Guest post by Michael Hurta
First of all I would like to apologize for not posting in almost a week. I know this is definatly not what you all expected of Lisa’s temp. replacement; I have just been extremely busy lately…
Anyways, even though we signed 44 year old John Franco to a GUARANTEED DEAL (wtf?), we can bet on an interesting season, and if not, DEFINATLY an interesting spring training.
When Roger Clemens re-signed with the Astros for that enourmous yet deserving 18 million dollar deal, one of the things he said was “Who says we can’t?” Richard Justice pointed out that this would work well as the Astros’ slogan for the 2005 season. I agree. Spring Training is the time where we will decide if it is the old or the young, or both, who will be showing the world if we indeed can.
The Houston Astros have lots of decisions to make. There is that #5 pitching spot. The safest bet would be Carlos Hernandez. However, Pete Munro has been so important to this francise, if quietly; that he is going to deserve a fair shot too. And who knows, maybe Tim Redding has learned how to mediate while on the mound and will do well in Spring Training as well.
Then there is second base. With Craig Biggio likely to start the season in the sparse outfield, this is Chris Burke’s job to loose. He essentially has it already, but if he screws up that chance might be gone.
Then there is the outfield. We know Biggio will be on the roster and probably pratrolling opening day. Lane is pretty much a lock as well. Berkman will be the third once he gets healthy (by the way the Astros better top that one year deal and get an extension done!) . Palmeiro is an easy slot as a backup, but he isn’t a great guy to start. Guys who haven’t even played in AAA like Willy Taveras will get their shot. The Astros are even willing to experiment with Mike Lamb.
However, these are the relatively smallest of our problems. The main thing to worry about is the bullpen. When you sign a 44 year old man who isn’t Roger Clemens or Satchel Paige or Nolan Ryan to a 700 thousand dollar contract: you know you have some problems. If I were Phil Garner or Tim Purpura, I would invite every reliever in the system to spring training. Heck, we are giving the 44 year old a shot, and we are giving guys like Willy Taveras a shot as well. With problems such as these that have Dan Wheeler as the front runner to be an 8th inning guy, we should take a look at everyone. I don’t care if he is 18 years old.
Anyways, the Astros are going to be televising probably two spring training games for the first time that I can remember (but I am pretty young), and those will be extremely fun to watch. I expect there to be a nice handful of radio broadcasts as well, and Milo Hamilton is always a fun guy to listen too. For those of you who don’t live this close, I will try to keep yall updated if I don’t get extremely busy again, or hopefully Lisa will be back, and she’s even better.
Lets get pumped, cuz ST is on the way!