Saturday, December 25, 2010

In other news you already knew

The Astros traded Matt Lindstrom, in a further effort to shed payroll - which is like throwing deck chairs off the Queen Mary - and to restock Eddie's Farm.

Jonathan Mayo says...

On Wes Musick:
Musick will be 24 for the 2011 season, and he's a southpaw with a reputation as a strike-thrower. He throws his fastball in the 88-90-mph range with a good curveball. He does have the ability to get hitters to swing and miss. Whether he's able to remain a starter will depend on his ability to develop his changeup, something the Rockies had him working on this past year.

On Jonnathan Aristil:
With a 90-mph fastball and decent secondary stuff, Aristil profiles as a long reliever or a spot starter. He's willing to soak up innings and he's not afraid to take the ball in any situation.

Baseball America:

On Aristil:
Aristil finished his season with two scoreless innings in Triple-A with Colorado Springs, but the converted infielder had an unimpressive season. Our scouting report also isn't terribly impressive. He's got an upper-80s fastball that touches the low 90s, an average changeup that he relies on significantly, and a below-average curveball.

On Musick:
Musick has an easy scouting report as a classic lefthander with excellent secondary stuff and a fringy fastball. He has a long medical history, as he had both knee surgery to repair a torn ACL and Tommy John surgery when he was in college at Houston. Musick was drafted three times—out of high school by the Astros in 2005, as well as '08 and '09—because of his feel for a curveball and an excellent changeups, which scouts rate as a plus pitch.

Ed Wade:
In a perfect world you can keep everybody around and be even stronger but, the reality at this point and time, we felt we had protection on the back end of the bullpen. With the ability to go out and add two more young arms to create more depth in the system and balance the payroll, this was a sensible deal for us to make.

It makes perfect sense to make this trade (although why Lindstrom wasn't included in the Paulino trade is unclear). The Astros have already committed to Brandon Lyon for $5m+, and Lindstrom was probably going to get $2-3m in arbitration. For a team that would feel lucky to finish .500, you don't really need to commit $7-8m to the last two innings.

I liked Lindstrom, but his back problems and the presence of Brandon Lyon made him expendable. Of course, had the Astros traded Lyon, it would have made further payroll sense, but I digress. Ultimately, good move by Wade, and there's one less 30-year old on the roster.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Edwin Maysonet is now a Brewer

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says that the Brewers have signed Edwin Maysonet to a minor-league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Figuring out these HOF votes

So we'll play a little game in which we rundown who will be, and who will not be, voting for Bagwell in his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame. This will be updated regularly...

Jeff Jacobs:
Yes, Bagwell's numbers are similar to Hall of Famers Willie Stargell and Orlando Cepeda, but Bagwell played in the era of greatly inflated numbers. And besides never leading the Astros to postseason success, those inflated numbers and that inflated body lead to inevitable whispers of steroids. He has always denied it. He wasn't named in the Mitchell Report. The suspicion, however, postpones my support.

Ron Chimelis:
I plan to vote for Roberto Alomar, Jeff Bagwell, Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris.

Denver Post's Dave Krieger:
So this year, I'm voting for Morris, Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Alan Trammell and Tim Raines because I think they belong. I'm voting for Bagwell and Walker because I'm not sure if they belong, but I'm sure they deserve further consideration.

Heyman explains why he didn't vote for Bagwell

Jon Heyman posted his HOF ballot, which should be credited. Filed under "Close Calls, But Not Quite (Yet)" [sic] is one Bagwell, Jeff:

The numbers were plenty good (449 home runs, .408 OBP, .540 slugging percentage) and he'll merit reconsideration next year. I won't argue if he gets in, but I'd prefer a chance to reconsider in future years.

ESPN has jokes

It's not even Christmas, and ESPN is already running (Insider-Only) articles about how the Astros might as well not even bother in 2011.

You see, it's a ZiPS projection of the NL Central, and they only take into account the Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals, and Reds.

But not without some snark:
Houston has so many holes that they should start selling Astros-imprinted colanders.

