In today's Rumblings and Grumblings column, Jayson Stark assessed the bottom nine teams in the latest ESPN Power Rankings and picked the player Most Likely to be Traded (an award I received in the ol' High School Yearbook). Of course the Astros are in the bottom nine. Who got the nod?
LaTroy Hawkins, RHP
Roy Oswalt? Forget it. We can't find anybody, on any team, who thinks Drayton McLane will sign off on dealing him. And if the Astros (just 6½ out in the NL Central, 5½ in the wild card) stay this close, "I don't know if the owner will deal anybody," said an official of one team. But if the Astros do any selling off -- and at this point that's still not likely -- it either figures to be on the Pudge Rodriguez front or in their bullpen, with either Hawkins or Jose Valverde moving on.
"If they want to move LaTroy, I'm in," said an executive of one team doing bullpen-shopping. "He's better than he's been in a long time. He's fixed that little move with taking the ball out of his glove, and now he's got an unbroken rhythm, and tempo, and it's helped him. I like the fact he's still willing to make adjustments. And he'll take the ball."
Stark also notes that Roy, in 14 starts, has pitched in five games where the Astros scored either 0 or 1 run while he was in the game. No commentary needed.