I keep hoping for SOME sort of new news, but no such luck. The only lip flapping has been some of the writers horrified that other writers do not think that Ryan Howard was MVP ONLY because he hit more RBIs than anyone else and he had an .893 OPS on the pennant winning team only in September because the rest of the season doesn’t matter – he absolutely sucked the other 5 months, but hey, like, so? Why not rename the MVP – the guy the writers think makes the best story for “player of the month in September on one of the 4 winning teams.” Good grief. And, by the way, Andre Ethier AND MannyBManny seriously outplayed Howard in September – but hey, not as many RBIs because of teammate suckage, but teammates don’t matter.
But I digress.
Looks as if we are headed down a very very slippery slope into a severe recession/depression and McLane, as usual, is not raising the payroll. Oh yeah, there is some sort of the usual bull about how the payroll is really more like 100 mill instead of 90 mill, but some of us can add. Trouble is that the Astros are already starting with Berkman at 14.5 mill + Oswalt at 14 mill + Clank at 18.5 mill + Tejada at 13 mill + Kaz Matsui at 5.3 mill + Geoff Blum at 1.3 mill + Hawkins at 3.5 mill + Erstad at 1.75 mill = 71.85 mill and that means they have to have 17 more players for 20-30 mill.
If they do not trade Wiggy and Valverde, together earming about 10 mill this year, who will certainly earn raises of a good 3-4 mill each, it will mean needing 16 players for 10-12 mill. And let’s not forget Wandy, who is arb eligible for the first time and will earn at LEAST 3 mill. So that will be 15 guys for 10 mill. Oh yeah – Geoff Geary already has a guaranteed contract for 1.125 mill. So make that 14 guys for less than 10 mill.
And unless Drayton ups the payroll (yeah, surrrrrre) then SOMEone has got to go.
Tejada is the most expensive guy here. I know he hit .283, but unlike a whole lot of other Astros fans, I think that it is important to understand that he made very little of his opportunities to drive in runners – he came to bat with (if I am counting correctly) 704 men on base and he drove in only 57 of them (not counting 9 solo homers) AND he grounded into 32 DPs and and (if I went back and counted) I would bet twice that many FC. I keep reminding everyone that in 666 PA, he got on base with 6 HBP, 20 BB, 4 IBB, 125 singles, 38 doubles, 3 triples, 13 homers and 1 ROE. I might could add that he also got caught stealing 7 times with 7 SB, and complied a magnificient (-)27 RCAA, second last only to Michael Bourn. I will finally add that batting from the 3 hole (mostly) and the 5 hole, he created only 63 runs, 1 more than Adam Everett in 06 batting from the 8 hole behind Brad Ausmus.
It would be cheaper to keep Wiggy and play Tommy Manzella (just placed on the 40 man), an Adam Everett clone in AAA who will instantly earn the enmity of Astros fans by hitting like Michael Bourn. Because BA is all that matters. I should add, by the way, that Everett’s BA with RISP was around .280 his last 2 full years with the Astros, and Tejada’s last year was .237. I can’t think of any reason to keep Tejada instead of Wiggy, who created more runs and has more power and GIDP significantly less.
You might could talk about trade value – well, let’s be real, we certainly wouldn’t get much for Tejada, but even if we got a sack of baseballs, it would still provide 13 mill worth of salary relief, 7 or 8 of which could be spent on Wiggy and another 5 toward something we NEED, like a starter.
Wiggy would be more expensive per year than FA Casey Blake, but then again, it would only be for 1 year.
The most recent “rules” according to economics seem to be that (usually) the team who takes on salary doesn’t give up real too much in the way of top prospects. The other teams are NOT gonna give up cheap young major leaguers OR cheap young top prospects. Then again, the Astros really don’t have any, so any decent prospects would be good.
As for homegrown options for third? Well, there is Mark Saccomanno, but Ricky Bennett has made it plain that they would consider him ONLY in a pinch hitting role IF they even want him on the ML team. Guess his glove is on par with Mike Lamb. Or worse.
There is Chris Johnson, age 24, picked in the 4th round of the 06 draft whose minor league numbers are not exactly Evan Longoria/Ryan Braun – 517 OPS in Rookie Ball, 712 OPS at low A in 225 AB, then a .695 OPS at high A in 224 AB. Amazingly enough, he was promoted to AA (doesn’t say much for whoever’s place he took there in Corpus, does it) where he pounded the ball – .870 OPS in 330 AB, then back down to a .539 OPS in 101 AB at AAA. He doesn’t walk much (approximately 39 BB/500 AB) and he strikes out around 90 times/500 AB. He only hit for power in AA, not in the low minors or AAA. He made 23 errors in 84 games at AA. He sure nuff doesn’t seem ready for the majors to me.
Oh yeah. And please, Blum can NOT play full time.
As for trading Valverde, well, BEFORE we do, might could I ask
- to who? And seriously, what could we get for him? Please don’t waste your time explaining how the Mariners are gonna WANT to trade Beltre (not cheap) and King Felix for him – or something equally stupid.
- and speaking of who, WHO is then gonna close? There is NOBODY on the major league club or at AAA or at AA who is closer material. NOBODY.
This means that we would have to get someone in trade for Tejada or Wiggy who would be good enough to close. Unless we got lucky, no club is going to trade a good, top notch cheap young reliever for salary dumps. So as for me, I say NO to trading an essential top player who we can’t replace.
I know lots of Astros fans want Wandy off the team – and think he wouldn’t bring much because he’s terrible and sucks and has emotion or something. You would replace him with WHO?
Remembering, of course, that Drayton is NOT gonna sign Garland, Lowe, Burnett, Sabathia, Sheets (unless he signs a very low incentive type deal) because he doesn’t want to raise payroll – except for top ace Randy Wolf. And he isn’t gonna sign any other expensive FA or any Boras client.
Oh yeah – and please, Michael Bourn has like NO trade value, so let’s not talk about trading him for anything of value, let alone playing Pence in center and Bogusevic in right. And apparently, the Organization is in love with Pence and he isn’t up for trade.
Tags: Houston Astros