Archive for free agent

Pudge an Astro! …I’m confused.

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2009 by Cabeza De Vaca

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been into this idea from the start. I just have a few questions about how this happened and what this means.

Are the Astros acting rationally when it comes to Scott Boras?

The Astros have signed a Scott Boras client, going back on their pledge never to do so again. The Boras-shunning came as a result of the Carlos Beltran debacle, as the Astros were uncomfortable with someone who is all business and no folksiness. Perhaps this signals a new found self-confidence in the front office; maybe they can deal with all agents and not fear being made fools of.

Has Ed Wade learned how to bargain?

It doesn’t help your side in negotiations when you indicate from the get-go how interested you are in signing someone (Randy Wolf), or if you say many times that acquiring someone has long been an interest of your owner (Miguel Tejada). Wade actually sounded convincing as he tried to pull off the whole “you need us more than we need you” attitude. Ed Wade played this one almost right. The only mistake he made was waiting for Pudge to light it up during the WBC. Pudge would have come cheaper two weeks ago.

Is Ed Wade a liar?

Apparently, we can’t believe a word Ed Wade says when it comes to whether he’s interested in a free agent. Good for him (see above). As recently as Friday, Alyson Footer sounded scared to ever say Pudge’s name around Ed Wade again:

I was happy to see that Pudge Rodriguez is no longer mentioning the Astros as the teams who are supposedly interested in him. The latest news I read listed only the Mets and Marlins. That is good, because after checking with Ed Wade yet again today, I can assure you the Astros are not pursuing him. And judging from the irritated look on his face, I can also assure you I won’t be asking him about Pudge again anytime soon. At least not for two weeks. Or maybe 10 days. At the very least, I’ll wait a week.

Oh, and he’s not bidding on Pedro Martinez, either.

Alyson, thanks for the scoop. I guess that means we’re signing Pedro next. You know what, let’s all promise each other to never believe Ed again. That was so mean of him.

Are the Astros in preseason panic mode?

Either Wade is a filthy liar/good negotiator, or the Astros are in panic mode. Perhaps the team is finally ready to recognize that even though Spring Training win/loss records don’t matter, it does matter if it looks like your team sucks and your current catchers make Brad Ausmus look like Ted Williams.

What next?

Assuming Ed Wade is a liar AND the Astros are in panic mode, perhaps the team isn’t done wheeling and dealing. The “Good Guys” slogans are gone this year. Could that leave an opening for Jim Edmonds? He’s still out there folks, he did well last year (especially at Minute Maid), and Michael Bourn still looks bad. I know, I know, I hate him too. I’m just saying, he knows how to run up Tal’s Hill.

Will the Astros cut Brandon Backe?

Reports are that Ivan Rodriguez’s base salary will be $1.5 Million. Coincidentally, Brandon Backe will make $1.55 Million, unless the club cuts him loose prior to the start of the season. Ed Wade is saying that their budget for Pudge has changed in the past month or so. There has already been a lot of speculation that Backe could get cut, but with Nieve being claimed off waivers by the Mets, could the ‘Stros afford to be without yet another replacement level pitcher?

Where do we send Lou Palmisano?

Looks like there’s no room for the catcher the Astros picked up in the Rule 5 draft. Technically, the pick was the Orioles’. The two teams had previously arranged a trade if the O’s picked Palmisano from the Brewers. So… who gets him? Baltimore has the top rated prospect in the country, Matt Wieters, ready to play catcher this year. So, Milwakee, I guess you can have him back. That is, unless, Wade slips Quintero through waivers so he can have his cake and eat it too. I sure wouldn’t think he could do that to Q, but it might be that they think Pudge is an injury risk at his age.

How long until Berkman complains about not knowing this guy?

The Puma has been awfully content with his clubhouse mates this spring. But then again, he knows them. As you’ve probably heard, Pudge is currently kicking ass for his native Puerto Rico. So when does he meet the rest of the team? Quick Pudge, learn something about Texas high school football. Also, in case team USA and team PR meet again, he might also want to tell Roy O that he hates Jeff Gordon/loves Dale Jr.


Ivan Rodriguez

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , on February 23, 2009 by Cabeza De Vaca

I love when national sportswriters provide analysis of the Astros’ roster or offseason moves, even when it’s just a tiny blurb at the end of a news and notes piece. This is because those writers are disinterested and detached enough from the club that they don’t come accross as Drayton’s spin doctors.  Ken Rosenthal had this to say about the Stros’ catching situation:

The Astros need a catcher after losing potential backup Toby Hall to shoulder surgery, but the team continues to indicate that it cannot afford free agent Ivan Rodriguez unless his price drops significantly. That’s a problem: Humberto Quintero probably is more of a backup than a five-day-a-week catcher, J.R. Towles batted .137 last season and Rule 5 pick Lou Palmisano is not the answer.

How is it that we don’t have $1 mil to spend on Ivan Rodriguez?  Granted, Pudge today isn’t the same guy that put up some decent numbers for that other Texas baseball club, but he would certainly provide plenty more than what we’ve got.  I’m not even a guy who expects a lot of pop from the catcher’s spot.  I love Brad Ausmus types.  The catcher’s primary role is to handle the pitching staff.

However, last year in 447 innings under Quintero, Astros pitchers had an ERA of 4.89. By contrast, the team ERA under Ausmus was 3.65 in 569 innings. Like Ausmus, Pudge knows how to call a game, and with so many question marks in our starting rotation, he would be an instant pitching upgrade.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a “Q” fan all the way. Not so much because of his numbers (not good), but because of the effort he puts in. He’s done everything the club could ask for, despite the fact that they have passed him up, taken him for granted, and stunted his development for so long.  This spring he has made an effort to meet with all the pitchers to put in all the preseason prep work he can, realizing that so much of what a catcher does is off the field.  Still, there’s a reason he has cleared waivers multiple times. Rosenthal is right: Q is a back up, and strictly a back up.

Pudge would pay for himself.  Houston fans love the big names.  Unfortunately, they sometimes care more about what a player has done than what he will do (see fans expectations of Miguel Tejada last year or Mike Hampton this year).  Even if Pudge is a Brad Ausmus equivalent, the fans want to see him with a star on his hat.  How many $1 million deals have the potential to wake a hibernating fanbase?  This would show Astros fans that Wade and McLane are still trying.  I’m ready to be excited about something, and seeing Pudge as our backstop would get me out to Minute Maid.