Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pellegrini will be ready for Spring Training

And Brian Pellegrini's surgery went well, but he'll be out longer than he expected, yet still plans to be ready for Spring Training.

Brian Pellegrini to have surgery this morning

Slugger Brian Pellegrini told everyone last night on Twitter that he would be in surgery this morning to clean out his knee, and added that it's "nothing too serious."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Houston getting some love for the Aneury pick

(First of all, I love the guy's name. Aneury. It sounds like it's going to be terrible, but then it stops short. It's a fear-inducing name. Like Syphil. Or Gonorrh.)

Call to the Pen loves the pick:

He’s a big strike-thrower with low-to-mid-90’s heat and solid offspeed stuff–the sort of guy who should be somewhere between a third and fifth starter. With well over 100 Triple-A innings, he’s pretty much big-league ready, and the Astros could always use young talent–it’s a match made in heaven, no?

I have to say, I criticize the majority of Houston’s moves, but this one is extremely good. Rodriguez can be a back-of-the-rotation starter or solid middle reliever this season, so unlike most Rule 5 picks, he won’t be a strain on the roster. Furthermore, he has the potential to wind up being a rotation rock for the next half-decade. Well done indeed.

What other people think about these two gentlemen

Aneury Rodriguez

RaysProspects.com (January 2010):
He doesn't have great stuff, but it's good enough: A low-90s fastball with a slider and change-up, but the change-up lags behind the other two in terms of development. At a slender 6'3", Rodriguez could add a little bit to his fastball as he continues to develop.

DRaysBay (April 2009):
In three seasons, Rodriguez has shown the ability to strike hitters out while avoiding walks and homeruns. FIPs of 3.15, 3.86, and 3.38. He seems like a quality pitcher...

Tracy Ringolsby (quoting Baseball America, November 2010):
“Rodriguez might be the most likely player to get picked, as he has the combination of success at upper levels, the possibility of upside and age on his side. Rodriguez pitched for Triple-A Durham at age 22 this season and was for several stretches the Bulls’ No. 2 starter after Minor League Player of the Year Jeremy Hellickson."

Lance Pendleton

Pinstriped Bible (Today):
He acquitted himself well at pitching-friendly Trenton, and has a nice low-90s sinker, but there’s not much else going on there and his strikeout rate plummeted while his home-run rake spiked in his brief stint at Triple-A to end the season. The Astros are a bad team, but unless they see potential for Pendleton in relief, he seems unlikely to stick.

Jonathan Mayo on Aneury Rodriguez

Here's a nice recap of why the Astros took Tampa Bay's Aneury Rodriguez in today's Rule 5 draft:

At the start of the Winter Meetings, it was the Rays' Rodriguez who was talked about the most as a player sure to be taken. Houston took him right after the Nationals picked, at No. 8, and like Ramirez, the soon-to-be 23-year-old improved his stock in winter ball. Rodriguez has a 1.22 ERA and .193 opponents' batting average in seven Dominican League starts. Unlike Ramirez, though, Rodriguez spent most of the year at Triple-A and had some success there (3.80 ERA in 113 2/3 innings), so Houston believes he's ready to compete at the Major League level.

Ed Wade:
"Being able to get these two guys provides us with depth of competition for a starting role in Spring Training, and we'll see where it goes from there. It's good to add some quality [talent] to the organization, and we understand what the Rule 5 process is and are satisfied with the way it went."

Astros sign Ryan Rowland-Smith

So the Astros have agreed to terms (pending a physical) with another pitcher - this one likely figuring into the SP5 mix, 27 year-old Ryan Rowland-Smith. Rowland-Smith is a lefty, 6'3", and 205lb from Sydney, Australia. We are working to confirm that, because he's from the southern hemisphere, his pitches actually spin the other way.

In 10 minor-league seasons, Rowland-Smith is 33-30 with a 3.84 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and a career 2.71 K:BB ratio, with 8.9 hits/9, 8.7 K/9, and 3.2 BB/9.

In 27 games with the Mariners in 2010, Rowland-Smith was 1-10 with a 6.75 ERA/1.69 WHIP, 1.11 K:BB, 11.6 H/9, 4.0 K/9, and 3.6 BB/9.

His numbers took a hit in July, when in six starts (31.1IP), he gave up 45H/30ER, 10K:10BB, 8HR, and a .331/.610/.993. Unfortunately, this came with a .311 BABIP - not terribly inflated. This is all also inflated by a 5IP, 11H/11ER performance at Chicago on July 27.

