Astros Winter Meetings Wednesday Roundup

Just let Ed Wade what you want him to do and stick to it!

Sorry the update is coming so late tonight. It's been a weird day, but we still haven't had a lot of Astros news. Some more shuffling went on with the minor league system. You can find the details over at Zachary Levine's blog, but the thing that made me smile was Stubby Clapp getting the managerial job at Tri-City. That's easily the best name in the Astros system.

Houston also lost out on the Jack Cust sweepstakes, which Wade wasn't too bummed about, since the Astros had legitimate concerns about Cust's defense out in left. That's a good thing, too, because from everything I've heard, Cust isn't a good fielder and probably needs to be a DH more often. The Astros showed interest in Ryan Rowland-Smith, but came to no agreement on a deal.

Instead, Wade and Alyson Footer both made comments about how the team didn't want to make a big splash in left field because Brett Wallace can still win the job. We've talked about this before, but Wallace's biggest problem is that mechanical/timing issue with his swing. Whether he works that out in the offseason or the minors, should the Astros count on him not making it?

That's where I think Ed Wade can't win for losing. Fans want to rebuild, so he shows commitment to Wallace at first. But, it's seen as a failure to upgrade at left field instead of committing to a younger player. Yes, Wallace struggled for clearly defined reasons in a short tenure after the trade. He's still a young player that needs to have a chance. 

Wade also showed some solid, non-traditional-stats thinking by trying to upgrade at second base. Yeah, Kepp did a great job at the position last season, but his defense is just adequate and he had a career year at the plate. If Wade were counting on Kepp to do something similar again? He'd be pilloried. Now, he's criticized for trying to upgrade at a position where he's already got a solid player. 

I don't want to captain the Ed Wade Bandwagon. I didn't like giving up Paulino, even if I do think Barmes can be a solid player next season. Still, I think he's shown two pretty solid signs that we can appreciate this week. Will it be disappointing if the Astros only come away with a Rule 5 draftee? Yep, but it won't be the end of the world. 

No, the only thing to bother me about Wednesday was the return the Rays got for Jason Bartlett. Basically, for Felipe Paulino and Wilton Lopez, the Padres picked up a starting shortstop who's (probably) better defensively than Clint Barmes and who will benefit from a switch out of the AL East. That makes me sad.

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