Re: Dunn And His Long Term Contract
Houston has only to wait for Dunn to take the major league minimum salary as a free agent in his triumphant return to his home town state.
Because everyone wants to go home again, right?
As to age, Biggio and Bagwell, if healthy and signed, will play. Period. Garner starts his veterans. If Bagwell does intend to hang it up, your Astros have:
Career year? Possibly. Never hit that well in the minor leagues. Perhaps he finally "gets it", but history is littered with fleet phenoms who refuse to walk and have one good year finding holes with punch and judy bats. (Hell, the Reds have one of those on their roster right now in Tony Womack.)
An injury risk that hits well at home and poorly on the road. (298/886 v. 239/750.) Some pop, some speed (though that has diminished with injuries). Oh, and did I mention his career 327 OBP?
Biggio/ Burke 2B
Great player with a solid season, but his 2004 looked bad. He's on the wrong side of 40. How much longer does he have? If not Biggio, the 'Stros have Chris Burke, who I happen to like. However, he's also from the wrong side of the river and is apparently too stupid to ever play baseball for a fine, fine team like your Astros. Too, it's not like he's lit the world on fire (and he's had ample oppotunity) in the major leagues.
Morgan Ensberg 3B
Yeah, Ken Caminiti had a career year, too. What of it? Great year. Very. very poor in the playoffs. He's never been close to that kind of year before. Can he repeat? Perhaps. Smart money isn't on it.
Solid All Star level player with an injury past. He's by far the best hitter on a poorly constructed offensive team. Not only are the injuries worrisome, but you will also see, as the Astros come back to earth, pitchers pitch around him. This could lead to struggling.
Preston Wilson LF
He's not horrid, but if Wilson is a centerpiece of your offensive strategy (and he is in Houston land), then you're in trouble. In the bandbox that is Minute Maid, he'll still hit a fairly high number of dingers, but his OBP will continue to drop. And it's extremely low (325) already.
Brad Ausmus C
Ausmus is a fine catcher and a black hole offensively. And he's getting old. Not a good combination for a guy with a rather large two-year contract.
Adam Everett SS
He's another punch and judy hitter (though with better pop than either Ausmus or Tavares) with one good offensive season. His glove is truly outstanding, but his bat is very poor.
If you're counting with me at home (those in Houston may need to take off their shoes at this point), that's three very poor offensive players, two more with OBP questions, two with injury concerns, two with age concerns, and two with career year concerns.
That, in short, is a lot.
As for the pitching, let's assume both both Oswalt and Pettite make it through the season without injury. (I know that hasn't happened yet, but bear with me.) Backe as a third starter is not more than adequate and there are two huge question marks at the back end of the rotation. (Granted, I'd take the Astro starting staff over Cincinnati's every day for an eternity, but that's another post. For today, I'm covering the questions of the Astros.)
As for the pen, Lidge's complete meltdown in the offseason is more than worrisome. He imploded. Donnie Moore, Mitch Williams imploded. Can you tell me what happened the year after each of those stalwart closers (both were All Stars in their respective years) blew up? Both pitched horribly. Beyond horribly. Can Lidge come back? It's certainly not a sure thing at this point.
As for the other relievers, yes, they had fine years. Most teams that go to the playoffs have fine bullpens in place. Houston's pen enjoyed career years by no less than five players. Even if half come back down to earth, that means the pen is verage at best.
Questions? You bet there are. Of course, I am from Kentucky and what do we really know about anything anyway?