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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Houston Astros

Acquired 3B Mike Lamb from the New York Yankees for P Juan DeLeon.

DeLeon’s the standard A-ball relief prospect - decent stuff, a bit on the raw side, and not being counted on in the future.  That’s a fair price for Mike Lamb, one of the 3B acquired after the Boone injury that the Yankees no longer need.  Lamb will pinch-hit for the Astros and occasionally be used to screw

spell Morgan Ensberg based on the random urges of Jimy Williams.

Dan Szymborski Posted: March 25, 2004 at 09:29 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jay Jaffe Posted: July 11, 2001 at 07:09 PM (#551519)
From the Those Who Forget History Are Doomed To Repeat It Department: I noticed a few years ago that Hayes has had two tours of duty with three different teams, the Giants, Yanks, and Phillies. I can see some GM slapping himself on the forehead: "Oh, it's that Charlie Hayes? Damn, we had this guy before and he stank."

If the Rockies, Brewers or Pirates have GMs with similarly short memories, Bad Bad Charlie may yet resurface.
   2. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 13, 2001 at 06:30 AM (#551521)
Dan, if they didn't have Batista, they probably would go after Hayes. Except, well, that would be too cheap. They seem pretty desperate to give away Sidney Ponson.
   3. kurt Posted: July 13, 2001 at 02:36 PM (#551522)
Dan, nobody will ever top Bill James' "idea of long range planning" re Steinbrenner so don't even try!
   4. Big Ed Posted: December 04, 2001 at 02:09 PM (#551917)
What were they thinking? Simple. He's cheaper by a wide margin than Alou is. That is not to say he is better, but I suspect this is a lot of the thought process.
   5. David Jones Posted: December 04, 2001 at 04:52 PM (#551919)
So what are you guys going to do when next season ends and Hunter collects the NL Most Valuable Player award?
   6. Big Ed Posted: December 04, 2001 at 05:10 PM (#551920)
Be amazed.

Mark, I didn't say the idea made sense, just that I suspected that this is what they were thinking.
   7. Kurt Posted: December 04, 2001 at 09:02 PM (#551924)
"So what are you guys going to do when next season ends and Hunter collects the NL Most Valuable Player award? "

I don't know what I'll do, but I suspect Bonds or Sosa or Chipper or someone will be calling the police, and installing a new security system.
   8. Steve Posted: December 04, 2001 at 09:41 PM (#551926)
Hunter has a use on a playoff-caliber team, and I think the Astros in this particular move may be looking at him as a backup outfielder who can pinch-run. If I remember right, and I could be wrong, the bench they had in the playoffs didn't have much speed, and you do want a guy like that on the postseason roster.

He won a game or two for the Phils last year with his speed, which shocked me.
   9. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 05, 2001 at 12:02 AM (#551929)

The Astros already had one of those "backup OF/pinch runner" types. Have you looked at Glen Barker's career stats recently? He's better defensive than Brian L., too.

-- MWE
   10. Don Malcolm Posted: December 05, 2001 at 12:13 AM (#551930)
Mike, you're forgetting the team nickname and their affinity/proximity to NASA. Remember that the hallmark of NASA design principles is redundancy.

Based on that, expect the Astros to reacquire James Mouton before too long...
   11. Jay Jaffe Posted: December 05, 2001 at 05:43 AM (#551932)
I'm still in shock that there are two men named Brian Hunter who are drawing Major League paychecks. How to tell them apart:

Fast Brian L. Hunter has a career OPS of 655, with 22 HR and 255 SB in 8 seasons. He usually gets handed a job, only to prove that he really does suck.

Slow Brian R. Hunter has a career OPS of 728, with 67 HR and 4 SB in 9 seasons. He usually languishes on the bench except to pinch-hit or give the regular first baseman a day off, only to prove that he sucks.

I wonder if the Astros checked to see if they got the right guy. You can never be too sure these days.
   12. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 05, 2001 at 07:49 PM (#551933)
Out of curiosity, going a few posts back, what's the basis for saying Jimy Williams has won everywhere he went? He has a .540 career winning percentage for teams that weren't winning any less before his arrival, has never managed a team to a division title, and has all of a single playoff series won to his name.

With the Blue Jays, Jimy's now remembered as the manager sandwiched between two managers that brought more success to Toronto than he did and a manager that lost control of the team in a month. Not to mention getting half the team to hate him, getting off to a 12-24 start in 1989 and after he was mercifully fired, the same .333 team going on to win the division.

