Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Astros avoided arbitration with Morgan Ensberg, agreeing to a 1 year / 3.5 million dollar deal. This is a good move, obviously - the question is whether we should have tried to sign Ensberg to a longer deal. I'm a huge Ensberg fan - he hit .283 / .388 / .557 with 36 bombs and 85 walks, which is absolutely huge. However, he is already 30 years old, and I believe he doesn't reach free agency until after '08 (edit: it could well be '07, though). I don't think a multi-year deal is necessary at this point. If he puts up another big year or two, then go for it. Of course, it might cost us more then...

Ken Rosenthal thinks the Rocket will return to the Astros on May 1. If so, GREAT! Wandy and Zeke both starting all year...yikes. I like the idea of Wandy and Zeke having a 'tryout' in April and whoever does better becomes the 5th starter at that point, with the other moving to the bullpen. This might just help Clemens stay strong all year - he looked tired in September and October. And he is 43.

Purpura and Garner have finally decided to try playing Chris Burke at SS occasionally. This is awesome. Burke needs playing time wherever he can get it, and it looks like that will be at 2B (where I hope he starts once a week, to pace Biggio) and SS. Management has said that Burke doesn't have the arm for SS, but 1) he played there in college and 2) David Eckstein is still in the majors, isn't he? It's definitely worth a shot, particulary with 654 OPS Adam Everett there otherwise.

I'm heading to Vegas this weekend to watch (and play in) a big college ultimate tournament. Hopefully I won't lose too much money while I'm there - you'd think my statistical background would prevent that. You'd think....

1 comment:

Jason said...

A couple of points about the back of the rotation:

1. We shouldn't be too upset about Wandy and Zeke taking the 4 and 5 slots in the rotation next year. They were both very inexperienced last year, and it showed at times. They both had moments when they shined, and there's no reason to believe that those moments won't increase in number this year. If you just look at their stats from 2005, you rightfully could get scared at the idea of having them both in the rotation, but stats don't tell the whole story of their seasons. I fully believ that at least one of the will be markedly better in 2006.

2. Remember that the back of the rotation really isn't going to kill a team, especially early in the season. When was the last time that the Astros (or any quality team, for that matter) finished April with the same 5 in the rotation, muchless finished the season or even the first half? 5th starters are a dime a dozen in this league, and if the Astros need some help, they have Buckhotlz, Hernandez, Hirsh, and Nieve, whom they can try or they could go get someone if they really get desparate.

Bottom line: let's not lose too much sleep about Wandy and Zeke occupying 4 and 5 at this point. Roger could still come back. Even if he doesn't, they might still pitch well enough to merit their spots. Even if they don't, we have talented arms in the minors that could do well in the majors. Even if THEY don't, the Astros could probably go get a decent back-rotation guy for cheap. Even if they can't or don't, the back of the rotation likely won't kill us as long as the top of the rotation does well.

I think those are enough contingency plans to keep me happy about it for now. Spring Training can't get here soon enough.