Tagged: 2011

To market, to market

This week’s series in Washington clearly didn’t go the way Brad Mills & Co. would have liked. The Astros came into town needing to win at least three of the four games to have a realistic shot at that .500 record – and really, they should have won three of these four – but they ended up losing three of four instead. Mathematically, they’ve still got a shot at .500 and/or catching the Cardinals, but realistically, it’s time to place the emphasis on gearing up for 2011. In 10 days, there will be no more Astros baseball until February 27 of next year.

Thus begins the long five-month wait without baseball. Every baseball fan’s favorite pastime during the winter is to play armchair GM and argue about the personnel moves they believe their team should make before the next season. I’m no different, and I’ve already talked about two potential big signings in previous posts. Putting on my Ed Wade hat, I present my off-season Astros shopping list:
  1. Trade Carlos Lee. I don’t hate the guy like some do, but the Astros are in a different place now than they were when they signed him, and they have other guys that could better fill his roster spot in the final two years of his contract. They’ll probably have to eat a good portion of his salary to move him, but so be it. If they can bring back a shortstop or a healthy big league starter in return, do it!
  2. Put in an offer on Carl Crawford. After they likely lose out on him, go put in an offer on Pat Burrell. Burrell has a 2.6 WAR for San Francisco in LF this season (versus Lee’s -1.6); he should provide at least as much offense as Lee has this season, for less money, on a two-year deal with no restrictions on trading him should youngsters develop faster or better than expected. If they lose out on Burrell too, keep the money and hand Brian Bogusevic the starting job in LF.
  3. Put in an offer on Jon Garland. Houston very nearly snagged him via trade before the 2007 season, only to end up with Jason Jennings instead. (Oops.) You have four rotation spots locked up in Myers, Rodriguez, Happ and Norris, but I’m still not sold enough on Bud’s consistency to hand him the #4 spot outright. Felipe Paulino was looking great before he got hurt, but he’s yet to stay healthy through an entire big league season. Brian Moehler could be a reliable #5 guy, but he’s also old and has been hurt a lot. Nelson Figueroa looked great through his first four starts and has looked not so great through his last four. And Jordan Lyles is still very young; I’d rather give him a full season at AAA. I’m more comfortable signing another innings eater like Garland and giving the #5 spot to Bud.
  4. Resign Humberto Quintero, Geoff Blum and Jason Michaels for the bench. They’ve mixed well with Houston’s youngsters so far, so if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
  5. Lock up Wandy on a long-term deal. Brett Myers got his extension; it’s Wandy’s turn! Hunter Pence deserves a long-term deal too, but he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season, so they’ve got some time to work with him yet.
I realize that this team could use a shortstop too, but the free agent class there this year is underwhelming at best (Alex Gonzalez? Julio Lugo?), so I’d rather stick with Angel Sanchez if they can’t get a starting shortstop back in return for Lee. Given all of that, my ideal Opening Day 2011 roster would look like this:
C: Jason Castro
1B: Brett Wallace
2B: Jeff Keppinger
SS: trade/Angel Sanchez
3B: Chris Johnson
LF: Carl Crawford/Pat Burrell/Brian Bogusevic
CF: Michael Bourn
RF: Hunter Pence
C: Humberto Quintero
IF: Geoff Blum
IF: Angel Sanchez/Tommy Manzella
OF: Jason Michaels
OF: Brian Bogusevic (or Jason Bourgeois if Bogusevic is starting)
SP: Brett Myers
SP: Wandy Rodriguez
SP: J.A. Happ
SP: Jon Garland/Bud Norris
SP: Bud Norris (or Paulino/Figueroa/Moehler)
RP: Wilton Lopez
RP: Fernando Abad
RP: Alberto Arias
RP: Mark Melancon
RP: Jeff Fulchino/Tim Byrdak
RP: Matt Lindstrom
CP: Brandon Lyon
What say you?
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