Wait Until Next Year: Astros Not Satisfied With Just NL Pennant

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Yes, we had an almost unimaginably good year.
Our First EVER NL Pennant.
Great pitching, both starting and relief, and lousy bats.
Like I’ve always said, sometimes you good. Sometimes you lucky. And we were good and lucky. Winning a pennant after being shut out 17 times in the regular season. Whoa.
But the truth is that even when a WS winning team keeps the entire team intact, there are NO guarantees that the team will repeat the next year – see 2002 Angels.

This year, we have 5 free agents:
Roger Clemens, SP ($18,000,000) (will be 44 next August)
Brad Ausmus, C ($3,000.000) (will be 37 in April)
Russ Springer, RP ($550,000) (will turn 37 next week)
Orlando Palmeiro, OF ($800,000) (will be 37 in January)
Jose Vizcaino, IF ($1,250,000) (will be 38 next March)
(click here for complete list of ML FA)

We also have 7 guys who are arb eligible:
Mike Lamb (2) IF ($1,300,000) – will be 31 in August
Brad Lidge (1) RP ($500,000) – will be 29 in December
Brandon Backe (-1) SP ($350,000) – will be 28 in April
Dan Wheeler (1) RP ($365,000) – will be 28 in December
Raul Chavez (1) C ($360,000) – will be 33 in March
Morgan Ensberg (1) 3B ($450,000) – will be 31 in September
Adam Everett (1) SS ($445,000) – will be 29 in February
(Mike Gallo, 28 in April, ML minimum, Jason Lane, $345,000 and Eric Bruntlett, 28 in March, $335,000 are eligible next year)
Willy Taveras, Wandy Rodriguez and Ezequiel Astacio will basically make the ML minimum each, $310,000 – maybe 10 or 20,000 more – chicken feed.

Now, keep this in mind – this team has already committed $65 million to five players – Jeff Bagwell (18 M)Craig Biggio (4 M) Lance Berkman (15 M) Roy Oswalt (11M) and Andy Pettitte (17 M).
The team has said that they don’t want to raise payroll “much” (meaning over 85 mill) and this year’s payroll is 76 mill. So no Roger at 18 mill again…

First, the FA:
I know one thing fer SHER – if Brad Ausmus isn’t back, Roger won’t be back. Not that I expect Roger to be back anyhow. (Although it IS baseball and youneverknow, he might could take some very backloaded deal…)

We had an EXCELLENT bullpen this year – Wheeler, Lidge, Qualls, Gallo (Harville – he DID get us out of more than a few BAD jams without giving up any runs and I’m sorry he gone for nothing in return – the Red Sox grabbed him after we stupidly put him on waivers) and Springer. Springer, although not exactly ace-like, was a teacher and mentor to the young guys and as far as I’m concerned, was worth every penny. You DO need a mop up guy and if he’s very useful in a second role, good. He un-retired to join the Astros and I have no idea whether or not he wants to re-retire.

IF you wanna get rid of Palmeiro, an EXCELLENT lefty bat off the bench, who’s gonna replace him? Luke Scott, I luuuvvvv the boy, but he gotta prove he can hit ML breaking stuff first. Don’t see nobody out there on that FA list who is a good lefty bat off the bench who is younger and at LEAST as good. And Palmeiro does play at least a league average RF or LF (center? shudder – I’d rather use Bruntlett.)
IF you wanna get rid of Viz, our ONLY lefty option in the IF, who gonna replace him?

As for Brad Ausmus, who are the replacement options?
Bengie Molina? 3 mill this year, .705 lifetime OPS, but he hits BEST with RISP with 2 out!!!!! – won’t walk
Ramon Hernandez? $4,312,500 this year age 30 in May – .742 OPS, won’t walk – hits a teeny bit better with runners on, but lower with RISP or RISP and 2 outs than he does with bases empty. UGH
Or we might as well use Humberto Quintero – he can’t hit, but he’s cheap. Spend the money on???

Arb eligible guys: (click here for the ML complete list)

First, Ida wanna throw Lidge under the bus just yet. I have a feeling he’s hurt – remember he was out for 2 weeks in July before the ASB. So I WOULD re-sign him. I think it’s a reasonable gamble that he doesn’t end up ruined like Mitch Williams, who was a ticking time bomb anyhow, or Donnie Moore or BK Kim, who can’t even LOOK at a Yankee without freaking out. If he looks bad next year and he is NOT hurt, well, then it was just a year contract and he can be non-tendered.

Second, Ida wanna hear ONE freaking word bout how Mo Ensberg is a choker and needs to go or some such &*%^$^##@! Yep, he sure nuff DID have a TERRIBLE playoff after the first game in Atlanta. Picked a bad time to have a slump. But if you look at the playoff stats of, say Bagwell (97, 98, 99) or Biggio (before this year – scroll down to playoff stats) they’re even worse and I didn’t hear nobody demanding that the team give them the heave ho.
I am very suspiscious that Morgan was more hurt than he let on from that HBP on September 5 and that it is something he needs to fix or let heal in the offseason. But to say that he is now worthless is crazy – he was our best hitter, next to Lance, and one of the few with any plate discipline.

