Saturday, July 24, 2010

Here's a problem

Typical for an Astros fan, my laptop crapped out tonight. That means, until I get back from my anniversary weekend (seven years and counting, thankfully), updates are spotty. Check Twitter (@AstrosCounty) for updates. With apologies,

The Constable.

Astros still aiming high

Smilin' Ken Rosenthal - who is slaying, as well as Jayson Stark, Amy K. Nelson, Jon Paul Morosi, the Houston media for details on The Hunt for Roy's October - says that the Astros are asking the Dodgers for both Major-League players and prospects. In Rosenthal's words: "Not happening."

Roy's year-old back problems scare the Yankees

Smilin' Ken and JPM are reporting that the Yankees are close to a deal with the Diamondbacks for Dan Haren, and are out of the Oswalt talks because they're scared of his back problems.

They are far less interested in Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt due to his history of back trouble, sources say.

The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs are popular

A couple of days after the Astros signed Kody Kirkland, it seems as though the Blue Jays are Crab-happy, now, purchasing the contract of former Astro Jason Lane.

And now back to our regularly scheduled Roy-mors

A couple of notes on Roy's status for this morning as he prepares to face the Reds tonight.

Smilin' Ken Rosenthal:
Yankees aren't in on Roy, but very much open to Dan Haren. This makes Roy not only not the bride or bridesmaid, but, like, the flower girl.

Jon Heyman:
The Yankees are willing to trade four prospects to Arizona, but won't eat Haren's contract or include Joba Chamberlain.

How does this affect the Astros? Since the Astros are looking for four prospects and salary relief, if the Yankees aren't willing to do it, I don't know who is. It comes down to which team is the most desperate.

Okay, Heyman later tweets that the Yankees would pay the remaining $33 million on Haren's contract, but don't want Chad Qualls and/or Chris Snyder.

Free (Insert Name Here)! Corpus edition

Last Saturday, we ran the first Free (Insert Name Here)! post. Within three days both players who we thought should be freed (Dallas Keuchel and Arcenio Leon) had been freed. So let's move up the ladder to Corpus, before dropping back down to the short-season teams.

Koby Clemens

Is Tommy Everidge really going to be in the mix for the Astros in 2011? Doubtful. Apparently Clemens is. Clemens is 23, and won't be 24 until December, and is about a year younger than other Hooks, and almost a year younger than his Texas League competition. He's currently hitting .256 - the lowest his batting average has been since 2007 (Lexington - .252). Yet his OBP is at the highest level since his rookie 2005 year (with the exception, of course, of last year's Lancaster season). And, again, excepting 2009, his SLG (.509) is at the highest level of his career. Cause for concerns: He's hitting .306/.426/.565 at home, and .203/.310/.449 on the road, though the .250 road BABIP shows he's been unlucky.

Thanks to two mashers at NW Arkansas, his SLG is currently third in the Texas League, and he's leading the League in homers, with 22, walks (55), but also 2nd in strikeouts (112). He's second in RBIs, too, with 67.

Interestingly enough, he hits more fly balls (42.2%) than grounders (34.4%), and his BABIP on fly balls is .143. We're likely seeing the real Koby Clemens here, as opposed to last year. In 2009 his overall BABIP was .419, and that's hard to sustain. Still, pitchers are getting him to ground out more at Double-A, as in 2009, he hit grounders in 29.7% of his ABs, with 53.2% being of the fly ball variety.

All things being equal - and I mean that literally, because this next round of numbers are neutralized for park and luck - Clemens should be a .290/.403/.556 hitter this season. But he's not.

Verdict: 2009 was good for Clemens because it showed he could, in fact, hit. But anyone expecting him to repeat was in for a brutal shock. Should he come up to Triple-A? I'd like to see it, especially if he's going to be in the mix - even if just in an observatory role - in 2011. While it's likely he'll start 2011 in Round Rock, it would be nice to go ahead and give him a 150-200AB preview of what Triple-A is like. Bring him up!

Jordan Lyles

Verdict: Are you kidding? Yeah, bring him up to Round Rock.

Doug Arguello

Arguello is a 25-year old LHP, and will be 26 towards the end of November. So right, there, he's about six months older than the pitching staff average, and about a year and a half older than the average age of Texas League pitching. Typically, the Hooks have the oldest pitching staff in the TL, with an average of two years older than the Rangers' TL team in Frisco.

That being said, Arguello has a groundball/flyball ratio of 2.74:1, and he's allowed 118 hits in 121IP. Walks are something of a concern, averaging a touch over three walks per nine innings (below the 3.6 BB/9 League average), leading to a 1.33 WHIP (also below League average). He's been a tad unlucky, with a combined .318 BABIP - though he's consistent (.315 BABIP vs LHB; .320 vs RHB), and he gets a ton of groundballs: 60.7%, allowing a higher rate of liners (17.2%) than flyballs (17.0%), and only 6.1% of those flyballs find their way above the yellow line.

One thing the Astros will need to watch for as he progresses is his innings pitched. He's sitting at 121IP in 2010, already 38IP higher than 2009, though he did throw 139IP and 142IP in '07 and '08, respectively. Averaging 6IP/start, as he has done this season, he has four starts remaining before he hits a career high in IPs.

Verdict: If the Astros are targeting his IPs from 2009 (if they even do that sort of thing), then he should probably take it easy over the next six weeks of the season, maybe even shutting him down. If they're looking to get him to where he could contribute as a starter, then he could feasibly get in five more starts - bringing him to around 170IP. That would allow him 200IP in 2011, and a possible move into the rotation in 2012.

Verdict: With his 3.38 FIP, he's old enough - and doing well enough in Double-A - that the Astros need to see what he can do in the upper levels. He's been a professional since 2003, bring him up.

Roy to drop the 2012 option demand?

MyFoxPhilly heard a report that, late last night, Roy has dropped the demand that his 2012 option be exercised in order to approve a trade.

Earlier Roy said that he wouldn't let that option be an obstacle, and apparently has acted accordingly.

It's a good thing Berkman is open-minded about free agency

From the Law Offices of Levine and Fallas, we read about what Lance thinks about free agency:

"At that point, for me, personally, it would make sense for me to go ahead and be a free agent, just to see what else is out there. Because if they're talking about, 'Hey, we want to sign you at a reduced rate,' then it would behoove me to find out what that rate is, and the only way to do that is to expose yourself to the open market. I'm not saying it's what I'd like to do or what I want to do, but it would probably make the most sense from a business standpoint.

If I was in a different spot in my career, maybe that would be a little bit more unsettling. The fact of the matter is I've played (12) years already in the big leagues, and a lot of guys don't get to do that. I'm fine with whatever happens.

...I think I'd be doing myself a disservice if I didn't at least try to play somewhere next year."

He's right. Free agency is the best option for him at this point, because I will break the internet if the Apparatus picks up his option. It will be interesting to see what his market value is. Any guesses?

Eddie's Farm: July 23

Round Rock

Iowa never trailed in this game, going up 1-0, 2-0, 4-0, 4-2, 5-2, 10-2. Iowa scored eight runs in innings 7-9. Shane Loux allowed 6IP, 8H/4ER, 5K:3BB, with one of those runs coming courtesy of Gary Majewski, who struck out the side. Casey Daigle, in his first appearance since returning to Round Rock (and since Mrs. Daigle retired), allowed 8H/6ER, 2K:2BB in 2IP. Welcome back. Edwin Bellorin was 3x3 with a walk (and still has an average below .200), and Edwin Maysonet was 2x4 with an RBI. Tommy Everidge had a hit and a walk.

Man of the Match: Edwin Bellorin


Corpus showed an ability to respond throughout the 6-5 win over Frisco in the series opener. Henry Villar threw 6IP, going 10H/5R (4ER), 1K:1BB. Arcenio Leon threw 2IP, 2H/0ER, 1K:1BB, and Jeilen Peguero threw 1IP, 1H/0ER, 2K:0BB. Peguero's ERA is now 0.70. This was Villar's fourth start, and was his second straight 6IP performance. New Hook Kody Kirkland immediately contributed with a 3x4 night, with two runs, two doubles, and two RBI. Jon Gaston was 3x4 with a triple. Yet it was Michael Affronti who had the game-RBI lead with three, hitting a two-run homer. Jack Shuck also had two hits. Koby Clemens (0x5) and Jose Vallejo (0x4, 3K) were your only position players to go hitless. Vallejo is hitting .125.

Man of the Match: Kody Kirkland


Lancaster had a 4-2 lead, but a three-run 4th propelled Modesto to a 6-4 win. Robby Donovan, in his first start in Lancaster, allowed 6H/5ER, 3K:1BB, 2HR. Edwin Walker came in and allowed 1H/0ER in 3IP of relief, and Shane Wolf allowed 3H/1ER, 2K:0BB in 2IP to close it out. Lee Cruz was 2x3 with a walk, and Barry Butera was 2x4 with 2RBI. Jhon Florentino showed he can handle High-A pitching a little better than Double-A with a 2-run homer.

Man of the Match: Edwin Walker


Rome scored the last two runs of the game, which was just enough for a 6-5 win over Lexington. Luis Cruz allowed 7H/5ER, 6K:1BB in 6IP, yet it was Colton Piktin who took the loss with 2H/1R (0ER), 0K:1BB, 2WP in 1IP. Wander Alvino charged Pitkin with the unearned run. The Legends only got five hits, but drew a lot of walks. Jose Altuve was 2x5 with a solo homer and three runs scored. Our Boy Aaron Bray drew two walks and scored a run, Jonathan Meyer was 1x2 with a walk, RBI. Jake Goebbert was 0x2 with a walk, RBI. And Rene Garcia was 1x2 with a walk, RBI.

Man of the Match: Jose Altuve


Postponed. Tri-City will play today at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame Weekend's annual New York-Penn League Game.


