Saturday, January 24, 2004

Lots of hella good Astros news to talk about this weekend. Let's jump right in:

Tim Redding was officially named the 5th starter a few days ago by manager (and JT's nemesis) Jimy, "One M" Williams. I love this move. I was terrified that Jeriome Robertson would be named the 5th starter because of his insanely lucky 15-9 record last year. Taking out the wins and losses, which pitcher would you rather have:

Pitcher A

160.2 IP 180 Hits 23 HR's 64 BB 99 K's 5.10 ERA 1.52 WHIP

Pitcher B

176 IP 179 Hits 16 HR's 65 BB 116 K's 3.68 ERA 1.39 WHIP

There's no comparison between these two guys. Pitcher B is better in every category. Tim Redding is much better than Jeriome Robertson, and younger too.

While I'm talking about Robertson, I really think our best bet is to trade him ASAP, while his 15 games won in his rookie year! sheen hasn't worn off yet. Even after we lose Clemens next year we should have much better options in Carlos Hernandez, the eternally underrated Kirk Saarloos, Brandon Duckworth, and maybe even Taylor Bucholz ready to go. What, exactly, do we trade him for? Bench help or prospects.

With the Astros lineup currently looking like this:


there's a good chance that we'll get a sub-750 OPS out of the bottom three hitters EVERY DAY. Jason Lane and Orlando Palmeiro will hopefully get the bulk of PH at-bats, with the rest going to...Jose Vizcaino. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Jose Vizcaino should be your last option off the bench. I admit, he's had some big hits. Hell, I saw him take Mark Friggin' Prior deep. But he hasn't posted a 350 OBP in 8 years, and he's NEVER posted a 400 SLG. He's about to be 36 years old. He is not a guy I want up frequently in late game situations. We need a backup corner IF with some power. A guy like Russell Branyan, even though he strikes out in half of his at-bats, would have been nice. Surely a guy like Robertson could bring in someone like that. If not, the Astros farm system isn't exactly loaded. A prospect or two would be great.

Finally, we're supposed to sign Dave Veres soon. I'm ok with this signing; Veres is 37, and his ERA jumped up to 4.68 last year, but his K rate is steady, and he's death on lefties. My only concern is this might over-crowd the bullpen. Here's everyone that's got a chance to make it:

Dotel (lock)
Lidge (lock)
Ricky Stone (should be a lock)
Dan Miceli (probably a lock)
Dave Veres (probably a lock)

I might even be forgetting someone. Those first five guys are all righties; I'm sure we're going to have at least one lefty. It's possible they're signing Veres so that we have a lefty-killer so we can carry all righties, but I kinda doubt it. So that leaves two out of the last five that I listed to make the bullpen (we'll carry 12 pitchers max, and we've got our 5 starters), and I'm betting at least one will be a lefty (Roberston / Hernandez / Gallo), so that means that either Duckworth or Saarloos get left out. I guess having so many bullpen options is not a terrible problem to have, but I want Duckworth and Saarloos on the team. I think Dan Miceli should be the odd man out - I wish we hadn't re-signed him. My ideal bullpen would then be:

Dotel (closer)
Lidge (main set-up)
Duckworth (secondary set-up)
Stone (righty-killer)
Veres (lefty-killer)
Saarloos (middle relief / 6th starter)
Hernandez (middle relief / 6th starter / LHP)

Wow. That's a pretty damn good bullpen, if I say so myself. Just bump Miceli, trade off Roberston for a lefty bat...holy crap.

Finally, I know I always say the Astros could have done some things better, but the reality is we've had an awesome off-season. I can't wait for the season to start.

Take care, peoples.

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