River Ave. Blues has their sights on two Astros

Over at the always-quality River Ave. Blues (Yankees blog), Mike Axisa ponders the potential acquisition of Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers. It's a well-thought-out argument, so be sure to give it a click, but here is the verdict:

Brett Myers:
Myers was sure to decline his part of an $8M mutual option for 2011 after the season he had, but Wade (who had Myers in Philadelphia) was proactive. He signed the righty to a two-year contract extension with a third year club option worth no less than $23M. Myers would make a lot of sense for the Yankees, but I just can’t imagine the Astros would be willing to trade him less than five months after giving him the extension.

Wandy Rodriguez:
Rodriguez simply makes far more sense for the Yankees and their current needs. He’s left-handed, can strike people out, and is on a short-term commitment. The Javy Vazquez trade could be a good comp in terms of prospect package required since both guys were coming off strong seasons with just one year left on their deals, so that means an average or worse big leaguer, a lower level pitching prospect, and a fungible relief prospect.

McTaggart, on Bill Hall

You've probably seen it, but Brian McTaggart has his own reaction to the Bill Hall signing. A pull:

Back to the Astros. With the moves to acquire Barmes and Hall, the Astros have completed their top offseason task, which was to add some run production to the middle of the infield. The Astros got a combined nine homers last season from the second base and shortstop positions, and Barmes and Hall could wind up hitting 20 apiece if things go right.

Suddenly, the lineup seems more legitimate.

FanGraphs, on Bill Hall

FanGraphs also did some thinking about Bill Hall. Here's a pull:

Minute Maid Park’s short porch in left field is designed perfectly for Hall’s batting profile – a pull-heavy right hander...In a park that plays well to his skillset, and with a certain position for the first time since 2008, there’s reason to believe that Hall can produce at second base for the Astros in 2010. The situation works out perfectly for both teams: the Astros get a low-risk stopgap in a rebuilding time, and Hall gets a chance to build some value for one last push at another multi-year contract.

Thinking about this Bill Hall thing

So as the one who was on duty at the AC Desk this weekend, being called away on business meant that I completely failed at my job. I thought, "What can possibly happen?" And then the Astros went and signed Bill Hall to a $3.25 million contract. A couple of notes about this.

1. This is pretty clearly the end of Jeff Keppinger's time as 2B1. If this is true, I'm okay with that. 2010 was the best year of his career, and if the Astros can capitalize on that with a couple of prospects - even lower-level ones - then that's great.

2. That said, the Hall deal is only a one-year deal. Meaning the Astros are paying $3.25m for a guy who has posted one year with an OPS higher than .700 since 2007. Keppinger is heading to arbitration for the second time, after making $1.15m in 2010. Even if his 2nd year of arbitration nets him a 100% raise, it will result in almost a million dollars less than Bill Hall's deal. (But again, if you spend $1m adding a good prospect or two, then I can live with that).

3. The Astros are obviously just trying to get to 2012. Heading into 2012, Lee will be mercifully be in the final year of his contract. Bourn and Pence will be in their final year of arbitration. Hall will be off the books. Who knows what will happen to Barmes? Just right there, that's potentially five positions (without even having looked at pitchers) that are up in the air beginning in 2013. Will the Astros give extensions to Bourn or Pence? They've decided - rightly, in my humble opinion - to wait and see. There's no pressure to lock anybody up, because let's be honest, the Reds and Cardinals are going to be better - on paper - than the Astros for the next couple of seasons. With the Brewers acquiring Zack Greinke and Shawn Marcum, they are now better than the Astros.

4. So Wade is doing what he has done over the past couple of years: Trying to catch lightning in a bottle while adding to the farm system. It seems to be his M.O - stock the system, and then get fired before any of them finish climbing the chain. If you're a Wade believer, then you hope whomever is the new owner (if there even is one by 2012), believes in the system and keeps him on. It's not Wade's fault that the Astros have $35m in financial commitments in 2012, and $18.5m of that is to Carlos Lee. Patience is the word to remember around Astros Fandom. Think Mills is reminiscing about his days at Fenway yet?