Greeneville made a little run in the 8th, but ultimately, Kingsport's 4-run 5th was too much, and Kingsport wins 7-4. Ricardo Batista threw 4.2IP, 7H/5ER, 3K:3BB. Phil Rorabaugh allowed 4H/2ER, 1K:1BB in 2.1IP, and Justin Harper allowed a walk and a hit (2K) in 1IP. Greeneville only got one XBH - a homer by Telvin Nash, who was 2x4 with 3RBI. Chris Wallace was 3x4 with an RBI.

Man of the Match: Telvin Nash

GCL Astros

The GCL Astros had a 3-0 lead, but the GCL Nationals scored 10 runs in innings 6-8, and go on to win 11-4. Angel Gonzalez, in his first start at GCL this season, allowed 5.1IP, 5H/4ER, 4K:1BBB. Pedro Gomez had a brutal night, going 6H/6R (5ER), 2K:0BB in 1.2IP. Raul Rivera gave up a solo homer in 1IP. Jose Monzon was 2x4 with two runs scored, and Garen Wright, Kyle Redinger, and Ronald Sanchez added hits. Monzon and Jordan Scott stole a base each.

Man of the Match: Jose Monzon

Friday, July 23, 2010

From the Office of the County Clerk - G96: Reds @ Astros

So Tim Byrdak picked a bad night to have a bad night. Astros lose 6-4.

*But it wasn't Hunter Pence's fault, as he went 4x5 with 3RBI. It was Pence's first four-hit game since June 17, 2009, and the 9th 4+ hit game of his career.

*It's also the third time this season Pence has knocked in three runs.

*Angel Sanchez got two more hits tonight, extending his hitting streak to six games (and 11 of his last 12 games). Since starting his career in Houston 1x11, he's hitting .390 (16x41).

*Jason Bourgeois went hitless for just the 3rd time in which he's started. He not has two hits in his last 17ABs.

*Reds starting pitcher Travis Wood allowed nine hits - a season/career high. Yet the Astros just couldn't get the runs across (save for what Pence and Johnson contributed). The Astros were 2x14 w/RISP. (Pence and Johnson, of course, getting the two hits).

*Let's look at the Astros' LOBs:
1st inning: 2 (1st and 2nd)
2nd inning: 0
3rd inning: 0
4th inning: 1 (1st)
5th inning: 1 (1st)
6th inning: 1 (3rd)
7th inning: 0
8th inning: 3 (loaded, with one out, nobody scored)
9th inning: 2 (1st and 2nd)

So that's 10 left on base, three with runners in scoring position to end the inning. Pedro Feliz struck out with one out and the bases loaded in the 8th, furthering the question of why he's still on the team.

*Bud Norris had a rough one, going 6IP, 4H/4ER, 5K:3BB, an HBP, and throwing 12 of his 25 first-pitches for strikes.

*Tim Byrdak failed to record an out for the second time this season, though he had not given up an earned run since June 7 (19 appearances).

*Nelson Figueroa had a fine debut, striking out one and throwing eight of his ten pitches for strikes in a perfect inning.

Pitch Count Hero: Berkman (1x4, BB) - 24 pitches in five PAs.

Pitch Count Punk: Bourgeois (0x4) - 9 pithces in four PAs.

Man of the Match: Who else? Hunter Pence

Goat of the Game: Because I'm in a pissy mood - Pedro Feliz

Stark: Phillies still in it

So the Phillies aren't under the impression they're out of the running for Roy, according to Jayson Stark:

Phillies aren't acting like Oswalt deal is dead. Heard they had scouts watching Astros & (Round Rock) tonight & Hou had a scout in Phila(delphia).

Brocail officially hired

Should have figured this out when they were talking about Doug Brocail was scouting J.A. Happ, so Brocail was hired by the Astros as a (Special) Assistant (to the) General Manager.

"He knows players. He knows not only pitching mechanics, he can break down hitters as well. I think he's got a very bright future in the game."

That's one less infielder

The Glut of Infielders is the name of my new band was reduced by one as the Astros have released Ramon Vazquez.

Vazquez hit .257/.330/.363 in 51 games for Round Rock, with two errors at shortstop.

I'm also not sure what this means, but it seems as though Chris Blazek has been placed on the Suspended List. The last note in the Cal League's transactions page is from July 19, when he was promoted to Lancaster from Tri-City.

Apparently there are 24 other players on this roster. What are they doing?

Coming back from injury.

Mills on Moehler, who struggled with command:
"When you haven't thrown in some time, that's going to happen. I think tomorrow is going to be a big day with him, and we'll go forward with that. We'll see how he feels tomorrow, and he'll throw a side on Sunday."

Mills on Fulchino, who threw well:
"We'll see how he feels tomorrow. If he continues to feel well, then Sunday could be a possibility to send him out on a rehab [appearance]."

Manzella on Manzella, who started taking grounders:
"They still could see evidence of the break but it's intact. The way it's been explained to me, it's out of that danger area where I can work around with and it won't injure it any farther. [A team doctor] still thinks it's on that six-week program to get cleared to play in a game."

Miklasz straight brings it

Do you want the Astros situation summed up in 150 words or less? Let the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Bernie Miklasz help you out:

The imposing financial complications aside, here's another big problem in the Cardinals' efforts to obtain Oswalt from the Houston Astros: they're not exactly dealing with the smartest people in the room. Owner Drayton McLane remains in a state of denial, refusing to accept the obvious need to rebuid through drafting and player development. The Astros have old, declining players who make too much money. GM Ed Wade has signed too many marginal talent to silly free-agent deals. It adds up to a 63-98 record since last July 25. The Astros need to replenish their farm system but keep putting it off. This week I've read reports of the Astros wanted to be "overwhelmed" by an offer before agreeing to deal starting pitcher Brett Myers. This is hysterical. Myers is a free agent at the end of the season. He is not a franchise-piece player. He's a solid rotation guy. Why wouldn't the Astros invest in the future by accepting a couple of decent prospects for him? It's nonsense. But this is what Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is dealing with -- people that do not even understand their own team. Good luck.

I agree with a lot of this. But I disagree with a couple of things.

1. The knock on drafting and player development. Wade's (meaning Bobby Heck's) drafts over the last three years have been solid. The international free-agent signings are a source of optimism. When most media types not from Houston look at the Astros' system, it seems as though they stop at Triple-A.

2. The Cardinals have excess prospects at the Astros' least needy position. So I'm okay with the Astros balking (pun intended) at the Cardinals offer - and it's not as though they would accept Jay, Ryan, and Miller for Myers, either.

Still, that's a pretty scathing - and moderately accurate - review of the 2004-2007 Astros.

Roy: $16 million "no big deal"

Zach Levine may not be used to such a crowded clubhouse, because most media types aren't usually this interested in what the Astros are doing this late in the season. However, they're all interested in Roy, and that pesky little $16 million option.

"The money part I can work out with anybody, that's no big deal. We can work on doing different things as far as restructuring whatever they want to do; That's not a big deal. I'm going to find a way to get it done if it works for both of us. I'm not going to go somewhere that's going to be bad for me."

There were lots of people not commenting. Ed Wade. Bob Garber (but hey, at least Levine got Garber on the phone.) How frequently are Roy and Garber in contact?

"He filled me in on some of the stuff I've seen on TV, but other than that, I've told him, 'Don't call me every day.'"

I love it. I imagine this:
(ring) Roy: Yeah?
Garber: Hey.
Roy: (sniff) What's...uh. What's up?
Garber: Did you see SportsCenter?
Roy: Yeah.
Garber: Alright, then.
Roy: Alright.
Garber: Talk to you Monday.
(bulldozer starts).

Wade, in a rare moment of candor:
"Obviously at this point in time, we're proably more in the sell mode, but that being said, we're not compelled to have to really do anything. If you're talking about deals that are prospect-driven, you're talking about hopefully players who are going to arrive faster than a draft pick would. We're open-minded to anything, whether it's a case of improving the club now or for the future. Obviously we would love to be in a situation where if we were to do something it presents both opportunities. We get players right now and players that would help us for a long period of time."

Aha! A plan! Open-minded until August 1.

Roy speaks!

Roy had a little exchange with Alyson Footer about his situation:

Oswalt says '12 option won't be deal breaker if approached with a trade offer that suits him. "I'm going to find a way to get it done. I'm not going to go somewhere where it's going to be bad for me. And I don't want to put the Astros in a bad situation."

Footer sums it up:

This isn't rocket science. Desirable team = no option requirement. Undesirable team = option requirement.

I'll let y'all take it from here with the "putting the Astros in a bad situation" quote.

Interview with Delino DeShields Jr's baseball coach

Captip to The Crawfish Boxes for finding the link. Here's a good Q&A with Jim Minor, Delino DeShields Jr's head coach at Woodward Academy (note to selves: Why didn't we think of that?).

On DeShields:
Well he's a tremendous athlete and a tremendous player, and it's been a pleasure to have somebody on your team like that. A lot of teams in our region, teams that know us, in his junior and senior year people tried to pitch around him. Which is smart, it's what I would have done too (laughs). So a lot of times in ballgames people might throw him four straight balls and he walks, steals second, steals third, and manufactures a run. He had some big games for us where he'd hit a big home run, but a lot of times people tried to be super careful with him because he was a good hitter.

Haren update

If you're a faithful reader of rumors, you probably know that Dan Haren is as attractive to teams as Roy is. And if Haren moves, that's another domino, and teams who were trying to decide between Roy and Haren will start to get desperate.

So Jon Heyman says that the Tigers, Phillies, Yankees, and Cardinals are said to be in on Haren, but the Tigers "could be" the favorite.

What the Cardinals are offering

This is a couple of hours old, but Jayson Stark is reporting that the package St. Louis offered for Roy is:

-SS Brendan Ryan
-OF Jon Jay
-P Shelby Miller

We already have a couple of shortstops without much bat, we already have too many outfielders (problem solved if the Astros can make Lee disappear), and Shelby Miller is two-three years away.


Yankees are in on Roy, but more interested in Haren

Jayson Stark is killing on this Roy thing. He's reporting that the Yankees "are lurking on the fringe" of the Roy Oswalt talks, though they're more interested in Dan Haren:

The New York Yankees aren't as quiet on the starting-pitching market as they've made themselves out to be, reports's Jayson Stark. They're still lurking on the fringes of the Roy Oswalt talks. They've looked into Jake Westbrook. And now, according to one source who spoke with them, they're actively talking to the Diamondbacks about Dan Haren.

