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If you hadn't heard, the Astros signed Koby Clemens Thursday, and assigned him to Greeneville.

Good. Our Appy League squad can use the help. And it'll be cool to have another Clemens baseball card come September, when they release the Greeneville set.

Koby of course signs as a third baseman, and is just about the most talked about eighth-round pick the Astros have ever taken.

And I may be coming to it a little late, but have you seen what ESPN überslacker Eric Neel wrote the other day? The wise ones indeed know that pitching is dangerous in a short series. In his typically-cryptic Page Two Power Rankings of July 12, Eric has the Astros seventh, and says: (dig this, it's just so f%^&ing cool):

7. Houston Astros (44-43)
What are the odds on the Astros to win it all right now? 100-1 maybe? Make the bet. Take 10 dollars out of your pocket right now and walk over to the window. Don't hurry. Don't smile. Don't whistle. Don't do anything that might call attention to you. Just make the bet.
The word is kinda out . . .If you check out the thread over at Viva El Birdos, you'll see that even the Cards fans don't wanna face us in October.

Let's see, what else? Maybe he was kind of expensive after all, but regardless, it looks like there is no longer an opportunity to sign lefthanded reliever Mike Stanton, as the Nationals got to him first.

We've both dropped a half-game back of the Phillies and watched the Marlins drop into a tie with us in the wild card race. Mets won today, too, so they pull into a tie with us, as well. The Marlins are basically in a free fall, and are becoming increasingly radical in their attempts to right the ship, if you can stand the mixed metaphor. Thursday, they released Al Leiter, and called up a replacement from AA.

Lastly, Kevin Millar to the Astros seems to be heating up a bit. Newsday says it's a deal, and Over the Monster believes them. The Sox need 'pen help, good God they do, their best reliever has been that guy named after the Austin Powers dude who throws underhanded, and we need a bat, so I guess Purpura's logic is do it, even though betcha didn't know that Qualls had a 2.08 ERA in June and has a 0.00 so far in July.

Millar's season has been subpar and he hasn't walked enough and he hasn't reached base in general enough, and he hasn't slugged enough, and I was beginning to think that first was where Berkman belonged, but the flaky Millar'll fit right in, especially with yakmeister Lance, and besides, I was always jealous of that Cowboy Up stuff anyway.

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What I really think is that while Millar would be a good clubhouse presence (and seriously, we Astros fans know that shit is important), Qualls just has more value than Millar right now. I'm assuming that Boston would pony up dough to help us pay the difference in salaries, but that's still not enough. If you've decided you're gonna trade Chad Qualls, then you can get somebody having a better year. That's just a simple fact.

If they do the deal, I won't scream, because I tend to defer to people with more years in the GM business than me, and Millar does have some upside, he's done it before in a pennant race, and maybe Minute Maid gets him going, but you ask me, I DO NOT sign on the dotted lines because I think we can do better. . . .