It's been four years since the Astros have had little question about the play at second base.
Astros fans were spoiled for 15 years as two possible Hall of Fame players manned the position in Craig Biggio and Jeff Kent. Since Biggio hung up the spikes the Astros have had four different players attempt to fill his shoes. First it was the young Chris Burke who had been the heir apparent to the position since being drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 2001 amateur draft. Then came free agent Kaz Matsui who was coming off a good year in Colorado. Then came Jeff Keppinger who filled in admirably at the position after Mastui faltered. Which brings us to Bill Hall who had been brought in with the Astros wanting to move Keppinger, but ultimately only kept the spot warm for Keppinger as he recovered from a foot injury.
For all the gripes about pitchers and umpires, Hall packed up his things quietly and said his good byes.
If there's one positive thing to say about the Astros is that they've had good production coming of the bench. With Jason Bourgeois coming back and only one other reserve outfielder you knew it was going to be a middle infielder replaced when it was all said and done.
If you listen to the podcast my vote was Chris Johnson, simply because he's got options left and it wouldn't be an entirely uncalled for demotion to allow him to work on some things in the minors. Hall's versatility would of allowed the Astros to play him at third base and see if maybe he's more comfortable over there while they attempt to rebuild some trade value with him. The hope would of been that the Astros couldn't of gotten something like they got when they moved Pedro Feliz last year. However Feliz has more of a track record than Hall so an opportunity to move Hall for something of value had little chance of happening.
Even if it had come down to Johnson and Hall the fact that Johnson has been lighting it up in the last few games would of tipped the scale in his favor.
The other options would of been Angel Sanchez who let's face it has come through in several situations and Matt Downs who has had his own moments, but also has a .367 wOBA which is good for fourth on the team albeit in limited playing time.
So the odd man out is Hall.
Many are celebrating this move, some even praising it, but if you read TCB during the offseason you know we weren't really all that excited about this move. This move just underlines one of negatives about Ed Wade as General Manager, he's not very good at finding free agents that can help improve this team. Pointing to second base is all you need to do to make your case.
While it is good to see the Astros are willing to account for their mistakes, I'm only responding with an unemphatic "yay."