Pudge trade makes sense

You can call the Astros’ trading of Pudge Rodriguez to the Rangers a case of throwing in the towel for 2009 or the start of a rebuilding effort, but I don’t believe either is the case. Are the Astros out of it for this? Almost certainly, but they aren’t going to concede anything until they are mathematically eliminated.

And I wouldn’t call trading away a 35-year-old catcher who has very little left in the tank the start of a rebuilding effort. Pudge was brought here to serve in a pinch anyway, to play one season at catcher while the Astros wait on Jason Castro to get ready. Pudge gave the Astros more offense at catcher than they’ve had in years and was a great influence on the pitching staff, but basically they go three players from the Rangers for very little. It’s a good move, and the kind they should have made.

Now, if the Astros start getting rid of Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, then you have rebuilding on your hands. Getting rid of Pudge? Not to so much.

So where do they go from here? Mike Hampton‘s season could be done and you’d have to call his return to the Astros a disappointment. Astros general manager Ed Wade took chances of Hampton and Russ Ortiz to be part of the rotation, and neither has worked out. Brian Moehler can be a productive part of the staff, especially is he’s the fifth starter and not the third or fourth.

The Astros should call up shortstop Tommy Manzella in September and get a good look at him. If you think he can be your everyday shortstop next year, make an effort to re-sign Miguel Tejada and move him to third. Tejada told MLB.com last week he’s open to moving to third, but money will be an issue. I’d sign him for $5 or $7 million, but not anywhere close to the $14 million he makes now.

I’d take the rest of the money — if any — the Astros might have in the off-season and invest in pitching. Signing another starting pitcher to put him with Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris. All of a sudden you have the makings of a nice rotation. I wouldn’t bring Jose Valverde back and either give the closing job to LaTroy Hawkins, who will be a free agent at season’s end, or identify someone in the organization who can close. That, of course, is easier said than done.

The bottom line is the Astros still have some nice pieces and moves like sending off Pudge could only have a positive effect on their future.



“…but they aren’t going to concede anything until they are mathematically eliminated.”

And that is exactly why they’re where they are – now and every year. Drayton sets the team up to sell tickets, jerseys, concessions, & merchandise – not win championships. He keeps the fans thinking he cares about (as well as there being a chance of) winning. Conceding yet another mediocre & losing season would be showing his cards and he’s to shrewd a businessman for that.

The circus-like atmosphere of the stadium during games is also part of his business model. Hummer Races, text your favorite song, Goya shell game, guess the attendance, etc, etc – it’s all designed for profit, not winning.

Too bad. If we had a baseball owner, things might be different.

It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in wanting to bring Hawkins back as a cheap closer next year. I’m amazed that everyone is so into this idea of rebuilding, even though we won’t and CAN’T trade Oswalt, Berkman and Lee, that they want to let Valverde AND Hawkins walk and let Sampson and Arias be a platoon closer, boggles the mind.

I agree, ask Tejada back on the cheap, sign a #3 start (Wolf, Doug Davis etc) and get Hawkins to close.

And I thought I was the snieslbe one. Thanks for setting me straight.

I pretty much agree with your assessment, Brian, although Tejada is a tough decision. If you’re pretty sure you can get him cheaply for 3B next season, keep him… on the other hand, if he’s headed into free agency, please try and move him now for some top prospects. Certainly we should be able to get a good return for him if we move quickly. One more thing–I’m going to keep banging this drum, but it seems an awful shame to let a hitter like Drew Locke languish in AA and turn into a career minor league player. He’s posting incredible numbers right now. We ought to be willing to try him at 3B in September. Maybe he’ll get eaten alive defensively but who cares, we’re out of contention anyway. Maybe he will excel though.

You won’t be seeing Locke at third base. He’s only played in the infield one season (at first base,) with ten errors. At FIRST BASE. At third, he’d probably make Matt Gamel look like Ozzie Smith. Hate to say it, but Locke is an outfielder. Besides, nobody in their right mind brings up a rookie for a Sept cup of coffee, and plays him at an unfamiliar position. It just isn’t done.

So basically the guy gets to hang around in the system until he’s nearing thirty, or we trade him (which could wind up being a serious mistake). Pretty frustrating, huh?

Completely agree with your view on Pudge trade?it was the best move they?ve made all year. Agree as well with what we should do next year. Get rid of Valverde (we should trade him now and get more prospects for him and save us some money on his outrageous contract?8.5 millions, you got to be kiddin? me!).
I wouldn?t mind having Tejada at 3rd?we?re gonna need a 3rd base next year anyway. 5-7$ millions sound decent for him. Keep Blum on the bench. Get a starter. Hope Paulino or Bazardo pitch well enough to be worthy of a spot in the rotation.

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