What exactly has Jimy ever done that would make one label him a winner?
   13. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 08, 2001 at 06:33 AM (#551937)
As far as the comment about Dr. Pappas goes...

I don't know about any Jim Gott lawsuit, but Pappas was sued by Marty Barrett (former Sox 2B) and was forced to pay out damages. Apparently he removed Barrett's ACL entirely in midseason, under the guise that he was doing repair work, and failed to tell Barrett either before or after the procedure. Barrett was a free-agent-to-be, and the Sox were tangentially involved in a pennant race, and they didn't want to get marooned without a second baseman. Pappas has (or at least, had) a 5 percent share of the team, leading to the apparent conflict of interest (welfare of player v. welfare of team). There was a big article in Sports Illustrated about 8 years ago, if anyone's interested.

As for the notorious Mr. Hunter, if the Astros can unload him for anything approaching Robert Averette in value, they'll come out smelling like roses. Don't laugh... I think Baltimore is supposed to be looking for a CF.
   14. RJ in TO Posted: January 13, 2002 at 03:02 AM (#552565)
Okay, so Houston overpaid for Wagner in comparison to another non-stopping reliever. But they paid in line with what stoppers are getting, and they also paid for another thing which a lot of people tend to forget about: peace of mind.

Yes, stoppers are overpaid, but if I'm a coach (or GM), I'm going to be a lot happier going into spring training knowing that I have a guy who has had success before as a closer than I am going in to spring training trying to figure out which one of my relievers might be able to do the job, and how screwed I am if I'm wrong.
   15. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 13, 2002 at 06:18 PM (#552567)
People forget that holds are save opportunities, with the only difference being that the pitcher with a hold didn't finish the game.

-- MWE
   16. Alan Posted: January 13, 2002 at 11:39 PM (#552569)
It's just stupid to look at a non-closer's save rates and say that they mean anything. If Dotel comes in the 7th with a 1-run lead, and shuts down the offense in order, he doesn't get a save. But if he comes in that same situation, and gives up a run, he gets credited with a blown save. If you gave Mariano Rivera the role Octavio Dotel has, he'd be lucky to have a 50% save percentage. Vinay is right about Dotel having an 89% save percentage. You have to factor holds into the equation, because it's the same thing as a save.
   17. Darren Posted: January 30, 2002 at 09:02 PM (#553576)
7 years, $50 million might look great, but you'd also have to consider you're set for life on the $10 mil. you're already getting. Why not ride it out and see if a bigger payday's in store?

I wonder exactly how much money the Stros saved. Could someone please fill me in on how much people typically make in their 1st and 2nd years of arbitration? Is it the same as their last year of arbitration, where they can make big bucks?
   18. Repoz Posted: January 30, 2002 at 09:25 PM (#553577)
Berkman is one of the NL cornerstone players in their(slow to learn)change of scouting and signing philosophy..The NL for the last 50 or so years has been following the Durocher Dictum of finding "The Next Willie Mays" in the guise of "A 5 Tool Player" while in the visitors dugout the AL(after they allowed and realized that Blacks and Latinos could play)have been busy scouting and signing uuhhhh baseball players.
   19. Repoz Posted: March 13, 2002 at 12:54 AM (#555417)
Jimy Williams goes out and gets himself his first of all-round schlubby versatile players in Geoff Blum (OPS-.664). The type that merlonied the Red Sox roster for years.

Ossie Chavarria is probably waiting near his phone.
   20. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: March 13, 2002 at 01:04 AM (#555418)
I'm not sure what to make of this deal for the Astros. I suspect Chirs Truby's friends in low places may have helped out with both Roy Oswalt's performance, and Houston's exceeding their Pythagorean WPct (they parlayed the 3rd best PWpct in the NL Central into a division title). Plus, losing Truby's connections eliminates a great potential buyer for the Astros' stadium naming rights (hey, it'd be a step up from Enron).

But it makes sense that, now that Beelzebud is running the Expos, he'd want his greatest player admirer out on the field for him.
   21. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 13, 2002 at 02:31 AM (#555422)
Tatis is still injured and the Expos have never seemed to care at all about him. If it makes you feel better (it won't), I've been playing Tracy at 1st (Tatis is at 3rd) in my game of Diamond Mind over Lee Stevens.
   22. Repoz Posted: March 13, 2002 at 02:33 AM (#555423)
I know it's your goal to coin a new clever term in every post, but Merloni is not the word you're looking for. Merloni's play in AAA gives every reason to believe he'd be a utility infielder. In his brief shot at steady ML playing time, he hit quite well.

