I'll play Devil's Advocate: What if the Astros sign Beltran?
Say we give Beltran 7 years / 105 million. Then Clemens is pumped and re-signs. We don't have the money to sign Berkman or Oswalt to long-term deals but we get both in arbitration. Then we make one final push for the Series, whatever happens, happens, and in 2006 we lose Berkman, Clemens, Biggio, Oswalt (one more year of arbitration? I'm not sure.)
Is it worth it?
A big playoff push or WS appearance or WS championship brings tons of revenue to Houston. We could jack up ticket prices, get some endorsements...I don't really know. But I do know flags fly forever, and a WS flag would look pretty nice.
So I might have been too hasty to dismiss Beltran. One thing that I hadn't really considered is that Clemens has said that he would return if we sign Beltran, but otherwise he'll retire. So it might help to think of them as a packaged deal. And with our rotation looking like it does right now...Clemens would help. A lot.
I'm going to do some more thinking about it. But maybe, just maybe...we should go for it all, for one more year, while we still have the Bagwell / Biggio core.