“You trade away your starting catcher, it could send mixed messages. This time of year is when you’re looking to make additions, if you feel your team is close enough. We didn’t do that. We chose to make a subtraction.”
-Astros third baseman Geoff Blum.
I’m sure Blum means well and takes pride in his team and all, but has he taken a look around lately? The Astros are a bad baseball team. They’re lucky to be just ten games back of the Cardinals with their -73 differential in runs scored/runs allowed. Looking at various playoff odds that are based on crazy things like, you know, math, Houston has a .2% chance of reaching the playoffs. I have a better chance at being elected the Prime Minister of Bulgaria than the Astros playing in the postseason. Nothing short of acquiring Tim Lincecum and Albert Pujols through the help of Jedi mind tricks can save Houston’s season, and I get the feeling that Ed Wade is not that strong in the ways of the Force.
Ivan Rodriguez is part of the reason the Astros are bad. He has a .285 wOBA, putting him in Willy Taveras, Jason Kendall and Emilio Bonifacio like-territory of ineptitude. The fact that the Astros got two C grade prospects in return for the charred remains of Pudge should be considered to be quite a coup.
The Rangers seem to be bringing I-Rod back for nostalgia’s sake, and a heavy helping of good ol’ intangibles. He’ll be backing up Taylor Teagarden, who Marc wrote about yesterday. ZiPS forecasts a .299 wOBA the rest of the year for Pudge. Teagarden is projected to rebound with a .319 wOBA the rest of the way.
Going to Houston is Matt Nevarez, 22, who working out of the bullpen was overpowering batters in Low-A with a 13.2 K/9. He’s going to be Rule 5 eligible this season if Houston doesn’t add him to their 40-man, but that may not be necessary as he probably would not get drafted. 2B Jose Vallejo was ranked in the Ranger’s Top 20 prospects by Baseball America, and the Ranger’s system is quite deep. He’s hit a wall in Triple-A, but hit .292/.345/.415 with 42 steals in 46 attempts between High-A and Double-A last year, and is said to have good range. Neither player is going to turn around the Astros, but credit Ed Wade for getting something out of nothing.
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