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Archive for December, 2005

Reinstate Alan Ashby

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

I am not exactly the only person who is NOT happy with Alan Ashby’s unceremonious, abrupt firing.

Astro Annie has forwarded a link to me, a petition to reinstate Ash. Please click on the link and sign the petition.

I still have not found out any information about WHY Ash was fired. I have a REAL hard time believing that large numbers of Astros fans wrote to the team, complaining about Ash and demanding he be removed. He IS a good broadcaster. OK, maybe not Jack Buck or Ernie Harwell, but that’s like complaining that every ballplayer isn’t Babe Ruth.

So
The decision to fire Ash and replace him with some no name AAA guys was either business (less money) or personal.

Now how much money could Ash POSSIBLY cost? I would be surprised if he even got paid the minimum for a ML ballplayer. How much money could be saved by replacing him with 2 guys? And it’s not like these 2 guys replacing him are exactly famous, or ex-ballplayers who are loved by Astros fans, like, say Nolan Ryan.

Therefore, my best guess is that this is personal, and McLane believes that Ash is not enough of a team shill like Michael Kay/ Suzyn Waldman with the Yankees . I don’t WANT some syncophant whose major job is imitating Kay – I want a good play by play guy who has the freedom to say something like “he (Astros hitter) swung at a bad pitch” or “Astros pitcher” can’t find the strike zone, or his breaking ball isn’t.” Does the Organization really think that Texans are going to turn this team into Yankees South because of the announcers?

Not THIS Texan. (And not a whole lot of other Texans, neither)

I don’t know whether or not this petition will do a bit of good – it MIGHT could because McLane seems to be extremely PR sensitive. But I will say for sure that if the new guys seem to be biased, I will refuse to listen and will just turn on MLB.com to watch the few Astros games that are not on TV. And I promise I won’t be the only one.
(note: this post heavily edited by my mother…)

Still Waiting For Astros To Do SOMEthing 12/27/05

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

Well, I don’t know what to tell you. Except for not resigning Roger Clemens, we haven’t done a thing.

Well, I guess you could say we signed Raul Chavez – you know, the backup catcher who runs slower than I did when I was 8 months pregnant with twins, the guy they sent down twice last year, the guy who stayed on waivers while 2 teams desperate for catching ignored him. 400 big ones – I guess, I HOPE, this is insurance in case Humberto Quintero’s broken hand bone (broke playing winter ball in Venezuela) doesn’t heal in time for spring training.

We signed 3 former #1 draft picks who’ve played a little bit of ML 3rd base, not very well, to minor league contracts, I guess to replace AAA 3rd baseman Mike Coolbaugh, who left. Eric Munson and Danny Klaussen are former Tigers – wonder if Phil had something to do with them getting contracts. Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about them replacing Mo Ensberg. We sure don’t have real too much of anything in the minors.

To the best of my knowledge, none of the Arbitration eligible guys (Lidge, Everett, Ensberg or Wheeler) has signed a contract yet. After seeing guys like Loiza get 7 mill a year for 3 years and Burnett get 11 mill a year for 5 years and Kevin Millwood get 12 mill a year for 5 years, you think MAYBE McLane just might could regret signing Roy Oswalt for only 2 years last year? I HOPE they trying REALLY hard to get him signed to a longer contract. Because, let’s face it – he gonna get at LEAST 14 – 16 mill a year as a FA next year.

I notice that the beat writers in the Chron, Lopez, Ortiz and Justice are all, in my opinion, toeing the McLane line about lets not rush to find a bat, but wait to see what we’ve got after all we made it to the Series last year and the guys gonna be better, Roger or no Roger because we can surely replace his 13 W, right?

Wrong.

Just because St. Louis ain’t lookin real strong, and just because the rest of the NL Central rejoicing that Neifi gonna be batting leadoff for the Cubbies once more don’t mean that we can just not bother to find the bats we need and everything gonna be gravy.

I’m not exactly unhappy that we didn’t sign Jacque Jones or Encarnacion to 3 year contracts to play OF.

And I’ve read in a few places that we “inquiring” about Tejada, who, like I said before, I would LUUUVV to get.

One last thing – yall know that Alan Ashby, Milo Hamilton’s partner on KTRH 790 Astros broadcasts was suddenly fired last week and replaced by some AAA guys you never heard of. Ash was VERY good and as yall know, a longtime Astro. So WHY was he fired??? Could it be for the same reason Billy Wagner was thrown out on his ass (I mean, traded for some good fer nothing pitchers?) I don’t know for sure, but both Milo and Ash were VERY critical of Phil’s mismanaging during the Series. Did Ash make the bad mistake of saying something like McLane needs to spend some money on a bat instead of just raising ticket prices and pocketing the Series money? I wouldn’t be surprised – seems that McLane can’t take any criticism, especially of his (non)spending habits.

