What's that, you say...a discussion question and a links post, all in the same day? How do you find the time?
I'll answer that with a question of my own: It's Friday...would you rather be researching and writing an incisive and well-informed piece about something, or plowing through Season Three of LOST while at work and throwing together a couple of interesting posts where other people do the majority of the work?
Really? You'd choose the insight? Huh...
At any rate, here's a rundown of the day's interesting Astros news:
First, and most pertinent to the Astros, Doug Brocail's option was declined today, meaning he will be a free agent. As the story indicates, retirement is a possibility for him. No big loss for the bullpen and hopefully Drayton will spend the money elsewhere.
Here's a really interesting piece by Beyond the Box Score on the economy and free agency. Looking at the conclusions from this, it's kind of hard to buy Drayton's rhetoric about keeping the payroll down because of how the economy is performing, no?
One more link before getting into the Free Agency Speculation Hour...here's a long, yet cool documentary on the Hall of Fame as a museum. I've been to two different exhibits with material from the HOF; one was at the Museum of Fine Arts and one was at the Bush Library. Both were very neat and well-done. I've never been to Cooperstown myself, but hopefully once my little spud is a bit older, we can go enjoy it for the first time together.
So, now for a few stories where we speculate on the Astros offseason goals:
This story out of Denver talks about possibilities for Garrett Atkins. Given the discussion in the comments about the Astros and Orioles wanting similar types of players, could the Astros be interested in Atkins too? His home/road splits have been pretty terrible, but if they can get him on the cheap, is he worth taking a flier on?
Adam Kennedy is another interesting candidate for the swing infielder position the Astros need. He hit fairly well in the American League, so it's safe to say that while he'll be a year older and that his sample size wasn't that big in 2009, he'd have a good chance to maintain that level. At 4+ million, he's also not as expensive as some options and may take a one or two year deal.
Two trade possibilities that intrigue me are Kenshin Kawakami for the Braves and Mike Fontenot of the Cubs. Kawakami is owed more money that the Astros probably want to spend, but he was very good last season and doesn't really have a fit in the Atlanta rotation. Plus, the Braves have a couple other minor league arms that could be ready by next season, so they don't have to worry about depth. Would they take one of the Astros outfielders for Kawakami? Maybe even a guy like Koby Clemens?
As for Fontenot, he's cheap but doesn't really have a home with the Cubbies. I like his versatility and the fact that he had a higher road split than home the past two seasons shows he could probably succeed away from Wrigleyville. I also like his versatilty; he could play third passably and could fill in for Matsui when Kaz eventually gets hurt.
Just some things to think about...hope everyone has a good Halloween!