Thoughts that just won’t cease and desist

I’ve been thinking about this all evening and the thoughts just won’t go away.  Why are the Astros so high on Richard Hidalgo?  Why give him a guaranteed minor league contract?  Why did they sign Mark Loretta?  Why did they re-up Eric Bruntlett?  Why do they keep saying that Mike Lamb is their Superman off the bench?  Who the **** are they going to trade away?

The second to last question is easiest to answer–Lamb really is Superman off the bench!  And the Bruntlett avoidance of arbitration is also just as easy–he’s the epitome of the super sub!  He can play all positions except pitcher–granted he’s untested at the Catcher slot, but, he was the team’s emergency catcher in 2005.  So, that brings us to the Mark Loretta signing.  Again, on the surface it seems like an easy call–he was available, signed for a relative pittance, can play all infield positions and can be the contact hitter the Astros would need after Biggio gets his 3000 hits.

That brings us to the rather intriguing signing of Richard Hidalgo to a minor league contract.  On the surface it seems like they were just looking to give the team a power hitting option to Lane’s bench spot–but, Lane doesn’t have a spot anymore on the 25 man roster if the Astros carry the normal contingent of 12 pitchers and 2 catchers. 

If Hidalgo earns himself a spot on the 25 man roster based on his spring training performance ala Luke Scott in 2005, who do you relegate to the minors?  Palmeiro is signed for 2007 to be a lefty bat off the bench right alongside Lamb–neither of them would pass waivers so they could be assigned to Round Rock.  Bruntlett is the super sub who can play all infield and outfield positions.  Loretta was signed specifically to be an infield utility man and to spell Biggio at 2nd base after Craig reaches the 3000 hit milestone.

Which leaves me with a rather intriguing  conundrum.  Two days ago it was Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and yesterday it was the Rocky Mountain News stating that the Astros are willing to move Morgan Ensberg.

Are the Astros really considering trading Ensberg or is it Luke Scott the one they are considering trading away for starting pitching?  Would the Astros really trade away Scott, a lefty bat who is finally living up to the expectations of his phenomenal 2005 spring training stats and is slated to be a starter playing for the league minimum?

I’m convinced it has to be either Ensberg or Scott the Astros will trade away for a proven starting pitcher.  Lane’s spot in the rotation is already gone after the Loretta signing.  Again, if the Astros carry the traditional 12 pitchers and Hidalgo makes the club, someone has got to go.  Waiting for spring training to decide the 25th spot on the roster is not the Astros normal way of doing business.

My gut tells me either Scott or Ensberg is going to be reporting to spring training for a team other than the Astros.  Tim Purpura hasn’t finished wheeling and dealing just yet.  There will be some more shaking up of the depth chart before the first game of spring training is played in 2007.


  1. Thomas

    I would be okay with losing Palmeiro to waivers if it came down to either losing him, or trading away Scott or Ensberg. I like Palmeiro and he was very good (especially at the end of)last season in his limited role… but that’s the thing.. it’s a very limited role. He’s not that great on defense and is a pretty good pinch hitter. But I can’t honestly say I would rather have Palmeiro pinch hit than Lamb. My thinking is that either Hidalgo or Bruntlett probably starts the season off in Triple-A. With the signing of Loretta, Bruntlett is expendable. I don’t think the Astros are going to make any more moves this off season.

    -Stros Bro


    I don’t think the Astros are “giving” any spot to Hidalgo. They signed him to a guaranteed minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Doggy’s got to play his way on to the team. If not, he plays at Round Rock. It’s Scott vs Hidalgo…mano a mano…in ST to see who gets RF. Frankly, I like the idea of Scott having to earn his spot. He’s a young player who should not necessarily get the idea that he’s entitled to his spot on the roster just because he had a decent second half of the season in ’06. In fact, if I were the manager, I would be telling Mo that he is not entitled to 3rd base and it could be him or Loretta or Lamb and the other two would ride pine and pull sub duty. I’d like to do the same for Ausmus and Everrett as well, but while you might be able to do that some with Ausmus, Everrett is a lock as everyday SS. Oh, and by the way, Burke is no sure thing in CF. Doggy just gives us options is all. It will all be determined by the end of ST, unless a trade happens.

  3. Thomas

    Lidge signed yesterday and I would be really surprised if Ensbergs actually went to arbitration. They traded figures#’s yesterday is all that happened.. no big deal there.

  4. Thomas

    Just found the #’s

    Ensberg is asking for 4.9 mil the Astros offered 4

    Everett is asking 3.4 mil and the Astros offered 2.5

    Lane is asking 1.375 mil and the Astros offered 900k.

    -Stros Bro

    I would be VERY surprised if any of these actually went to an arbitrator. I don’t think any of those prices (asked) are outrageous.

  5. Rita

    Ensberg and Everett’s figures aren’t outrageous, but Lane’s sure are! He’s asking for more than 3 times of what he made in 2006…even though he hit 15 homers, he struggled at the plate with that .203 avg in the regular season and even more pathetic .143 avg in winter ball–if he can’t hit AAA guys he hasn’t seen before, that’s pretty pathetic…

    Also, did you read Justice’s blog a couple days ago? He seems to believe Ensberg is on the block again too…he even has a platoon of Lamb/Loretta starting…

  6. Thomas

    Lane’s maybe out outrageous, but it’s still only 1.3 million. There are worse players getting paid more than that. Maybe they’ll give him 900k + incentives?

    I haven’t read the Justice article(but I will read it in a minute). I still don’t think it’s smart to trade Ensberg…(I know.. Thomas you’re a broken record)


    I think Lane should be gone by now. .143 in the winter leagues. When asked what he would expect for Lane in a trade i remember someone said “a good bat boy and some pine tar.”

    Scott’s value is probably quite high, but given his potential you wouldn’t get good value for him. And no-one will trade a mid rotation starter for Ensberg at the moment. I’d be fine with a Loretta/Lamb platoon at third, but I’m willing to give Ensberg a month/two to see if he can still be productive. Astros offered Brian Moehler a minor league deal yesterday..hmmm.


    this was just reported at…

    Everett settled for a one-year, $2.8 million deal, and Lane accepted a one-year $1.05 million deal.

    oh how i wish the MLB had sign and trade deals.

  9. Rita

    Yeah, they can sign arb eligible guys and then promptly trade them. I believe one MLB club did just that in the past week or two already–can’t remember which one though…

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