Saturday, December 13, 2008

Quick Smoltz Update

From ESPN's Rumor Central:


Free agent John Smoltz wants to pitch for a team that could take him to the World Series and that list of teams includes more than just the Braves, the Boston Globe reported.


Cross Smoltz off the Astros "To-Sign List."

Of the choice between two evils, Ben Sheets, with the first pick chooses...

Tom Haudricourt, of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, is reporting that Ben Sheets is more likely to choose the Rangers over the Yankees...

"It's my understanding that Sheets is more likely to sign with the Texas Rangers, who are being encouraged by new pitching coach Mike Maddux, the former Brewers' pitching coach."

And still, it's unlikely that the Astros would sign him anyway, since they'd have to pay him more than $2.13 + tips.

Richard Justice on the Astros' last 12 hours...

Justice has his own take on the Astros last 12 hours, in which the Astros let Wigginton go and thanked-but-no-thanked Roy's offer to help make the team better.

There are some nuggets in there, clues or indications on what Easy Eddie is thinking. Among them:

Chris Johnson--and Bud Norris--will be given every opportunity to make the club out of spring training. Wesley Wright could also get a shot at the rotation.

Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles will compete for the catching job. But the Astros will take a long look at Lou Palmisano. Edge goes to Q.

Then the obvious, "Unless something changes, Jose Valverde and Miguel Tejada will be with the Astros when the 2009 season begins."

Run-DMc is not amused by Roy Oswalt's gesture of generosity

Drayton indicated to MLB.com that Roy Oswalt's offer to restructure his contract in order to make room for a top-line starting pitcher "is a generous thought, but not something that will immediately lead to big spending."

Then Run-DMc goes on to say this:
"With the uncertainty of the economic situation in our country today, we don't know where our revenues will be," McLane said. "Every team is going through the same thing, except the Yankees and Red Sox."

Now this is an interesting statement. Because this is a national economic crisis. And trust me, the greater metropolitan areas of Boston and New York are not shielded from it. In fact, they're probably hit harder than Houston. How is it that Red Sox and Yankees fans have to pay more for coffee, Big Macs, rent, heating oil yet still sell out Fenway and Yankee Stadium?

Every team depends on the same two things: Fans and sponsors. Those fans aren't different than Astros fans, and I personally resent the implication - especially from our owner - that the Yankees and Red Sox play in a different league than the other 28 teams. So it has to be ownership, right?

Forbes listed the Astros worth in April 2008 at $463 million. Just so you know. Keep in mind the Yankees and Red Sox (and Angels, to a lesser extent) had to pay $31 million in a luxury taxes. And where does that money go? To the other teams. So we can thank Hank and Hal and John Henry and Arte for helping us sign those Rule 5 draft picks.

Bottom line is: if you don't give the fans anything to want to pay to see, they're not going to pay to see it. Remember how four months of Roger Clemens "paid for itself?" How does a full season of a Major League product not pay for itself?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tender/Non-tender update

The Astros tendered contracts to the following players:

Wandy Rodriguez, Jose Valverde, Brandon Backe, Humberto Quintero and Geoff Geary.

The Astros did not tender a contract to:

Ty Wigginton, Reggie Abercrombie.

So don't expect the Astros to go hard after Sheets or Wolf, because they have their fifth starter in Backe (as previously speculated here on Astros County). That's a rotation of Roy, Hampton, Wandy, Moehler and Backe. Feels good, doesn't it?

It's ultimately not very surprising about Wigginton - I'm actually more surprised that Abercrombie didn't get a contract offer. Abercrombie never made more than $380,000. The idea, though, is to sign him to a minor league deal and invite him to Spring Training. Because nothing makes you feel good like being told that the job you were doing for as little as they could possibly legally pay you wasn't good enough, but they'd like you to sign at an even lower rate and make you earn the job back that you were already doing.

But Wigginton. What to make of Wigginton not getting an offer? Are they going to use the money Roy is willing to defer to sign a third-baseman? I've speculated that Easy Eddie is going to move Tejada to third and get someone to play short. Was $8 million too much to pay for a guy who hit .285 with 23 homers in 111 games? Keep in mind that means now the Astros traded Dan Wheeler for someone not worthy of giving $8 million to. I mean, sure, Wigginton looked like...







...a sand crab. But the dude can hit. Of Major League third basemen with more than 350 at-bats, Wiggs had the fifth highest slugging percentage. 9th in OBP.