Jayson Stark knows what the Astros want for Roy

Jayson Stark has an update in ESPN's (Insider-only) Rumor Central on Roy. A run-down:

-The Astros want four players in return for Roy: One Major League player or ML-ready, two "high end" prospects, and one second tier prospect.

-Drayton is unlikely to trade Roy to the Cardinals, says a "friend:"

"I'd have to see it to believe it -- him going to St. Louis, unless Drayton is convinced his team can't win for a couple of years anyway and it doesn't matter. And that's not him."

Twins not in on Roy, Dodgers are

Smilin' Ken Rosenthal says that the Twins are not in on Oswalt, but the Dodgers are (and face the usual problem of cash and prospects).

Update: Jayson Stark confirms Rosenthal's report on the Dodgers (or Rosenthal confirms Stark's. Whatever.)

A source familiar with those discussions says the teams have swapped names this week, and continue to talk about a potential package for Oswalt.

Evan Grills signed for $150,000

Because I'm interested in signing bonuses, mainly in a masochistic way to see how financially insignificant my life is, we read here that 10th Round pick Evan Grills' signing bonus was for $150,000.

Derrick Goold explains the financial situation for the Cardinals

Quick version: It ain't pretty:

There is less money remaining on Oswalt's deal than Haren's deal, but Oswalt's deal offers a shorter-term pain point, and his salary for 2011 really would be $18 million -- if you include the $2-million buyout for that option. There are reports, and have been for awhile, that Oswalt wants his new team to exercise the option before he'll agree to the deal...

...Whether or not the 2012 option is exercised the Cardinals are looking at a rotation with Oswalt in 2011 that would cost $50 million.

Hard to see how they fill out the roster with a $100-million budget.

So THAT'S what happened to Erik Castro

From the North County Times (June 26), we read what happened to 2009 10th Round pick Erik Castro:

Erik Castro, who caught all of Stephen Strasburg's starts last season, is out for the season with a right shoulder injury. He was a 10th-round pick of the Astros last season.

Even in injury, he can't get away from Strasburg...

Roy willing to give a little on the contract

But only to the Cardinals, Amy K. Nelson reports:

Source confirms Oswalt not changed stance on option being picked up, but for St. Louis, would be willing to restructure $ in deal.


FanHouse: Some jerkface is telling other teams that Roy wants to go to St. Louis

FanHouse's Tom Fornelli is reporting on discussions between the Astros and other teams:

A source who speaks to Oswalt told FanHouse that Oswalt has a definite preference, and that it appears to be the St. Louis Cardinals.

According to the report a league executive with knowledge of what the Astros told an interested team -- possibly the Phillies -- Oswalt would prefer a trade to the Cardinals. The Cardinals have also expressed an interest in Oswalt as well, so a deal for the Astros ace that would put him in a rotation that already features Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright looks possible.

Roy is really starting to piss me off, here. He has to understand the position he is putting the Astros in. He's basically indicating that, while he'll waive his no-trade clause to go to Philadelphia, he would rather go to St. Louis.

While Roy may be f***ing clueless about how Astros fans feel about the Cardinals, the front office isn't (they're just clueless about other things). We fans who are obsessed with minutiae can stomach holding off on passing judgment until we see the package in return, but your everyday, Richard Justice-reading Astros fan will not. And while there may be 40,000 hardcore Astros fans in the world, they don't all go to 81 games at Minute Maid.

Berkman doesn't think he'll be traded

Lance is skeptical that he'll be traded, according to Zach Levine:

“It’d be a long shot. Not an impossibility, but a long shot. This is my home. I like it here. We’ve struggled, but we’ve had our good years. This organization has done a lot of good things for me, and I don’t want to just jump ship when things turn south. I’d like to help us win here.

But I am open to suggestions. If a team calls and wants to rent my services for a couple of months, I’ll listen."

We've said it before, but the only team who will overpay for Berkman is the Astros. I can't imagine a scenario in which the Apparatus picks up his $15m option, but I can see them buying him out, and then signing him to a cheaper deal - but higher than anyone else is willing to pay him.

Heck "optimistic" about signing DeShields, not so much about JaCoby Jones

Delino DeShields probably, maybe will sign. The Astros are "optimistic," but that's about it, according to Heck:

"I feel like we're getting closer."


We also see that Heck feels the chances of signing JaCoby Jones are "minimal at this point."

I don't understand either of these situations, but then again, I've never been in a position to negotiate a multi-million dollar signing bonus. It was either college or the mines for me, so off I went to west Texas. A 19th Round pick turning down 1st Round money. A #8 overall pick can only improve seven spots, but has to wait three years to do it. I would imagine DeShields will sign closer to August 16, but Jones turning down this bonus is ludicrous.

Modica: Focusing on the bottom part of the zone, not about school

Good article from 2009 24th Round pick Mike Modica's hometown Gloucester County Times on his career to this point.

"Our pitching coach has really just harped on shooting the bottom part of the zone. It's something I've been working on, trying to get a little bit of movement, to get guys to keep the ball on the ground and limit walks. Command was always my issue through all of college. The pitching coaches this year have really harped on (control). I've taken the approach where I'd rather give up a double in the gap or a homer than walk somebody. If you're falling behind in the count you need to get the ball over, and it needs to be a quality pitch. It doesn't really matter how hard you throw, it's how much of a quality strike you're throwing."

On how he went from Tri-City to Lancaster:
"They have so many players and so many roster spots to fill. It's just how things work out sometimes, I guess. There's a list of people who are kind of backups or reserves that didn't make the full-season rosters but are a couple of guys away, either an injury or if someone's not doing very well.

After I found out I was in extended, they told me, 'You may not be here very long. We're going to try and get you on a full-season team.' Then somebody had gotten hurt, and I was out the next day. I had a really good spring training, so that was frustrating. I thought I had made the team, but I just kept doing what I was doing and it all shook out for me."

And on finishing that last semester at George Mason:
"I'm almost done college, I've got (a semester of) classes left. (I'll finish) either when I stop or if I can get back one fall, I would consider doing that. I can play as long as I want, not really worry about school and see how far I can take it."

Pounding the bottom of the zone seems to be working, getting ground balls or line drives in 74.4% of the time. His BAA is .287, propped up by a .319 BABIP. He's been pretty unlucky against righties (.354 BABIP) and at home (.346 BABIP), and particularly in July (.395 BABIP), but his GB rate is at a season high 60% in July.

Heyman: Berkman is the White Sox' Plan D

Jon Heyman is reporting that the White Sox need some help on offense, and that they prefer the following, in order:

1. Prince Fielder
2. Adam Dunn
3. One of the LaRoche boys
4. Berkman

Smilin' Ken brings the heat about Roy

Smilin' Ken Rosenthal knows Roy Halladay, and Oswalt is no Roy Halladay. Rosenthal, God bless him, takes Roy to the woodshed over his little option routine:

Some rival executives find it galling that the pitcher now seems to be trying to orchestrate every term of his departure. Players either negotiate their no-trade rights or earn them through service time; Oswalt should not simply give his away. But if his priority is to get out, then he should be flexible, about both his contract and his next club...

...If Oswalt only wants to go to the Cardinals and the teams cannot reach agreement on a trade, the Astros will simply keep him rather than make an undesirable deal.

Such an outcome is quite possible; the Astros are not enamored with the Cardinals’ prospects, according to a source with close knowledge of the talks. Meanwhile, Oswalt is sending mixed signals about his other preferred clubs; his list is said to be “a moving target...”

...If Roy O wants to win, it’s not the responsibility only of others to make it happen. It’s his responsibility, too.

Smilin' Ken doesn't spare Drayton, either:
McLane does not truly understand that his franchise needs to start over. If he did, he would order his general manager, Ed Wade, to shop every one of the Astros’ veteran pieces.

Instead, the Astros are signaling that they would need to be “overwhelmed” to trade their second-best starting pitcher, right-hander Brett Myers. And they evidently are resigned to being stuck with first baseman Lance Berkman and left fielder Carlos Lee, both of whom have full no-trade clauses...

...One interested GM mused Friday that it might be impossible in to satisfy both Wade on players and McLane on dollars in an Oswalt trade.

Well done, Smilin' Ken, well done.

UPDATE: Craig Calcaterra responds:
I see what Rosenthal is saying -- and I'd agree with him wholeheartedly if Oswalt was out there complaining about the Astros not being able to find a trade partner or something -- but I'll note that no one ever expects teams to simply surrender the leverage for which they have bargained. And I'll also ask: in what "less extravagant way" could a new team compensate Oswalt for dropping his no-trade rights? The minute he drops them, he has zero leverage to demand anything.

We certainly shouldn't hear Oswalt to complain if the Astros can't trade him given what he's asking for, but in a world where teams can control where players work for the first six to twelve years of their career before the player even gets a bit of say in the matter, I have no problem with Oswalt using whatever means are at his disposal to get what he wants for the final handful of years of his career.


Lots of activity yesterday down on Eddie's Farm:

*Assigned Jhon Florentino from Corpus to Lancaster.
*Signed 3B Kody Kirkland and assigned him to Corpus.
*Placed 3B David Flores on the 7-Day Disabled List
*Promoted 2010 10th Round pick Evan Grills from GCL Astros to Greeneville
*Sent Angel Gonzalez to GCL Astros from Greeneville.

The name that probably stands out is this Kody Kirkland fella, huh? Kirkland is a 6'4" 200lb 27-year old infielder. He's been with the Pirates (2002), Tigers (2003-2008), and Braves (2009) systems, hitting .212/.281/.321 between Double-A and Triple-A last season (though in 13 games in Triple-A, he hit .289/.386/.421).

Kirkland is a career .240/.311/.413 hitter, with 839K:222BB and a 41.4% extra-base hit rate. Kirkland was playing with the independent Southern Maryland Blue Crabs until signing with the Astros, hitting .303 with 11HR and 39RBI in 63 games.

