Check out what Pettitte said about his elbow:
"Let's put it this way," Pettitte said. "It doesn't hurt to comb my hair and brush my teeth and turn a doorknob like it did last year. I feel great. I think [the doctors] fixed me up, and I'm looking [forward] to having no problems."
Yikes. It hurt him to turn a doorknob? That's crazy. I wonder how long he went on pitching through pain before the doctors told him to quit. I feel like Pettitte's the kind of guy who would go out there every fifth day, no matter what state his arm was in. But I don't care who you are, you gotta let someone know if you're hurt, especially if you're a pitcher.
I haven't seen anything on AstrosDaily about Redding-for-Cruz, but I agree that it would be a great trade for both teams. Redding has, unfortunately, worn out his welcome in Houston. Few fans remember that he was a solid pitcher in 2003 despite the losing record. His terrible start last year is fresh in our minds, and no one (myself included) is excited about him being in our rotation in 2005.
As for Jose Cruz Jr.: He played with Lance at Rice, and his old man is already here. Rumor is he WANTS to come here and play for us. You gotta believe that a player will try harder if he's in a comfortable, desirable situation. And hopefully trying harder equals playing better and producing more runs.
Another option: Rusty Greer? He hasn't played since 2002, but check out his stats! Career .305 / .387 / .478!!! And he has 300 innings at centerfield. Just something to keep in mind. Maybe a minor-league deal? At worst he can be a fourth or fifth outfielder. Doof: he's 36.
Scott Williamson is still available. He is damn good. Sign him. Also Osuna, Powell, Nelson, Mendoza, Groom, Mecir, Steve Reed, Rick White, Scott Stewart, John Franco or Roberto Hernandez all make good bullpen candidates.
We could do a lot worse than signing a veteran starter to an incentive-laden deal. Sele overpowers no one, but he can eat innings. A 4.50 ERA entirely in the AL sounds decent to me. Nomo could bounce back. He always seems to waver, flip-flopping good years with bad ones. After a terrible year, he might be great in 2005. Omar Daal throws a lot of junk -- he might find his rythym. Pedro Astacio might be over his injuries, and the guy can pitch. Loaiza will cost too much for an unstable, unreliable pitcher.
It wouldn't take more than a million to sign any one of those other guys. We ought to take a chance. I like Sele the best out of this group. Like Darrell May, he will not dominate. But a 4.50 ERA isn't the worst thing in the world. Especially if we can't lure Rocket back, and if we end up trading Redding for Cruz, we gotta find some depth in our rotation. Oswalt and Pettitte are not the two healthiest guys around. But a base rotation of Oswalt-Pettitte-Sele-Backe-Hernandez/Duckworth/Munro might be just strong enough to win some games.
I really, really like the Atlanta Falcons right now. What other team in football is actually FUN to watch?