Says Easy Eddie: "I told him we'd love to re-engage in conversations and get him back here," Wade said. "It's hard to cut him loose. He's a really good guy and a good player. It was a very professional conversation." The whole time you know he's thinking, "I wonder how good of friends he was with Shawn Chacon..."

And now if he signs with someone else (and he will sign with someone else), the Astros get two things: (1) Jack. (2) Crap.

Round Rock to feature fewer inflatables

Wouldn't it be funny if I was kidding? Oh, but I'm not.

“It will be the same cap shuffle video instead of changing the whole thing, like we’ve done in years past,” said Clint Musslewhite, the team’s director for ballpark entertainment. “We are not going to have them redo it. We’re going to strategically change our entertainment; the number of inflatable things we’ll rent will decrease.”

Who cares? I never get the cap shuffle. I'm too distracted by the inflatables. But hey, they're not just buying inflatable entertainment willy nilly. It's strategic. So know this, Express fans, there's a reason you'll see fewer inflatables.

Don't expect the D'mondba'ks to trade for Wigginton

Wigginton had been mentioned as an option for Arizona at second base. But not anymore, because the Dia'ndb'ks (see below for random abbreviation explanation) are close to signing Felipe Lopez to a deal.

Oswalt should have shovel-whacked him

Gordon Edes reports that Jake Peavy was "so jacked up" about becoming a Cub that he was spotted singing "Go Cubs Go" in a bar after a Brooks & Dunn concert he had attended with Roy-O.

While the Astros are NOT going to trade for Jake Peavy (seriously. Who could they give away? Brad Ausmus and Debbie Clemens?), Roy should have punched that turd in the mouth. No one sings "Go Cubs Go" in front of an Astro...

And honestly, of all the sings you could sing in a bar, if you gave me 125 guesses I would not have come up with "Go Cubs Go."

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

I guess the Astros are serious about keeping Valverde

The Tigers are interested in bolstering their bullpen, specifically in the 9th inning and are looking at six "viable" options:

John Smoltz, Trevor Hoffman, Brandon Lyon, David Weathers, Chad Cordero, Eric Gagne.

Who is not on that list? Jose Valverde.

The Astros are seemingly willing to do anything to shed payroll...anything. But if Valverde isn't an option for a team that will entertain the idea of...say it ain't so...Eric Gagne...let's just say Valverde is probably staying.

Nice words for Jason Castro. But who's behind the plate?

Jose de Jesus Ortiz is reporting that Jason Castro could be ready for the Majors by season's end.

No one is as upset about this as Q. Humberto "The Bridesmaid" Quintero hit .226 for the Astros last season, in 59 games - hitting .273 against lefties. Problem is, those 59 games? Yeah, career high. He's 29 years old and has certainly earned at least a shot at the starting catcher position. (Certainly more than JR Towles, who got 30% of his career RBIs in one game. And one of his career five homers was off an infielder in an 18-1 game).

Michael Barrett is a target. Castro, who was worthy of a 10th overall pick in last year's draft is good enough to piss off the Mets because they wanted him, won't be ready until September at the earliest. Maybe 2010. What do you do?

The deal with the non-tender thing

We've had some questions about what, exactly, non-tendering means. Since Astros County is not an elitist blog with abbreviations and formulas of which you've never heard, I'll tell you - because no one else will.

MLB teams have to offer contracts to players by tomorrow night. It can't be less than 80% of the 2008 salary and bonuses, and it can't be less than 70% of 2007 salary and bonuses. If the team thinks even 80% of 2008 salary is too high, they may choose to non-tender him - or simply to not offer that player a contract. You might do this if a player was eligible for arbitration, but that salary would be too high. If the player is non-tendered, they are a free agent and can negotiate with all 30 teams.

As it stands, Brandon Backe and Ty Wigginton are in danger of being non-tendered.

So basically, since the Astros paid Backe $800,000 last year, they can't offer him a contract for less than $640,000. If they wanted to offer him less than $640,000, they would non-tender him and then try to resign him over the 29 teams that might want him (but I think the Yankees are all set, thanks).

Easy Eddie feels great about 2009! Well, kind of.

"I think we’re OK."

I can't wait to do battle with the Cubs and Cardinals, even the Pirates with an okay team. How about you?

