Astros waiting on Valverde

Astros general manager Ed Wade met with the Houston media contingent at the Winter Meetings at his hotel suite Monday and said how the club proceeds the rest of the week and the rest of the winter depends on closer Jose Valverde.

The Astros have offered Valverde arbitration, and he has until 10:59 p.m. CT to accept or decline. If he accepts, Valverde will be a signed player for one year at likely more than $10 million, which would make it more difficult for the Astros to do anything else roster wise. If he declines, Houston will gain draft picks and will have money to pursue another closer, as well as bench help and an eighth-inning arm.

Wade didn’t anticipate hearing about Valverde until later in the night. Valverde, 31, has saved 69 games in two seasons with the Astros, including 25 in 29 chances this year. He was 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA in his 44 games since being activated from the disabled list in June.

Wade ranked the Astros’ needs in this order: closer, offense, eighth inning and bench. He said adding bench help could happen well down the road.

Meanwhile, Wade said he hasn’t had talks with the agent for infielder Miguel Tejada for two weeks. The last time Wade talked to agent Diego Bentz two weeks ago, he told him Tejada would fit into the Astros’ plans for 2010 at a reduced price and at third base.

“I don’t know where we stand in that regard,” he said.



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