So the next time you're waxing Dennis Miller, trying saying that someone really "DLewed" the roster or put his "Hillenbrand" on it. It's still be extremely forced, but it would be more accurate.
   23. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 13, 2002 at 02:50 AM (#555424)
I'm confused; are you having an argument with yourself or is one of the posts not real?
   24. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: March 13, 2002 at 04:11 AM (#555425)

I think that it's a case of mistakenly putting the person you're addressing in the name box. I've almost done it, and I've had it done to me.

Does this indicate a full-fledged commitment by the Astros to Morgan Ensberg at third? I hope so. Voros is projecting a great season for him. How he pans out could mean a lot in the NL Central and Wild Card races.
   25. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 13, 2002 at 04:18 AM (#555426)
Blum really isn't that bad. He can't handle an everyday slot, but he's perfectly capable of not destroying your lineup at five or six different slots on a temporary basis. He's leaps and bounds ahead of a guy like Mike Benjamin, just to throw a name out there.

I'm actually pleased that the Astros did this, if only because it means they're locked into Morgan Ensberg. Truby's just good enough to tempt a manager into keeping a better player on the bench if the sample sizes align that way.

Is it just me, or did Truby come out of Miskatonic U? We could solve this whole contraction mess once and for all if an Elder God rose from R'lyeh and ate the whole damn province.
   26. Darren Posted: March 13, 2002 at 04:23 AM (#555427)
The above "Repoz" comment was mine.

It was supposed to read:


Blah blah blah.

Instead, I wrote Repoz in the name field.

Sorry Repoz, didn't mean to re-poze as you.
   27. Repoz Posted: March 13, 2002 at 02:16 PM (#555432)
Darren....This argument might actually be with myself (as Dan almost correctly assayed)seeing that we share the same 1st name.
   28. Darren Posted: March 14, 2002 at 03:53 AM (#555434)
   29. SM in DC Posted: June 14, 2002 at 08:02 PM (#557151)
Apparently doctors inserted a fork in Shane's neck-- -- because he is done for the year....
   30. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 17, 2002 at 07:08 PM (#557176)
There was a clutch hits about Zinter during spring training. Apparently Hunsicker or someone on his staff (I forget the details) was with the Mets and was really high on Zinter at the time he was drafted, and this connection led to the Astros signing him. He seemed like a decent guy in the article, and it's nice that he's getting some service time. His MLE doesn't make him look like anything but the last man on the bench, but he doesn't seem totally helpless, either.

Ginter really deserves a job somewhere; it's just a bad year to be a rookie 3B, WRT organizational patience. I keep hoping that he'll drift over to my Pirates, but that's nothing but a pipe dream.
   31. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 18, 2002 at 02:40 PM (#557179)
I think I'd drop dead if Craig Paquette ever managed a .380 OBP!
   32. Bob T Posted: August 12, 2002 at 06:49 PM (#558393)
The Viz is a "proven winner". One hit in the 2000 WS proved that.
   33. Darren Posted: August 13, 2002 at 02:14 AM (#558396)
Too bad the Red Sox didn't hold onto Darren Lewis, Jeff Manto, and a couple of other Jimy faves. They would have a nice package to trade for Ensberg, Ginter, and Lane.
   34. ColonelTom Posted: October 17, 2002 at 10:18 PM (#559051)
Insanity! This guy posted a .352 SLG -- yes, that's right, not OBP, slugging percentage -- while playing half of his home games in "the Juicer" in 2002. There are probably 20 catchers floating around in free agency, triple-A, Japan, etc., who would put up equal or better numbers for the major-league minimum. And I don't buy that Ausmus' defense makes it all worthwhile; it can't compensate for the fact that he's pretty much a second pitcher hitting in the lineup.

Well, if the Astros end up re-acquiring Mike Hampton (as has been rumored before), maybe Hampton can DH for Ausmus in those inter-league games...
   35. ColonelTom Posted: October 18, 2002 at 02:41 PM (#559056)
Eh, it's only two more years of Hidalgo's ridiculous contract. He'll be gone in time to use the money for their young pitchers, when the time comes to sign them long-term. I certainly hope they're not stupid enough to deal Hidalgo for Hampton's longer-term deal.
   36. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 18, 2002 at 06:16 PM (#559060)
Alfonzo is going to sign with Chicago (NL) or Los Angeles for more money than he can carry with seventeen hands and a little red wagon.

