Jayson Stark graded the off-seasons of the NL Central, and found that the Astros performed, predictably, below-average:
It's hard to find any team in the NL that did less this winter than the Astros. Other than trading Paulino for Barmes, their only major target was Orlando Hudson, who decided he'd rather be a Padre. So the Astros wound up with a DP combination of Hall at second and Barmes at short. And let's just say nobody is going to confuse them with Alomar and Ripken. They also left themselves some pesky bullpen questions.
Yes, because it goes over so well in the media when the Astros target big-money free agents.