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Astros sign Russ Ortiz to minor league deal

OK, this is almost made for a joke.  And it's too easy to take that route.  In the "party like it's 1999" theme, let me point out that acquiring Aaron Boone, Russ Ortiz, and Mike Hampton on the same team would be blockbuster transactions....if this was 1999.  In 1999, Boone hit .280 with 14 homers and 26 doubles, Ortiz won 18 games, and Hampton won 22 games.  Unfortunately that is living in the past.  And so it's hard not to be cynical about picking up these players who long ago saw their prime.

Ortiz hasn't pitched since 2007, and he hasn't been good since about 2003.  However, Ortiz has undergone TJ surgery, and one can always hope that he is one of the miraculous cases of a pitcher who gains his youthful velocity after the surgery.  Wade says that the Astros liked what they saw when he threw for scouts.  So, despite the cynicism, it's hard to complain about the signing, since it's cheap, and there is always the outside possibility that Ortiz could turn out to be useful in the rotation.  Certainly the Astros need all the depth they can get.

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