SO, if we keep not doing anything, I guess I can
1 – refuse to write until we do and take a nice 3 month vacation
2 – talk about the other 29 teams who are not hibernating like grizzly bears
3 – throw a whole lotta stats on our players at yall and see what sticks (and what stinks…)
4 – tell stories about my kidsss (yeah, Purpura, that’s a threat, so get off your duff and get busy)

A Little Respect: Praise For Curt Flood And Andy Messersmith

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

December 23 is the anniversary of the death of the infamous reserve clause in 1975, the last legal vestige of slavery in this country. The way things used to work was that a ballplayer would sign a first contract with a ballclub, but there was a kicker called the reserve clause, which allowed the owner to renew the contract for one year, even if the player didn’t want it – his only choice was to retire. The players were paid basically whatever the owner wanted to pay them, they had no choice and they had no voice.

Think about it – suppose you hired to work at McDonalds. Then, for the rest of your life, you have to work at McDonalds at whatever salary they want to pay you until THEY decide they don’t want you any more. Yeah, it’s hard to believe. A whole lot of people cry and moan about free agents, but they sure as heck wouldn’t want to be denied the freedom they want to deny to ballplayers. I think a lot of it is just jealousy – they see guys playing a game and getting paid millions and think – hey, greedy pigs, I’d do it for free. Well, so would I, but ain’t nobody gonna mistake me for a ML ballplayer. Or them neither, for that matter. You want top physical talent to watch, you should have to pay for it. Funny I never hear folks screeching that Julia Roberts gets paid 20 mill a picture…

But back to the story, which really begins in 1970 with Curt Flood, one of the most courageous Americans of the 20th century, the first to challenge, literally, “ownership” of ballplayers. He lost his case, and lost his baseball career, but he opened the floodgates (sorry, couldn’t resist) to freedom.

Catfish Hunter, who played in 1974 without signing a contract, was declared a free agent the next year because no one could renew a contract that hadn’t been signed. He got mucho bucks to sign with the Yankees (yeah, them – even back then). But the real push came to shove when Andy Messersmith, a Dodger pitcher, believed he deserved a significant raise and his “owner” didn’t. Marvin Miller had been waiting for his chance to break the reserve clause for good, and Andy Messersmith was the player who finally helped the baseball players gain their rights. It’s funny – both Curt Flood and Messersmith wanted to stay with their teams, but yet, people look at free agency as the way that players get to LEAVE their teams. Which is sorta right – players have the RIGHT to leave their teams after 6 years.

Every baseball player owes Curt Flood and Andy Messersmith a debt of gratitude for basically sacrificing their careers, relations with their fans, and health for the freedom of their fellow ballplayers, who should have the right to have control over their lives after repaying their (let’s call it a teaching) debt for the 6 years they are bound to their major league club. And frankly, I think us fans owe them too. America is supposed to be all about freedom and the right to self determination and the dignity of individuals and these men were REAL heroes.

1001 Arabian Nights – Tales Of The 6th Tool

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Unfortunately, I have no Astros tales to tell. As yall have noticed, we have been talking to (as far as I know) only outfielders. Which is telling me that most likely, Jeff Bagwell will not be playing next year, except as a pinch hitter. We “lost out” on Nomar Garciaparra for LF. And, according to today’s Chron, are talk talk talking and Drayton SEZ he just might up the payroll if he gets excited enough. I’m not holding my breath real too hard…

So anyhow,
I want to tell yall about this great blog I found. I read about it on Deadspin, and checked it out. It’s called the Sixth Tool, supposedly written by a baseball scout using an anonymous name. Sorta reminds me of this guy I know who was staring at a picture of Mrs Jose Lima’s, uh, chest. I said to him – they ain’t real you know. Without moving his glazed eyes he sez – SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?!!!

And the tales of the Sixth Tool are great. It’s a continuing saga, just like all those old serials at the movies back in the 30s, so be sure to start at the beginning with the Archives…

The BIG(gio) 4-0

Friday, December 16th, 2005

I can’t hardly believe Craig Biggio is 40 years old. Seems I’ve been watching him all my life. (actually, since I was 8, but close enough…)
(OK, OK, I shoulda published this Dec 14th, his real actual birthday, but it’s almost Christmas and I’ve been a busy girl…)

There’s a survey on the Astros page of the Houston Chronicle online which asks, which of the following players is most likely to make the HOF? (note that this survey has been up since just after the WS ended…)
Craig Biggio: 39%
Roy Oswalt: 27%
Jeff Bagwell: 13%
Lance Berkman: 12%
Andy Pettitte: 7%
Brad Lidge: 2%
(Total Votes: 8456)

What I find most interesting is not that the majority think Biggio is most likely to make the Hall, but that only 13% think that Bagwell will. I was actually expecting to have to argue that Biggio should go in…

And Biggio has had, a NO argument about it HOF career, as a catcher/second baseman/leadoff man.

