Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Selling the Farm for Some Magic Beans

I'm sure you've been checking the site for what the resident Astros' expert has to say about the Tejada trade. Well, I'll just say I like it alot better when I thought it was Luke Scott, Adam Everett, and one pitching prospect a week ago. Now I find out it's OF Luke Scott, P Troy Patton (#3 on the BA prospect list), P Matt Albers, P Dennis Sarfate, and 3B Mike Coustanzo (#6 on the BA list, I like it whole lot less. And if Tejada can demand a trade after 2008, as Richard Justice of the Chron is reporting, I like it even less. And now (one day later) that I know the Miguel Tejada is on the Mitchell report (big surprise, really), I like even less.

The main weakness of the Astros over the last several years was a weak lineup. Numbers 7-9 hitters were Everett, Brad Ausmus, and the pitcher, three almost automatic outs, add to that a declining Craig Biggio, an array of spares such as Jason Lane, Chris Burke, Eric Bruntlett, Willy Tavares, and Morgan Ensberg, and with the loss to free agency, injuries, and retirement to players such as Jeff Bagwell, Jeff Kent, and Carlos Beltran the Astros had basically become Lance Berkman and the Punchless Wonders. Last year, they started to add some offense, by overpaying for Carlos Lee and the emergence of Hunter Pence. J.R. Towles should outhit Ausmus and Michael Bourne as speed and defence to centerfeild. And while you could make the argument that Everett could bat ninth after the pitcher, he is an excellent defensive shortstop. When we went down last year with a broken leg, the Astros had to go with Bruntlett and Mark Loretta, slightly better hitters, but had no where near the glove. So it goes without saying that Tejada will improve the Astros offense. I mean, optimally, they'll have one of the strongest lineups in the National League so I guess that's a good thing.

Unfortunately, unless the Astros plan on Roy Oswalt being the #1, #2, #3 starter and the closer, they have no realistic shot at contending and have hamstrung themselves for the foreseeable future. The Astros had a weak farm system anyway and now they have traded away most of what they had left. They basically traded most of their tradable commodities for declineing, roided up guys who will need to be move to third base probably during the season. Could they not have thrown this together for a starting pitcher? Now they'll have to throw probably $25 mil after spares like Jason Jennings or John Leiber. They still don't have a closer as Chad Qualls inspires about as much confidence as the US Congress. Here is the rotation after Oswalt: Wandy Rodriguez, Woody Williams, Chris Sampson, and Brandon Backe. Inspired, yet? Maybe the Astros will be an offensive juggernaut. But they'll eaither be winning or losing games 10-9 all year long. I just don't understand the move.

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