Bill Hall became the latest Ed Wade mistake, although one that was quickly realized, as the Astros released him late Friday evening after about a week with little playing time. Let me play Devil's Advocate here for a second: Bill Hall was never going to be worth $3.25 million to the Astros this year. No way, no how. But since he was going to make it anyway, just how worthless was he to the team?
Think about it: this is a player with a lot of experience as a utility man and the ability to run into a pitch every now and then to send it over the seats. While Hall certainly had been awful this year, he hit 18 homers in 382 plate appearances for the Red Sox last year, and he's only 31. Power like that doesn't often vanish overnight at that age, and the Astros saved nothing by letting him go. Yeah, Matt Downs could use an opportunity at some more at-bats given his minor league track record, and Jason Bourgeois is hitting out of his mind off the bench. Fine. But it's likely that Hall still has a couple hundred good at-bats with him, and had the Astros gotten him back on track, they could've found a way to deal him to a contender at the deadline.
Am I defending Hall's terrible performance? Not really. He was in line for reduced playing time, certainly, but as someone who can play every position on the field asides from catcher, the Astros could have found a way to get him on the field four times a week. Instead this feels like a move made out of pent-up aggression not for Hall, but for the untradeable contract of Carlos Lee.
Until the Astros are ready to let that whopper loose, I don't want to hear anything about Hall not justifying his salary as a reason for his release.