In addition to inquiring about Burnitz, Cameron and Winn, it appears that Purpura has interest in Danny Bautista as well. What a sorry bunch. Cameron can't hit over .240 anymore, Burnitz can't hit anywhere unless he's a mile high, and Bautista and Winn are mediocre at best. But to cheer everyone up, I made a little multiple-choice quiz involving next year's potential outfielders. Good luck!
1) .319 A) Difference between Burnitz's OPS at home and away
2) .282 B) Winn's career slugging percentage
3) .315 C) Cameron's OBP last year
4) .411 D) Bautista's career OBP
(Answers at the bottom of this post.)
By the way, the Astros signed TURK WENDELL to a minor-league contract. Dave Veres v. 2.0. At least it's a minor-league contract. He's turning 38 in May, and has a career 3.93 ERA. Lefties hit him up pretty good (1.75 WHIP) but can control righties (1.21 WHIP). Who knows. He could pull a Miceli (But I can't tell if this is a good thing or a bad thing)
I guess signing Mike Lamb to a $1.3 million contract (with another 200K based on PAs) is a good thing. It's hard to put him down after he hit .288/.356/.511 and hit 14 homers in 278 ABs. That's DAMN GOOD, but I have a gut feeling that he won't come close to those numbers in 2005. It seemed like he just closed his eyes and swung as hard as he could every time. His stance looks so funky — like he has no control over where his bat is going. But I guess it works for him.
I hoped we'd trade him while his value was at its peak (just like we shoulda traded Redding after 2003). But you never know. Maybe he will repeat. And like Jack says, he can fill in for Bagwell at first when needed. Plus, I like the idea of trying him out in left field. I like it a LOT. This line-up doesn't look half-bad:
Who needs to sign another outfielder? Lamb's the man! Of course, Burke should get his playing time at 2B, Lamb will fill in for Ensberg and Bagwell from time to time, Biggio can get some playing time in left, Palmeiro could fill in somewheres. And then there's Vizcaino.
Besides, who ever said that great teams have to have players in the same positions every day? Look at Tony LaRussa's Cardinals. They always mix and match... and win. Why are we promising that Biggio will stay in left all year? He wouldn't mind moving aroud a bit... he'd probably enjoy it. And why not have Lamb play left, third and first? He's terrible defensively anyway... let's spread him around. Let's try out Burke at short when we discover that Everett still can't hit.
One thought that occurs to me: Berkman most likely cannot play CF with his bad knee. Not like I was hoping he'd play there to begin with, but we shouldn't even consider him playing there.
Another tought occurs to me: We have the same problems as last year. These problems are named Everett and Ausmus. Look at those line-ups. Biggio, Ensberg, Bagwell, Berkman, Lane, Lamb and Burke are all above average. No matter how or where we play them, they will score runs. They can hit. Everett and Ausmus cannot. Those are our problems.
Answers: 1C, 2A, 3D, 4B