Well, I think we’ve all beaten Roger Clemens and did he/didn’t he do drugs to death, so unless more information comes to light before he testifies before Congress next month – they postponed the hearing, I’m just going to find other topics to talk about.
Unless a miracle occurs, and youneverknow, it looks as if the 25 man is pretty much set right now. I seriously doubt that Smith/Wade are going to sign Kris Benson or Freddy Garcia, both of whom are coming off serious surgery and won’t be ready on Opening Day or maybe for a few months. I doubt either one would be able to demand multi-year contracts, but youneverknow.
At this point, best I know, Jason Jennings isn’t coming back either and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a multi-year deal with somebody. Jon Lieber is also looking for a multi-year deal, and from what we all saw from him in Philly, he doesn’t look as if he really has real too much left.
This is the time that borderline guys are asked to come to Spring Training, usually signed to minor league contracts (hey, they have to find SOME bodies to play AAA ball.)
Here are the 5 guys who aren’t already with the Astros Organization who received invitations: Lance Niekro, Mike DeJean, Victor Diaz, Carlos Hines and J.R. House.
House, age 27, is familiar to all yall because he was with the Astros Organization in 06. He was recovering from extensive shoulder surgery when he was signed, hit .325 at AA, was promoted to AAA, hit .412/.445/.675 over 114 AB, was in the majors for a few pinch hit ABs and went ofer 9 and was sent immediately back down. Good thing that they were a little more patient with Willie Mays, hunh. Anyway, I guess they thought he would never be able to throw very well again, so they didn’t re-sign him and he was picked up by Baltimore and spent most of last year at AAA, and hit .298/.365/.493†playing 54 games at catcher and 24 games at first. He had a cup of coffee in September and hit .211/.268/.500 in 38 AB. I would guess that he’s gonna catch at AAA again and split time with Quintero – that is, if we keep him on the roster.
Lance Niekro, age 29, we’ve seen with the Giants. He was picked in the second round in 2000 and called up in 03 for a couple AB, then again in 05. He’s split time between the majors and AAA the last 3 seasons. He’s a 1B who doesn’t hit very well – .246/.288/.421/.706 over 499 AB – 26 2B, 17 HR, 29 BB, 91 K. In other words, not much better than Adam Everett, who was a shortstop. I’m sure he’s going to be the AAA first baseman this year – it’s not exactly like we have any up and coming 1B in the minors.
Victor Diaz, age 26. He plays right or left field, and it seems as if it was just yesterday that he looked to be an up and coming star with the Mets. He was actually drafted by the Dodgers in the 37th round in 2000, then traded to the Mets for Jeromy Burnitz in 03. He was a AA All-Star that year, with a .902 OPS and he was called up in 04, where he hit .294/.321/529 in 51 AB. He split 05 between AAA and the majors, and he hit .257.329/.458 in limited duty over 280 AB. In 06, he spent pretty much the entire year at AAA, receiving only 11 AB as a Met before he was traded to the Rangers at the end of August, where he spent the remainder of the year at AAA. He’s a guy who was playing for a team with too many OF, veteran free agent OF, and, well, he didn’t really get much of a chance. All in all, he has 25 2B, 25 HR, 32 BB, 135 K (!!!!!!) over 446 AB in the majors with a line of .256/.309/.457. He’s supposed to be at least a decent fielder, if I remember rightly, and at least he has some power, unlike Mr. Gritty.
Mike DeJean, age 37, RH RP. Remember him being the Brewers closer in 02 and 03? He missed all of 06 with a shoulder injury, and only threw 30.2 innings in the minors last year with a 7 something ERA. I guess he’s this year’s Rick White/John Franco. Who knows if his arm is any better this year? But at least it’s just a minor league contract.
Carlos Hines, 27 year old righty reliever, who looks like AAA filler at best. He spent 06 and 07 at AAA, throwing 54 and 40 innings with a 4.81 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP and a 5.90 K/9.
Oh yeah – and I hear tell that Jason Lane is going to the Yankees, who I guess want him to play first base???!!! OK. Well, he’s a good human being so I wish him the best and I certainly hope he doesn’t get booed when the MFY come to the Box in June…