The proposed deal, as I hear it, is Pinella and Cirillo for nothing.
   37. Darren Posted: October 20, 2002 at 05:43 PM (#559062)
What happened to his chronic back problem last year? It didn't cause him to miss any game and he hit very well.

I'd take that kind of back problem.
   38. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: December 18, 2002 at 05:25 PM (#561076)
Will (#1):


Why would the Braves trade for something they already have?
   39. Darren Posted: December 18, 2002 at 05:31 PM (#561081)

Kent couldn't have lost at chicken. He still had his arbitration offer in his back pocket. He could have taken the Giants to arb for $10 mil/one year, easily I would think. That's why 2 years at $15 mil. sounds ridiculously low.

I have to think the Red Sox will be in the market for Ensberg. Yes, Sam, Ensberg and Derosa are the same in the same way that Derosa and Marcus Giles are the same.

You have to believe that Keith Ginter could be had very cheaply too.
   40. Andrew Edwards Posted: December 18, 2002 at 05:55 PM (#561086)
If you can get Jeff Kent playing 3B for you for this money, I bet the Phillies feel pretty damn stupid about signing David Bell.
   41. Zagg Posted: December 18, 2002 at 06:02 PM (#561087)
Nice Royal Tenenbaums reference.
   42. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: December 18, 2002 at 06:23 PM (#561090)
Will said, re: the Braves trading for Morgan Ensberg:

"This would be cheap and would allow De Rosa to play 2b with Marcus Giles. The Braves could then patch together line-ups based on individual match-ups from this collection of players one of whom should become somewhat good. They do need some depth in the infield, for sure."

The problem here is that neither of those players, Derosa nor Ensberg, really needs to be eating up Marcus Giles' at bats. All three are RH, so it's not like there's a platoon advantage there. All Ensberg would do would be to give the Braves yet another fair-to-middling option that Cox wouldn't play ahead of Castilla anyway.

The Braves need either a real corner IF (not another Mark Derosa) or a real corner OF so that Chipper Jones can go back and play 3B like he's supposed to.
   43. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 18, 2002 at 07:02 PM (#561094)
You are, Keith, you are.

-- MWE
   44. Christian (ruz) Posted: December 18, 2002 at 07:10 PM (#561097)
The only thing that would really make sense is if the Oracle just has the numbers wrong (not that I would ever doubt the Oracle).

The Oracle doesn't have any numbers right or wrong -- he said his numbers were just a guess.

I'm confused by this signing, too -- I expected Kent to accept arbitration, play out the year in SF, and then try next year, when the free agent market is better. Of course, there's no guarantee the market would be better, but really, could it be any worse?

Anyway, Kent is gonna love hitting into those Crawford boxes. What is it, like 185 to the left-field alley?
   45. Mr. Crowley Posted: December 18, 2002 at 07:39 PM (#561099)
It's a trp!
   46. Eli Hungerford: Cityboy Crypto-Elitist for hire Posted: December 18, 2002 at 08:12 PM (#561102)
When does Pagoda say that in the movie? When Owen Wilson jumps out of the window to avoid rehab? Having seen the movie three times (in addition to owning the soundtrack) I'm rather ashamed at not knowing this one right off.
   47. Christian (ruz) Posted: December 18, 2002 at 08:50 PM (#561105)
while I think the overall effect MMP has on HRS is overstated (center is a vast wastland), the Crawford boxes are ridiculously easy to reach.

Hmmm...Kent's hit chart indicates that most of his power is to center, rather than to left, so maybe he won't get as much of a boost from the Juice Box as I originally thought. That is, most of his homers are to left, but most of his fly outs are to center, so he may not pick up too many cheap home runs.
   48. Christian (ruz) Posted: December 18, 2002 at 09:40 PM (#561110)
Well, given that Biggio has to play somewhere, I suppose it's better to move him to left and force Ward to the bench than it is to move Kent to third and force Blum to the bench...
   49. Darren Posted: December 19, 2002 at 01:22 AM (#561125)
Did someone bid higher 2 years, $17-$18 mil? If he went to arbitration and got 1 year, $10 mil, he'd have to go out next year and find $7-8 mil. The security is worth giving up the money, probably.
   50. MM1f Posted: December 19, 2002 at 04:33 AM (#561128)
Um, since this has kinda turned into a will--the-Braves-pick-up-Ensberg-and-if-not-who-will-they-get type thing...

Wouldn't it be better to pick up a somewhat older guy with 2 or 3 year left on his contract than a younger guy or sign an FA to a long term deal?