And I'm fascinated by Baseball Guy lingo. Regard this quote about Palmisano:
“We think he has a legitimate chance to come in and compete for that slot alongside Quintero in the catching ranks,” Wade said of Palmisano. “He had a meniscus tear in spring training. Rather than remove the piece, they sutured it back, which is a longer rehab. He missed more time, but he’s 100 percent at this point.

“He can catch and throw, puts good fingers down, makes good contact. Bobby (Heck, the assistant GM and scouting director) says he’s a hard-nosed kid, so we’ll give him a chance and see where it goes.”


Does that mean "he calls a good game?" Regardless, encouraging words about the catching pick-up. And in an environment where solid backup catchers make good trade-bait, I don't see a downside to adding Palmisano. I still think Quintero will be the Astros opening-day catcher.

Astros complete... uh, one trade

Alyson Footer reports the Astros sent 23-year old outfielder Jordan Parraz to Kansas City to complete some trade. It's either the Fulchino or the Lumsden trade. Footer reports Fulchino. A Royals press release says it's Lumsden. I'll go with the Royals on this one.

Interesting about Parraz - he was the Astros' "Best Outfield Arm," ranked by Baseball Prospectus prior to 2008.

The Orioles did trade Palmisano to the Astros

Palmisano is a big ol' 26-year old catcher (6'1", 205 lbs) from Utica, NY. Hit .297 in 101 at bats in 2008. Former 3rd round pick who tore his meniscus in early 2008.

The Astros gave the Orioles cash considerations.

Easy Eddie said this about Palmisano:
"He handles pitchers well, he has a good arm, he makes good contact," general manager Ed Wade said. "There were a couple of catching possibilities in the Draft that we had talked about. Palmisano was the guy we found most desirable...."We think he's got a chance to come in and do what we want, which is to share time with [Humberto] Quintero and compete with J.R. [Towles] and anyone else we bring into camp,"

Rule 5 AAA Selection

In the AAA phase of the Rule 5 draft today, Round Rock took 25-year old righty 1B Drew Locke. For the Inland Empire 66ers (Dodgers' A Team), Locke hit .311 with 37 doubles, 4 triples and 11 homers - posting a .477 SLG. He took 42 walks, compared to 86 strikeouts in 470 at-bats.

He was Scout.com's #48 prospect in the Dodgers' organization for 2008.

---

The Astros did lose 2B Jonathan Ash to the Brewers in the AAA phase. Ash hit .224 in 73 games for Round Rock last year after being promoted from Corpus Christi mid-season.

Astros Select Gilbert de la Vara

A little about Mr. de la Vara:

24-year old lefty reliever in the Kansas City system (big shock: Easy Eddie takes more pitching from Dayton Moore. We're not providing relocation expenses from Royals Cul-de-Sac to Astros County).

2.76 ERA for the Royals AA team. 2 saves. 21 Ks/15 BBs in 32 innings. Started 2007 in A+ ball, bumped up to AA. Sent back to A+ in 2008, and bumped back up to AA. Total K:BB in 2008 was 52:27. WHIP in the low 1.10s. Only gave up one homer in 77 innings last year.

Update:

For the Surprise Rafters (which sounds like a terrible fantasy football team name) in the Arizona Fall League, de la Vara was 0-0 with a 6.16 ERA in 12 games, 22 Ks in 19 innings (12 BBs) and a .316 BAA. He gave up runs in 5 of his last 10 appearances.

Another Update:

Easy Eddie said this: "He's a two-pitch left-hander," Wade said. "He has an average fastball and good secondary pitches. We see him as a middle reliever, situational left-hander. Anytime you can add more left-handed pitching into the mix, it behooves you to try."

Rule 5 Selection

So I need to do some more checking but it looks like the Astros may acquire catcher Lou Palmisano by trade in today's Rule 5 Draft. Tim Dierkes is reporting the Orioles (of course) took Palmisano from the Brewers "and may trade him to the Astros."

Julio Lugo could haunt the Astros yet again

Steve Phillips is reporting the DiamondB's (Ed. Note: I refuse to call them the D'Backs. If they didn't want such a long name, they shouldn't have chosen it.) are in talks with the Red Sox to trade Eric Byrnes for Julio Lugo.

It was previously reported the D'MondB's were interested in Wigginton as an option at second base. But while Wigginton is cheaper, Lugo is always down for a scrap.

Today is Rule 5 Day

For a refresher course on exactly what happens today during the Rule 5 Draft, click here.

Is that a catcher? I think it is.