OK now, the rest:

Mike Lamb – a decent lefty who can play first decently and third in a pinch. I can go along with the current rotating trio of Burke or Berkman on left and Berkman or Lamb at first. Now I don’t know what’s gonna happen if Bagwell insists on coming back and playing first full time because I just don’t know if Drayton McLane will make Phil play him, no matter whether or not he can throw or hit at a ML level. If Bagwell gonna play first all year, well, I’d wonder about keeping Lamb as a purely bench guy since we already got Palmeiro… If Palmeiro doesn’t come back, then DEFINITELY keep Lamb. Like I said abaout Palmeiro earlier, if you think he should be replaced, I’ll ask for who and how much will he cost.

Brandon Backe – and HOW many pitchers pitch BETTER in the post season than the regular season? He’s very popular (especially with us chicks – hehhehheh – there are more Backe jerseys than Berkman jerseys)and I think it would make a LOT of sense to buy out his arb years. He may not be the second coming of Roy, I mean, who is, but he STILL a good, reliable 3rd to 4th guy and they don’t grow on trees. ESPECIALLY local guys who want to play with the team and the fans LUUUVVV and aren’t real too expensive.

Dan Wheeler – maybe even better than Brad Lidge – 2-3 with 2 BS and 3 saves – 2.21 ERA over 73.1 IP with 79 K, 19 BB and 7 HR. What I’m saying is that we need to re-sign this guy. (And Ida wanna hear bout how he sucked in Game 2 so he no good – BAH!)

Adam Everett – AKA gimme good gloving. I’ll be the first to admit that he doesn’t walk – 26 in almost 600 PA and 103 K. He only GIDP 5 times though, and he’s great base stealer and bunter. He’s not a heavy hitter fer SHER – .364 SLG. But, you gonna replace him with, who? Bruntlett – also has a great glove, but he can play every position except catcher and pitcher and play it VERY well. I’d hate to lose such a versatile guy – and it’s not that he’s A-Rod with the bat, neither. We have no good hitting shortstops in the minors that I can find. (I actually think that Bruntlett is a MUCH better CF than Willy Taveras, but I’m not running the organization, am I?) And I have no idea whether or not Burke can play short very well. I wouldn’t be surprised – he picked up a LF glove this spring for the first time and the next thing you know, was league average defense out there… I hate to see him rotting on the bench, but that’s where he probably gonna be.

There ARE a few FA SS out there – Rafael Furcal, a switch hitter, is the big star this year. I hear tell the Cubs want him and that he might could get JD Drew money – 11 mill/year for 5 years. I have this feeling that we not gonna go after him at that price, but youneverknow. He’s a leadoff guy, don’t know if he’d agree to hit second – the Cubs fer SHER would want him leadoff. Unless Willy gets over his little problem about hitting with MOB, he’s gotta stay at leadoff. Furcal is a good basestealer and you KNOW if he got on second, no one would IBB Willy to get to Barrykman…) Aand of course, I don’t know where we’d put Biggio in the lineup. Becuase unless he breaks a bone, he gonna be out there mostly every day.

Of course, there’s Nomar, now with the Cubs at the end of a 1 year contract. Got hisself a bad rep of being a bad clubhouse guy when he was still with the Sox – with Lucchino, who knows what was true, but he DO deserve his rep of getting hurt all the time over the last few years (guess he shouldn’t have been “insulted” by the Sawks offering him 60 mill over 4 years – doubt he gonna even sniff that kind of $$$ again – not that he’s starving, mind you…) Still, he’s a good hitter, certainly bettern Adam, even though his glove is kinda lead-like and we gonna have trouble with defense up the middle with 40 year old Biggio (and his noodle arm) and Willy with his difficulty coming forward to get balls and his allergy to hitting the cutoff man. I would guess that if we signed Nomar, we would non tender Adam because we already have Bruntlett, an EXCELLENT glove for late inning DR. Problem is, we need a lefty bat and Nomar is yet another righty.

Raul Chavez – well, it’s either him or Quintero, and to me it’s 6 of one, half a dozen of the other – neither can hit and they can both throw. So whoever’s cheaper. Chavez was on the postseason roster as insurance only, because they wanted someone who had actually caught someone besides Roy and Astacio if Brad Ausmus got hurt or if we had another 18 inning game like we did with Atlanta….

So there you have it.
Yall KNOW we need another good bat – any suggestions?

And remember, we are set with Bagwell, Biggio, Ensberg, Lane, Taveras and Barrykman.
So we are talking SS and catcher. Unless Purpura swings some kind of interesting trade. I will be VERY unhappy if they trade Burke. They better get like Pujols for him is all I can say.

But absolutely, guaranteed, Biggio, Barrykman and Bagwell are most DEFINITELY set in stone. If you gonna ask me whether or not the team should, um force Baggy to sit out next year on the DL to collect insurance money (like 17 mill) to pay for a FA all I can say is that from what I can tell, McLane will order Phil to play him even if he can’t hit MY weight or throw 30 feet. So at this time, let’s just assume Baggy gonna be at first full time.