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Running down the rosters: Houston Astros

Feb 9, 2012, 12:30 AM EDT

Wandy Rodriguez Getty Images

The 2012 Astros are pretty sure bets to lose 100 games, with the big question being whether they’ll top last year’s mark of 106 losses. That achievement will be tied to their ability to move the contracts of Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Carlos Lee. Ideally, they’d be able to sell off at least the latter two. Still, as marginal as Myers and Lee have become, they still rank among the team’s better players.

Wandy Rodriguez – L
Brett Myers – R
Bud Norris – R
J.A. Happ – L
Livan Hernandez – R

Wilton Lopez – R
David Carpenter – R
Sergio Escalona – L
Wesley Wright – L
Juan Abreu – R
Fernando Rodriguez – R
Rhiner Cruz – R (Rule 5)

Disabled list: Brandon Lyon – R
SP next in line: Jordan Lyles (R), Zach Duke (L), Kyle Weiland (R), Henry Sosa (R), Paul Clemens (R), Lucas Harrell (R)
RP next in line: Fernando Abad (L), Aneury Rodriguez (R), Jose Valdez (R), Enerio Del Rosario (R)

I had Lyles penciled into the rotation before the Hernandez and Duke signings, but unless Rodriguez or Myers is dealt this spring, now it seems likely that he’ll get some additional minor league seasoning. That’s probably for the best. Lyles held his own in the majors last season, but he’s just 21 and he still has some work to do.

The bullpen will be one of the game’s least experienced even if Lyon makes it back from shoulder surgery and contributes this season. I think it’s a long shot that he’ll prove useful, but since he’s making $5.5 million, he’ll probably get a chance to close if he proves healthy. In the meantime, just about anyone could win the job. Lopez has far and away the best track record, but no one seems to buy him as a long-term option as a closer. Carpenter might be the better bet. Abreu has the best stuff of the group, but his control is awful.

I’m giving Cruz a spot initially, though I’m skeptical he’ll be of any use.

CF Jordan Schafer – L
2B Jose Altuve – R
SS Jed Lowrie – S
1B Carlos Lee – R
LF J.D. Martinez – R
RF Brian Bogusevic – L
3B Jimmy Paredes – S
C Jason Castro – R

C Chris Snyder – R
INF Matt Downs – R
INF Marwin Gonzalez – S (Rule 5)
OF Jack Cust – L
OF Jason Bourgeois – R

Next in line: C Humberto Quintero (R), INF Angel Sanchez (R), 3B Chris Johnson (R), 1B Brett Wallace (L), INF-OF Brian Bixler (R), OF Travis Buck (L), OF Fernando Martinez (L), OF J.B. Shuck (L), OF Justin Ruggiano (R)

That’s the lineup of a team that simply doesn’t figure to score many runs. The Astros would probably be better off for 2012 with Downs at third base and Cust in left field, with Martinez sliding to right, but those make for small gains and they might as well see if Paredes and Bogusevic belong in their future plans. I’m not really expecting either to stick.

The more important players here are Schafer, Lowrie and Castro. If they can overcome their injury histories, then they might join Altuve on a competitive Astros team come 2014. No one from the group ever figures to become an All-Star (well, except for the fact that someone will have to represent the Astros in the Midsummer Classic), but they can be solid players at key positions. When the Astros are ready to contend again someday, it’ll be easier to upgrade at the corners than it will be up the middle.

  1. danielcp0303 - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    That’s the team I root for everybody. By the way, I just died a little inside

    • docktorellis - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:10 AM

      I kinda feel like we should all buy you a beer or give you a hug or something.

      • danielcp0303 - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        I’ll take an old school Astros uni and a season without Carlos Lee please.

    • cur68 - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:51 AM

      Oh. Wow. Uh…sorry bout that, dude. Could be worse, though. You could be a Met supporter.

      • stex52 - Feb 9, 2012 at 8:33 AM

        Win/Loss wise, it would be better to be a Mets supporter. But you’d have to go back to 1986 to understand how unlikely that is for me.

        This is ugly. I’m not even sure who most of these guys are or where they signed them.

        Daniel, we’d just better hunker down and take our blows for two or three years. I may go check out the Sugarland Skeeters.

    • mojosmagic - Feb 9, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      It can get any worse and you got some great prospects coming up from the Phils. Unfortunately you can’t shine shit.

  2. Ari Collins - Feb 9, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    On the bright side, they’ve got a first overall pick this summer, and very likely one next summer. Last time that happened, the Nats got Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. Granted, that was an exceptional haul. But other recent first picks have included David Price and Justin Upton.

    So there’s hope of a future, is alls I’m saying.

    • stex52 - Feb 9, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      Not exactly putting joy in my heart, but a possible light at the end of the tunnel. I have more hope that this GM knows what he is doing with draft choices. We haven’t done very well for quite a while.

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