It was certainly intriguing news on Friday when the team announced that it had signed Richard Hidalgo to a one-year minor league contract.
Considering the disasters that were his tenures in New York and with Texas, and that Hidalgo's only action last season came in the the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, it may not be a stretch to say that this could be Richard's last chance.
If so, it's interesting that that final shot should be offered by the organization that originally signed him back in 1991, and that watched him play (sometimes spectacularly) in its chain for 13 years.
Hidalgo's 2000 season is one of only 12 in team history that saw a player post an OPS over 1.000, and his scorching-hot September that year is perhaps second only to Bagwell's June of 1994 for best offensive month in team history.
And he wasn't too bad in 2003, when he was named Team MVP, either.
Obviously no organization can afford to be sentimental, but like I said, it's interesting, and I can guarantee you Hidalgo is grateful.
As far as whether he will be helpful, gotta say that I was intrigued by the quote the story on the original site offered from Al Pedrique, that
His bat speed's back, his power is back. He's using the whole field and not pulling the ball.
Hidalgo's biggest issue during his entire major league career with Houston was that he kept trying to pull everything. It was a problem when he played in the Dome, and he certainly didn't start trying to go the other way when the Park Formerly Known as Enron opened up.
So to hear that he's using the whole field is a good thing.
And I had no idea he had lost any arm strength. I DO know that he had a freaking rocket launcher when he was with the Astros, and that, despite some creaky knees, he truly deserved the Gold Glove in right field in 2003.
It looks like the Astros' primary outfield in 2007 will be El Kabong in left, Burke in center and Luke Scott in right. That's gonna be brutal outfield defense, and if Hidalgo can hit at all, there should be ample opportunity for him to get some innings at the very least as a late-game defensive replacement.
I'll be rooting for him.