He was a first round pick in 1987, went from the Sally League in 87 to AAA in 88 and was called up halfway through the year and was a standout from the second he arrived. He was a catcher, this skinny lil guy – SEZ he 5’11″ (uh hunh, yeah, surrrrre) and I’d bet he couldn’t have weighed moren bout 160 dripping wet. But he blocked the plate just fine, called a great game, hit, ran and stole bases.

He was our starting catcher from 1989 to 1991, winning s Silver Slugger in 1989 and appearing in his first ASG in 1991. He was already a premier lead off man, and was switched to 2B to allow him to keep his speed, and he played at second from 1992 to 2002 and again in 05, winning Gold gloves in 94, 95, 96 and 97; Silver Sluggers in 94, 95, 97 and 98; earning All-Star appearances in 92, 94, 95, 96, 97 and 98. In 03 and 04, the team signed second baseman Jeff Kent, who was unwilling to play at third (fortunately for Morgan Ensberg) so Biggio played center in 03 (he gets extra points for trying, I’ll give him that) and in left in 04, where he was the worst fielding LF in the majors by a LONG shot.

He’s been tough and durable, only going on the DL once, in 2000, when he tore ligaments in his knees.

Lifetime OPS+ is 116, with a peak of 143 in 1997 – good for a second baseman. In fact, his top 3 closest comparisons (according to BBref) are Roberto Alomar (lifetime OPS+ 116, with a peak of 149) and Joe Morgan (lifetime OPS+ 132 with a peak of 169 the year he won MVP #1.)

Career stats: (courtesy of BBref.com)
Records? Well, he’s #1 in HBP – he increased his OBP substantially, because he’s not the best walker. He passed Don Baylor last year and now holds the (modern) record of 273. (It amazes me that he’s never once been hurt when he’s been hit. Smile. So much for little guys ain’t tough enough to play MLB and you need a big strong manly man like JD Drew…)
lessee where he is on some other lists:
Games – 2564 (37th all time)
Runs – 1697 (24th all time)
Hits – 2795 (43rd – more than Barry Lamar, believe it or not)
Doubles – 604 (12th all time)
SB – 407 (62nd all time)
Sb % – 71%
BB- 1097 (never gonna catch Barry…) – 63rd all time
Runs Created – 1530 – (63rd all time) – 6.17 RC/ game
Times on Base – 4165 (23rd all time)
Power/Speed Number – 317.30 (11th all time – whoa)
RCAA (thank you Lee Sinins) 354

Let’s compare him to his closest 2 similar batters (second basemen, according to BBref) Robby Alomar’s (isn’t it interesting that Robby Alomar was the most “clutch” in the playoffs…)
Career stats:

and Joe Morgan.

Rogers Hornsby, of course, is the best second baseman of all time, and no other second baseman comes close to his hitting ability. (Except Nap Lajoie) Of course, they didn’t have Gold Glove awards Back Then, so I have no idea what sort of gloveman they really were, but since second base has been basically a defense position (since 1900) with hitting a secondary consideration, it is obvious that as both a leadoff man and a glove, Biggio clearly is one of the top 5 second basemen of all time and belongs in the Hall.

Brad Ausmus, Clutch Hitter

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

Brad Ausmus just signed a 2 year 7.5 mill contract. Times sure do change – he just came off a 2 year 4 mill contract. Unusual for a guy to get a RAISE from a new contract at age 36, hunh…Guess the market for FA catchers was kinda high. I didn’t expect it would take THAT much money to sign him, especially AFTER San Diego and Arizona had already acquired catchers.

I guess we coulda traded for the Rangers’ Gerald Laird, who Buck Showalter seems to hate for some reason, or signed Ramon Hernandez for 7 mill/ year for 4 years, but at least we didn’t sign Bengie Molina.

He had one of those infamous “contract years last year – was bettern he had been for several years, especially after the ASB.

Let’s take a look at some of his numbers: (data from Lee Sinins’ baseball encyclopedia, hardball times.com, the baseballcube.com, yahoo.com and espn.com)

Or we can look at his last few years RCAA (from Lee Sinins) remembering that most catchers are (-)
03: – 32 RCAA
04: -24 RCAA
05: -14 RCAA
- well, you can see that he was never Mike Piazza with the bat.

