clock menu more-arrow no yes

Just 'cause I wanted to get it onsite, and because you might have missed the small story at the Chronicle in all the A-Rod hoopla, Jose Jesus de Ortiz reported yesterday that Mike Lamb, Mark Loretta, Trever Miller, Brian Moehler and Orlando Palmeiro filed for free agency on Monday.

It is understood, or at least guessed here, that among these, Mike Lamb will draw the most interest in the market.  Defensive shortcomings aside, Lamb is a lefthander who has consistently posted seasonal adjusted OPS scores in the 110s, and though he can't hang with third basemen like Aramis Ramirez or Chipper Jones, several of the weaker sisters in the NL who are deficient at third should take some interest in him.  

And of course, Lamb would look better to a team that didn't have to find a place for him on the field, so a return to the AL for Mikey wouldn't be out of the question, either.

The Astros are definitely interested in retaining him, but any return engagement for Lamb would be as a backup and utility player; if someone offers him a starting job, it's hard to imagine Lamb coming back.

Mark Loretta should also draw some interest, but a brutal second half that featured a .626 OPS, taken with what you have to call consistently anemic power numbers, and poor defensive stats at each of three positions in '07, might limit interest in him more than he or his agent might expect.  

If so, it might be easy for the Astros to re-sign him, as I believe they want to do.   If Lamb does depart, Loretta could be useful as a backup at first base, and of course, we're going to need a backup plan to Burke at second.  Loretta doesn't excite you, but he does make some measure of sense.

Trever Miller as a breathing lefthander will attract some attention as well, and I have no idea whether the Astros should pursue him or not.  When thinking of middle relievers, it's always best to assume that good years will not be repeated an arbitrarily large number of times; but then again, Miller stunk for most of the first half, so maybe he's due a good year.

Or maybe not.  I don't know, and I don't think anyone else does either, to be truthful.   If we let him walk, I think we should at least have a lefty through free agency in mind.  McLemore is indeed a southpaw, but on careful inspection, he didn't retire lefties all that well.  Put it this way:  right now, I'm not all that comfortable with a Mark McLemore vs. Ryan Howard matchup.

Brian Moehler's best chance at being employed in 2008 is probably with the Astros, but with so many young arms in the organization, I wonder how well he fits here.  Moehler had a 4.39 ERA in 2007, which of course is nothing special, even for a middle reliever, and though it's often said that your pitching prospects are better off starting in the minors than relieving in the majors, what about the guys you foresee relieving in the majors?  I could see either Paul Estrada or Felipe Paulino, for example, taking Moehler's place on the roster, and pitching select sixth inning opportunities.

Lastly, OP, the specialist's specialist.  Doesn't face lefties, doesn't play defense, doesn't hit homeruns.  All he does is make contact vs. righthanders.  Those who study evolutionary biology might say that Orlando has been selected into extinction. I say let him go.  You need a good pinch-hitter, sure.  But I'd like one who can play the outfield in a pinch, as well.