NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23: Brandon Laird #60 of the New York Yankees reacts after striking out with the bases loaded in the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics on July 23, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
First off, let's hit the big news, as Houston basically picked up a second half of the Steve Pearce deal by claiming infielder Brandon Laird off waivers from the New York Yankees. Laird is a third baseman, according to his Wikipedia page, which has shockingly already been updated to reflect he's with the Astros now. The times we live in...
Laird is the brother of Gerald Laird, the catcher who has bounced around the league for a bit and is currently a member of the Tigers. Both brothers played at the same college in California and also were involved in a brawl in Phoenix at a basketball game, apparently.
If you're looking at Laird's numbers, both in the majors and minors, it's hard to figure how he rose so quickly through the Rangers system and why he got a chance in the majors. His averages are nothing special, he strikes out too much doesn't walk enough to really offset things.
Of course, his power numbers are the real reason why he's a major leaguer and why Houston claimed him. In 2,800 career minor league plate appearances, he's hit 100 home runs. He's also had an isolated power average over .200 for almost every season in the minors.
Add in his age, and Houston seems to be taking a gamble on a player at the hot corner. He's another in the Matt Downs/Scott Moore/Matt Dominguez/Bobby Borchering group as Houston tries to fix third base until Rio Ruiz (fingers crossed) is ready.
Other roster moves saw Houston call up a couple other players, as Matt Downs makes his return, Jordan Schafer takes Ben Francisco's place in the outfield and Jose Valdez joins the bullpen. Houston is still going to call up another catcher and maybe other players (Mike Hessman, maybe?) as soon as Oklahoma City's playoff fate is decided.