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Everett, Lidge, Wheeler Sign

The Asociated Press is reporting and the Astros are confirming that both Brad Lidge and Dan Wheeler signed one-year deals with the Astros on Tuesday.

Coupled with Adam Everett's agreement Monday, the news leaves only one arbitration-eligible Astro, and that would be Morgan Ensberg.

Astros.com says that Ensberg has submitted a figure of 4.2 mil, and the club has in turn offered 3.4.  Ensberg made 500 grand last year, when he had the breakout season long hoped for from him, and was named team MVP.

Although they chose to avoid arbitration, Everett, Wheeler and Lidge each got nice raises for themselves.  Everett earned $445,00 last year, when he posted his lowest seasonal batting average and slugging percentage in his career thus far.  

Still, considering that Jack Wilson made 3 and a quarter million last year, the new contract Everett has stepped into is not unreasonable and he should be just as tradeable--should the Astros decide to go that route--now as before he signed on the dotted line Monday.

Nobody's trading Wheeler or Lidge, noway, nohow, and both of them have more than earned their raise.  Lidge made half a million last year and will increase his salary nearly eightfold for 2006 to $3,975,000.  But, 2005 playoff failures notwithstanding, Lidge appears worth it.    Only two NL pitchers have more combined saves over the last two years than Brad, he's led NL relievers in strikeouts the past two seasons, and he has certainly taken his place among the elite closers in the majors.

Dan Wheeler made $365,000 last year, and perhaps made the largest progression in advancing his career of any Astro save Ensberg.  The Astros gave him $930K, and if he pitches like he did in 2005, he'll be worth it.