Brad’s hitting at the Box was INCREDIBLY better this year than his past averages of .244/ .311/.337/.648. He has always hit lefties a LOT better and has always hit much better after the ASB (so much for catchers gettin all tired out…) I know that both Biggio and Adam Everett have become extreme pull hitters, aiming for those tempting Crawford Boxes, and I don’t have a nice distribution of where Brad’s hits landed, but I seem to remember that in August and September, seems he had a LOT more hits up the middle and to RF than I remember him hitting for years.

Lets look at a few other numbers:
Runs Created/Game: 4.0 (on the low side)
GIDP: 17/451 PA = 3.8%
51 BB: 48 K (now how many ML players have fewer Ks than BB? besides Barry Lamar?????)
Pitches/ PA: 3.7 (second on the team to Lance’s 3.9 – yeah Todd Self was first, with 4.4, but we threw him away…)
BB/PA: .115 (second highest on team next to Lance)
BA/RISP: .255 (second highest on team to Lance’s .260)

Win Shares?
15 total (5th, after Matheny, Barrett, LaRue and Schneider)
10.4 fielding WS (second)
4.5 batting (14th – like I said, he’s not Mike Piazza. Actually, he not even Jason LaRue…)

So what of next year? Is it possible that maybe Brad has learned to be a little better batter at age 36? Hey, old is NOT dead, as my Mama says… And JC Bradbury, who writes for Hardball Times, has a predictor statistic (now I am NOT smart enough to compare it to all the other predictor tools, like PECOTA and ZIPS, etc, so please don’t ask me why I chose this one, other than I happen to like what his numbers show…)

Like PECOTA, it has a bell curve probability shape, with 0.687 OPS at the low 5th %ile end, 0.729 OPS as 50th %ile probability and 0.771 OPS at the predicted 95th %ile upper end. This is super neato cuz Brad hasn’t had an OPS of .729 since 2000.
And one of these days, I am gonna go through Roy-O, Astacio, Wandy and Backe’s starts to show yall that these guys had much better pitching scores with Ausmus catching than Chavez/Quintero.

By the way,
You DO know that Roger said he wouldn’t come back if Brad wasn’t here, right?????

Oh yeah – you wanna know why I called Brad a Clutch Hitter. Well, it’s because he scored the highest of anyone on our team on THT’s “clutch factor” (assuming I am right that the lowest negative number is best) which THT defines as

“Clutch” is the name we’ve given to the portion of Bill James’s Runs Created formula that includes the impact of a batter’s batting average with runners in scoring position and the number of home runs with runners on. The specific formula is Hits with RISP minus overall BA times at bats with RISP, plus HR with runners on minus (all HR/AB) times at bats with runners on. This stat is not a definitive description of “clutch hitting,” just one way of looking at it. “

Brad Ausmus = Mr. Clutch. Whoda thunk it??? (yall DO know that the all-time clutch hitter according to this formula is Garth Iorg, right???)

Astros: Re-Signed To The Same Ol Team In 2006?

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

_Orlando Palmeiro signed on for 2 years.
- Mike Lamb signed a 1 year contract for 1.7 mill.
- Brad Ausmus is signing a 2 year contract any day now.

The unsigned players who are arb eligible are – Brad Lidge, Mo Ensberg, Adam Everett and Raul Chavez. My only questions are – will the (the first 3) be signed for more than 1 year?
- Raul Chavez, in my opinion, get a minor league contract. He stinks.
- Brad Lidge. Well, this is interesting. HE might could prefer a multi year, but he DID need 2 weeks off in the middle of the year with a “sore muscle” and he DID break down in the playoffs. Is he hurting? Will he be the ol Lights Out Lidge? I would bet that this cautious team will give him only one year, UNLESS they think they can get a better trade if he signed to a multi year.
- Mo Ensberg. He’s 30, and this is his first arb year. He gonna earn a BIG ol paycheck (and he deserves it, too), so the question is, DID he recover from that hand injury Sept 5? (Remember what happened to Nomar…) and if he did, would it be cheaper in the long run to sign him for the remaining 3 years of his eligibility? I would think so, but I’m not holding my breath. The Organization should be remembering what kind of money Alfonso Soriano got in arb for his last 3 years…
- Adam Everett. Age 29. Great glove, lousy bat. The ML got lots of guys like him, so he won’t be too expensive. The Organization just might could sign him to a multi year just so he will be more tradable.

Second verse, same as the first. We got the exact same team as last year, except for No Roger and full time Baggy. Now, if you read my Roger wins MVN BGA entry, you saw that the team won only 14 of Roger’s starts, BUT he only gave up 3 or more runs 4 times. Let’s be real here – even ROY didn’t pitch that well and there’s no veteran available out there gonna give us that quality. And do I think that Astacio gonna pitch like that? (Yeah, when pigs fly.) Same with Wandy. Who knows how Hirsh or Nieve or Buchholz or even Gothreaux will do?