After all Betemit and Johnson should be ready, at least for a year on the bench, in a year or two
   51. MM1f Posted: December 19, 2002 at 04:33 AM (#561129)
Um, since this has kinda turned into a will--the-Braves-pick-up-Ensberg-and-if-not-who-will-they-get type thing...

Wouldn't it be better to pick up a somewhat older guy with 2 or 3 year left on his contract than a younger guy or sign an FA to a long term deal?

After all Betemit and Johnson should be ready, at least for a year on the bench, in a year or two
   52. Fog City Blues Posted: December 19, 2002 at 05:53 PM (#561134)
Re: Mondesi to the Giants rumors.

The story I read a month ago said the Giants have a "cursory interest" in Mondesi and the Giants would require the Yankees to pay most of Mondesi's salary if they pull the trigger on a deal. This is an old rumor, so maybe signing Matsui revived the trade talks.
   53. Warren Posted: May 12, 2003 at 06:17 PM (#565892)
Does anyone else find it a bit unsettling that a player was waived for being *accused* of a crime? Don't get me wrong - if he's convicted, then dump him, but what happened to "innocent until proven guilty"?
   54. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 12, 2003 at 10:13 PM (#565895)
Chouinard requested his own release, in order to deal with his personal issues. Link.

I'll be glad to root against Lugo, IF/WHEN he's convicted of the crime of which he's accused. Until then, it's sort of unnerving to see the Astros use such a quick trigger on a matter that's still up in the air.
   55. KJOK Posted: May 12, 2003 at 10:53 PM (#565896)
I believe if you go back and re-read what was said by the Astros about Lugo, it appeared that they at first said the release was due to the domestic violence charge, but then the following day they started talking about his poor performance. Not sure what caused them to change their tune unless it was some type of fear of a greivance from the players union?
   56. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: May 12, 2003 at 11:14 PM (#565897)
The Astros should have just started with Lugo's performance. A .226 EQA from a 27-year-old kinda screams "cut me" if not for the small sample size. Considering Lugo's performance historically, it's not ridiculous to just dump him. The Astros may or may not have anybody better, of course, but Lugo isn't the solution, so what the hell....
   57. Alan Posted: May 13, 2003 at 03:27 AM (#565899)
Does anyone else find it a bit unsettling that a player was waived for being *accused* of a crime? Don't get me wrong - if he's convicted, then dump him, but what happened to "innocent until proven guilty"?

As others have pointed out, he was waived as much, if not more, for on-field reasons as for off-field reasons. However, the Astros don't need to wait for a trial to make a judgment. They are not the government and they are not the law. An accused person is presumed(important word, don't leave it out) innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law, but the accused's employer is not forced to follow the same set of rules as the government. If the Astros don't want an accused wife-beater on their team, then they are perfectly justified in releasing Lugo.
   58. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 13, 2003 at 11:44 AM (#565900)
Everybody knows they CAN dump him; I was just disturbed to see that they chose to before there was any sort of formal finding. You can say that his poor performance earned a release, and that might be true, but the Astros' initial comments indicated that the police matter was the real motivation behind their decision to cut him.

The next time some old talking head starts nattering about how players have no loyalty to their organizations anymore, pull out this example and fling it in his face.
   59. MM1f Posted: May 16, 2003 at 04:50 PM (#565903)
At least he had to become a Devil Ray.
   60. Bob T Posted: July 30, 2003 at 07:55 PM (#566970)
Miceli is the Mike Kilkenny of the 21st Century.
   61. Greg Franklin Posted: July 30, 2003 at 08:26 PM (#566971)
Of course, the Astros already have (Nate) Bland-ness in their system.

At last check, he was on the minor league DL, so I suppose Gerry Hunsicker had to reload with some more reliably bland talent.
   62. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: July 30, 2003 at 11:18 PM (#566972)
Considering that the Yanks still owe the Indians a PTBNL for acquiring Miceli (and Karim Garcia) in the first place, I wonder if Cleveland will just take the PTBNL straight from the Astros. :-)
   63. MM1f Posted: November 18, 2003 at 10:44 PM (#568234)
1.2 million?


