Let's get right to the Astros moves for today.
Braves acquired RHP Lance Cormier and RHP Oscar Villarreal from the Diamondbacks catchers Johnny Estrada. Cormier and Villarreal were about the last relievers we would have selected from the Arizona pen, but the Braves deserve some benefit of the doubt in cases like these. Cormier, 25, had a 5.11 ERA in 79 1/3 IP last season. His offspeed pitches are pretty good, but he only works at 90-91 mph and he doesn't have great command. He's just a middle reliever. Villarreal had a very promising rookie season as a 21-year-old in 2003, but after pitching 98 innings in one start and 85 relief appearances, he started suffering from arm problems and he's failed to contribute the last two seasons. He's already arbitration eligible, making him expendable in Arizona. We're not especially optimistic that he'll ever bounce back. - Rotoworld
So the Diamondbacks traded two mediocre young relievers (one of whom has been hurt the last two years) to the Braves for Johnny Estrada?? There goes a 29-year old catcher who had a .828 OPS in '04 who we could have had for cheap for the next several years. Hell, if the Braves took those guys, I guarantee they would have taken Dan Wheeler or Wandy Rodriguez + Mike Burns or some deal along those lines. What a disappointment. I never heard that we were even interested in Estrada. I just don't get it.
ESPNews is reporting that the Astros have told Roger Clemens they won't offer him arbitration.This rules out the possibility of him rejoining the Astros before May 1. Clemens is said to be leaning toward retirement, but he still wants to pitch for the U.S. in the WBC. Perhaps this opens the door for Clemens to join the Yankees, Rangers or Red Sox on a one-year deal or maybe he'll re-sign with the Astros later on. The Astros now become much bigger players in free agency and trade talks. - Rotoworld
I understand you don't want to offer Clemens a huge one-year contract, have him accept it, and then he gets hurt or decides he's going to retire. But couldn't we just offer him something like 1 year / 10 million (he's worth that in ticket sales / advertisements alone) and if Clemens rejects it then at least we get a draft pick if he decides to sign with another team. Moving on without Clemens? Fine. Not getting at least a draft pick for him if he goes elsewhere? Stupid.
A possible silver lining is that we use the money from the Clemens deal and get in on signing Ramon Hernandez. Too bad he's a Scott Boras client, so we'll probably have to go to at least 3 years / 24 million. I'd do that or possibly a bit more, though - we have NO good catching prospects, and Hernandez has had 3 good years in a row.
I'll talk about some of the other moves later (Juan Pierre to the Cubs, Mark Loretta to the Red Sox, etc.), but for now let's se some action, Purpura. Looks like you have a little more leeway now. Oh, and Austin Kearns is probably off the trade block now since Sean Casey is going to the Pirates (so the Reds will likely move Adam Dunn to 1st base).
Go Tim go!