Houston GM Ed Wade discussed some offseason plans with Dan Duqette and Kevin Kennedy on MLB Network Radio. Here are a few of the major topics…
- "We need to figure out a way to improve offensively," Wade said. He noted that the Astros are looking for a left-handed hitter and may either look internally or wait until later in the offseason to find left-handed bats "that fit our profile both from a performance and an economic standpoint."
- The "primary external focus" is to find better-hitting middle infielders, though Wade said he was happy with Jeff Keppinger's play last season.
- Wade is pleased with Houston's 2011 rotation but "everybody’s always looking for the starting pitcher. We’d love to be able to replicate the Brett Myers experience of last year where you get the guy in a one-year deal and he finds his groove the way that Brett did for us."
In other Astros news, Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle reports the club extended spring training invites to eight players, three of whom weren't with Houston last season. One is Casey Fien, whose acquisition was reported yesterday, and the other two newcomers are right-handers Ross Wolf and Fernando Rodriguez. Wolf posted a 4.26 ERA in 11 appearances with Oakland last season after coming over from the Orioles in the Jake Fox trade last June. Rodriguez has pitched in the Angels system since 2003, and has just one major league appearance to his credit.
There have been rumors of the Astros inquiring about Gordon Beckham. Supposedly the rumor is that the White Sox are looking for a young CF and starting pitcher in return. AAA CF Jack Shuck and Bud Norris would fit that need.
One of us is a mind reader…I had Shuck on my mind but I think the Astros should keep Norris. I think that if the Sox get offered the right deal, it wont matter whether a pitcher is included or not because the Sox have one of the best rotations in Baseball and really no room for a SP.
The whole infield, with the exception of Chris Johnson (even understanding that he’ll likely regress to the mean), is a huge question mark. Finding a stopgap at shortstop until Mier is ready; getting a left-handed platoon partner for Keppinger. And then first base – Will Brett Wallace find a power stroke in the majors? Will Carlos Lee transition to first? Or maybe Brian Bogusevic will transition to first and finally we’ll see if he can contribute in the majors. There are some pretty big holes, but I’m glad we’re committed to the youth movement finally.
I have no doubts about Wallace finding his power stroke and I agree with you about Chris Johnson. I think Gordon Beckham is perfect for the Astros. He can play 2B or SS and could be a pillar at either position.
Jiovanni Mier is himself a huge question mark at this point. While many have focused on his atrocious offensive production in 2010 (and some have written it off citing his being “only 19” or “not yet having filled out his frame”), equally concerning is that his defense at SS has been well below average in both 2009 and 2010.
100% agree. Mier has been decent at best since drafting him but he is young and could still turn it around. Getting Beckham would make it easier if Mier does not pan out because he can play 2B or SS.
I agree with you, too. If the Astros scouts feel that Beckham has the footwork and range needed to play SS full-time, then they should pounce on the opportunity to acquire him as they don’t have a solid reliable long-term SS solution in their system. If they see Beckham as a 2B/3b-only guy, then they shouldn’t offer quite as sweet a trade package as those guys are a lot easier to find.
First of all, Ross Wolf is a great guy and I wish him the best…I can’t think of any two other relievers to sign to minor league deals and take a gamble on…It worked out with Gustavo Chacin.
Jordan Lyles in my opinion is one of the top 10 pitching prospects in Baseball. He is identical to Matt Cain and I can’t wait to see him in the Majors next season…
I really like the idea of Gordon Beckham on the ‘Stros. Ed Wade has done a tremendous job in turning this organization around. They now have a fine young nucleus of players in Jason Castro, Brett Wallace, Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, Chris Johnson, J.A. Happ, Bud Norris, Matt Lindstrom (not very young, but still in his prime), and Wilton Lopez to go along with prospects who I really like such as Lyles, Martinez, Cartright, Wates, DeShields Jr., Austin, and more…
To get Gordon Beckham, I think a deal like Brett Wallace, Jack Shuck, and Ross Seaton could get it done.
I agree man. However, I wouldn’t give up Brett Wallace. He could be our 1B for the next 10 years. The report I heard about the Astros interest in Beckham had the following names as possible targets of the White Sox: Jack Shuck, Koby Clemens, Ross Seaton, Bud Norris and Brian Bogusevic.
They really said that? Bogusevis and Clemens aren’t really prospects…But I could see something like Seaton (who Jim Callis thinks will have a huge ’11 season), Shuck, and Wallace because I think Wallace is extremely, extremely overrated. Of course, we all know Kenny Williams is going to read my post and not pull the trigger, but so be it!
From what local Houston sports writers are saying, Ed Wade and Brad Mills love Wallace and think he will be a “hitting machine” so I can’t see them trading him this early.
Also, Clemens definitely is not a prospect. He was left unprotected in last years Rule 5 draft and no one took him. That says alot.
So I don’t see why Kenny Williams would want him then, I’m refering to Clemens by the way.
But maybe JD Martinez and his horrible knees will he on the move. I guess they won’t trade Wallace but I still think he’s overrated.
We haven’t even really been able to find a position for Clemens. His offense is fine, but what is he? Third base? Catcher? Outfield? I have no clue, and it seems like I’m not alone.
Does Brett Wallace really have to get traded again? That seems rather cruel…
If he continues to not get on base or defend, then yes.
I think his defense was very good last year. He needs to find his stroke at the plate but he’s just 24 so I’m not ready to give up on him yet.
How about Hermida as that left-handed bat? He’ll be real cheap and is still young enough to fulfill some of that potential.
I woulnd’t give up Bud Norris. He is really coming along, and just one year removed from being PCL Pitcher of the Year. The guy brings it in the mid-90s and overall has great stuff. Why would you trade a young starting pitcher with tremendous upside + others for Beckham. I’d like Beckham but only if the package was Shuck (or Bogusevic) plus maybe a Doug Arguello. Otherwise the equivalent in terms of not yet panning out but with tremendous talent would be to trade Felipe Paulino straight up for Beckham.