Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jayson Stark on the Astros...

Today's Rumblings and Grumblings column by Jayson Stark has an extended mix on the Astros possible activity at the trade deadline:

As clubs begin sketching out their July shopping lists, no one can figure out the Astros.

They could have a bunch of marketable veterans (Jose Valverde, Pudge Rodriguez, LaTroy Hawkins, Tim Byrdak, Doug Brocail if he gets healthy and maybe even guys such as Mike Hampton, Brian Moehler and Russ Ortiz). They also could put one of the hottest names on the market, in Roy Oswalt.

But what are the chances that always-upbeat owner Drayton McLane would agree to a sell-off? No one is too sure.

"Based on the history?" an executive of one club said, laughing. "I'd say zero."

Granted, the Astros are famous for their slow starts and furious finishes. But where are the signs that this team can contend? It has allowed the second-most runs in the league and scored the fifth-fewest.

"Face it, they're the oldest team in the league, and they're not winning," the same exec said. "They need to get younger and more athletic. So how do they do that? They need to start getting those older guys out of there. Move some veterans. Move some money. Get some younger blood in there. Drayton needs to come to grips with the idea that, from a baseball perspective, that's what they need to do."

The Astros do have no-trade issues, however. Oswalt and Lance Berkman have total no-trade clauses. And Carlos Lee has one through 2010.

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