We had really lousy hitting last year. Yes, I DO expect Lance to be one of the 10 best hitters in the NL. Yes, I DO expect Ensberg to be one of the top 30 hitters in the NL. Jason Lane is already 29, but he’s pretty darn good, and if he can avoid the doldrums he sunk into last May and early June, he should be pretty darn good. I would be shocked, SHOCKED if Adam Everett develops any plate discipline and gets OBP up over .300. I would be shocked, SHOCKED if Brad Ausmus hits for power (although I would be delighted if he hits as well as he did in the second half last year – especially if he keeps up the walks.) Biggio is 40 and I have NO reason to think he will hit as well or better. In fact, if McLane will let Garner rest Biggio and play Burke more, it will be better for both. But we all know that is not real too likely. Tavares? Well, he IS only 23. But unfortunately it is pretty rare for guys who don’t walk to develop plate discipline if they have no power. And I personally think he can adjust his attitude so he can hit as well with guys on base as he does with bases empty. A FC is STILL bettern a K. I seriously doubt he gonna develop much of any power, which I wouldn’t mind if he would get his OBP to a respectable 350 and if he would start successfully stealing again. Oh yeah, and if he would improve defensively, too…

The question is Baggy. We KNOW he gonna play even if he makes Jason Phillips look like Barry Lamar. The question will be CAN he hit any better or even hit with power? If he hits like he did in Sept/Oct, the team will do better with Lamb at first and Berkman in the OF. I really doubt that Baggy will look anything like the Baggy of 02, let alone the Baggy of 99. And even if he can hit singles, he can’t run like he used to and will he be able to EVEN throw like a girl?????

So,
let’s make this clear:
#1 – I am NOT eager to make a trade, any trade, just to DO something. I am NOT eager to “get rid of Lidge” or anyone else except Astacio. I am NOT saying Lidge is not valuable, just that IF we trade him, we need to get a bat of equal value in return. I STILL have not gotten answer to the question – and WHY couldn’t Wheeler or Qualls close?
#2 – we need more Bat – we needed more Bat LAST year, and we need even more THIS year to make up for no Roger quality starter.
#3 – we can’t just go get some OF Bat unless we have somebody to play center. And that somebody is NOT Berkman or Lane. UNLESS Baggy will be a PH only, or even on the DL, we can’t, and I mean CAN’T have Manny in left, Berkman in right and Lane in center. Get Real.
#4 – we can’t trade away too much of the team to get a Bat (remember Richie Sexon…) and since those darn reporters got the story all wrong and Miggy DON’T wanna be traded, I guess that won’t happen.

Now, suppose Purpura is telling the truth and he WON’T trade Lane (yeah, I KNOW that GMs “get misquoted” about trades all the time.) But just let’s suppose, OK. WHO could we trade and still not suffer badly? Who could we get and where would he go?

12/10/05: Impatience Is A Virtue: Astros NEED To Re-sign Clemens For 2006

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

As Scott Humphries says, “you need to wake that $#@% Purpura up!!!”

Um, yeah. (And that is assuming that he don’t have insomnia but is being tied up by McLane…)
Well, what we DON’T know is if Roger Clemens and McLane already have some sort of understanding bout is Roger gonna come back for us after May 1 – especially if it looks like we have a chance. Richard Justice of the Chronicle thinks so now (he changed his mind, which is his perogative…)
hehhehheh

- Oh. By the way, I will believe that Roger is headed back to the media hell on earth that is Boston/NY to pitch every 5 days April thru Oct about the same time that I see a male give birth. Here in Houston, Roger is bout as close to human perfection in a celebrity as you can possibly get (next to Jeter, of course, who is god hisself.) Non stop adoration 24/7/365. Up There he gonna get loads of poopoo dumped upon his poor wittle head the first time he don’t pitch good enuf to win. And I don’t believe for ONE minnit that his wife gonna uproot their 3 kids from Texas Schools and go back Up There and wave byby to all the social stuff she involved in here in Houston.

Anyhow

What we DO know is that McLane don’t like to spend money and that even though we got all that extra money from the playoffs and WS and the increase in ticket prices for 06, not to mention the extra $$$ that every single ML team got from the internet and XM radio, he playin poor. IF he re-signs Roger in May, the extra pub and ticket and merchandise sales will pay for him right there. Roger is the biggest thing to EVER happen to the Stros (sorry Nolan, but it’s true.)

