Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 6, 2005
BASEBALL: Sorry Son, It's Gone, Gone Gone

Scott Miller is right - with the losses of Jeff Kent and Wade Miller already under their belts, and having traded Octavio Dotel for a few months of Carlos Beltran, if the Astros can't re-sign Beltran and Roger Clemens retires, things are really going to look grim for the Astros. With Jeff Bagwell in gradual decline and Craig Biggio a few steps ahead of him, the days of title contenders in Houston may be going in to eclipse for a few years. Which is, of course, every reason to suspect that the Astros won't go quietly from the Beltran sweepstakes.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:13 PM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Blech. Don't remind me. Kent and Miller I can deal with, and you know Clemens has one year left at the most. But they have to rebuild, and Beltran is a transition guy that bridge the gap between the team they had last year and the team they're going to have in three years, when none of the guys you listed are on the roster. I'm afraid that if they have one horrible season in that time, attendance (and thus, revenue) will drop to where they can't afford to keep some of the top young guys.

Posted by: Drew at January 7, 2005 9:46 AM

The 'Stros can afford all sorts of people. McLane just won't sign the checks. I've already run headlong into the real possibility of failing seasons for the Stros. I cry myself to sleep at night.

Posted by: Dubya at January 7, 2005 10:08 AM

Don't forget about Berkman being hurt. Plus I don't think Houston has any top level prospects ready to step in and make an impact.

That said - this could be the classic low expectations / high return type season for the Stro's.

If the pitching is healthy and Clemens returns a top of the rotation of Clemens / Oswalt / Petitte is pretty formidible.

Posted by: chris at January 7, 2005 3:20 PM

The Astros will not have the same magical season they just completed. On the plus side, the NL Central will be far weaker. The Cards lost Rentaria and Womack, the Cubbies lost out on Carlos apparently/hopefully, and the Reds, while standing and outside chance of really shocking some people, are probably not there quite yet.

Having Everett back for a full season and Chris Burke up the middle will be an upgrade over Kent. He could hit the long ball, but Jeff never could catch. He rarely seems to try. If Willy Tavares can run like he did in the minors (a big question, to be sure), it could provide a dangerously aggressive 1/2 punch at the top with him and Everett. I really wish Beltran hadn't jerked us around for a few extra mil so we could have signed Drew or someone, but oh well.
Pitching is a whole other bag. Oswalt/Pettite can work well at the top, but I'm leery of Backe for a full season, and there's little to go to below him. The middle relief is, as it was last year, atrocious.
All in all, we could be a threat in a weak division, but the Dodgers, Mets, Padres, and posible Cards will be the class of the NL. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Posted by: TDB at January 9, 2005 2:52 AM

As a Met fan, I appreciate TDB's kind words about the Mets being the class of the NL. Although many well timed free agent signings have taken good teams to the top; I have rarely seen a bad team making it to the top. I still like the Braves in the East.

Posted by: Kapalua Mak at January 9, 2005 9:10 PM
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