Ed Wade has said that the Astros are looking for outfielders and that Luke Scott is “in the mix” and that he supposedly has had problems with his Achilles’ tendon so who knows if he could really be a full time fielder blahblahblah. Which is why, of course, he is going to play winter ball on that bad tendon that is hurting him so much, I guess.
Of course, I’ve been hearing all this goop about how terrible it was that we no longer have Willy Taveras, the second coming of Willie Mays – or at least Kenny Lofton. Oh yeah, sooooo terrible. All those bunt hits make a world of difference, I guess. Color me unimpressed. Yeah, I know he made a great catch in Game 1 of the NLCS to rob Eric Byrnes of a sure 2 RBI single/double and preserve the W for the Rockies and yeah, it sure looked exactly like Jim Edmonds catch of Brad Ausmus’ sure 2 RBI double in game 7 of the 2004 NLCS to preserve the W for the Cards. Shrug. At least Edmonds can hit the cutoff man.
Anyway, seeing as how Willy will stay in Colorado, at least until Ryan Spilborghs takes his job next year, let’s look at the OF already on our roster as well as the available FA. (Stats from ESPN, The Hardball Times, baseball-reference.com)
First, as to FA center fielders: – age as of Opening Day
- Milton Bradley, age 30 (on DL with ACL tear, and anyhow, he’s an uppity N-word) – great hitter and fielder when healthy, but unfortunately, seldom healthy – he’s had exactly one full, uninjured season, back in 04, then he played in 75, 96 and 61 games in each subsequent year. He has a lifetime 110 OPS+ and can play right and center and has an above league average RF and ZR
- Mike Cameron, age 35 (lots of Ks, frequently injured, looks like a N-word) has played approximately 140 games a year, except in 05 when he was injured in an OF collision with Carlos The Jackal. Has a lifetime 107 OPS+ (actually 109 over the past 7 years) has averaged 22 homers, 32 doubles and 156 K (!!!) over an average season and also has a .251 BA, which will NOT fly with a whole lot of Astros fans, who value a singles hitter who hits .300 over a guy who hits for power whose average is only .250. He has won 3 GG and unlike Derek Jeter, actually deserved them as his RF, ZR and UZR have greatly exceeded league average. However, he WILL be 35 years old and for a guy who has a lot of leg problems, I can’t see a multi year contract as he will surely get a GOOD 8 mill a a year, at least.
- Darin Erstad, age 34 – gritty white boy who makes Jason Lane’s hitting look like Barry Lamar 2001 – White Sox have a 3.5 mill option. Erstad is a great fielder the few days a year he’s not hurt. Not even worth wasting time discussing.
- Torii Hunter, age 32 (a FINE lookin brotha if I say so myself and I do say so myself) who will very likely get a Vernon Wells sort of payday. Well, maybe for fewer years as he IS 32. Naturally he’s had a career year in his walk year, but he’s good for around 35 doubles and 25 homers a year, 114 K and 78 BB, 15-20 SB with 7 CS a year and also, don’t let me forget, 15 – 20 GIDP a year. Of course he’s famous for his fielding but he has lost some range since his ankle injury e years back, but he still is above league average in range factor and waaaayyy above league average in balls out of zone.
- Andruw Jones, age 31 (Boras client AND he doesn’t know how to ride a horse, so honestly, since heck will freeze over before he comes here, no point in discussing him.)
- Kenny Lofton, age 41 – yet ANOTHER brotha, and originally an Astro, who was traded for being uppity, for some crummy someone who wasn’t near as valuable. Good thing is that he can be signed to a 1 year contract.
- Corey Patterson, age 28 (Boras client AND Black. also ex-Cub. We all remember him – he was forced to hit leadoff by Dusty Baker, and did worse and worse until finally he was practically run out of town on a rail. He can’t/won’t walk, had some power and is a decent OF, but really isn’t worth much, especially as we ALREADY have Josh Anderson, who is younger, cheaper, and better)
- Aaron Rowand, age 30 – FINALLY a white boy. High Grit Factor. AND no Boras, neither. Beloved of sportswriters because he does stuff like smash his face into brick walls to catch a ball, then miss 60 games healing. It’s what too many males proudly refer to as “testicular fortitude” and females contemptuously refer to as “testicular stupidity.” Anyway, of course he’s having a career year in his walk year, but on average, he is ..286/.343/.462, an 805 OPS or 106 OPS+ and it is interesting to note that he gets HBP a little more often than he GIDP – over the past 3 years, he’s 58:48. That just might could get him some of that “gritty” Biggio luuuuvvv. He’s basically a league average CF for RF and ZR, but he seldom makes errors, which means a lot to the Astros community.
So, to summarize, the only guy listed who isn’t Black might could look good on a horse, is Mr. Grit #2, who will probably get a GOOD 12 mill a year for 5 years, if even that low…
Part 2 will look at available free agent RF as well as the OF we currently have on the 40 man.
- And to change the subject for a minute, speaking of the 40 man, Eric Munson was put on waivers and claimed by Milwaukee, so it DOES look like a battery of Justin Towles and Brad Ausmus next year, as I thought. Hopefully, Quintero will not be back either. Also, Steve Randolph and Cody Ransom were outrighted to AAA – so hopefully, I won’t have to be hearing nonsense about how Ransom should replace Adam Everett