Jesse Garcia (just using him as name, there are plenty of similar guys out there, some probably better; he's just the first guy to pop to my mind) will work for free (or 300k at least). He's never hit in the majors but hit .312 in AAA with 29 SBs little patience or power though. Good glove at short.
   64. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 18, 2003 at 11:46 PM (#568235)

Actually, on second thought, I like this move. Anything that makes it easier for the Pirates to move up in the Central is fine by me. God knows they could use the help.
   65. Sweet Posted: November 19, 2003 at 12:30 AM (#568236)
As a Cubs fan, I heartily endorse this move. Kudos, Houston!
   66. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: November 19, 2003 at 08:19 PM (#568238)
It gets better -- they resigned Ausmus for two years. See here.
   67. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 19, 2003 at 09:03 PM (#568383)
Same thing as my Vizcaino comment, except more so. He's past the end of his useful life as a player, and if this contract's anything more than a minimum-salary deal, it'll be very useful in keeping the Astros out of the postseason.
   68. Walt Davis Posted: November 19, 2003 at 09:39 PM (#568385)
2 years??!! 2 Freakin' Years??!!

Thank god I'm a Cub fan or I'd have exploded right there.
   69. Transmission Posted: November 19, 2003 at 10:39 PM (#568389)
Don't worry, the Cubs are true egalitarians, and would find it unconscionable to let this disparity continue into spring training.
   70. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: November 19, 2003 at 11:21 PM (#568391)

I was afraid Beatagan was going to overpay for him. Now if we can clear the Brent Mayne hurdle..
   71. Mike Posted: November 19, 2003 at 11:38 PM (#568392)
non-sexual crush

The correct Seinfeld reference is non-sexual MALE crush.
   72. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: November 20, 2003 at 01:35 AM (#568394)
Cool, maybe the 'Stros will blow all their Pettitte money on these stiffs and Andy will stay in the Bronx.
   73. Askari Posted: November 20, 2003 at 09:01 AM (#568399)
Ausmus is signed for $1 million this coming season so Houston nets $4.5 million due to Brad's pervious outrageous salary. As far as all of you OPS+ mongers knocking Ausmus like this...whatever. I'll take his defense. Despite what Primies think, catcher defense is hardly limited to throwing out baserunners. Nobody calls a better game, calms down the pitchers and blocks nearly every possible wild pitch. He's one of the best defensive backstops in the game. Too bad you can't disect that into some concrete numbers.

I've heard a lot of ######## a moaning but nobody has offered an alternative to the worst signing off the offseason. What other options are out there? Lopez and Rodriguez? Please. Santiago? No thanks.
   74. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 20, 2003 at 01:47 PM (#568402)
"What other options are out there?"

A trade? The Astros could've been in on Pierzynski or Hernandez. Even with those two off the market, there are plenty of starting-caliber backups who aren't really needed by their current teams: Jason Phillips, Yorvit Torrealba, Dave Ross. With LaForest playing pretty well, the D-Rays might be willing to trade Toby Hall. The Reds are still cutting salary, and they'd probably let Jason LaRue go for a song. Maybe the Pirates would move half-salary Jason Kendall for Richard Hidalgo.

The point is, the Astros had a whole friggin' bunch of other options, but they chose instead to immediately pounce on an aging catcher with no offensive ability. Their team will be worse for doing so. If he isn't hitting AT ALL in one of the better hitters' parks in the NL (three-straight sub-.700 OPS), and he isn't throwing out baserunners (32% in '02, 35% last year), he'd better be blocking an awful lot of passed balls.
   75. Walt Davis Posted: November 20, 2003 at 07:30 PM (#568408)
Thing is, even if his defense is worth it and even if he is a great handler of the pitching staff, there's no excuse for guaranteeing 2 years. One year? Maybe if you believe all that stuff. One year with a club option? Whatever floats your boat. 2 guaranteed years for a 35-year-old C with an OPS+ of 54? It's just mind-bogglingly stupid.

I mean c'mon, they guy posted a lower OPS than Brandon Inge while playing in a hitter's park. He's 70 points behind Keith Osik (who I assume is an FA) and nearly 100 behind Brook Fordyce (another FA methinks).

But hey, if Ausmus' defense and game-calling is worth 50 runs over the course of the season, then by gum he's in the top 5 most valuable Cs in the game, in which case you Astros fans should be dancing in the street. You're just a Richard Hidalgo for Darin Erstad trade away from winning 120 games. :-)
   76. Eric Posted: December 11, 2003 at 06:00 PM (#569790)
One thing you have to take into consideration is that texas does not have an income tax, whereas NY does. I don't know the level of tax that pettite would have paid in NY, but I'd imagine it's significant enough to at least partially bridge the gap between Houston's 3/32 and NY's 3/39. A 10% NY tax would make NY's offer similar to 3/35.
   77. GoldSox Posted: December 11, 2003 at 06:24 PM (#569792)
As far as income tax, isn't that based on your state of residence rather than your state of employment?