So let’s go to rumors
1) big trade with the Cubs – Kerry Wood and Corey Patterson and some prospect for Backe PLUS Burke PLUS Taveras. PUHLEEEZE. This nightmare invented by some Cub fan (not that I blame them…) Kerry Wood is a freaking expensive China doll with another year left on his expensive contract and Corey Patterson, one of the 10 best lookin hotties in the ML, really is all hot and no hit. And we supposed to be giving up 3 cheap (for at LEAST a few more years) decent players for THAT? In a pig’s eye. Purpura might could be slow as molasses, but he ain’t no Hendry or Sabean about cheap young players or prospects for el-sucko name brand vets.
2) (courtesy of John P. Lopez, Houston Chronicle) Brad Lidge and somebody not Jason Lane for a bat.

Now, who could we be talkin bout?

First, lets think of who gonna be where who is NOT moving:
- Baggy at first (no, he ain’t goin to no Boston to DH – they got this guy already there named Ortiz who is pretty good)
- Biggio at 2B
- Ensberg at 3B
- Berkman in LF
- Ausmus at catcher (of COURSE he comin back – the Dbax just got Estrada and the Pads just got Mirabelli and Ausmus really DO wanna come back here and the guys on the team luuuvvvv him and besides, he’s HOT (at least to us estrogen soaked fans 0f all ages, shapes and races)
- everybody else is relatively cheap
Lane in right
Taveras in center
Everett at short
so if it ain’t Lane, it’s Everett or Taveras.

Now I LIKE watching Everett field, DON’T like watching him K. Taveras, well, he CAN get better with both bat and glove.
Which means we would have to be getting a bat to play either center or short.

So, who needs a closer?
1 – Cincy does. They ain’t trading Felipe Lopez to us for no Lidge, and it better not be no Wily Mo Pena cuz he ain’t WORTH no Lidge. Heck, he ain’t worth no Everett. OR even Taveras. So I would be guessing Griffey. Now, it’s not that Griffey can’t hit, it’s that he can’t play center. Trust me you don’t wanna hear what his fielding stats were – let’s just say they remind me of Biggio in left and leave it mercifully there. Yall have watched him as much as I have last year, so you KNOW what I’m talkin about and he’d hafta play left – wouldn’t mind having Griffey there, except that’s where Berkman gonna be. And CF is harder to play here than in Riverfront (I mean the new Riverfront…)
2 – San Fran does. So they can have Lidge and Taveras for Barry.
hehhehhehhehhehhehhehhehheh
But I have this feeling it might could be Mo Alou, Baggy’s best friend. Problem is that Alou can barely play left and he can NOT play CF. (And neither can Lane, for that matter…) And he expensive. And a righty.
3 – the Orioles. I have NO trouble trading Lidge PLUS Everett PLUS Taveras (we can put Bruntlett in CF – he’s bettern Taveras out there in my opinion…)
straight up for Miggy – who, if yall remember, developed a SERIOUS luuuvvv affair with the Crawford boxes and the train tracks a few All-Star games back.
4 – Bahstin – Foulke, I hear, is iffy. They could use BOTH Lidge and Everett, seeing as how they got no SS after trading away both Renteria – no great loss – and prospect Hanley Ramirez… And they DO wanna dump Whining Manny and his 20 mill a year for 3 years.

BUT
No freaking WAY can Manny play center – heck, dude can barely play left. All his “Manny being Manny” horsestuff ain’t gonna be tolerated in THIS clubhouse I can tell yall THAT. Guaranteed. And he can’t play left cuz Berkman already there and neither Berkman nor Lane can play center.

Now, let’s be real here. McLane ain’t payin Manny no freakin 20 mill a year for 3 years for a guy who say stuff like
“ida wanna play today!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”
“ida LIKE it out there. I wanna go to the barzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”
sob
pout
sulk
“ida see why i gottaaaaaaa. ida LIKE catching balls offn the scoreboard…”
“it’s not FAIR you luuuvvvv him bettern me”
“he gets ta do it and how come i can’t?????”
“ida WANNA!!!!!”
“you doan lemme i’m gonna hold my breff!!!!!!”
sob
pout
sulk
and Bahstin has said thay ain’t payin Manny to play somewhere else, anyhow.

5 – Pirates – Lidge and Taveras straight up for Jason Bay? Can I hear a HELL YEAH???!!! I’d even throw in cash with that one.
Can’t think of anyone else.

