What does Ivan Rodriguez really mean to the 2009 Astros?

The morning after.

Yesterday was a big day.  It was the first time the Astros were relevant in the headlines since Miguel Tejada got paraded in front of Judges, so it was definitely a nice change of pace.  To be quite honest, it was the first time in a long time I felt compelled to follow the news, monitor the RSS feeds, etc.  This off season was boring for us, but Ed Wade finally did what we all thought he would do: sign a veteran position player in the as the clocked ticked closer to the season.

The projections don't make Ivan Rodrigeuz out to be the savior his former glory days could construe him to be.  In fact, he's really only marginally more valuable than Quintero/Towles were projected to be.  The thing to take into consideration—if you're inclined to try to take it with a grain of salt—is that Pudge was projected in the AL East, since that's where he last played (at least in PECOTA).  So maybe he'll be more valuable than the average of his wOBA's from PECOTA, CHONE, and Oliver (.308) I have in the Community Projection Project.  [ I still don't know how exactly to allocate his playing time because I'm not sure how we'll play him (if anyone wants to venture guess, I have 450 PA right now. ]

Whether you want to read a lot into the projections or not, this is, pretty much, a zero-risk deal.  One year of veteran leadership at the backstop, proven glove, and maybe some improved rate stats now that he's in the NL—all for probably between $2-3 million when the performance bonus kick in.  I see nothing wrong with it, and I'm excited for the possibility of anywhere from an extra 1-1.5 WAR (yes, I know this means we're still hovering somewhere between mediocrity and compalancey...but if this a down year, it least we'll be winning team in a down year). 

Some of you might have read about the bonuses yesterday and thought, "WTF?! I thought we had no money?!" You'd be correct in that assessment, and I'm sure that most of you thought, "Well I guess we'll drop Backe now," and I hope we do.  Not because I'm overly thrilled about Ortiz and Capellan being the only candidates left to vie for the final spot in the rotation, but they at least have better-projected FIP's than Backe did (click here, here, and here for comparisons).  That counts for a little bit—right? And makes Pudge a pretty cheap signing if you subtract out Backe's contract.  It's a win-win.

Pudge coming to the Astros is exciting news because he's a household name, but other than that...there's not much to jump for joy about.  What this deal has done is open up opportunities for us to be marginally better throughout the organization.  JR Towles gets another season at AAA to progress; Brandon Backe, ostensibly, has no job; and we get to see if the has been/never was back of our rotation still has some gas in the tank to support their solid spring outings.

Hey, at least we have something to talk about besides our losing streak.

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