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Jason Stark's blog contains some tasty Astro-tidbits

The Astros are generating a fair amount of buzz at this point, but not for any positive reasons. A one win, three tie spring training effort tends to get people talking for all the wrong reasons. Brendan Behan's famous quotation may be more appropriate for the Astros than we'd like to believe:

There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.

Opposing fans, sports writers, and fellow bloggers seem to be jumping on the Astros bandwagon, and are helping drive it off the cliff into baseball oblivion. So be it. I'm going to have to agree more with Miss Maudie, a character from Harper Lee's classic, To Kill A Mockingbird:

Things are never as bad as they seem.

It's telling that in a time of optimism, I have to resort to this quote for solace, but to again borrow a line from from a favorite book, this time Kurt Vonnegut's, Slaughterhouse-Five: So it goes.

On to Stark's blog. He re-iterates that Chris Johnson will be given the opportunity to fill the role that Aaron Boone left vacant. He lists three names, however, to keep our eyes on as spring training nears its conclusion: Jose Bautista (Blue Jays), Jeff Baker (Rockies),  and Juan Uribe (Giants). Baker's name is one interests me. He isn't an expensive veteran and could help the platoon cause quite a bit. Bringing in a guy who has a .922 career OPS against left handers is an intriguing prospect.

In regard to our spring training record, which currently sits at 1-16-3: it may not look pretty (it doesn't look pretty at all), but at least one NL executive laughed it off:

If that's not the ultimate spring training useless information, I don't know what is

Stark did not mention whether or not it was in fact Ed Wade who made that comment....

The Cubbies' payroll is pushing $140 million....the pressure is on on the northside of Chicago. Stark lists the next closest payroll in the NL Central as the Cardinals at $93 million. After looking at the Astros' player salaries, it looks like our current payroll for players that will be on the major league roster (not including Brandon Backe's $1.55 million salary), is roughly $97.2 million. That's not official though, and I could be missing something. A $45 million gap is rather large, and it's getting to be win-now mode for the Cubs.

Trade-Bait: Geoff Geary is apparently being dangled by the Astros. He could be a valauble component to a contender.