And as far as the projection... he had a lousy infield and a lousy outfield last year. He doesn't give up many home runs anyway, so the park factor won't affect him that much. Between the upgraded defense, pitching to pitchers, and not having to face the Red Sox 16 times a year, I wouldn't be surprised to see him below 3.50.
   78. philevans66 Posted: December 11, 2003 at 06:52 PM (#569795)
As far as income tax, isn't that based on your state of residence rather than your state of employment?

I can't vouch for the whole country, but I work in Missouri and live in Illinois. I pay taxes to Missouri and St. Louis, none to Illinois. I have to fill out tax forms for both states, but my Illinois income tax comes out as a zero balance.
   79. SM in DC Posted: December 11, 2003 at 07:14 PM (#569798)
Thanks for twisting the knife a little deeper, Dan, appreciate it.
   80. Matthew Rich Posted: December 11, 2003 at 08:18 PM (#569803)
What's wrong with Robertson? 5.54 K/9, 27 y/o, left-handed... I expect that ERA will come down in '04. Even ZiPS thinks he'll be useful with a 4.70 ERA in 160 IP. Who couldn't use that in their rotation? Not an ace, but a very useful (and cheap) guy.
   81. SM in DC Posted: December 11, 2003 at 08:30 PM (#569804)
As far as income tax, isn't that based on your state of residence rather than your state of employment?

I believe you are taxed based on where you earn your money (road cities/states for road games) and your home state for home games.

This is why states w/o income tax, like Florida, have a little bit of a leg up on the competition in wooing free agents.
   82. Kyle S Posted: December 11, 2003 at 09:09 PM (#569811)
Also, don't forget that New York is twice as expensive to live in as is Houston. So instead of an apartment next to Central Park or something, Andy can buy a huge house next to 3 golf courses, like all my Braves pitchers live in here in Atlanta.
   83. Srul Itza Posted: December 12, 2003 at 03:33 AM (#569819)
. You still owe federal income tax on the money you end up paying for city and state income taxes, so it would come to ~12M, no?

If you itemize, city and state income tax paid is deductible from federal income tax. However, as your salary increases, you lose a certain percentage of your deductions.
   84. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 12, 2003 at 04:49 AM (#569820)
I'd heard 3/39 for Pettitte as well, but with the last year of it being some variety of vesting option.

"The real bad news is for the Pirates - before the last few weeks, it was starting to look like the rest of the division was going to fumble enough to get the Pirates into contention."

Actually, I think '03 was their last chance to do this. Add a middle infielder and a reliever or two to last year's Bucs, and they look as good as the rest of the "contenders" in the Central. They lost too many bits this offseason to pull it off, though. Replacing Stairs with Ward is a big downgrade, the new bullpen looks pretty similar to the old one, and the hole at third is a kiler.
   85. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 12, 2003 at 12:56 PM (#569822)
But the Pirates have some additional positives if they'd use them.

- Pirates second basemen hit 258/324/357 and shortstop hit 256/302/357. Both Hill and Sanchez are a lot better than that.

- The Pirates outfield isn't in that bad shape. They've got a ton of toolsy outfielders that have figured out how to hit the last couple of years that are going into their 25-27 seasons. At worst, one of them can catch lightning in a bottle like Jose Guillen this year and at best, some could actually be good.

- Jason Bay. It's like going back in time and grabbing Giles before his prime years and getting Oliver Perez for the privilege of doing so.

I don't think I've been positive about anything the Pirates have done since Bonifay learned the wrong lesson from '97.
   86. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 12, 2003 at 03:29 PM (#569823)
There's a couple of problems with those points, Dan.

1) Second's going to be a huge upgrade in '04, but Jack and Abe are in line for the shortstop gig once again. The team's supposedly planning to use Sanchez at second and keep Hill at AAA again (or at best use him as a UT IF). Jose Castillo got a NRI for ST, but with Graham in charge of player development, there's no way he skips AAA, and his bat probably isn't ready for the position anyway.

2) LF: Bay looks like a real keeper, but he just had surgery for a torn labrum last month, and given the team's checkered medical history in recent years, he has to be viewed as something of a question mark for '04. Admittedly, I love him long-term.