The Marlins released backup catcher Matt Treanor overnight. He's a catcher. He's probably cheap. We need a catcher. Preferably cheap. Match maker match maker make that man catch...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So did Roy Oswalt just save 2009?

Brandon Backe doesn't think so. Jose de Jesus Ortiz is reporting that Roy Oswalt is willing to restructure his contract and backload money so the Astros have the what-what to get another starter. Even Roy doesn't like the idea of Mike Hampton pitching the day after him.

JJO says the rotation stands like this: Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Mike Hampton and Brian Moehler would lead the starting rotation along with Brandon Backe. I don't necessarily agree, thought it doesn't really matter. I'd switch Hampton and Wandy. But, again, they each pitch in 20% of the games, so who cares?

Roy said this: “I got four more years to try to win something,” said the 2005 NLCS MVP. “They haven’t approached me about it, but I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Actually, I told Ed Wade that we could redo my contract if we could go out and get another starter.” Did anyone else throw up in their mouth when they realized that Roy just put a number on his remaining time?

It's mentioned that the Astros were inquiring about Randy Johnson, but his asking price scared them away, which scares me, because how much can a 45-year old pitcher with back problems really cost? If the Astros are that strapped for cash, it's not good.

Here's what Roy is owed in...
2009: $14 million
2010: $15 million
2011: $16 million
2012: $16 million (or a $2 million buy-out, or Roy can opt out of 2012 and take a reduced buy-out)

It's going to take some significant backloading to free up that kind of green and I doubt we're only talking about $1 or $2 million. Maybe that bulldozer is making Roy some side green. And remember, the Astros are already on the hook for $18.5 million in 2012 for what I'm sure will be a completely healthy, svelte Carlos Lee.

Wade dismissed the idea within the piece, but you've got to feel good about a player who, while might not be willing to make less money, is at least willing to delay his great-great-grandchildren's college fund a few years.

And Oswalt and Peavy going to country concerts in Vegas? Wow.

Alright. Now the Orioles are starting to piss me off.

Jayson Stark is reporting the Astros have interest in free agent catcher Michael Barrett. But so do the Marlins, Orioles and Blue Jays.

The Marlins have, like, nine catchers (okay. Three.). The Orioles just want what the Astros need. And the Blue Jays don't know what they need now that there are three power teams ahead of them in the AL East.

But the Astros do want another catcher (though I'm all for giving Q a shot). We'll see how it develops.

Shop At Wigginton's!

That's the sign on Easy Eddie's hotel room at the Bellagio today as there is interest from Arizona on Ty Wigginton, saith Ed Price.

Ed also reports: Teams have told Houston they will consider Tejada if other options fall through.

This sounds an awful lot like my attempts at going to prom. I still think the Astros won't be able to trade Tejada, but will trade Wigginton, and will shift Tejada to third base. Of course, I don't know anything. I'm East Coast. I'm not lucky enough to have a stupid tan like Steve Phillips.

Astros Interested in Randy Johnson

The Big Unit may be making a return to Houston. Jack Magruder reported the Astros were among a handful of teams who met with Johnson's representatives at the Winter Meetings.

The Angels also met with the Big Unit's little units this week, and the Dodgers, Giants, A's, Rangers, Brewers and Cubs met with the agents before the Winter Meetings.

Nolan Ryan confirmed interest and Magruder goes on to say that the Cubs seem to have the edge, particularly if a deal for Peavy falls through. But don't count out the Brewers who, having lost out on Sabathia, are now motivated to find other 6'6"+ pitchers.

Cesar Izturis?

A few interesting tidbits from Jose de Jesus Ortiz this morning:


Veteran agent Peter Greenberg represents Cesar Izturis, a shortstop who could be a possibility for the Astros if they can unload Miguel Tejada and at least part of the $13 million he is due next season in the final year of his contract.


Izturis made $2.85 million last year, so even with the Astros trading Tejada and picking up, say, $7 million, that's still about $10 million for a shortstop. And since Izturis is a free agent, no prospects would be added to the system, though Izturis will be 29 in February.

The San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers arrived at the winter meetings with potential needs at the position. A high-ranking Orioles official was adamant, however, that there’s no way Baltimore would try to get Tejada back a year after trading him to the Astros.

