Monday's Three Astros Things

Bob Levey

Talking CSN Houston, Lance Berkman, Hideki Matsui and the New York Mets financial trouble...

Some things to talk about as we await the Baseball Writer's Rookie of the Year award tonight at 5 p.m....

1) DirecTV makes me sad

In case you missed it, Clack linked to a very good article on the ongoing negotiations between CSN Houston and other cable providers. The main thrust of it was all these fans in the Houston area are missing out on Rockets games, but from the sound of things, agreements won't be reached any time soon.

Especially with the stance of DirecTV's CEO Mike White:

“We are continuing to have active discussions about the Lakers network. We hope to have a deal on that content. But all of these new channels that ­everybody here wants, and they want to stick it into the bundle, is not right. . . . I think the regional sports network structure in the industry is broken.”

Now, that's in a discussion on the Los Angeles Lakers new RSN, which DirecTV hasn't picked up yet. If all the people in Los Angeles cannot pressure him into caving to those demands, what hope do Houston fans have? More to the point, what hope do we have of them working out a deal before the regular season begins for the Astros?

My dilemma is even worse and I'm sure some of you are in the same position. Even if we were to drop DirecTV, our terrestrial cable option is Time Warner, who doesn't sound like is interested in playing ball with CSN Houston any more than DirecTV is. Add in the fact that I can't watch Astros games through MLB.TV because they're blacked out and I'm in a bad spot.

Anyone else getting more worried about these negotiations, or are you confident a deal will be reached?

2) Sorry. Lance; Hi, Hideki

Jeff Luhnow sure is tipping his hand on a number of things this offseason. After all the closed door stuff that went on this summer, I'm a little shocked. But, in a very good Brian T. Smith interview with Luhnow from Friday, we find out that Lance Berkman isn't necessarily high on the team's acquisition list for a number of reasons.

For some, that's a point of sadness. I'd like to see Lancelot back in an Astros uniform, but his health issues scare me. If he's the highest paid player on the team, but plays no more games than he did this season, why should the Astros spend the money at all?

On the other hand, I'm not crazy about the idea of adding Hideki Matsui as the DH option. Matsui was so offense-starved last season that the Rays cut him. The Rays needed offense like crazy. Also under discussion there is Daisuke Matsuzaka, which would be a nice buy-low move, but may not amount to much more than the Livan Hernandez signing did.

One of the commenters on Friday brought up that this could be George Postolos trying to give Houston more international appeal. While I can buy that in one sense, I doubt Luhnow would be comfortable signing either guy if the baseball reasons didn't make sense.

So, we're still left to ponder what they'll do with the DH this season. I still like the idea of Austin Kearns joining the team, maybe in a time share at this spot. As bad as he was last year, he hit .340/.476/.500 against right-handers. Couldn't Houston find a lefty masher to pair with him for cheaper than going after Berkman or Matsui? Maybe that guy is Jason Bay.

3) Mets in financial trouble

This isn't entirely Astros related, but apparently the New York Mets are in some serious financial trouble. The team could lose its owners soon, and it's been implied that the reason they cut ties with Jason Bay was more financial than baseball.

It is also implied that the Mets may not be able to afford R.A. Dickey. Which led to me thinking about whether Dickey makes sense to join the Astros rotation. Beside the fact that he's old and would be expensive, you have to think all that experience would do wonders on a young staff. Maybe he could teach the knuckler to some of the younger guys in spring training, carry on the tradition a little.

It's a long shot, I know, and it doesn't make a ton of sense, but l'd rather Dickey play for Houston than shut the Astros down every time he faces them, you know?

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