Eddie's Farm: July 22

Round Rock

So now the Express can get some runs, huh? Round Rock comes back from 8-7 in the 9th for a 12-8 win over New Orleans on a walk-off grand slam by Yordany Ramirez. Round Rock swept the Zephyrs, scoring 34 runs in the three-game series. Andy Van Hekken threw 5.2IP, 11H/7ER, 3K:4BB, with one of those runs coming courtesy of Jonah Bayliss, who allowed 2H/0ER, 0K:2BB in 2IP. Danny Meszaros, despite allowing the go-ahead run in the top of the 9th, got his first Triple-A win with 1.1IP, 2H/1ER, 2K:0BB. Wladimir Sutil was 4x5 w/3RBI to lead the hit parade. Brian Bogusevic, Edwin Maysonet, Yordany Ramirez, and Brian Esposito had two hits each.

Man of the Match: Gotta give it to the walk-off grand slam guy. Yordany Ramirez.


Evan Englebrook allowed two 11th inning home runs, and the Hooks drop 5-2 to Midland. Doug Arguello threw 5IP, 7H/2ER, 5K:4BB in the no-decision (ERA: Now 2.68). Jared Wells got 2K:2BB in 2.1IP, Fernando Abad threw 1.2IP, 1H/0ER, 1K:0BB in relief. Englebrook allowed 4H/3ER, 1K:1BB, 2HR in 1.1IP. Nevarez was pulled after walking the first batter he saw, and Jeilen Peguero struck out the last two batters to end the inning. Koby Clemens provided all the offense with a two-run shot - his 22nd of the year - and added another hit and a walk. Marcos Cabral also added two hits, while Jack Shuck was 1x3 with 2BB. J.D. Martinez was 1x5 with 3Ks, but did get an outfield assist at home plate.

Man of the Match: Koby Clemens


Lancaster took a 4-2 lead into the 8th, and allowed two in the 8th and one in the 10th for a 5-4 loss to Visalia. Ross Seaton enjoyed something of a bounceback performance with 7IP, 6H/4ER, 4K:1BB. Brian Wabick was responsible for two of Seaton's runs with 2H in 0.2IP, and David Berner took the loss by allowing one unearned run on three hits and a walk and a fielding error by Mark Ori. Jay Austin, Andy Simunic (2RBI), Lee Cruz, Brandon Barnes (2SB), and Ori (RBI) had two hits each. Federico Hernandez hit his 6th homer of the season.

Man of the Match: Going with Ross Seaton on this one.


The Legends took a 3-0 lead at the end of three and then held on for a 3-2 win over Rome. Jose Cisnero threw 6IP, 4H/2ER, 4K:1BB, while Mike Schurz allowed 1H/0ER, 3K:1BB in 2IP, and Kirk Clark recorded his 22nd save of the season. Miguel Arrendell, Rene Garcia and Grant Hogue added two hits each, while Jose Altuve, Jake Goebbert, and Kody Hinze drew two walks each. RBIs came courtesy of Jonathan Meyer (3B), and Renzo Tello.

Man of the Match: Jose Cisnero.


Aberdeen pretty much shut the ValleyCats down in a 3-0 loss. Alex Sogard got the start, allowing 3.1IP, 5H/3ER, 2K:2BB. Murillo Gouvea struck out three in 2.2IP, Adam Champion and Mike Ness threw scoreless innings. Sogard got seven groundball outs, and one flyball out. The ValleyCats were limited to three hits - Enrique Hernandez, Tyler Burnett, and Mike Kvasnicka, also drawing a walk to become the only ValleyCat to get on base twice.

Man of the Match: Mike Kvasnicka


Pitcher's duel in Greeneville last night as the Gastros shutout Bristol 3-0. Ruben Alaniz is one inconsistent son of a gun, throwing 5IP, 5H/0ER, 3K:0BB - one start after lasting 0.2IP, allowing 5H/6ER. Travis Smink (2K), Ryan Cole (0H, 1K), and Paul Gerrish (1BB) held Bristol to 4IP, 1H/0ER, 4K:1BB in relief. The Gastros won despite only getting four hits - a triple from Marcus Nidiffer and Rafael Valenzuela, one from Our Boy Bubby Williams, and one from Bryce Lane - with Valenzuela and Lane providing the RBIs.

Man of the Match: Ruben Alaniz.

GCL Astros

Game 1: Lost 2-0 to the GCL Marlins. Danilo Del Rio threw 7IP, 4H/2R (1ER), 5K:1BB in the losing effort. Roberto Pena and Garen Wright - who also had two stolen bases - provided the only hits of the day.

Man of the Match: Danilo Del Rio

Game 2: Didn't get any better as the GCL Marlins win, 3-1. B.J. Hagen took the loss, despite not allowing an earned run: 3IP, 3H/2R (0ER), 1K:2BB. Nathan Pettus was perfect in the fourth and Rafael Feliz allowed 1H/1ER, 1K:2BB, 2WP in 1IP. Jeremiah Meiners allowed 1H/0ER in 2IP. Ryan Ditthardt had two hits, while the other eight hits were scattered among eight players. Ernesto Genoves provided the only RBI. Chan-Jong Moon was 1x4 with 3K and is hitting .313 on the year.

Man of the Match: Ryan Ditthardt.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Further evidence Koby Clemens is moving on up

Here's a long article on Koby Clemens from Sports Illustrated. A lot of it is information of which we were already aware, but Ricky Bennett says:

"If he continues to work, he's going to play in the big leagues. And he's got a chance to be a real good major league player."

"It's just that sometimes I have been caught up in stuff like that, worrying about what can happen or expecting things to happen and then they don't and it put me in a tailspin. Last season was a perfect example of how I just worried about things I could control and took advantage of my opportunities. That's the same approach I'm taking now. Whatever happens up there, happens. When it's time for me to get called up and moved into the big leagues, it'll be the right time for me."

So the article says he could go into the Spring in pencil as 1B1. Depending on what the Astros get for Roy, that could change, but it's still an interesting time for Koby.

Details emerging on the Cardinals' offer

So it seems that Jayson Stark knows what the Astros were offered for Roy:

According to one source, the Cardinals offered two young players off their major-league roster for Oswalt. Among the prospects the Astros are likely to press for: last year's No. 1 pick, 19-year-old right-hander Shelby Miller...

...The Phillies, meanwhile, are thought to have offered pitcher J.A. Happ and a list of younger prospects for the Astros to choose from. But Houston is looking for higher-ceiling young players, particularly a catcher and/or corner infielders, than the names on that list.

A catcher, huh? I get the corner infielder part, but a catcher?

What about that 2012 option, official of one AL team?
"In the end. I don't believe the guy is going to insist on getting that option picked up. He wants out. And if he really wants out, that's going to change."

And here's the shocker of the day:

Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber, has not returned multiple calls from in the last 48 hours.

Good news for young Beau Mills

But, uh, bad news for the guy who got the hell beat out of him:

Their cases were transferred Thursday from a Summit County court to the lower Akron Municipal Court after a grand jury indicted them on lesser charges of misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The maximum sentence on the misdemeanor count is 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

It would be nice to be one of these Persons With Knowledge of the Discussion

Zach Levine quotes said Person, introducing the latest team to be interested in Roy: the Minnesota Twins.

Of course, there is documented evidence of the Twins' interest going back to May 22.

Adam Wainwright just went from six to midnight

Fox Sports Midwest's BJ Rains caught Adam Wainwright by surprise following today's game against the Phillies when he mentioned the Roy Rumor:

“Are we going to get him? He’s one of the best in the game, no doubt about it. It’s no knock against anybody who’s here right now that he would take a spot of, but he’s just that good. He’s going to help any rotation. If he’s in our rotation, nobody wants to play us in the playoffs. Not just regular season, but nobody wants to get in a postseason series with us.”

Colby Rasmus:
“He’s nasty. He’s definitely nasty. …It would definitely make us better, no doubt. If you go into the playoffs with Carp, Waino, Oswalt – I don’t see a better three out there. We’re trying to be like the Miami Heat, I guess."

Soon-to-be-single Frank McCourt may test bachelorhood by adding payroll

ESPN Los Angeles' Tony Jackson checked in on the Dodgers to see what the heck they're doing these last ten days of July.

At any rate, there are strong indications Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who is embroiled in an expensive, high-profile divorce that is widely suspected of sapping the team's operating budget, is willing to add to the club's current $83 million payroll to bring in a significant piece at the July 31 deadline.

That doesn't necessarily mean a starting pitcher, though. With the Dodgers' bullpen having imploded in recent days and outfielders Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson on the disabled list -- both are expected back fairly soon, but there are no guarantees, of course -- the Dodgers ultimately might decide to upgrade other areas instead.

GM Ned Colletti:
"Pitching continues to be our priority. With Manny going down and Reed Johnson still out, we might look at trying to shore up our outfield as well."

Roy is going to be at the top of nearly every buyer's list, until Roy demands that he only get red M&Ms in his locker, and that Manny hand-squeeze his lemon, till the juice runs down his leg...

Cardinals could add salary, if needed - nothing imminent on Roy

Sporting News' Stan McNeal says that the Cardinals are in a position to add salary.

Cardinals President Bill DeWitt:
"I'm not getting into specifics, but I've said all along that we have flexibility...

...Just on that (Oswalt) subject, that's highly speculative. There's nothing imminent there at all. I'm not saying we wouldn't. I don't know how that word is floating around."

Rosenthal: Yankees checking on Roy

Smilin' Ken Rosenthal is reminding us:

As usual, do not rule out Yankees on anything. Bench, bullpen (are) priorities, but checking on Oswalt, Haren, even Westbrook. No on Lilly.

Derrick Goold: Maybe, maybe not on Roy.

It seems as though Derrick Goold has some knowledge:

Houston Astros ace Roy Oswalt has told the team that if they intend to trade him his "first choice" is the St. Louis Cardinals, a league executive with knowledge of the Astros' discussions with interested teams told The Post-Dispatch...

