Hat tip to OremLK for breaking this in the fan posts section, but Brian McTaggart has a blog post up in which Ed Wade confirms what we've all been led to believe, the Astros payroll will decrease in 2010. Wade had a pow wow with Drayton McLane and a number was tossed around, apparently:
It was under where it was a year ago. Our desire is to work a number of younger players into our mix and we have every intention of doing that. That will have an impact on the final number
This announcement was on the heels of Ben Reiter of SI releasing his list of the top 50 free agents of 2010. Two names which he believes would fit well with the Astros are Justin Duchscherer (Oakland A's) and Fernando Rodney (Detroit Tigers).
Duchscherer had elbow issues this past season and battled depression as well. Bill James sees good things for him 2010, however. I like Duchscherer and agree that he would be a good fit here in Houston. He would come at a discounted rate based on his missed 2009 season, and doesn't walk a ton of batters, nor give up an inordinate amount of fly balls. His last name would be fun to say on a consistent basis, as well.
Rodney was 37/38 in save opportunities for Detroit, but his peripheral numbers weren't all that special. An uptick in his stats could be the result of changing leagues, as Reiter suggests.
So this is the second bit of concrete information to pass along this off season. (The first being the Astros' unwillingness to play Miguel Tejada at SS next season).
Where should the team go from here? If choosing between Jose Valverde and Tejada who should we keep? Should we keep either?
What about the guys Rieter suggests? Should we let Miggy and Papa Grande walk and spend our money on a reclamation project and a wild but talented closer?