So JJO has a Twitter account, but didn't tweet anything, instead filing an actual article on how Valverde is really making everybody sweat about screwing up the off-season.
What has Wade been doing?
“What we’ve been doing in the office for the last week and 10 days is to strategize (projecting) the closer is going to count an x number of dollars, potentially an x number of dollars. What does that leave? What areas would we like to address? How much volume is out there? How much talent is out there? What’s the proper approach? Are we more aggressive on the offensive front? Are we more aggressive on the eighth inning? Are we more aggressive on the composition of the bench? That’s the type of thing that we’ve been doing.”
Which means talks with LaHawk are on hold:
“David Gottfried has done all the communication with Larry Reynolds (LaHawk's agent). They talked again over the weekend, and Larry is aware that we have to wait until Valverde’s situation is resolved before we know if we can move forward with him or not. Realistically, we have to look at this and say, ‘can we commit that much of our resources to the eighth and ninth inning if Jose is back?’”
Which means talks with Tejada are on hold:
Wade estimated it had been about two weeks since he spoke with Tejada’s agent, Diego Bentz. “It was a candid conversation in which I said that we love Miggy and everything he’s done for us. In order for it to work back here it is probably at a third base setting at a reduced price. I haven’t heard back from Diego.”
Because right now, Blum is 3B1:
“We would be more than happy to have Geoff Blum back at third base in the same role that he was in last year. If we could do something where we could mix and match with Geoff in sort of the plan that we had last year when we signed Aaron Boone, if there’s somebody out there that we think fits that mold better than (Jeff) Keppinger, better than (Edwin) Maysonet or some combination of those two players, then we could do a mix and match there. If we got somebody who we felt was more of a front-line everyday third baseman that frees Blum up to be a super utility guy, we think there’d be a lot of playing time for Geoff in that role as well. You could mix and match at second base with (Kaz) Matsui. You could mix and match at third base with him. He can play first. He can play some shortstop. We’ll take advantage of Geoff’s versatility in that regard. I think that Geoff Blum’s going to get his at-bats regardless. Whether it’s all or mostly at third base remains to be seen depending on what we may be able to do. We also don’t want to walk past the fact that we got Keppinger, we got Maysonet and we got Chris Johnson.”
And right now, that means there are no trade talks ongoing, because they have to wait to see what Valverde does:
“From a trade standpoint candidly at this point it’s quiet on our front. We’re going to talk to some clubs today. We expressed certain ideas, but I don’t know. I just think there may be a lot of trade activity (but) at the same time I still think when you have this volume of players on the free agent market that it’s going to slow the trade environment down because teams are going to have the opportunity to fill their needs without having to give up players in return. There are very few teams with regard to Type-A players. That’s not going to be a huge impediment in this whole process. Realistically, if you look at us if Valverde doesn’t accept arbitration we got two draft picks coming. We’d like to horde draft picks, but if we have two draft picks by virtue of Jose not accepting then we may consider signing a Type-A player and giving up our second-round pick. We’ll be getting two in return to give up one if we figure there’s a quality player the compensation aspect doesn’t necessarily preclude us from doing something.”
So basically, the Astros would be open to a trade if Valverde declines arbitration. But if he doesn't they won't. I think it's pretty safe to say that the next three and a half hours are they key to the Astros off-season.
I still think offering Valverde arbitration was the right move, because who would have thought he might accept? On November 14, Valverde's agent indicated his interest in free agency. So who knew?
Well, maybe a few people. Buster Olney's blog post on October 2 indicated that four of six executives and player reps thought the Astros wouldn't offer him arbitration. But with Valverde's interest in free agency, it was a shot they had to take. Of course, he could still decline...