So, I slept last night. Pretty awesome considering I have twin girls. Anyhow, I slept and had a little time to think about this signing the Astros made.
At first I thought it was dumb. Not only are The Astros the oldest team in baseball, well, never mind that was the only thought at first. Then I thought how can they add another Miguel Tejada behind the plate? (used to be a really great player who now is on the downside of his career, used steroids and will never put up the numbers he once did).
I then thought, well, I really like Q as a player. I know he isn't the best alternative to a Brad Ausmus type but hell, he will get the job done. What if Q can't hack it? well, Towles surely could be proficient this year, right? Most "fantasy experts" were making Towles their sleeper pick at the backstop this year, maybe it was his year, now we will never know. What happened to Palmisano and Castro? I know these guys are young and all but that is the key word, YOUNG. To me I think my initial reaction of bitterness about the Pudge signing was due to the fact that we have a plethora of catchers as it is and not one of em' is a damn clear choice for C1. That's what led me to this:
Pudge is the "splash" that the Astros were going to make in the free agent pool this year. Drayton finally decided he had to produce something, put some asses in the seats, sell some damn beer. Although this won't truly be able to be analyzed for several months, I ultimately feel (keyword) that Pudge will have a fresh attitude and Towles, Castro and company will learn from the 14 time all-star.
The only resilience I still have is that the Astros are hinging their season off so many "if's". If Hampton throws 20 games...... If Bourn bats well............If Matsui is healthy......If wan-Rod doesn't blow it....If Backe ever gets Backe from his injury...........you see my point.
Most can argue Pudge is old. Pudge couldn't throw out a runner if he had a 60 ft. lasso. Pudge has a bad attitude. I mostly agree based on the previous two years (post steroid). Let's dive into some numbers for all the geeks like myself out there.....
Since 2003 P-Rod has consistently played in fewer games each season (mostly 10 games less a year with the exception of 2006). He hit .276 last year and 2005, his lowest since his rookie season. Not to exclude the good seasons, he hit .297, .300 and .284 in the other seasons since 2003. P-Rod's slugging % has gone down each year since 2003.
The 68 attempts to run against him last year tied his high since 1999, the 47 steals he allowed were his most since 1993, and his 31 percent throwout rate, though still above average, was the lowest of his career. Given where his offense has gone-39 unintentional walks since 2004 and sub-.300 OBPs twice in three years-he's now an average player at best.
I know this post is rather long, however, this is the only time I am going to "rag" on P-Rod. From here I will see how it goes. I like to be positive with baseball, even if right now, The Astros aren't the most positive thing I could write about. On a positive note, check out P-Rod's foundation.
Is P-Rod still better than Q, YES. Am I happy about this singing? Don't know yet. Still some unanswered questions. Where will he hit in the line-up? I think he should hit 7Th or 8Th. Will he catch for Roy O? Ask Roy Oswalt. From what I can tell Roy seems very happy he is here. That is the surface, media coverage angle though. What are my projections for Pudge this year? something like this .283/.320/.745, 11 HR/52 RBI/53 R in 445 AB. Nothing amazing.
Now onto salary. Don't know what the 1.5 mill in incentives is at this point but I would guess it has to do with games played and AB's. Let's say for example that he makes his full contract. That is 3 million for an aging catcher. Let's also say that Backe gets released and we don't owe him anything. that's roughly another million. If we didn't spend money on Boone that would be another 2 mill (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm not going to look that up as I'm in the middle of my rant). Also, I think some of the rule 5 guys might go back to their original teams which MAY free up a smidgen of money. For this example let's say the Stros' have roughly 6 mill including what they used on Pudge. 6 mill, hmm, didn't Wiggy want to stay for around that price? Doesn't Pedro (albeit he wants to play for a contender) want about that much for a one year deal? I know the Astros have to do something (it's kind of like the economy and Obama. He has to do something, yet everyone criticises him for acting on it, while others just stand pat) but I'm still curious if The Astros money management has been handled well. With the Plethora of catchers and the lack of SP or a 3rd baseman, I feel that the money would have been better suited at 3rd or for a true 4 or 5 spot pitcher with the ability to not hurt his core because of his mechanics or one that doesn't trip on the rubber and hurt his rib cage.
I sure hope that P-Rod (yes, I call him P-Rod, while others call him I-Rod) proves me wrong and the money was spent appropriately, for now, I'm being a pessimist but I am optimistic on the outlook of the 2009 Astros. Please Pudge, play over your potential.