...Without mentioning Oswalt by name, a Cardinals team official said this morning that he viewed adding an unnamed "premium player" as "a longshot." At least one team other than the Cardinals has been told the Cardinals are on top of Oswalt's preferred destinations.

Stark has heard the same thing about Myers. And Wandy, unbelievably.

Jayson Stark's new Rumblings and Grumblings column deals with a few Astros rumors, a portion of which align with what we hear from Smilin' Ken:

But even though Myers is working on an affordable one-year, $3.1 million deal, it appears unlikely the Astros will trade him, believe it or not.

"All I can tell you is what they told us," said an executive of one club that checked in. "They said they'd have to be overwhelmed to move him or Wandy Rodriguez."

I can somewhat understand trying to hold on to Myers - key word being "somewhat." But I cannot understand declining an offer for Wandy Rodriguez, who looks like your prime example of a one-season wonder. It is absolutely ridiculous to consider dealing Roy, but not Wandy. He's in his thirties, he's inconsistent, and why not use the opportunity to just rip the band-aid off and get younger all at once?

While Myers will make $8 million if both sides exercise his option in 2011, Wandy is making $5m and is up for arbitration again. That's $15 million to two pitchers in what would obviously be a rebuilding, experience-growing year.

Astros aren't sold on Shelby Miller

Smilin' Ken and JPM have combined for a post dissecting this Roy to St. Louis rumor:

The Astros like Class A right-hander Shelby Miller but aren’t sold on the 19-year-old – or any other Cardinals prospect – as the centerpiece of an Oswalt trade, the source said...
... St. Louis has the built-in disadvantage of being in the same division as Houston; some in the industry believe Astros owner Drayton McLane wants to avoid dealing Oswalt within the National League Central.

Still, it is far too early to count out the Cardinals. The Astros presently hope to get both salary relief and a package of premium prospects. Reality may dictate that they back off one demand in order to satisfy the other.

And what about trading Brett Myers?
Right-handed starter Brett Myers is having a very good season and has attracted interest from multiple clubs. But two sources said the Astros will need to be overwhelmed in order to move him, citing the team’s hope that he could be a foundation for future rotations.

This is preposterous. Because Myers has been pitching at a level much higher than a $5m pitcher. And while Myers may enjoy pitching in Houston, he still has that mutual option (for $8m) which he can decline and go on the market this offseason to get a multi-year deal. If the Astros are confident that they can avoid that, it'll take more money to give to Myers. And if it's going to take 2+ seasons to get back to being respectable, then just pull the trigger on Myers, already.

St. Louis media is jumping all over this Roy character

Bernie Miklasz has a new article weighing the Pros and Cons of trading Roy Oswalt. While I dislike the Cardinals with the fire of 1,000 suns (and the Cubs with the fire of 998 suns), I do enjoy their beat reporters and their bloggers.

First Miklasz:
If he is desperate to get to St. Louis and wants to restructure his contract in a major way to make his escape from a depressing situation in Houston, this could happen. Without a serious contract revision, I wouldn't take the speculation seriously. My connections were downplaying the possibility this morning, because the Oswalt contract math is bad math for the Cardinals. And if the Astros make ridiculous demands, the Cardinals won't make this deal. But perhaps Oswalt will pressure Houston management to get this done. Because he has the contractual power to veto trades and could use this to push his way to STL.

Miklasz's "Why it Makes Sense:"
-Roy is still good, and there hasn't been a decline. Yet.
-Adding Oswalt would mean that Jaime Garcia is, at worst, SP4.
-That's one heckuva playoff rotation.
-If the Cardinals don't think they can re-sign Pujols, then they need to go for a title run this year.
-Oswalt doesn't have any ego issues. Unless you call being a titty-baby an ego issue. Then there's a minor one.

Miklasz's "Why it Doesn't Make Sense:"
-Payroll, if the Cardinals do re-sign Pujols.
Perhaps Oswalt will do a massive restructuring to help the Cardinals out. Again, I have no idea. Yes he wants to pitch here. That much already has been established. But that doesn't mean he's going to give up a bunch of money. If Oswalt is willing to sacrifice a lot of money, then Cardinals fans would have even more reasons to love him.

-Oswalt's back problems could crop up at any moment.
-This is no way to run a franchise, trading prospects for 30-something veterans. (See: Astros, Houston.)
-The Cardinals really need offense.

That's one more Pro than Con, according to Miklasz.

Ryan Halstead going to Indiana

36th Round pick Ryan Halstead won't be signing with the Astros, but will head to IU.

The Way I See It, There Are Three Possibilities

So I've been thinking about these latest rounds of Roy-mors. And I can come to three conclusions/observations.

*This process - the long, drawn-out, two month process - of Roy asking to be traded, has shown that he isn't the most honest guy in the world. There's a possibility that Roy is kind of a douche. This shouldn't be a surprise, but it's caught me off-guard. From his initial "this isn't about the Astros not doing well, it's about wanting to win" argument was ridiculous to begin with. But to claim that he just wants to go to a contender, and then apparently wanting the Phillies to exercise that '12 option 18 months in advance shows that it's about money, too. Going back and being willing to play with the option for the Cardinals shows that it's not even about going to a contender. Roy said he wanted to win. The Phillies are set up pretty well to be even better in 2011, if they don't get it done this year. So not only does Roy want to win, he wants to win RIGHT NOW.

Roy also said that any deal has to work for both the Astros and him. The better deal for the franchise - which it seems like he doesn't care too much about, anymore - is the potential three-team deal with the Phillies and Rays. The Cardinals don't have the depth the Rays do. But by complicating that move, the clear decision he's made is What Works Best For Him.

*There's another possibility that his agent is the one calling the shots. With the Bob Garber post, he seems to have his clients maintain a trust with him (Boehringer, Martin), believing that he has the business side under control, and then doign whatever benefits him. This is somewhat sunk by the Roy going through Cardinal channels aspect of this rumor. Maybe Roy is complicating the move on purpose, because he's trying to pick and choose. Ordinarily, I would feel that a pitcher of his caliber deserves that right, but not in this case. We can't eliminate the possibility that Roy hasn't done anything to deserve the vitriol.

*There's another strong possibility that the media is being manipulated - on any and all sides - to create a market. Roy has very little to say. His agent has nothing public to say. The Astros don't have much to say, and despite how ramped up the rumors get, they say the same thing. Other front offices aren't talking, yet these little nuggets keep getting dropped like the dog had too many kibbles. So who is leaking the information? Could be anybody. Regardless...

*It has come to the point where Roy has to be traded. I was moderately okay with him going to the Phillies, although it's getting boring - this replacing the 25-man roster with Phillies. And losing Roy would be like getting dumped. But now that Roy wants to go to the Cardinals, it's gotten personal. Roy is running the risk of going all Lyla Garrity on us.

I feel like I am fairly representative of all Astros fans (if a little detail-oriented). I can't get on board with seeing Oswalt in a Cardinals jersey, even if the Apparatus does fleece what's left of the Cardinals' system. I've never understood how players (*cough* Clemens *cough*) could go from the Red Sox to the Yankees (though have you noticed how few Yankees go to the Red Sox) It's the business side of the game, and Roy is getting his money whether we like him or not. But for once, it would be nice for the player to realize that the fans provide the opportunity to make baseball a business. I thought Roy might have been that guy. He's not.

Angels are five back, and not desperate enough for Berkman

The Angels are kinda sorta hanging around in the AL West race, but Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi says they're not desperate enough to take on Berkman's contract.

A big story on Josh Flores that doesn't mention that 50-Game Suspension thing

Josh Flores' hometown paper, the Herald-Tribune, outside of Chicago has a big story on the return of Josh Flores, who was released by the Astros last month, to the Joliet Jackhammers. The story focuses on his knees.

Manager Chad Parker:
"The people we talked to from Houston told us great things about him. I'm sure he would still be with the Astros if not for the knee injuries. Now he's got to prove he can put up good numbers with the injuries."

The knee injuries only affected my speed, not my power. Of course, one of my main tools is to run hard and pick up on mistakes other teams make. I can go hard straight out right now. But with the knee, I'm not sure how well it will hold up if I move side to side a lot...

...I was going up quick, on the fast track for a while. But then in Double-A (the highest level he reached), I kind of plateaud."

Do you think they know about that little 50-game suspension?

Roy's may not require the Cardinals to pick up his 2012 option

Late night report with Brian McTaggart and Matthew H. Leach on the ongoing saga of Roy Oswalt, and we even see a rumor that Roy would not require his 2012 option to be picked up if he's traded to the Cardinals - something I bet the Phillies aren't real happy to see. And something that kind of blows my "Roy doesn't know what's going on with his option/Bob Garber is a douchebag" theory.

Apparently the Cardinals are willing to dangle top pitching prospect (albeit at Low-A) Shelby Miller as trade bait:
The Cards' most compelling potential trading chip for most teams would seem to be 2009 first-round Draft pick Shelby Miller, a right-hander who has been on a roll lately at low Class A Quad Cities. Farm director Jeff Luhnow was given the opportunity on Wednesday to classify Miller as untouchable, but declined to do so. He said the right-hander quite surely would not be moved for a two-month rental player, but that for a longer-term upgrade, any and all prospects could conceivably be in play.

Miller was the Cardinals' 1st round pick (19th overall), and is a 19-year old RHP from Brownwood, Texas. He has 81 strikeouts in 57.1IP with a 4.40 ERA/1.34 WHIP.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss seconds the rumor that Roy is willing to work with the Cardinals about that pesky $16 million option:
Oswalt lists the Cardinals among his preferred landing spots. He has also told acquaintances with ties to the club that he would be willing to be more flexible regarding his 2012 option. As rumor of the Cardinals' interest in Oswalt spread Wednesday night, several players embraced the potential move.

