It's good to be back in Flagstaff. I'm ready for the new semester, I'm ready to drive my new car (a white 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid) all over the place, and I'm ready for baseball!....but I'll have to hold off on the last one for a while longer. How are the Astros doing these days?
I really like the Mark Loretta deal. He's great insurance for Biggio, and Everett to some extent. I really hope he doesn't see much time at 3B, because we need Ensberg's OBP and Lamb is a fine backup there. But once Biggio gets to 3,000, he really shouldn't be starting more than 3 times a week. That should leave plenty of playing time for Loretta. And if an infielder gets hurt, we've got a great backup guy ready to guy. It's less time for Bruntlett, which is fine by me. He's not very good offensively. I'd like to see Jason Lane make the team over him, because a Scott / Lane platoon in RF would be sweet, but I don't know if it will happen.
I like the idea of the Jennings trade, but not the execution. Hirsh is good but overrated, Buccholz is actually a pretty decent prospect (his BB/K ratio was solid last year - I think he could be better than Hirsh), and Taveras had his uses as a cheap defensive CF / pinch-runner, but none of them are THAT valuable. Neither is Jennings if it's only for one year, unfortunately. The most depressing thing about the trade is when Tim Purpura said he "hasn't even thought" about signing Jennings to a long-term deal. Trade three decent young players for a one-year rental without even thinking about it? BAD.
I'd like to see the 'Stros explore trading for a Phillies starting pitcher. They've got too many, and they've been dangling Jon Lieber. He doesn't walk anybody, and although he'd give up his share of hits and HR's in Minute Maid, he'd be a great #3 or #4 starter with Woody Williams. They're looking for bullpen help - I'd rather not trade Qualls / Wheeler / Lidge, but that's probably who they'll want. Nieve for Lieber? Qualls for Lieber? Something to think about.
Our current OF will almost certainly be bad defensively. Lee is below-average in LF, Burke hasn't played much in CF, and Scott is ok at best in RF. Oh well. Don't be surprised if a few of our pitchers don't do quite as well this year. Woody Williams in particular is a flyball pitcher. Yikes.