I know I have not yet reviewed the Astros 2008 Season or evaluated Ed Wade’s moves, or even said anything about what he might could do for next year, but other people sure have.
Evan Brunell, a Red Sox fan, has taken a crack at it.
So I’m going to take a look at Evan’s evaluation.
“The Astros were a joke for much of 2008, and Ed Wade was widely lambasted for acquiring starter Randy Wolf and reliever LaTroy Hawkins for the stretch run. The joke was on the pundits as the Astros injected themselves into the wild card chase and came within a hurricane of realistically having won it. They did all that without left-fielder Carlos Lee, who was injured shortly before the big run. The Astros will continue to make steps to contend…”
No, it was the 2007 Astros who were a joke – making an entire year be all about a faded prima donna’s farewell tour, playing my Aunt Sally in a wheelchair in a stupid effort to avoid giving Luke Scott a regular job, Jason Jennings, kicking Pettitte’s ass on his way out the door – I could go on.
The 2008 Astros were at least respectable before Shawn Chacon, um, shall we say, uh, didn’t allow Ed Wade to diss him – and before they went on a refusal to win June. They had their first big run in May, then restarted a run in late July on the back of a suddenly ace Roy Oswalt, and surging Carlos Lee and then, after his season ending injury, Ty Wigginton’s career month.
And hurricane or no hurricane, the Astros weren’t going to win, let’s be honest here…
“Houston Astros resign starting pitcher Randy Wolf, reliever Doug Brocail, reliever LaTroy Hawkins.
Wolf equipped himself very well for the Astros after spurning them in the off-season to sign with the San Diego Padres. Wolf has enjoyed his time in Houston and says that location will not dicate his next team. With Ed Wade as GM, who loves Wolf, it’s hard to see Wade letting Wolf walk. Brocail’s option was declined by the Astros as he was due to make $3.5 million, which is understandable. Wade should be able to bring Brocail back for a lower price. Hawkins was terrible as a New York Yankee but pitched well enough in Houston that his return should be a given.”
– Well, Ed Wade thinks highly of Randy Wolf for some reason and WANTS to re-sign him, that part is correct. And yeah, I know what Wolf now sez, but I still think he’d prefer to gome home to the West Coast – that is, unless Wade gives him some stupid, overpriced contract. I would also agree here that Wade, who can NOT get enough mediocre middle relievers, will re-sign Brocail, who lives here and wants to come back, and Hawkins, who will be skewered by fans when he fails to repeat his 08 Astros performance, ESPECIALLY if Wade trades Valverde and puts Hawkins in the closer role.
“Houston Astros sign starting pitcher Josh Fogg.
The Astros will likely spend much of the offseason trying to convince Andy Pettitte to rejoin the Astros, but Pettitte will steadfastly maintain its the Yankees or retirement. With much of the starting pitchers off the board by then, Wade will go after Fogg who has the nickname of the “Dragon Slayer.” They’ll also have Chris Sampson and Brian Moehler for rotation candidates. Besides, doesn’t Fogg smack of an Ed Wade signing?”
– Um, no.
The bridge with Andy Pettitte isn’t merely broken, it has been disintegrated as it was the OWNER who didn’t want him back after the 05 season. As for signing Josh Fogg – dear Jeeezus Gawd – whatever for? We ALREADY have Brandon Backe, who is better and cheaper. And Backe is NOT good. And Fogg has very few innings as a reliever and his career ERA as a reliever is 5.84.
Ed LUUUUVVVVSS middle relievers and signs too many, but Fogg is a crappy 5th starter, and Ed Wade is not infamous for signing too many crappy 5th starters. Even Shawn Chacon was a better bet last year. Fogg has never ever had even ONE season of being UP to league average – of an ERA+ of 100.
“Houston Astros sign shortstop/third baseman Felipe Lopez.
Lopez, who was sent to the Washington Nationals from the Cincinnati Reds in a highly controversial trade a few years ago, never panned out in D.C. Finally freed this season, he headed to St. Louis and rebuilt enough value that he should land a starting gig somewhere. Wade will bring him aboard to start at third base with an eye towards moving him to shortstop and Miguel Tejada to third down the line. It could be as soon as 2009 if Wade can convince Tejada.”
– Lopez never panned out in Cincy either. As a glove, he made Mark Loretta look like Adam Everett. I’m singularly unimpressed by 156 AB at the end of his EIGHTH major league season, as I am with his lifetime line of .262/.330/.395/.725 – translation of an 89 OPS+ which is not exactly worth jettisoning Wiggy for. Tejada’s only value is his glove, as we are talking about a “hitter” whose RCAA was as negative as Brad Ausmus in 07, his last full season. Any team who deliberately employs Lopez as a full time starter is asking for terrible fielding and lousy hitting.
If Ed Wade really does sign Fogg and Lopez and jettison Wigginton, Loretta and any cheap crappy 5th starter we ALREADY have, then, as the old saying goes, Houston, we have a problem…
“Houston Astros trade third baseman Ty Wigginton to the Texas Rangers for catcher Gerald Laird.
The Rangers will be in the market for a third baseman and the Astros have (inexplicably) soured on Wigginton. Wigginton will give the Rangers a nice source of offense and Laird will solve the Astros’ catching conundrum. This acquisition by no means should intimate that the Astros give up on J.R. Towles, but they also can’t rely on Towles to contribute next year. Laird will allow Towles to continue his learning curve as a backup catcher.”
– I think that Evan must hate the Astros, Ed Wade or both.
Laird has a lifetime 79 OPS+ and his career high is 120 games. And he is NOT a good defensive catcher. What a terrible trade – it would make MUCH more sense, if the Astros were to trade Wiggy, to trade him for Taylor Teagarden. At least he has a future. Laird is just another backup. Wiggy hasn’t had an OPS+ under 100 for the past 4 years. And he has a league average glove at third as well.
“Houston Astros sign utility player Damion Easley.
With Mark Loretta departing for the San Diego Padres, the Astros will be in the market for a backup and should find Easley an interesting choice. I remember way back when he was sucking up money as a terrible player for the Detroit Tigers. He’s gone a long way towards rebuilding his value since then.”
– Since when is Loretta leaving for the Padres? Moores is in the middle of a very expensive hostile divorce and he’s trying to cut payroll to the bone. He’s trying to trade a deluxe ace pitcher who will cost 8 mill next year and he sure as heck isn’t going to sign a utility guy for 3-4 mill a year. AND this management likes Loretta.
– As for Easley, cmon, he’s even oldern Loretta. Why would anyone assume that he is not going to deteriorate? But on the other hand, hey the Astros fans will LOVE the guy, he pretty much never walks or strikes out AND he GIDP 15 times/357 PA. He could be the new Miggy Tejada!!!!
“The Astros — especially with these moves outlined above — are very close to being a legitimate contender. There will still be several question marks for starting pitchers, but nothing that can’t be solved via the trade market later in the year. They can bank on Brandon Backe continuing his return from Tommy John surgery and Wandy Rodriguez continuing to improve.”
– I’m missing how 1- adding another crappy backup catcher, a terrible 5th starter and a dreadful SS/3B; 2- substituting one ordinary utility guy for another; 3- removing one of the 3 decent hitters on the team; would make this team into a contendah.
– If the Astros kept Wandy, Wolf, Backe, Moehler and Oswalt, what on earth use would they have for the crapulous Fogg?
Not sure that Wade could make this team a contender – he has basically no farm to work with and not much to trade. But I am indeed sure that Laird, Fogg, Lopez and Easley are not exactly the ticket.