The Padres obviously will not be taking Tejada - this year's Padres will have to buy their own bats and put a deposit down on their own uniforms. Nor will apparently the Twins. The Orioles won't trade for him a year after trading him away. So that leaves the Dodgers. Who just lost out on Sabathia. And won't have Manny (probably). Tejada did have a good year last year, and could provide some pop to a young lineup.

UPDATE:


The Orioles signed Izturis, pending a physical, according to Steve Phillips.

Blue Jays interested in Wigginton?

From Bob Elliott:

The Jays like Wigginton, of the Houston Astros, but as a third baseman. Bartlett is not expected to be available from the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays.

The "but as a third baseman" comment comes on the heels of a quote talking about Furcal as an option at shortstop.

It's interesting that the Blue Jays would be interested in Wigginton, as they have Scott Rolen at third base under control until 2010 with $22 million owed to him. Of course, that's why they could be motivated to move him. But who wants a soon-to-be 34-year old third baseman held together with Bubble Tape and garden hose?

Tejada "unaware" of trade rumors

Enrique Rojas is reporting that Tejada is unaware of any rumors of him being traded.

Maybe baseball players are the most insulated people on earth. But I doubt it. Unless SFX (Tejada's representation) are flat-out not talking to him, or doing what I do sometimes in not passing on troublesome information so as not to upset The Wife, Tejada has to know his name is being floated.

Or a guaranteed $13 million puts you in a position where you literally have no care in the world. I wouldn't. I'd do my job letting people throw footballs at the back of my head for $13 million.

CC's impact on the Astros

Well that sucked. By Sabathia apparently taking the Yankees 7-year $160 million offer, C.C. and the Yankees have screwed the Astros.

Because now the market has been set. Scott Boras wanted a Zito-esque contract for Derek Lowe. Now that's not going to be good enough. Don't forget it was Boras who got Zito that 7-year $126 million contract (then the largest contract ever for a pitcher).

Count on Lowe (and by "Lowe" I mean "Boras") to raise his price. And Sheets. And Burnett. Because the market has been set high, it's going to price the Astros right out of starting pitching. So what does this mean? Backe will probably be offered a contract for 2009 and Easy Eddie will pray to the Good Lord that his second year after Tommy John surgery is better than his first (as is normally the case).

Meaning a potential 60% of the Astros starting rotation has been on the DL for a significant amount of time in the last two years (Wandy, Hampton and Backe).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Easy Eddie pushing Aging Miggy

Yahoo's Jeff Passan is reporting that one GM says the Astros are pushing Miguel Tejada hard, so hard it earned a repeated "hard."

And then we get to some specifics as to how the sagging economy is affecting the Astros directly:

Wade said the economy has hit the Astros not only in the season-ticket-sales department but also in advertising revenue. A local car dealership that folded was one of its biggest sponsors, as was insurance giant AIG, which received $85 billion in government bailout money.

It's reported that the Astros are willing to eat some of Tejada's $13 million. That's a pretty good indication the Astros and Run-DMc are in some trouble financially - when you're willing to spend $8 million to save $5 million.

But remember, the Astros traded...
Pitchers Matt Albers, Troy Patton, Dennis Sarfate,
Outfielder Luke Scott
Third baseman Michael Costanzo

...to get Tejada...the day before the Mitchell Report came out. What do the Astros need? Cheap pitching and a third baseman. Hm.

Twins interested in Wigginton?

So it appears the Twins could be interested in Ty Wigginton. Later in the same piece, there is a mention that several teams have inquired about Boof Bonser.

Now this could make some sense for the Astros. A Wigginton-Bonser trade would give the Astros another rotation option. As it stands now, the Astros have Roy, Hampton, Wandy, and Moehler. And since this isn't 1964, the Astros will need another starter. I'm guessing Backe isn't coming back and Bonser can fill a much-needed spot among the ranks of the Killer Bs.

But seriously, Bonser made $432,500 last year while Wigginton will command upwards of $7 million, and we all know that trimming the payroll is Priority 1...

Loretta signs with Dodgers, no compensation pick for the Astros

Well, that backfired. The Dodgers signed Mark Loretta to a 1-year, $1.4 million (!) deal late last night (or early this morning). Loretta made $2.75 million last year. As a result of the Astros not offering Loretta arbitration, the Dodgers will not have to give up a compensation draft pick.

Within that same report, the Dodgers are also close to re-signing Casey Blake. When that happens, the market for Ty Wigginton will ramp up.

