Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Ultra fast road trip recap: Drive up good. McDonald's good. Sports bar good. New England-Indy game bad. Sunshine Wheat beer good. JT's computer good at first. Then bad. Then worse. Carolina-Philly game bad. JT's computer still damn bad. Sleep good. JT's computer fixed! Wait, no, still bad. Watching tennis good. Watching tennis in 30 degree wind chill bad. Chili's good. Drive back good. JT's computer good, after 12 straight hours of work on it.

So yeah, it was fun.

The Astros made a couple of moves today, agreeing to terms with Wade Miller (3.4 million), Roy Oswalt (3.25 million), and Octavio Dotel (2.8 million). I had earlier hypothesized that both Miller and Oswalt would earn 2.5 million and Dotel would get 3 million, but one reason Miller and Oswalt made more money is that Kip Wells, a young pitcher with similar (but lesser) stats, got 2.575 million from the Pirates. One minor downside to signing both Pettitte and Clemens is that it prevents the Astros from signing, say, Oswalt to something like a 4 year, 20 million dollar deal, which would rock. But that's small beer. I think Dotel for 2.8 million is a steal, and that after a 40 save, 2.00 ERA year, his value will suddenly skyrocket and we'll probably lose him to free agency. But we've got Lidge ready to replace him, although he did struggle near the end of last year. All three of these deals are fine by me, and avoiding arbitration, during which a club has to put together a case against a player being too valuable, is always nice. On a side note, Baseball Prospectus disagrees with me with respect to Orlando Palmeiro. They have listed him as one of the best free agent signings of the off season, saying that he's an excellent fielder, posts a solid OBP, and can still run well. That is all true, but they're ignoring his HR-every-300-AB's power. I confess, though, we do need a LH bat, and although I'd prefer Travis Lee or Fred McGriff or (thanks, JT) Jeremy "Little" Giambi, Palmeiro is better than nothing (a.k.a, Jose Vizcaino).

Prospectus also likes the Clemens signing, since Clemens was (according to SNWAR...don't worry about it) the 20th best pitcher in baseball last year, and we got him for 5 million (3.4 deferred). So the signings of Pettitte, Clemens, and Palmeiro outweigh the initially bad signings of Vizcaino and Ausmus. It's been a down-then-up kinda offseason, but I like our chances next year.

Coming soon: Drew's Tournament, Round Two.

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