In five September appearances (four of them in relief), Rowland-Smith allowed 12H/6ER in 11IP for a more handsome 4.91 ERA, and a .279/.340/.558 (.323 BABIP).

He'll compete for the SP5 spot with Figueroa, Lyles, Abad, and Villar.

Rule 5 pick!

Zach Levine just tweeted that the Astros have selected Aneury Rodriguez and Lance Pendleton in the Rule 5 draft, and didn't have anyone selected by another team in the MLB portion of the Draft.

-RHP Aneury Rodriguez will be 23 next week, and comes from the Rays organization. In 2010, he split time between Double-A and Triple-A (mostly in Triple-A), posting a 7-5 record, with a 3.71 ERA/1.33 WHIP (6-5, 3.80/1.35 in AAA). Peripherals: 1.96 K:BB ratio, 8.2 H/9, 7.4 K/9, and 3.9 BB/9.

-RHP Lance Pendleton is 27, and comes out of Kingwood, TX. He was the Yankees 4th Round pick in 2005, and also aplit tome between Double-A and Triple-A for the Yankees in 2010 (mostly, though, in Double-A Trenton). Over the course of 2010, Pendleton was 12-5 with a 3.61 ERA/1.17 WHIP. Peripherals: 2.33 K:BB, 7.2 H/9, 7.7 K/9, and 3.3 BB/9.

-In the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft, the Astros lost Jeiler Castillo to the A's. Castillo finished 2010 in Tri-City, but spent most of the season in Greeneville.

Eddie's Farm Moves

The Astros have filled some spots open in Eddie's Farm:

-Stubby Clapp. Moved from Corpus' hitting coach to Minor League Roving Infield Instructor/Tri-City manager

-John Moses. Leaves as hitting coach for Triple-A Albuquerque for hitting coach at Corpus

-Tom Spencer. Manager at Lancaster, last managed in 2009 in St. Louis' organization.

-Edgar Alfonzo (not to be confused with his brother, Edgardo), to be hitting coach in GCL Astros.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Really? 20-25 conversations?

So it's being reported that Drayton has had 20-25 conversations regarding selling the Astros. But "just conversations."

One of those conversations may or may not have been with Stan Kasten.

It's also unclear if 24 conversations were with one guy who just keeps calling to ask, "What's up?"

Interestingly enough Kasten doesn't sound terribly interested.

Cross Jack Cust off the list

As he has signed a deal with the Mariners...

Brad Arnsberg knows how to work some magic

In Zach Levine's blog post last night we read that the Astros will try to exhaust their options for SP5 before looking elsewhere. Maybe.

Wade, speaking on behalf of Brad Arnsberg, said that Arnsberg can get a pitcher ready to start over the course of one Spring Training.

Within that link, Levine breaks down the chances of Figueroa, Lyles, Abad, and Villar of becoming that SP5.

Tuesdays Rumored Rumors

The flu knocked He Who Was In Charge of the Updates down yesterday, and today is a little iffy, but let's go through the rumors and topics of the day for Day Two of the Winter Meetings:

Somehow, the Astros were interested in Ty Wigginton, before he mercifully signed with Colorado.

Wandy Rodriguez changed agents, from Barry Praver to Adam Katz. Adam Katz also represents Carlos Lee.

The Astros are interested in Jack Cust, as are the Mariners.

Ed Wade confirmed they have been active in trade talks, but that's as far as it went:
“We’ve exchanged some trade proposals with teams today and we were prepared to move forward if they were embraced, and they weren’t.”

One possible area the Astros could upgrade at 2B is with former Brewer/Red Sock(x) Bill Hall, and had conversations with Hall's agent.

The Astros are interested in Ryan Rowland-Smith.

Expect the Astros to be active in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

McTaggart: The longer this goes on, the less likely the deals

A note from McTaggart:

The longer the Winter Meetings drag on, the less convinced I am the Astros will make any deals. Sure, that's an easy assessment to make, but based on conversations with some in the organization, I feel there's a decent chance Brian Bogusevic will be the club's left fielder in a platoon situation with Jason Michaels in the event Carlos Lee is at first base.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Rockies could be interested in Lindstrom

The Denver Post's Troy E. Renck just posted that the Rockies would have interest in Lindstrom, but aren't sure if there's a match in a trade.

How about Felipe Paulino?

Hey-oh!

Brian McTaggart says the Astros have been asked about Bourn, Pence, and Wandy.

Zach Levine tweets (about the same time) a quote from Ed Wade:
"Generally speaking, we're going to be very, very, very reluctant to talk about the young players in our system."