CF: It wouldn't be too surprising to see Redman regress to the mean a bit after his tremendous improvement last year, and the decision not to roster Thompson after his huge AFL leaves the team without a real backup plan here. Duffy isn't nearly ML-ready, and the team doesn't see Alvarez or Sadler as true CF options. Mackowiak might be the backup plan here, and he plays center like the infielder he is.

RF: DL's implied that Davis isn't going to get a real shot at the RF job unless he comes out of the gate absolutely on fire, and that the team's prepared to risk losing him on waivers if he struggles in ST. Tony Alvarez would probably be OK here, but the team's pissed off at him for some unknown reason (they didn't even give him a September call-up). The PT will probably fall to either a Burnitz-class FA scrubeenie, Mackowiak, or a Ward/Wilson platoon (with someone like TLee or Spiezio at first).

There's some decent talent here, but with Lloyd and DL's veteran fetish, I don't think the team's going to take advantage of it.
   87. Goldsox Posted: December 12, 2003 at 06:38 PM (#569824)
Well, he'll have to pitch to me a few times. But did he really pitch against Boston 16 times last year? That'd really be something!

Well that's the last time I try to write anything on 2 hours sleep.

But he did have 13 starts against teams that scored 800+ runs (4 Boston, 4 Toronto, 2 Texas, 2 Min., 1 KC). Compared to Houston's Wade Miller who made 6 of them (2 each, ATL, STL, COL).
   88. Eric Posted: January 12, 2004 at 05:48 PM (#571532)
Has a pitcher (or any player) of Roger's caliber, with no obvious physical limitations, ever done something like only playing home games?
   89. Brian Posted: January 12, 2004 at 05:54 PM (#571533)
Great signing. I see a trade of Jeriome Robertson in the near future...
   90. washerdreyer Posted: January 12, 2004 at 06:04 PM (#571537)
was the goal of that last comment (#4) to get everyone to open their Historical Abstracts to the Nolan Ryan entry where James mocks that extact claim?
   91. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 12, 2004 at 06:06 PM (#571538)
I'm all in favor of the move, not in the least because it gives me a chance to finally see Roger pitch in person.
   92. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 12, 2004 at 06:19 PM (#571539)
They're talking $4 million now instead of 5, which is obviously a million better for the Astros.
   93. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 12, 2004 at 06:39 PM (#571542)
washerdreyer... I had that exact thought and then saw you post it! Hilarity ensued.
   94. Howie Menckel Posted: January 12, 2004 at 06:42 PM (#571543)
Ted Lyons, age 41 in 1942, went 14-6 in 20 starts for the Chicago White Sox - all of them complete games.
   95. Howie Menckel Posted: January 12, 2004 at 06:46 PM (#571546)
addendum: Lyons won the ERA title in that 1942 season at 2.10 in 180.3 IP!
   96. ColonelTom Posted: January 12, 2004 at 06:50 PM (#571548)
if Clemens is willing to come back for $4-$5 million a year, you'd have to think Maddux would be lucky to get 6.

Maybe, but remember, Clemens' two options appeared to be Houston and retirement. Maddux seems willing to go just about anywhere for the cash.
   97. White Sox Fan Posted: January 12, 2004 at 06:58 PM (#571549)
Didn't Ted Lyons, or somebody, only pitch on Sundays for the White Sox?
   98. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2004 at 08:33 PM (#571553)
Lyons was called a "Sunday starter" but, if memory serves, someone here or elsewhere looked at it and found that he didn't start all that often on Sundays in that season.

On Clemens, if he starts only at home, given the rest when they're on the road, he'd (almost) always be able to start the 1st and 6th games of a homestand. Using last year's schedule, he could have had 23 starts, plus 2 more if able to go on 3 days rest (followed by at least a week off). That's not a bad number of starts.
   99. Darren Posted: January 12, 2004 at 09:48 PM (#571558)
Oh, my guess is that Clemens pitches 10 times, looks at his mid-june record of 2-5 with a 4.53 ERA, and re-retires. Kinda like Jack Morris did.

I'll take this bet.
   100. Walt Davis Posted: January 12, 2004 at 10:03 PM (#571559)
Why not use this year's scedule Walt?

Cuz I was too lazy to go find one but knew where I could find last year's.

Of course, this is all screwed the first time it rains.

Ahh, but that sucker in Houston has a roof, so no home rainouts and Clemens could make his starts. A road rainout might mean that you'd be bumping an Oswalt start to get a Clemens start in that next homestand and that would be silly of course. But I'd think you'd be able to get it back onto schedule in the next homestand.
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