What is Houston Doing? by Matthew Carruth December 10, 2009 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?