On the signings of Travis Buck and Nick Stavinoha I have to agree with David over at TCB, these moves make a certain amount of sense. Both men are in their 20s, with Buck being in the same age bracket as Matt Downs and Chris Johnson and they are signed to minor league contracts, so they get an invite to spring training and could be sent down to AAA as cover if needed.
These moves might force the Astros to let Jason Michaels go, which would be a blessing, but I want to see some more high-profile moves just for the hell of it. I'm not sure I can really give a cogent argument for making such moves, either in the short or long term, but I think a $10m 'investment' on odds and sods would give the club a morale boost to the franchise. Not a signal of intent for Crane, but rather something to generate headlines that don't include felonies, drug possessions and fixed team awards.
Here is where Brad Lidge comes in. Since his and Roy Oswalt's options were declined by the Phillies, not many publications and writers have posited that their team would make a run at the erstwhile closer. The NJ Star-Ledger seems to think he would be a good option for the Mets.
Lidge, meanwhile continues to be something of an enigma. Three years on from his perfect season and the Phillies might have well have burned the $36m they gave Lidge for all the good it has done them. His K% has slid in recent years, and his BB/9, fearsomely high ever since his 2006 season has just gotten worse. In his last three years from 2009-2011 he has posted a 5.2 BB/9.
Still, he had some success last season and would add a bit of colour to a somewhat boring Astros bullpen. Mark Melancon and Wilton Lopez are rather dull, and Enerio Del Rosario is hardly one to get the heart racing when he enters a game. Give him a performance laden contract with the promise that he could get moved during the trade deadline and we might have a half-decent closer for below average money. A return such as the one the Rangers received from the Red Sox for Eric Gagne (David Murphy, Kason Gabbard and Engel Beltre), would be a good one for Ed Wade.
It would add a bit of comedy so see the old boy trotting down from the bullpen to whatever heavy metal song he runs out to these days. Wikipedia seems to think that it is the Drowning Pool song "soldiers", whereas I believe he went out to "the game"? Did I make that up?
All possible scenarios of course. Nothing indicates that Wade will spend any money during the offseason, with or without Wandy Rodriguez's $10m for 2012 cluttering the books. The real millstone is the $14m owed to Brett Myers. The right-handed pitcher makes $11m for 2012, and has a $3m buyout clause for the club's 2013 option. Its hard to see any scenario where that option would be exercised, so if Wade wanted to dump Myers, he would have to eat a serious amount of money. Close to half probably.
Personally, I think $7m for Myers would suit some teams admirably. He's a few years younger than Carl Pavano and even his 2011 numbers compare favourably to the Twins pitcher. The Braves ate $10m of Derek Lowe's $15 salary to ship him off to the Indians, and Lowe has a good half-decade or more on Myers.
Whether, if they are both moved, the Astros have anyone competent to replace them is another matter entirely.