What is Houston Doing?

The Astros continued their spending this week with the addition of third baseman Pedro Feliz, signed today to a one year contract for a reported $4.5 million. He is likely to take over full time duties at the position.

The Astros got a combined .241/.308/.356 line from their third basemen last year split between Geoff Blum and Jeff Keppinger mostly. In that respect, Pedro Feliz’s 2009 line of .266/.308/.386 is a clear improvement, as sad as that is. Though Felix is aging — 2010 will be his age 35 season — he still posts consistently good defensive numbers at third base, numbers that coincide with a good fielding reputation from scouts.

Granting that Pedro Feliz might be the Astros’ best option at third base next year, I still do not see the point in this deal. The 2009 Astros finished 74-88, 17 games out of the divisional lead. At best, Feliz’s 2009 was worth about a half win more than the Astros’ 3B combo platter was in 2009.

Blum and Keppinger are still under contract with the Astros, so it looks like Houston just added $4.5 million to their payroll in order to get a couple runs better, at best. At worst, Feliz is no better than Jeff Keppinger, who would have been by far the more cost-effective starter.

Addressing the hole at third base is a good idea for Houston, but you don’t address a hole by filling it with air. You already have plenty of air; why bother paying money to import premium air from Philadelphia?





Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

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PL
12 years ago

There is a word called “rebuilding” that Ed Wade refuses to acknowledge the existence of, and its a sad cry for help that he keeps doing stuff like this. The Astros have the worst farm system and a mediocre team. They need to start over.

philosofoolmember
12 years ago
Reply to  PL

Admitting failure gets you fired. Wade is so bad that the people who are in charge of deciding whether he keeps his job are the ones really at fault for the Astros at this point. But Wade’s boss either doesn’t care or doesn’t know that he’s horrible at what he’s supposed to do. That means that if Wade keeps denying failure, his boss will keep him hired.

PL
12 years ago
Reply to  philosofool

What a truly sad state of affairs. Its like Oakland-in-reverse. Meanwhile, teams who go down the rebuild path like the A’s and Indians, will be in playoff races in a year or two.

Brad Johnsonmember
12 years ago
Reply to  philosofool

The people who need to be fired are the ones who hired Wade in the first place. He had a long tenure in Philly as one of the top 3 worst GMs at any given time before the Astros plucked him from the office the Phils “promoted” him when they added Gillick.

Teej
12 years ago
Reply to  PL

They needed to rebuild before Wade was hired. I imagine he was the only candidate crazy enough to think he could make a few tweaks and create a winner, and Drayton McLane had found his man.

Jay
12 years ago
Reply to  PL

I’m sure Ed Wade has acknowledged the need for the Astros to rebuild from the moment he took the job he even acknowledged the need to build through the farm system in his first press conference.

He has pumped alot of money that the Astros weren’t spending on international scouting and has since made a few top international signings. Has hired one of the best scouts in baseball, Bobby Heck and they’ve had some nice drafts and more importantly they’ve convinced owner Drayton McLane, who’s kind of inept on the baseball side of things the importance of spending money to sign top draft picks..which the Astros hadn’t done in the three prior years.

And I think last year the Astros signed all of the picks in the first 17 rounds and something like 28 of the first 29 picks were all signed, the best ratio in baseball. They are slowly building a farm…and fans have to realize that it does take time.

I mean Ed Wade was the guy (along with some good scouts) who did build the core of that Phillies championship team through the draft.

jfish26101
12 years ago
Reply to  Jay

I tend to agree with your analysis of Wade more then the people who just say he flat out sucks. I do agree that his attempts to compete now are obviously not working so do have to wonder whether they would be better to go full rebuild mode. You generally need to have a good care already with good depth in the minors to retool, neither of which Wade was handed when he took over. That is a tough environment to be in, I have a hard time faulting him completely.

CircleChange11
12 years ago
Reply to  Jay

That’s the question I have. Everybody here at FG is bashing the Astros for trying to improve through some FA signings, and I’m wondering “What would YOU do?” (to them)

HOU has next to nothing in MiLB (or at least hasn’t since JR Towles was supposed to be a big deal).

I asking authors to list the moves they would make or list the roster they’d achieve if they were running the show.

They seem to be the “White Sox” of the NL … not enough good player to really be declared a contendor, yet not enough young/MiLB talent to undergo rebuilding (as well as some biug contracts they’re saddled with). The fortunate thing, for both teams actually, is the weakness of their division. But, that’s also a possible negative thing in that they never start the season “completely out of it” signalling that “rebuilding has begun”.