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  1. I feel like the Astros do have decent depth at the five-spot in the rotation. Other names you didn’t mention who will be in the mix: Nelson Figueroa, who spent some time in the rotation last year and performed pretty well. Lance Pendleton, another rule 5 draft pick from last week. Fernando Abad, who performed well out of the bullpen last season and had very strong numbers in the minor leagues.

    Of all of those names, I have the highest hopes for Rodriguez and Abad to carve out something like an average performance out of the five-spot in the rotation. I think the Astros will again have above average pitching next season, although I’m doubtful that it will be anywhere near enough to make up for their terrible offense.

    Comment by OremLK — December 13, 2010 @ 9:11 am

  2. Hyphen… lol.

    Slow day.

    Comment by Lee — December 13, 2010 @ 9:41 am

  3. The Astros already know that Figueroa can handle the 5th starter role. They can put him in the rotation if necessary. The Astros would prefer a younger pitcher in that spot. So they compile a number of very cheap options, like Rowland-Smith, Abad, and the two Rule 5 picks, Rodriguez and Abad. There is a decent chance that one of those younger options will show that he can provide acceptable performance in the rotation. If none do, the worst that happens is that Figueroa is the No 5 starter–just as he was at the end of last season. As the article suggests, there are many worse ways to fill the fifth starter spot.

    Comment by CJ — December 13, 2010 @ 10:21 am

  4. correction….I meant to say “Rodriguez and Pendleton” as the Rule 5 picks.

    Comment by CJ — December 13, 2010 @ 10:22 am

  5. Figueroa would be a competent 5th starter, but I would suggest he would struggle to stay in the rotation for an entire season, given his age and MO.

    Rowland Smith will probably end up as one of the two left handers in the bullpen with Abad, but anything could happen in Spring Training.

    Give Arnsberg and Rodriguez a month together, and I think he could get over the bump to being a solid major league starter. Expect Changeups. Lots of them.

    Comment by JP — December 13, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

  6. Why would “the Astros prefer a younger pitcher in that spot (#5 starting pitcher)”, than Nelson Figueroa? As a starting pitcher in the Mets rotation (August-October 2009) and the Astros starting rotation, 35 and 36 year old Nelson Figueroa averaged 6+ innings and 110+ pitches per start and proved he could pitch on 3 days rest if necessary when he followed 6.2 shutout innings against the Reds with 6 shutout innings against the Cubs in the last 2 Astros victories of 2010 (we lost 6 of our last 8 games). 2010 stats (Phillies & Astros) for the versatile 36-year-old righty: 7-4 3.29 ERA (5-3 3.22 ERA for Houston). And like a good wine, he gets better with age.

    Comment by hdarvick — December 13, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

  7. His MO proves you’re wrong about Figueroa “struggling” to stay in the rotation for an entire season and age means nothing. He doesn’t pitch like he’s 36 and doesn’t look like he’s 36. In 2011 Spring Training, he’ll outpitch the other candidates for #5. Guaranteed.

    Comment by hdarvick — December 13, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

  8. So, he’s 37 next season and his career high in IP is 93, but you think he’s going to last out an entire season in the rotation. Righht……

    Comment by JP — December 14, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

  9. Yeah, I wouldn’t expect RRS to be anything more than a spot starter in case of injury to one of the other starters.

    He’s best used as situational lefty in the pen, as shown by his awful 2010 sesaon. He was at his best in Seattle when used out of the ‘pen a few seasons ago.

    Comment by Jim — December 14, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

  10. As far as Figgy goes, 93 IP may be his ML season high, but this is a guy that throws in the minors, when the season ends, throws in the DR, then throws in China…only to come back and throw in the bigs again. His arm is rubber.

    Comment by Rex — December 20, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

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