Who does Strauss see as return pieces for the Astros?
The Cardinals suddenly possess a surplus of outfielders when Ryan Ludwick (calf strain) returns from a rehab assignment. Jon Jay and Allen Craig have been particularly impressive in Ludwick's absence. With Holliday and center fielder Colby Rasmus entrenched in the team's plans and Ludwick under control through next season, the club could include one of its younger outfielders in a deal with young pitching.

After having a night to think about it, I still hate the idea of seeing Roy in a Cardinals jersey for the next year and a half.


Couple of notes for you:

-Robby Donovan has been assigned to Lancaster from Lexington to fill Dallas Keuchel's roster spot.

-Angel Gonzalez has been assigned to the GCL Astros from Greeneville.

Eddie's Farm: July 21

Round Rock

The Express were able to recover after allowing a 6-run 6th by putting up a 7-run 7th for an 11-8 win over New Orleans. Sergio Perez allowing 3H/4R (3ER), 2K:5BB, 2WP, 1HR in 5IP. Yorman Bazardo allowed 5H/4ER in 1IP, while T.J. Burton got the win by striking out the side in the 7th. Brad Thompson allowed a hit in the 8th, and Roy Corcoran struck out two in the 9th. Brian Bogusevic was 3x3 with two walks, a homer, two stolen bases, and 4RBI. Edwin Maysonet was 3x5 with an RBI and Drew Locke hit a 2-run double.

Man of the Match: Brian Bogusevic.


Midland took advantage of a 4-run 3rd inning to go on to a 5-3 win over Corpus. Lyles struck out 11 and walked just two in 6.2IP, but he also gave up 9H/5ER for the loss. Erick Abreu got an out, Arcenio Leon struck out one and walked one in 1IP, and Evan Englebrook got two strikeouts and allowed one hit in 1IP. Jack Shuck and J.D. Martinez (1RBI) had two hits each, while Jon Gaston hit his 7th homer of the season - a 2-run shot - and also drew a walk. Jose Vallejo struck out three more times in another 0x4 night. He's 3x34 with 15Ks in his last ten games.

Man of the Match: Jon Gaston


How about that? Lancaster shuts Visalia down with a 4-hit shutout for the 7-0 win. Leandro Cespedes threw 7IP, 3H/0ER, 8K:2BB and Mike Modica allowed 1H/0ER, 1K in 2IP. Jay Austin (2x4, 2RBI), Brandon Barnes, Federico Hernandez (1RBI, BB), Barry Butera (2RBI), and Brandon Wikoff (2RBI) had two hits each. The 7-8-9-1 spots went a combined 8x14, 3K:0BB, 7RBI - and Jay Austin stole his 40th base of the season.

Man of the Match: Leandro Cespedes


The Legends tried to make a game of it, but Rome just scored too often for a 9-5 win over Lexington. Juan Minaya allowed 5H/6ER, 2K:6BB, HBP in 4.2IP. Dan Sarisky allowed a hit scoring one of Minaya's runs, and Brad Dydalewicz - coming out of the bullpen - allowed 3H/1ER in 1IP. Brenden Stines allowed 3H/2ER, 2K:1BB in 2IP. Jose Altuve (BB, RBI) and Kody Hinze (2B, RBI) had two hits each, while Our Boy Aaron Bray hit a double and Jonathan Meyer and Brian Kemp (RBI, outfield assist) added hits. Jiovanni Mier was back in the #2 spot, and dropped an 0x5 day.

Man of the Match: Jose Altuve


The ValleyCats scored in five different innings for a 6-2 win over Aberdeen. Jake Buchanan allowed 5H/1ER, 2K:0BB in 5.2IP. Andrew Robinson allowed 1H/1ER in 1.1IP, and Travis Blankenship struck out two in 1.1IP. Jorge De Leon closed it out with 2H/0ER, 1K:1BB in 0.2IP. It was close, by De Leon still has not allowed an earned run this season - his first since being converted to a reliever from shorstop. Ben Heath (BB, RBI), Mike Kvasnicka (2B, 3B, RBI), and Buck Afenir (2B, 2RBI) had two hits each, while Ben Orloff was 1x1 with a walk and 2HBP.

Man of the Match: Buck Afenir


Greeneville got out to a 4-0 lead at the end of the third and rode it out for a 5-1 win over Bristol. Euris Quezada allowed 5H/1ER, 3K:0BB in 7IP for his second win of the season and Jeiler Castillo allowed 2H/0ER, 1K:1BB in 2IP. Chris Wallace, Telvin Nash (HR, 3RBI), and Carlos Mojica (2B) had two hits each, with Ricardo Garcia, Rafael Valenzuela, and Bryce Lane adding hits.

Man of the Match: Telvin Nash.

GCL Astros


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

And now, we listen to our stomach turn with the sound of our Astros forefathers spinning in their graves

Sit down. Just...sit down. Everybody's fine. Don't worry. But there's something you need to know.

The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly the front-runners for the services of Roy Oswalt.

Calcaterra, who is a reputable deliverer of news:
The Astros have been talking with Cardinals GM John Mozeliak for several days now, and Oswalt is quite amenable to go to St. Louis if the teams can agree on what players will head back to Houston...

...My source tells me, however, that Oswalt would be willing to work with the Cardinals to make the option more palatable, possibly in terms of deferring some money. The sides aren't quite that far yet.

Calcaterra later tweets:
As for player(s) back to HOU: there has been talk of Shelby Miller, but it's fluid. Deal is not imminent, but there has been a lot of talk.

A preview of what will happen in the Astros County Square if this takes place:

Bob Garber doesn't have the cleanest track record

While I try to piece my mind back together after seeing Inception, let's focus on Roy's response.

First, Roy claims to not know what the heck is going on with his option for 2012:

"I don't handle that part of it."

I actually believe him here. I bet he doesn't know about what his agent - Bob Garber - is demanding right now. Because this wouldn't be Garber's first rodeo in this scenario.

Second, if we get back in the Wayback Machine, we can read about Garber's previous history, with pitcher Brian Boehringer. In this instance, at least, we read:

Coming off the 2002 season with Pittsburgh, Brian wanted to sign with St. Louis. He's from the area, wanted to live at home during the season and knew the Cardinals were always a competitive team. He instructed Bob to try to get a deal done.

Here's where it gets murky.

Mr. Garber told Brian the best he could get was an $850,000 deal with St. Louis. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh was the only other team that was interested, to the tune of 2 years and $3.5 million. Brian took his agent's word and signed with the Pirates. Today, Brian says the deal was best for Bob Garber, not him. The deal Brian signed earned the most money that Bob Garber could have gotten, so he pushed that one on Brian...

...He lost 2005 to injury, but felt great going into spring training, 2006. Brian asked his agent to call around and get him any deal possible. According to Brian, he didn't do it. How does Brian know? He said he personally called and was able to secure his own deal with the Cubs after a conversation with Dusty Baker. When he spoke with teams, they told him nobody had called them about Brian Boehringer.

Third, if you look at Roy's phrasing, it's eerily similar to the phrasing of another Bob Garber client, Russell Martin from 2008:
Early this offseason, his agent, Bob Garber, received a phone call from assistant general manager Kim Ng looking to discuss a possible multi-year contract extension for Martin, who won't turn 25 until next week. According to General Manager Ned Colletti, Garber declined, and no offer was ever extended.

"It's kind of a touchy thing," Martin said Tuesday at the Dodgers Community Caravan event at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. "I told (Garber) if it wasn't going to be a good offer not to even bother, so that's the conversation that they had...

...I know how it works. It just hasn't entered my mind yet because this is a dream I'm living. It still hasn't sunk in yet. That's the business side of baseball I don't really worry about. Whenever the time will be to discuss that, I'll be ready."

Way to stick with the party line, fellas. I'm sure this happens more often than we ever hear about. But I'm leaning towards believing Roy. I don't like him any more than I did this afternoon, but I believe him.

Heyman's Roy update

Jon Heyman just tweeted that the current plan is as follows:

Phillies said talking to Rays about Werth for prospects, then sending prospects to Astros for Oswalt. On soon.

I did him the solid of capitalizing his proper nouns, since trade rumors wait for no shift key.

Kvasnicka: Baseball is a faithless bitch

In the latest and greatest Cats Corner we read about Mike Kvasnicka's well-documented early struggles (did anyone else know about the hand injury? For some reason, we didn't.) But he's still confident it'll come around:

"I've been [practicing] my right-handed swing a lot because we haven't seen a lot of lefties. But I got an at-bat lefthanded [in the 10th], and I was thinking about mechanical things to make the switch back over, and I wasn't ready to hit because of it. I had been swinging the bat well lefty, but I let the mental side take over for a few pitches there.

In the last week and a half, I've had a lot of lineouts. Baseball's a cruel game in that sense - once you start feeling good, you're not going to be hitting .400 the rest of the year. There's been definite progress in the cage work and in batting practice, so it should come around."

We also find out that Tommy Shirley has re-aggravated a knee injury. Manager Jim Pankovits:
"We don't think it's serious - it wasn't serious before - but we're being cautious with him."

Anderson/Figueroa about depth and injuries

Within Brian McTaggart's Notebook we see that the waiver claims today of Anderson Hernandez and Nelson Figueroa have more to do with the team today much of anything else.

Wade, on Hernandez:
"He's a good defensive infielder, and our guys have liked him. At one time, he was a pretty significant prospect in the Mets organization. We like his hands and his defensive ability, and he can swing the bat a little bit."

And at one point, I was a prospect as a politician based on my showing in the race for Junior Class Vice President.

Wade, on Figueroa:
"He gives us more depth and experience with the health issues we have right now."


Mills also says that Wesley Wright should get another start:
"I think with the way he threw yesterday, he deserves another start, if a spot opens up for him to make that start. The way Wes threw the ball last night, a corner has been turned with him putting it together in Round Rock like he did his last three outings. Do we want Wes in the bullpen to have those three lefties in the 'pen, or have Moehler solidify the bullpen a little bit? We'll have to look at who we're facing and see how Moehler is. We have to wait and see how he is first."

Please, please, please. Put Moehler in the bullpen, and let Wright continue to get stretched out as a starter. If they don't do that, then the last year of Wright's career has been wasted.

