From the Chronicle:
The Astros have started exchanging offers with their own free agents, including catcher Brad Ausmus, who along with free-agent pitcher Roger Clemens are among the Astros' biggest priorities this offseason.
Ausmus, who will turn 37 in April, hit .258 with three home runs and 47 RBIs in his fifth consecutive season as the club's regular starting catcher.
"We talked a couple of times on numbers, and we certainly don't have an insurmountable gap between us," Ausmus said.
Ick. I know, I know, I've said it before, but re-signing a 37-year old catcher with no power and a declining arm? The silver lining, I suppose, is that he might convince Clemens to come back, but even if we get both Ausmus + Clemens, I hope we at least play Quintero more often (maybe twice a week?) Even then, an Ausmus / Quintero platoon has an excellent chance of giving us the worst offense in baseball at the position. And I've read that Ausmus wants a multi-year deal. Please, please, please, for the love of God, NO.
Another great Scott Barzilla article is up at Astros Daily. This one talks about the Astros plans for 2nd base this coming year. Scott gets right to the point:
Craig Biggio is the Astros second baseman in 2006 and will be for as long as he wants to be.
This is absolutely true. And he certainly looks like he will want to be at least until he gets to 3,000 hits (probably early 2007). Having Biggio as our starting 2nd baseman is not a bad thing by itself, but he's blocking our top offensive prospect Chris Burke, who struggled early last year, but came back to hit .270 / .335 / .446 in the 2nd half, while Biggio really struggled in the 2nd half. The best solution, in my opinion, would be to give Biggo more time off early in the year so he doesn't collapse in the 2nd half. This is easy to do - just give Burke a start or two a week. Find him some playing time elsewhere (LF, maybe SS) also, and we should be able to get him to 300/400 AB's easy. Just don't let him rot.
Winter meetings start on Dec. 5, I believe, so hopefully there will be some moves to write about pretty soon.