Richard Justice's blog post from yesterday, he says the possibility of losing Tejada, LaHawk and Valverde is whatever:
When the Astros announced they weren't going to offer arbitration to Miguel Tejada and LaTroy Hawkins, I didn't blink. If Jose Valverde signs elsewhere, is it a big deal? I can't get worked up about any of it. The Astros are so far from contending that those three guys aren't going to make a big difference...
... There's a window coming after the 2010 season in which Carlos Lee can be traded, and by the time the 2008 draft picks begin arriving in 2011, the Astros could be exciting and competitive.
Some of those players from the all-important 2008 draft are going to end up at Corpus Christi next season, and their development will tell you how quickly the Astros will be respectable again. Tal Smith says OF T.J. Steele is the franchise's best five-tool prospect since Cesar Cedeño. Pretty cool, huh?
2011? Let's say Lyles/Seaton/Bono/Dydalewicz find themselves in Corpus in 2010. That means they'll have to absolutely kill it in both Corpus and Round Rock to make it to the majors in September 2011.
Anyhow, your closing shot:
Wade's best option would be to sit out this early part of the marketplace and wait until late January when there could be bargains. He might add an important piece here or there to bridge the gap until the young guys are ready.
But it's way past time the Astros stopped thinking free agency and a patchwork roster of old guys would get them in contention.
I can't think of where that "important piece" might be. I'd rather Ed Wade release Matsui and give the job to Keppinger/Maysonet than to go get Placido Polanco. By re-signing Brian Moehler, I doubt the Astros will be adding a starting pitcher through free agency, unless it's Vida Blue. Maybe Jimmy Key.