Add Matt Diaz to the list of corner outfielders the Astros are interested in

With a captip to MLBTR, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution adds the Astros to the list of teams interested in Matt Diaz.

Crasnick: Astros think Wallace will get to see what Bricktown is all about

According to Jerry Crasnick the Astros think Brett Wallace may need to start 2011 in Oklahoma City:

"He's a big league player," said a Houston person. But he hit .222 last year

Keppinger and Lindstrom are available, if anyone wants them

According to a front office source, FanHouse's Ed Price says the Astros are making Keppinger and Lindstrom available in an effort to further cut payroll.

McTaggart says payroll will be around $70 million, down from over $90 million last year. Why is it being trimmed further? According to Price, because of the impending sale of the franchise.

Yeah, the $4-5 million that Lindstrom and Keppinger will make combined is the problem with the payroll...

UPDATE: There may be a better reason out there. As AstroBrit and 77340fan have pointed out, coming on the heels of the "Astros interested in Hardy" note, dealing Keppinger could move Barmes to second, and sign Hardy. Excellent point. One to keep an eye on...

Astros interested in J.J. Hardy

The Astros are apparently one of six teams interested in Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Not so sure about the validity of this, given that whole Clint Barmes thing, and all...

The Cardinals' lineup with Berkman

Tony LaRussa addressed the lineup yesterday, and just where Berkman would hit.

LaRussa:
"I believe he fits you best in the middle. I really believe we just got deeper in the middle of our order. You talk about a track record hitter in the middle and he's got it. I'd put him in the top five or six in the league. I see him hitting fourth if Matt doesn't play, fifth if he does."

How should you feel about Berkman?

After taking a couple of days to consider just what in the hell happened, here's a guide to how you currently feel vs. how you should probably feel.

Mad as hell

If you're mad as hell, the key is questioning just who you're mad at:

Are you mad at Berkman? Not so fast, my friend. He got $8 million to play on a team with Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols - one that is a playoff contender.

Berkman:
"I can understand why people would feel that way, but really I'm not motivated by revenge. I'm not looking to come back in here and do anybody any harm or any damage. I just feel like St. Louis has a good team. it's a good city to play baseball in. I like the opportunity."

Are you mad at Ed Wade? If this is the overwhelming emotion you feel, it's probably the most appropriate, given the circumstances.

More Berkman:
"If it couldn't be here, this is the next place I wanted to be. The first call we made was to Houston. When that one didn't work out, the very next one was to St. Louis."

It was Ed Wade who told him, "No, thanks." When Wade made that decision, he knew Berkman wanted to play everyday, and play in the National League. Even though the Cardinals have to re-sign Pujols (and this is out-of-the-blue news), Wade should have considered the possibility Berkman would sign with the Cubs or Cardinals.

However, how did you feel when the Astros traded him? Relieved? Then what's the problem? He didn't (really) hit for the Yankees, why do you think he's going to hit for the Cardinals? If you thought his stock was falling, shouldn't it be a good thing that Berkman is going to a division rival, and playing a more demanding position?

Are you mad at the Cardinals? We're totally fine with that.

Sad

This is probably the dominant emotion. If you thought seeing Berkman in pinstripes was weird, wait until you see him with birds on the bat. If you're around the age of 30, then Berkman was a dominant part of your formative baseball years, and not the "I like baseball, and ice cream" years. The years where you first started paying attention to things like OBP, and SLG. The years where you felt like everyone in baseball owed you a handshake for 2004 and 2005. In your heart, you know that Berkman isn't the same player, but it kills you to think that he signed with the Cardinals out of spite, and he just might play a huge role in getting the Cardinals to the playoffs, and will play the Astros 18 times. So he's no longer out-of-sight out-of-mind. Sadness is a completely acceptable emotion.

Indifferent

This is a rather advanced emotion, similar to telling your friends that you like Animal Collective: it's impressive to say it, but deep down, you likely know that it's not true.

How you should treat Berkman upon his return in April

If you boo him, you're a jacknut. Granted, within a few minutes of the news, The Constable posted a rather hasty, violent tweet about Berkman. But that was a fit of passion (and he has been dealt with sternly). Do not hold it against Berkman. This isn't a Johnny Damon scenario, and while we can't remember a time that a significant Astro went to a division rival (Trever Miller doesn't count), it's just not the same. He wanted to come back, was rebuffed, and whether spite played into it or not, he gave the Astros the first crack at his services.

That said, if this stokes your hatred of the Cardinals and all they represent, so much the better.