Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BD Hot Stove: Astros Tank Not Completely Empty | Baseball Digest

BD Hot Stove: Astros Tank Not Completely Empty | Baseball Digest

Times have been tough down in H-Town since the Astros reached the World Series in 2005. Gone are marquis players Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Roger Clemens, and Andy Pettitte. In their place is a group of youngsters with a few veterans, like Carlos Lee, sprinkled in. The team averaged just 75 wins the last two seasons and have had four managers in four years. But owner Drayton McLane gave second year manager Brad Mills something to happy about.

The Astros announced last evening they had given a three year extension to their top starter, Wandy Rodriguez. The deal is worth $34M and with an option for 2014 Rodriguez is guaranteed $44.5M. The 32-yr old left-hander is the number one man in the front of a rotation that features veteran Brett Myer and youngster J.A. Happ. Not a bad threesome to compete in the NL Central.

The extension means the two sides avoid the arbitration process and quells any rumors that the Astros were trying to trade their top guy. Rodriguez averaged 200 innings the last two seasons, but went just 25-24 despite a combined 3.30 ERA. 23 of Rodriguez’s 32 starts in 2010 were quality starts (6 or more IP 3 ER allowed or less) and he allowed more than three earned runs in a game just seven times.

Now if the Astros could only add some some pop to their punchless lineup.

Rumors, News, and Transactions

SI’s Jon Heyman and Hardball Talk’s Craig Calceterra both reported that their sources indicated Andy Pettitte will pitch in 2011. Still looking to fill the back end of the rotation, the Yankees signed veteran Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training. The 37-yr old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2009.

The Twins claimed left-hander Dusty Hughes off waivers from KC.

Rather then have him compete for a starting spot in spring training, the Mets have decided to have Jenrry Mejia begin the season at Triple-A Buffalo to work on being a starter.

Pitchers coming off injuries – Brandon Webb (TEX) and Joe Nathan (MIN) will have no restrictions entering spring training, but Johan Santana (NYM) has yet to begin a throwing program.

The Rockies signed veteran catcher Chad Moeller to a minor league deal. Moeller split the 2010 season between the Orioles and Yankees.

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