Rounding up the Roy-mors

So, as I was away for part of the day, let's do a quick recap on the events transpiring with this whole "Roy to Philly" thing.

Drayton McLane says nothing is imminent as far as Roy is concerned:
"Ed and I talk several times every day, but nothing's imminent. Trades really don't get done [until close to the Deadline]. There is no imminent trade with the Phillies or anybody else. There have been lots and lots of discussions, nothing close to a trade."

However, Jayson Stark has a full report from Ruben Amaro's nether regions that Roy won't approve a trade unless the team picks up his 2012 option for $16 million.

The Phillies are believed to be amenable to paying most of the $25 million he's owed through next year, but have shown no inclination to pick up the option year.

J.A. Happ is rumored to be in the deal to acquire Roy (and Doug Brocail was in Indianapolis last night watching Happ), as well as "one or two" prospects at the Single-A level - with the exception of Single-A 1B Jonathan Singleton.

So with the Oswalt talks on shaky ground, the Phillies continue to explore other options for upgrading their rotation.

If this deal doesn't get done because Roy wants an option exercised 18 months in advance, I literally might tear my hair out.

Astros claim Anderson Hernandez and Nelson Figueroa

The Astros have made a pair of waiver claims this afternoon - 27 year old switch-hitting infielder Anderson Hernandez from the Indians and 36-year old RHP Nelson Figueroa from the Phillies.

Hernandez had appeared in 22 games for the Indians this season, hitting .245/.300/.321 for the Big Club, and .234/.280/.275 for Triple-A Columbus.

Figueroa had posted a 3-0 record in 19IP with a 0.95 ERA/0.68 WHIP for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and is 2-1 in 26IP with a 3.46 ERA/1.16 WHIP for the Phillies.

Not bad for minor-league depth, eh? Wait. What's this? The Astros have designated Gary Majewski and Polin Trinidad for assignment so that both Hernandez and Figueroa can join the team on Friday in Cincinnati.

Lumsden traded to San Diego

Per sources, it seems as though Tyler Lumsden has been traded to the Padres for future considerations in order to make room for Dallas Keuchel.

Remember, Jordan Parraz was traded in order to get Lumsden, so we'll see if the future considerations are aligned with the rumor that the Padres are interested in Berkman playing the outfield.

Buster Olney on the Roymors

Buster Olney's new blog post leads with the Roy Situation, and mentions that Roy expressed earlier this season that he wants what Halladay had:

Roy Oswalt has wanted a chance to play for a winner, and he mused to a friend earlier this year that he wants what Roy Halladay got in the offseason -- a chance to land with a team capable of winning the World Series. And so it could be that today or tomorrow, if the Phillies and Astros work out a tentative agreement for the right-hander, Oswalt will have a chance to accept or reject the exact opportunity that Halladay had -- to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Olney points out that, while the Phillies may not be good enough to reach the World Series this year, they are positioned very well to contend for the title in 2011. And you can bet Roy is thinking about that, as well. If this comes down to Roy's decision, I think he takes it.

Paulino's rotator cuff "not catastrophic"

Ed Wade had a few things to say in McTaggart's notebook.

On Paulino:
"It's not good news, but it's not catastrophic. It's a shame because he's thrown so well, and it looked like he had turned a lot of corners this year. He's facing another setback, and he's going to be have to apply himself the same way he did in the offseason and come back as strong as he can."

On the alternatives:
"I'd love to see Wes throw well and give us some alternatives. Brian has done a real good job for us. He's been steady and reliable for us all the way through. Once he's back at 100 percent, he certainly figures back in our situation."

Berkman's option not likely to be picked up

Like this qualifies as news, but hey, we needed something to do other than hit refresh on Twitter. Berkman is preparing himself for Free Agency following this season, as it's unlikely anyone will be real interested in paying him $15 million next year.

"I haven’t gotten any indication that they are going to pick it up, so I think the chances are that I will be a free agent at the end of the year. It’s not concerning, but it’s certainly a position that I’ve never been in before in my career. Knowing the kind of year that I’ve had, I’d say they probably won’t pick it up. But I don’t know that for sure."

Oh, I think you do...

In McTaggart's notebook we read this:

Berkman would like to remain in Houston and hopes the club will chalk up his struggles to missing most of Spring Training and the first two weeks of the regular season after undergoing knee surgery.

"There were some extenuating circumstances where they may feel like I'm not a declining player, but just some circumstances that have kept me from performing the way I'm used to performing," Berkman said. "It's all in their court. That's the power of a team option."

So. What do you think? Can you blame this season's struggles - which are oddly similar to last season's struggles - on missing three weeks of Spring Training and two weeks of the regular season?

On legitimacy, and Jayson Stark

Jayson Stark, from what I can tell, is the reporter who broke that the Phillies and Astros were in serious talks to move Roy Oswalt. For once, I would like the Astros to trade with another team, just to switch it up a little bit, but it is what it is.

There are countless rumors this time of year, hardly any of them worth anything other than bumping up our Post count.

But this one is different. Bernardo Fallas and Ed Price have sources who tell them the deal is close, and it's hard to imagine that the source in question is calling both Price and Fallas.

However, it's the presence of Jayson Stark - the King of Philadelphia - in this rumor cycle that tells me it's extremely legitimate. Stark represents all things Philly, and while it's pretty irritating from a standpoint of any other team in the League, if it lends some credence to this Roy-to-Philly thing, I can handle it for the next few days.

Another thing, if this rumor is true, then things are going to happen in the next 24-48 hours. The Phillies need a pitcher this weekend, and presumably the Astros would, too.

Sifting through these Philadelphia Roy-mors

Bunch of links to pull from to get a sense of what's actually happening with this Roy-to-Philadelphia mess, let's take a gander:

FanHouse's Ed Price:
The Phillies and Astros were said to be working on a trade that would send Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia, two major-league sources told FanHouse on Tuesday night, although the deal would then require Oswalt's approval. One source described the talks as "heavy."

Houston "may be close to putting the ball in [Oswalt's] court," the other source said, although he didn't think the trade was down to the finishing touches.

Price does not mention the possibility of a three-team trade, but says Jayson Werth would be the logical player to be moved to clear payroll space for Roy.


Bernardo Fallas:
The Astros are in advanced talks with the Philadelphia Phillies regarding a potential trade, a person familiar with the situation told the Chronicle on Tuesday night...

...Oswalt has a no-trade clause in his contract and would have to approve a trade. He told the Chronicle last week he would not rule out anybody that is a contender.

These are not just "Hey! The Twins should trade for Roy, or I'm gonna be pissed!" columns. These are MLB sources talking, here. So it seems like this is more serious than an article about what Omar Minaya had for breakfast.

The lynchpin of the deal is whether or not the Phillies are able to move Jayson Werth to clear payroll space for Roy. Top prospect Domonic Brown would replace Werth.

Interestingly enough, J.A. Happ had his rehab start limited to three innings, and is scheduled to pitch "Saturday or Sunday" in Philadelphia. Or somewhere else.

McTaggart: Nothing imminent

There's a pattern here. Some outlet breaks that there are trade talks going on, both sides deny or clam up, and players say they don't know anything, and we move on. Occasionally somebody will complain about how blogs don't have anything to report.

Brian McTaggart says that:
Despite reports right-hander Roy Oswalt could be the target of a deal involving the pitching-thirsty Philadelphia Phillies, no deal with the Astros ace appeared imminent Tuesday night.

Eddie's Farm: July 20

Round Rock

Express put up two four-run innings and defeat New Orleans 11-9. Polin Trinidad got the start, and went 4IP, 7H/5ER, 0K:3BB, 2HR. T.J. Burton took the loss, allowing 2H/2ER in 1IP. Brad Thompson and Jonah Bayliss threw scoreless innings, while Danny Meszaros struggled in his second outing - allowing 1H/2ER, 1K:3BB in 1IP. Roy Corcoran got his 6th save of the game. Brian Esposito was 3x3 with 2BB, 2RBI; Wladimir Sutil was 2x3 with 2BB, and Brian Bogusevic was 1x3 with an RBI and 2BB. Tommy Everidge hit a 2-run homer and German Duran hit a pinch-hit 3-run HR in the 5th.

Man of the Match: This is going to Brian Esposito, got on base in all five of his PAs.


The Hooks enjoyed a 6-run outburst in the 7th for a 9-5 win over Midland. Jeremy Johnson allowed 9H/3ER, 4K:2BB in 4.2IP, with Fernando Abad picking up the win with 2.1IP of 3H/0ER relief (Note: Abad will be the subject of a future "Free (Insert Name Here)!"). Matt Nevarez allowed 2H/2ER, 1K:1BB in 1IP, and Jeilen Peguero threw a perfect 9th. Jon Gaston was 3x4 with a triple and a solo homer, Jimmy Van Ostrand was 2x5 with two doubles and 4RBI, while Freddy Parejo and Michael Affronti had two hits each. Koby Clemens was 1x2 with 3BB, and J.D. Martinez hit a 2-run homer - his first in Double A - with a walk.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Van Ostrand.


Lancaster got down 5-0 at the end of three, and that took care of it for a 5-2 loss. Pat Urckfitz allowed 6H/5ER, 5K:1BB for the loss, Ashton Mowdy allowed 2H/0ER, 5K:2BB in 4IP, and David Duncan threw a perfect 8th. Andy Simunic was 2x4, while Jay Austin, Lee Cruz, Federico Hernandez, David Flores (RBI), and Brandon Wikoff (RBI) added hits. Of the JetHawks' seven hits, four of them were doubles. David Flores also committed three fielding errors at 3B.

Man of the Match: Ashton Mowdy


Lexington cruised to a fairly easy 3-1 win over Rome. Tanner Bushue dominated, throwing 7IP, 3H/0ER, 5K:1BB. Wander Alvino allowed the lone run on a solo shot, and Kirk Clark recorded his 21st save. The Legends still only got five hits - one each from Altuve, Goebbert, Our Boy Aaron Bray, Arrendell, and Hogue. Altuve and Hogue provided the RBI while Jiovanni Mier and Miguel Arrendell drew two walks each.