I hear we tryin to get a starting pitcher to replace Roger even though we already have 5 starters in Pettitte, Roy, Zeke Astacio, Wandy Rodriguez and Brandon Backe. We have Jason Hirsh in AAA, who look pretty ready for the bigs to me. If we need to throw in a starter, they can have Astacio. I can NOT believe how many people think he’s good. I KNOW that his era was 3.97 after the break, but I keep reminding people he don’t last over 5 IP, gives up a LOT of HRs and he had a lot of unearned runs and got bailed out by the bullpen too many times. Dave Studeman, a baseball statistician who writes for the Hardball Times, says he is absolutely POSITIVE that Astacio’s HR rate will go down this year – remember he gave up 23 HR/ 81 IP – a rate even higher than Eric Milton. Because, you see, it is SO high above the ML mean that a probability graph sez that chances are overwhelming that it MUST come down. OK. So he’ll give up 22 HR/ 81 IP – or 23 HR/ 82 IP – big freaking deal. Then the stat geeks will be right and it DID come down. Sometimes I just HATE stats…

I also been hearin bout how we might could be interested in Jarrod Washburn, LHP. One small problem – Scott Bore-ass is his agent, and I have a REAL hard time believing after the, um, hard time (ahem) he gave us last year with Carlos the Jackal, that McLane would have anything to do with ANY Boras client ever again. Washburn is at best, a #3 starter, and I’d rather just keep Wandy, to be honest. I LIKE Wandy, yes, you right.

And I heard we thinkin of gettin Kevin Mench from the Rangers. WHY??? We already got “Kevin Mench” right here and his name is Jason Lane and he’s already bettern Mench. This is too dumb for any further discussion. And we do NOT need another righty bat, we need a lefty.

OK
That’s it on the rumors I know of.
We did re-sign Orlando Palmeiro to a 2 year 1.9 mill contract. I got no problem with this one. He a decent lefty bat, a VERY good pinch hitter, and he is at least a league average glove in RF or LF.

We didn’t lose anyone in the Rule V draft, for ONCE. Don’t know how we ever gonna live down either Abreu or Johan Santana. But we did get an A ball pitcher named Ben Diggins, a righty who was a former #1 draft pick by the Dodgers from U of Arizona in 2000, from the Brewers. If the name sounds a little familiar, he appeared in 24 innings for the ML Brewers in 02 – looks like he got hurt after that and has taken a few years to come back. Amazing how many former #1 draft picks were left open for the Rule V this year, hunh.

So anyhow, if we decide to trade Taveras, we can put Bruntlett in CF and sign Brooks Conrad to replace Viz – they hit about the same, play IF and are switch hitters. Conrad will make ML minimum, instead of the mill or so that Viz will cost.

NOW
it’s off to make Christmas cookies (24 dozen – yes, you read that right) with my 3 little elves. And yes, I DO know I’m gonna hear
- hunh? chew, munch, swallow
- it was jes ONE star
- cn I have jes a little piece PEEEEEZZZEEEE???
- no I wanna do the green ones
- gimme the santa
- NO YOU gimme the santa
- MAMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII he got the santa
- NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ida wanna do the trees
- how come HE gets ta?????
- no I dint gived it to Dog. he eated it.
- NO BOY!! dontchu eat stuff offn the floor!!!
- how come Dog gets ta?????
- oops
- uh oh
- wasn’t me
(preparing for 3 years of Manny?????)

NOW What, Since Astros Didn’t Re-sign Roger Clemens

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

Well, I guess we need to thank Roger for making the Astros front page news across America.
It was because he DIDN’T sign, but Roger did more to get us in the news that Purpura has. (And, by the way, the team DID make the right decision – yes I know that Roger is the most popular player and a box office draw and all that and that he just doesn’t KNOW what to do and is agonizing over his decision and maybe he be too tired after pitching in March and he was all tired by Sept etc etc etc…) But there’s NO reason to sit around with head up butt just like last year, regardless of McLane’s complaining that he don’t have any more money etc etc etc. We need bats and we need to get them NOW.

29 teams have made trades, signed players, tried to sign players. Even the Nationals got into the act. As much as I’ve sworn to keep this blog all Astros all the time, this lack of news gettin me desperate – I’m gonna hafta start blogging about my little mae-Stros (hahaha).

So there I am, searching the internet for Stros news while trying to listen to sports radio and suddenly I realize it’s a little TOO quiet. You see, three small boys make a LOT of noise even when they are being good. And there’s suspiscious Absence of Dogsss – ALSO a sign that they all Up To No Good. So I walk quietly over to the kitchen and stick head around the corner and sure enough there they are – they’ve climbed up on the counter and managed to reach on top of the refrigerator. This is not good. Because, you see, on top of the refrigerator is where I stashed all the cut up pieces of dried fruit I’m marinating in rum for the christmas puddings I’m gonna make. They been mostly eating the prunes and currants which is lucky because the cherries are NOT cheap. The dogsss are sitting patiently in a row in front of the counter and kidsss are cramming yummies in their mouths and also generously donating some of the loot to their partners in crime.
Now how’s that song go? (apologies to shaggy…)