Astros interested in So Taguchi

According to a report out of Japan (thanks, Tim Dierkes), the Astros are interested in 39-year old outfielder So Taguchi. You may remember Taguchi from the '04 and '05 playoffs, when the Cardinals sent a three-man lineup of Pujols, Edmonds and Taguchi up to bat repeatedly...

I jest. But seriously, I don't get this report - especially with three set outfielders, Erstad and Abercrombie on the bench and no proven backup options in the infield.

Back to the Kyodo report, this was said:
Nero (Alan Nero - Taguchi's agent) said that Houston was one of five teams he has talked to thus far that has shown interest in the 39-year-old, adding that he still needs to talk to the other 25 major league teams to see if there are any other takers for his client.

Does that sound like a hint to you?

Yankees to make offer to Ben Sheets

The New York Daily News is reporting the Yankees will offer Ben Sheets a two-year $30 million contract.

Wonder what this will do to the Astros? Oh, I think you know...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thank God I got my internet access back today!

Numerous reports have the Twins and Indians both interested in Miguel Tejada, though the Twins have rescinded their interest (probably because Tejada just aged another six years after Erin Andrews ran up and squeezed his bicep - a la Alfonso Soriano.

The Yahoo report suggests the Indians could possibly move Tejada to third base. However, should Alyson Footer's report that interest in Wigginton "appears to be abundant", you have to wonder if the Astros have thought about filling the hole at third base with...Tejada. If the Indians have thought of that, surely - surely - the Astros have, too? Surely?

Here's the thing. Any team taking Tejada would require the Astros to pay most of his $13 meellioon. So the question is, if the Astros can get some of the arms in the Twins' or Indians' system (or even an option at shortstop), is it worth picking up $7 or $8 of those millions of dollars for young guys? They certainly look like they're willing to take chances on young arms (see: Lumsden, Tyler and Fulchino, Jeff), so I could see this happening.

Or they could trade Wigginton to...somewhere and move Tejada to third and Drew Sutton to short - or some other young guy to fill that hole. Who knows. There's a lot of Winter Meeting-Happy Time left...

Whoa! Ed Wade talks trade (before trades are done)

Posted by Enrique Rojas - ESPN

Closer Jose Valverde is not available as trade bait, according to Astros GM Ed Wade.

"Basically, I don't like to talk publicly about potential trades, but I can assure that Valverde is not being traded," Wade said Monday in Las Vegas.

Valverde, 28, led the NL in saves with 44 and had 47 in 2007. Valverde is set to become a free agent after the upcoming season.

According to insiders, Houston was considering trading Valverde, Miguel Tejada or Ty Wigginton to cut its payroll.

---

I bet Wigginton isn't an Astro for much longer.
From Ken Rosenthal:

Wolf keeping options open

Left-hander Randy Wolf preferred to return to southern California the last two times he was a free agent, signing with the Dodgers for the 2007 season and the Padres for '08. But Wolf is not limiting himself geographically in his latest stint on the open market, according to his agent, Arn Tellem — he is open to playing anywhere.

Wolf, 32, went 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts after getting traded from the Padres to the Astros last season, proving that he is again healthy. He might be a consideration for his original team, the Phillies, who are struggling to re-sign free-agent lefty Jamie Moyer. The Phillies, however, were miffed when Wolf spurned them after the '06 season.

----

I'm guessing Houston is not part of Wolf's desire to "play anywhere."

Astros pick up more pitching Dayton Moore doesn't want

So the Astros picked up 29-year old righty pitcher Jeff Fulchino off of waivers from the Kansas City Royals.

Fulchino didn't spend too much time with the Royals last year: 12 games, 14 innings. But he's a big guy - 6'5" and 250 lbs out of UConn. He was an 8th rounder for the Marlins in the 2001 draft...and there's not much more. I'll keep digging.

Some blogs I keep track of had these comments to say about him:
"As a Royals fan I can't tell you I'm sorry to see him go. I watched him pitch in '08 and...ugh.

On the other hand you never know...at least he's cheap."
-Otis26

"Fulchino has shown flashes of outright dominance at AAA. I have personally seen him pitch over a dozen times for what it's worth. He is a big body type and has pretty good stuff, but will sometimes give up the long ball trying to challenge hitters.

This signing can't hurt you. I think he was a pretty high draft pick back in the day, and if he ever gets the whole package worked out it could be a steal."
-Mattyc44

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Update

Astros County has been out of town with very limited internet access - Winter Meeting updates coming Monday.