Man of the Match: Tanner Bushue


Hey, if you're going to give up a walk-off homer in the 11th, it may as well be a grand slam. As Joan Belliard did. ValleyCats lose at Aberdeen 9-5. Bobby Doran allowed 5IP, 7H/4ER, 4K:0BB. Jason Chowning and Adam Champion threw a scoreless inning each, while Brandt Walker allowed 2H/1ER, 1K:2BB in 2IP, and Joan Belliard allowed the 4ER in 1.2IP. Jacke Healey followed up his first homer of his career with his second and two walks. Enrique Hernandez had two hits. Ben Orloff (2RBI) and Wilton Infante (RBI), with Healey, provided the RBI.

Man of the Match: Jacke Healey.


Greeneville gave up a 2-1 lead to Bristol to fall 5-2. Mike Foltynewicz threw 5.1IP, 6H/3ER, 5K:2BB for the loss, while Garrett Bullock allowed 1H/2R (0ER), 1K:3BB. Brian Streilein allowed just one walk in 2.1IP. Telvin Nash was 2x4, and Marcus Nidiffer was responsible for the two runs with a homer in the first. Rafael Valenzuela committed two errors at third.

Man of the Match: Marcus Nidiffer.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ESPN: Major Trade in works in Philadelphia

With a captip to Citizen Trae, we find this story on ESPN, in which Ruben Amaro Jr might be desperate to turn the season around, and "hinted strongly to reporters" that the Phillies could make a trade by the time Kyle Kendrick's turn in the rotation comes back around on Saturday.

But there were indications they've spent a lot of time in recent days exploring a trade for Astros ace Roy Oswalt.

There are no guarantees that Roy would approve the deal, but Buster Olney appeared on Baseball Tonight...uh, tonight...mentioning that Jayson Werth could get dealt as part of a three-team trade with Tampa Bay (whom Karl Ravech pointed to) as a potential destination for Werth, evening out the salaries. The Astros would then receive players from Tampa Bay (provided this all even happens in the first place).

It's a lot of conjecture, and a lot of what-ifs, but it is interesting.

From the Office of the County Clerk - G94: Astros @ Cubs

There aren't enough words, even in a blog, to discuss how terrible this game was. It was a total team loss, and is embarrassing to even discuss. Astros lose 14-7.

*The Astros actually had a 6-0 lead in this, and Wesley Wright looked like he was going to be the greatest starting pitcher since Bud Norris. However, that lead went the way of the dodo. The loss after a six-run lead is the largest blown lead since 2001.

*Wesley Wright gave up six runs in 4.2IP on six hits and two walks, striking out five. However, of those six runs, only one was earned.

*It all fell apart to hell in the 5th. With the Astros enjoying a 7-1 lead coming into the bottom of the 5th, Geovany Soto reached on an infield single. Ryan Theriot then hit into what should have been a double play to Keppinger, who nutted the force attempt, allowing Soto and Theriot to instead stand safely on 2nd and 3rd. Xavier Nady struck out swinging (this would have ended the inning had that double play been made), but Soto scored anyway on a passed ball by Jason Casto. 7-2. Tyler Colvin was then hit by a pitch. Starlin Castro grounded out to second. 7-3. Aramis Ramirez the second of his three homers on a 2-2 pitch (Wright had gotten out in front 0-2). 7-6.

*When Wesley Wright threw first-pitch strikes to the Cubs, they were 3x10, 4K:1BB, HBP. Of course, the last first-pitch strike he threw was to Aramis Ramirez who tattooed the pitch to center for the three-run homer.

*Ramirez went on to hit yet another home run in the 8th. It's the seventh time this season an opponent has hit 3+ homers against the Astros, and the third 4+ HR game (the Reds hit six homers on May 29).

*The Astros have now given up 76 homers this season, and have hit 62. Thanks to Chris Johnson's solo shot.

*Brandon Lyon took the loss, giving up yet another two runs. It's the fourth time in seven July outings that Lyon has given up at least one run. His ERA after the July 1 game against San Diego was 2.80. It's now 3.98.

*Gary Majewski was basically left out on the field to sit in his own diaper, throwing 27 pitches, and allowed 4H/5ER, 1K:1BB and another three-run homer to Ramirez.

*Ramirez' three homers, further extend the lead Houston has in allowing Ramirez HRs - 36, with Milwaukee coming in 2nd with 31. It's his 4th 3HR game of his career.

*A couple of bright spots for the Astros. Well, one bright spot, and one "it's about time:" Chris Johnson had another multi-hit game, and has at least one hit in each game he's started since the All-Star Break (8x19, 2HR, 2B, 7RBI). Carlos Lee was 2x5 with an RBI. Lee has a two-game hitting streak, and is now 14x51 in July.

*Berkman was 0x3, but drew two walks. So while he's 1x8 in his last three starts, he now has seven walks in those starts.

*Angel Sanchez was 1x4, and has a four-game hit streak, improving his average from .207 on July 16 to .286 following tonight's game.

Pitch Count Hero: Michael Bourn (1x4, BB) and Lance Berkman (0x3, 2BB) - 21 pitches in five PAs.

Pitch Count Punk: Hunter Pence (1x5) - 12 pitches in five PAs. Can we just pause for a second in order to hate? In the second inning, with the bases loaded and the Astros up by four, Hunter Pence came up to bat. Now: Bourn had walked on five pitches. Angel Sanchez had been hit by a pitch. Berkman walked on five pitches. So WTF does Pence go up and do? Swings at strike one and leans over the plate to pop out to first to end the inning.

Man of the Match: Let's call it Chris Johnson.

Goat of the Game: Brandon Lyon. Though this could have easily gone to Jason Castro, Jeff Keppinger, or Gary Majewski.

Paulino out four weeks

Brian McTaggart is reporting that Felipe Paulino will be out for a month with a mild rotator cuff strain.

Smilin' Ken: Interest in Roy "limited"

Smilin' Ken Rosenthal knows some things about the Hunt for Roy's October:

The market for Oswalt is “slow,” one source says, with clubs reluctant to trade top prospects while absorbing the rest of the pitcher’s contract. Oswalt is owed about $6 million more this season and $16 million next season.

The Astros are only willing to pay a small percentage of that money, and Oswalt also would ask a team to pick up his $16 million option for 2012 in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause, sources say...

... Oswalt prefers the National League, and the Phillies and Mets are among the teams that have contacted the Astros. But sources say that Astros general manager Ed Wade is “trying to hit a home run” for Oswalt, indicating that his price is high.

The Astros also are fielding offers for right-hander Brett Myers, who is earning $3.1 million this season with an $8 million mutual option or $2 million buyout for 2011.

Rosenthal goes on to note that it is entirely possible for the Astros to trade Myers, and then resign him as a free agent. That would obviously depend on the destination team declining his 2nd-year option (UPDATE: the 2011 option is mutual), which I would imagine is based on how he performs for whatever team traded for him.

32nd Round pick Austin Chrismon to go to East Carolina

So it seems as though 32nd Round pick Austin Chrismon will not be signing with the Astros:

“We couldn’t reach an agreement on a dollar figure I’d be comfortable with. And I didn’t want to miss out on the college experience and getting an education. So I’ll try again in three years.”

Coach: Rodney Quintero needs another year

Chipola Junior College's coach Jeff Johnson thinks 25th Round pick Rodney Quintero needs another year:

“I’ve been around a lot of talented pitchers in my career, and Rodney is right there with all of the top ones in terms of arm strength, athleticism, all of that. He’s right there with all of them. But the thing he’s got to do is get his pitchability better. But with his arm strength, he’s got a chance to be a big-leaguer. After another year, he could be a top two-round guy and make himself a lot of money. He’s got a chance to be really, really good.”

Breaking down the Roy-mors

Here's your daily dose of the Hunt for Roy's October.

The sense I'm getting now is that the chances of the Twins making a deal for Houston's Roy Oswalt are decreasing. That would make Arizona's Dan Haren or the Cubs' Ted Lilly the next options.

Boston/New York:
Nick Cafardo:
The Sox will not go after a starting pitcher, even though it appears the Yankees, who were scooped on Cliff Lee (much to Epstein’s relief), likely will set their sights on someone like Roy Oswalt, who suffered an ankle contusion over the weekend, or Arizona’s Dan Haren, who has not pitched well recently.

NY Post, quoting Brian Cashman:
“I’m not looking for starting pitching. I don’t feel compelled. This is why we have Sergio Mitre.”

The Mets aren't getting Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren at this trading deadline, but they don't need those aces to stay in the playoff race over the next couple of months.

White Sox:
Williams was already saying before Monday’s game that making a deal wasn’t going to be easy with what teams are asking for proven players. With one American League source saying Monday the White Sox were considering more high profile guys like Houston’s Roy Oswalt or Fausto Carmona, over somebody like a Ted Lilly, the price would have been plenty.

Nothing would be better for the Dodgers than to go out before the trade deadline and pick up a top-notch pitcher like Roy Oswalt. But that isn’t likely to happen. Part of it is because of Oswalt’s no-trade contract and the amount of money in it as well as how many prospects would have to go to Houston. But part of the problem in getting Oswalt — or anyone that would improve the Dodgers roster — is still tied up in the divorce proceedings of Frank and Jamie McCourt. If these two can’t even come to an agreement on who owns the team, how likely will general manager Ned Colletti be able to pull the trigger on a decent trade?

That Thing comes up when talking about Brett Myers

Josh Alper has an article for NBC New York on the Yankees' options to replace Pettitte:

The former Phillie is having a nice season with the Astros as they circle the drain in need of young players to help build another contending team. He's got a ton of experience in pennant races, is a free agent after the season and has also done a lot of bullpen work in the last three years. That's an appealing trait for the Yankees since Myers, or any acquisition, would likely wind up in the pen before all is said and done. The drawbacks are that he's going to be a target for a bunch of teams and that he hasn't always dealt well with media scrutiny, much of it stemming from an incident where he hit his wife.