It's snowing again here in Flagstaff, and my classes are starting to get a little more interesting. It's a busy semester, though, and my plans to have a poker 'job' on the side (10 hours a week, 25 dollars an hour, $1000 a month, to basically pay for rent + utilities) have fallen through, for now. But I've still got time to analyze some Astros rumors:
1. I read that now that the Marlins have signed Carlos Delgado they're looking to move an OF (most likely Juan Encarnacion) and are willing to package a good 1B prospect like Jason Stokes along with him. Encarnacion makes 4.25 million, which is a lot for a corner outfielder who has never had better than a .360 OBP. Stokes is a decent prospect, but not a great one (820 OPS or so at age 22 in AA) - he strikes out a ton and is pretty bad defensively. I thought maybe Encarnacion could play the Brian Jordan-esque role I suggested a week or so ago, mashing lefties, playing good defense, and an occasional pinch running episode, but Juan actually has a lower OPS against lefties than righties, he never walks, and his SB% is only around 70%. His defense is decent, though. Basically, I don't like this trade, unless we trade them absolutely nothing of value (Brandon Duckworth? Jose Vizcaino?).
2. There's a link from AstrosDaily that we're working on signing Berkman to a long-term contract. That's fine; he's a great player. But we need to exercise a little caution; as I've written before, Lance's power has gone down the last few years, players of his 'body type' generally don't age too well, he's only average defensively, and he eventually projects as a 1B, where offense can be found easily. None of this means we shouldn't sign him, as he's only 28, and has never done worse than a .927 OPS the last 4 years. But I might max out at 4 or 5 years, for no more than 10 millon a year if at all possible. Probably I'd start with 4 / 40, and go up to 5 / 55 at the highest. If given the choice between Oswalt and Berkman for the next 5 years, I choose Oswalt. Luckily we have club control of Oswalt for one more year than Berkman, so we can work out a contract with him next year - the only 'danger' is that Oswalt has a dominant year, wins the Cy Young, and is now out of price range. And I don't want to have to worry about Oswalt dominating. So sign him now.
I'm pumping out the summer baseball internships this week: the 'best' are with Atlanta, Oakland, Washington, Cincinnati, and Colorado, because they have internships somewhat related to statistics (baseball operations, player development, scouting, etc.)
I plan on sending letters to basically every MLB team, including an incredible one to the Astros, basically offering my soul for a stats internship. Wish me luck.