Today has been a shocking day for Aaron Boone and his friends and family. I wish them all the best as he faces this challenge.
With that aside, a pressing issue for us, as Astros fans, is what exactly are we going to do now to fill 3B? To that end, Alyson Footer's interview with Ed Wade sheds some light on where we're likely to go from here.
On Chris Johnson:
"We've got C.J. and Blum over there, and they'll continue to compete," Astros general manager Ed Wade said. "If it seems that we need something else down the road, we'll try to address it at that point."
I don't think Johnson is the solution. He struggled in his jump from AA to AAA last year, and needs to show adequate progression at the AAA level before he should just be plunked into a platoon that doesn't really make sense from him in the majors. Johnson has literally been abysmal at hitting LHP, as a RHB, his entire career. So unless we opt to turn Blum around, and have him take that side of the platoon (can anyone think of a double RHB platoon?), which he is terrible at, this makes no sense. Actually, it just doesn't make sense.
So there's no real possibility of a Johnson platoon because even our front office respects the legitimacy of the platoon split.
On Miguel Tejada moving to 3B:
Moving Miguel Tejada from shortstop to third base does not appear, at this time, to be a realistic option.
Moving Tejada over is just going to bring in Maysonet or Manzella to be glove specialists with no bat, leaving us in the same offensive void we were in before—only probably worse. Maybe if we got serious about Drew Sutton that would make sense, but he has proven to be a huge defensive liability in limited samplings at the minor league levels.
Two options in and it's not looking like there's much to do stave off the loss.
On the free agent market or trading:
Wade maintained all offseason that he expects a new crop of players to become available toward the end of Spring Training, when many who signed Minor League deals with out clauses become free agents. The Astros could look there for third base help, or they could also explore the trade route.
Trading would be stupid. This season isn't worth losing whatever talent we have left in the system to make this deal happen.
The guarantee-less players in two weeks are interesting, but largely unknown; further, do we really want any of those guys? I admit I haven't done any legwork to see if there is a potential gem, but I don't imagine there are too many.
Clack came up with this list, and I include links to their projections and make a comment or two:
- Dallas McPherson - a down year last year at defense, but solid defense previously; not platoon-able, but solid against RHP.
- Wilson Betemit - terrible defense, not platoon-able.
- Mark Loretta - makes the most sense: is platoon-able, and played outstanding defense for us at 3B last year.