Ed Wade sure can pick them. Brett Myers turned out well for 2011, although he probably should have flipped him when he had the chance last summer, yet for some reason he gave him a slightly ill-judged contract extension. Pedro Feliz and Bill Hall, not so much.
And lets just gloss over Russ Ortiz and Mike Hampton. Those moves did not happen. David has talked about Grady Sizemore a lot already this past month and yesterday this piece appeared, suggesting what we already suspected, the low-budget Cleveland Indians will not pick up the center-fielder's 2012 option for a guaranteed $8.5m. The original six-year $23.45m contract has a $500k buyout clause.
Before the offseason started we had Jordan Schafer all but pencilled in as opening day CFer, not because he was a good option, but there was nobody else. Now that Jonny Pothead has had his brush with the law, he could do with a sobering stint at AAA Oklahoma City, for no other reason than to steal at bats away from T.J. Steele
Presuming he can be healthy in 2012, and this is a big if for a player who has just over a 100 games over the last two seasons, he would be an immedate upgrade over the powerless Schafer. Even his meagre 2012 production eclipsed anything Schafer can provide at a major league level. For a power starved offense, Sizemore at least gives you a glimpse.
If the Astros management can re-sign Clint Barmes to reasonable money and snag Sizemore from other teams who would want to buy low on the 29-year-old, our offense takes one step closer to looking competent. Stick Matt Downs in at third base, and you have a lineup that looks something like this: Sizemore, Barmes, Martinez, Lee, Bogusevic, Downs, Altuve, Castro, pitcher (I'd rather not have Lee batting cleanup, but I'm being realistic with Brad Mills still at the helm).
That looks much more stable, no? We may have a few CF options in the pipeline, but the closest to being an everyday player is Austin Wates, who had a great year in Lancaster in 2011 and will start 2012 at Corpus Christi, and may slide to the corner outfield slots in the fullness of time.
The only cons are: does Sizemore want to come to Houston? Probably not. Who is going to be the owner this offseason? Ermm... Are we even going to have any money at all to spend this offseason? If we shift Wandy Rodriguez early enough, then probably yes. As Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports, the Rockies are probably going to make another run at the Astros leftie, and will hope that Ed Wade's price has dropped to a more realistic level.
As my erstwhile friend Native_Astro constantly says, buying low on free agents like Sizemore makes sense, only for the reason you might be able to flip them mid-season if their stock rises and a team is tooling up for a playoff run.
Even in this retooling phase for the franchise, the front office has to look like it is trying to put a winning product on the field. A move like this will get at least some fans more enthused.
Instead of sitting on his rump, Ed Wade should be thinking creatively. Send Rodriguez and cash to the Rockies for a package around Tim Wheeler, use some of the money to snag Sizemore and flip him half way through the season, calling up Wheeler as his replacement. Or something.