Have I got a good one for you. Best Man Brandon Backe, Jose de Jesus Ortiz reports, signed a one-year deal today - avoiding arbitration - worth $1.55 million with another $1.075 in incentives. The Astros '09 payroll currently sits at $92 million plus any incentives reached.
This puts a lot of pressure on Backe to actually come out and earn his job. But remember, Easy Eddie has been known to say to pitchers, "It's worth more to us for you not to take the ball every fifth day, thanks." (see: Villareal, Oscar and Williams, Woody)
Who does not benefit from this signing? Russ Ortiz and any other pitcher who accepted a non-roster invitee slip, hoping the Astros wouldn't have enough guys to pitch.
JJO also says (paraphrasing, since I closed that tab): Backe has a chance to really contribute.
And this is what irritates me, just a little bit. Backe will have the exact same chance to contribute that Roy will: 20%. Roy and Backe (and Wandy and Hampton and Moehler) each take the ball every fifth day. You're only as good as your entire rotation (see: Blue Jays, Toronto).