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D. Newhan, J. Baker, and possible roster-makers: The 2009 Astros take shape

  • The muddied roster picture is becoming a little clearer each day. Apparently, Cecil Cooper didn't personally inform David Newhan of the decision to release him. Newhan found out through the media. It was not a surprise to him though, as he's just not a shortstop. Jason Smith and Edwin Maysonet are the two players to keep your eyes on as far as making the Opening Day roster.
  • Chad Paronto is dealing with a shoulder injury, and a practically set in stone bullpen. After pitching well this spring, he heads to Round Rock as insurance for the big league club.
  • Alyson Footer's mailbag features her opinion on the state of our third base platoon. Like most of us, she thinks that the Astros will need to seek outside help going into the season:
While the Astros are very happy with the way Chris Johnson performed this spring, I don't believe he'll make the team

Her list of seven potential replacements for Aaron Boone won't wow anyone, with Jeff Baker seemingly the most attractive. Concerns over the Rockies overestimating their own players' values exists, however. It's yet to be seen if the Astros have enough in their already bare cupboards to offer the Rockies. The six other players she mentions are: Travis Metcalf (Texas), Mike Hessmann (Tigers), Jeff Keppinger (Reds), Matt Brown and Robb Quinlan (Angels), and Juan Uribe (Giants).


Is the Rockies' asking price too high for Jeff Baker to become an Astro?

  • Jason Stark's mailbag is chock full of Astro-goodness. He mentions the Astros and Red Sox as potential suitors for both Keppinger and Baker. I would assume that the concern over Mike Lowell's hip is the impetus behind the Sox' interest in these two. Unlike Footer, Stark believes that Chris Johnson will in fact not only make the Opening Day roster, but will see the lion's share of time at third base, in the event that any that a trade doesn't occur.
  • Russ Ortiz looks to be the winner for the fifth starter's position, while Jose Capellan will settle for assignment to AAA Round Rock. Bullpen stability means he won't have the oppportunity to open the season with the Astros in any capacity, most likely. He's been impressive this spring, and should have a future with this organization. Age, injury, and poor performance are three reasons why Capellan may be in Houston at some point in the near future.