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Monday, June 05, 2006

Potential Roster Moves for the Astros?

After this weekend's debilitating three-game sweep at the hands of the resurgent Cincinnati Reds, the Astros seem to be in the need of a roster shakeup. The offense is punchless, the pitching is ineffective and the defense is lackadasical. Chris Burke's clutch hitting on Sunday was the sole sign of life on this veteran team. Something must be done to send a message to the fan base that there is something to look forward to for the remainder of the season other than photo ops with The Rocket.

1. DFA Orlando Palmeiro, call up Luke Scott.
Luke Scott hit his 14th and 15th home runs for the Express on Sunday, and he's currently posting numbers of .279/.395/.547. It is sink-or-swim time for Luke Scott. Palmeiro is a nice luxury to have on your bench if you have a solid starting outfield, but the Astros no longer have this luxury. Palmeiro has historically been a decent pinch-hitter and spot starter, but the Astros need firepower, and O-Palm is as explosive as a jar of apple butter. Preston Wilson and Jason Lane have both been terrible with runners in scoring position. Get Scott some starts against RH pitching pronto. Both Lane and Wilson could use days off aplenty.

2. Try Chris Burke at SS.
Finally Adam Everett appears to have been supplanted as the default plug-in everyday at SS. His defense was immediately missed, as Eric Bruntlett made two pathetic errors over the weekend, but it was nice to feel as if there was at least minimal potential for offensive production from the SS position. However, Bruntlett is not the everyday answer. He is a very valuable bench player, but he has never been projected as an everyday starter for a winning major league team. But let's not run back to our ugly ex just yet. If Eric Bruntlett is deserving of an audition at SS, then certainly Chris Burke should get his shot. David Eckstein has never been confused with Omar Vizquel in the field, but he certainly has proven to be a solid everyday SS in Anaheim and St. Louis. Give Burke two weeks' worth of starts to prove his worth at SS. It's not like he's never played there before, and there is no risk at all at this point. You've finally admitted as an organzation that a change needs to be made, and your best positional prospect has played that position for years and is sitting on the bench in need of a spot on the field.

3. DL Roy Oswalt, Call up Jason Hirsh
I'm certainly not advocating moving Oswalt to the DL without cause, but the symptoms do not seem promising. A hamstring tweak that is morphing into a back problem seems to be something that needs attention. The Astros cannot win the division in the next two weeks, but losing Oswalt for a month or more would certainly guarantee their losing the division. Give Roy O a couple of weeks to heal, and bring up your next-best starting pitching prospect, Jason Hirsh. Hirsh has made 12 starts at Round Rock and has posted a 2.94 ERA, allowing only 59 hits in 70 innings. In a perfect world, Hirsh would be given the remainder of the season to marinate at AAA, but the 2006 Astros season is far from perfect. Hirsh is young at 24 years old, but he's by no means an infant. He was outstanding all season long in 2005 at AA and has been great thus far at AAA, and if he implodes in a short stint in the bigs this season and never recovers, then he likely is not big-league material anyway. Bring him up and give him the chance to succeed.

4. Start stretching out Chad Qualls
Am I the only one who sees an Aaron Cook-type starter in Qualls? Chad was a starter for several years in the minor leagues, and he posted solid numbers up through the chain. In his career, his BAA and WHIP are both lower in the 16-30 and 31-45 pitch counts than in the initial 15. He's a big, strong kid with great stuff, and in my unqualified opinion, it seems as though his struggles come when he's overthrowing on the hill. I cannot help but think that he could be a quite nasty starting pitcher if he paced himself and just relentlessly pounded the strike zone with his excellent movement, rather than attempting to strike each batter out in short stints.

The Astros have never been labeled as 'creative' in their roster management, and they cannot be blamed for their past conversatism, as their roster had been stocked with consistent, talented veterans. Now that is no longer the case, and as such, some outside-of-the-box thinking is needed. Since we've established that the brass reads our blog, I felt that it was my duty to get the proverbial ball rolling. Take it away, Timmy P!


Blogger Tim said...

No mention of benching P-Dub? Color me shocked.

Mon Jun 05, 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

My mistaken. A typo at the end of item of #1 has been corrected. Preston Wilson should be benched, assuming he's not cut.

Mon Jun 05, 02:14:00 PM  

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