“Mami came in and she caught us red-handed
Hands in the candy jar
Picture this we were all 3 eating
and tossin some to the dogsss on the floor
How could we forget
She is not as dumb as we think
All this time she was standing there
Right next to the kitchen sink
Mami: But I caught yall on the counter
#1 son: (It wasn’t me)
Mami: Saw you chewing on the almonds
#2 son: (It wasn’t me)
Mami: I even saw you munching on the raisins
#3 son: (It wasn’t me)
Mami: I even caught you eating the prunes

#1 son: (It wasn’t me)
Mami: I saw the mess on you faces
#2 son: (It wasn’t me)
Mami: YOU HEAR THE WORDS THAT I’M SAYIN???
all 3 sons: (It wasn’t me)
Mami: You kids are goin in the corner!!!!!
There they stayed til it was over…”

Well, actually, the PLAN was they was gonna be stayin in the corner until nap time because I was good and mad (and am going to have to think of another way to keep stuff outta busy little fingers). After I called poison control to make sure that boiling rum for 10 minutes really DOES remove the alcohol or I woulda had to take kidsss to the ER for getting the stomachs pumped and then had to get grilled by CPS about exactly WHY is it that I’m feeding my kids alcohol AND GETTIN THEM DRUNK, HMMMMMMMMMMMMM?

So I’m thinking of exactly how to punish the kids a little more than just sittin in the corner when I hear
Mamiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
I doan feel goodddddddd

Well, it’s like this – several cupfuls of dried fruit makes kids, um, well, let’s say it cleans out their intestines REAL good, so they spent a WHOLE lot of time in the bathroom and big boys had to wear diapers again, which was seriously humiliating. So I didn’t hafta spank kids because they got their OWN butts hurting plenty good enough.

But problem was that I had forgot about all the goodies they had slipped to Dogsss, who I forgot to put outside, and I had a WHOLE lotta mess I hadta clean offn the kitchen floor and I hadta wash all the dog beds too.

PLUS I hadta go get outside to wrap up all the plants because the arctic is sending us some of their extra cold air tonight and I don’t need any dead plants.

So in conclusion, guess it was just as well the Stros did exactly zero today. Because I think I would have missed it anyhow.
So like Scarlett O’Purpura says – tomorrow is another day to trade and sign players. (HINT, HINT!!!)

12/7/05: Cmon Roger, Let’s GO

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

Lessee – how does the old song go? (with apologies to The Clash)
“Roger you gotta let us know
You gonna stay or will you go?

You such a tease tease tease
You allus want us beggin PLEEZE

The arbitration question’s here
Decision time is drawing near

If there’s no offer there will be trouble
An’ if you say yes it will be double

Well come on and let us know
Gonna commit or gonna blow?”

Sigh.
Same old run around. Look Roger. You KNOW we want you back. You KNOW we can’t be foolin around waitin to trade/sign other guys until after there ain’t nobody left. We KNOW you hafta be ready to pitch in March in that assinine “world classic” thingy. We KNOW you fell apart in September and we gonna have to be more careful with you than Pedro and maybe only pitch you every 6 or 7 days.

But we HAFTA set the roster. We HAFTA find a least ONE decent bat.

Now a lot of us have LONG since figgered out that McLane don’t wanna spend any of that playoff money or increased revenue streams that every single other team has and he pretending he don’t have so he won’t increase payroll. We all know that McLane is REAL touchy about anything that might could be thought to be bad media PR. He remembering the Nolan Ryan catastrophy which is why he insisting that Biggio and Bagwell play full time until they drop dead or retire whichever comes first even if it ain’t in the team’s best interest.

And we ain’t fooled with all the reporters talkin bout how you gonna go and pitch for the Yanks/ Red Sox again.

Roger, you KNOW the arbitration rules. If we don’t offer arbitration, we lose a draft pick. If we DO and you accept and get another 18 mill, we stuck with the same team. If we DO and you accept, then decide to retire at the end of January, we lost 7 weeks of finding players to fill the enormous gaps we have.

If we offer and you reject (yeah, I know that game) it’s STILL another 5 weeks of not being able to get players.

So cmon Roger, be a decent guy. Stop the tease stuff. Let’s get this done one way or another without making us look bad.
Or you look like a thoughtless insensitive jerk.

UPDATE 6 PM
The Organization has decided not to offer arbitration to Roger. I guess he wouldn’t agree to work anything out with him. So IF Roger comes back, it won’t be until May 1. I read somewhere that Roger was on WFAN in Boston (or is it NY) and he was annoyed that the Astros kept pressing him to make a decision – he TOLD them to go ahead and do whatever they needed to do (get a bat) and he wouldn’t make any decision until at least January anyhow.

Fine.

Now 29 teams are trading, signing, doing what needs to be done. Purpura got NO excuse sittin around no more…