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The Kansas City Star suggests that the Astros might be interested in Joe McEwing.

Nice guy, and hard worker, but I only understand Houston's interest if we've suddenly become disenchanted with Chris Burke and Eric Bruntlett, methinks.

Although Bruntlett and especially Burke both have the capacity to improve from here, each in 2005 easily exceeded McEwing's high SLG and RC/27 from the last four years. Plus, Super Joe is now 34 years old.   The guys we have are better, younger, and probably cheaper.  This rumor can't be true and is most likely the twisted hallucination of a booze-addled hack, rather than anything we should be taking seriously.

It was Buster Olney's column that called my attention to the Star piece, and in the same space, Olney calls Brandon Backe his "X-factor" guy for the Astros.  

So it's pretty obvious to all how important Brandon will be for us this year.  

He pitches tonight of course, and sprinkle the rosewater, cross your fingers, light the black candle for Elegua,  whatever your faith might indicate:  Backe NEEDS to throw the ball well against the Royals.

I don't subscribe to the ESPN Insider thing, but Olney evidently interviewed Roy Oswalt, and Roy said he's only gonna pitch ten years?  I'd welcome more info if anyone had it.

The Chronicle is reporting that Buchholz is the fifth starter--which we knew--but won't put a sawbuck down in the Munson/Chavez race, although of course us Crawfishites know by now that it's gonna be Munson.

The ESPN preview says Wandy "makes mistakes but has a feel for pitching," which is kind of nice.  Most of their punditry has us finishing second in the division.

Baseball Prospectus is more inclined to set us third, but also employ a couple who have Roy as their Cy Young pick.  Gotta love Keith Woolner who has the balls to tap Milwaukee.

Also at Prospectus, subscribers can check out Jay Jaffe's take on Bagwell and his HOF chances