Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sporting News' NL Central Outlook

The Sporting News' Stan McNeal broke off his NL Central Outlook with a bold proclamation that the Cardinals still remain the favorites with the re-signing of Matt Holliday. What does he say about the Astros?

Pedro Feliz will fit in at third base, and the bullpen shouldn't miss Jose Valverde after adding Matt Lindstrom and Brandon Lyon. Houston also has given former Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills his first managing job. But all the Astros have done to address their biggest need -- starting pitching -- is sign Gustavo Chacin to a minor league deal. He hasn't pitched in the majors since 2007.

And what to do?
With Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez and a strong outfield, the Astros have a chance to be good. Don't count on improvement, though, unless they pick up a couple of starting pitchers. Plenty of veterans remain and the prices should not go up as the offseason continues. The Astros also need a shortstop to replace Miguel Tejada.

Hey McNeal, wipe the Hollidrool off your mouth. And it's Tommy Manzella.