As we wait for the Astros to make some moves, here are two rumors to whet your appetite:
Astros Interested in Pitcher Chad Gaudin
According to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros are one of six teams with interest in right-handed pitcher Gaudin.
For his career, Gaudin, 31 next season, has largely pitched as a reliever, though the San Francisco Giants used him as a starter 12 times last year. He has a career 4.44 ERA, a 4.45 FIP, and a 4.54 xFIP.
In 97 innings last year, he posted a 3.06 ERA, 3.34 FIP and a 4.00 xFIP. He also groped a woman on a Gurney in a hospital, before the season started (h/t Astros County).
Astros Pursuing Mike Morse
This one comes from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com:
Morse will turn 32 just before the season.
This one is a little bit of a head scratcher, as Morse doesn't walk a whole lot, has power, but only a .192 ISO, and doesn't really provide anything that Chris Carter doesn't already provide. He's been used as a first basemen and in the outfield. For a tall-big dude, his defense in the outfield is what you would expect: atrocious. At first base, he's about average. Add on that he's been able to play in enough games to get over 500 plate appearances only once, and you have to wonder what the Astros are thinking here.
He is left-hand...no, wait he hits right. There was a hot pocket stain on my monitor.
There is this article by Beyond the Boxscore that does a good job of breaking down why Morse is a bargain:
Michael Morse, a bargain waiting to happen - Beyond the Box Score
By Jake Dal Porto
I'm still inclined to pass, especially if the reported $7-8 million asking price is accurate.
Jose Veras Would LOVE to Return to Houston
"It feels like family there," Veras said. "It's a young team and they're hungry to win. I feel part of the team. I doesn't mater to me if we won or lose. When you play as a team and everybody cares, that's the best part for me. I do my job to make the tam excited we won the game.
"It was my first time to get an opportunity to be a closer, and I appreciated that part. It felt like the best place I've been. I was talking to my agent and I feel excited the Astros are interested to bring me back to the team."
Veras was one of the few reliable options Bo Porter had in the bullpen this past season. However, I am a little worried about the Astros signing him for the second straight off-season. He had a fantastic year for the Astros and to a certain extent the Tigers, but he was pitching a little bit over his head. His BABIP was a little lower and his left on base percentage was a little higher than his career numbers. Some negative regression is likely in order for Veras next year. Steamer and Oliver project Veras to have between a 3.45-3.60 ERA and a 3.70 FIP. Of course, that's still a solid bullpen piece, but then I'd have to listen to how he sucks because he's not as good as he was last year.
Jesse Crain would also LOVE to play in Houston
From McTaggart we get this cute comment:
Jesse Crain said it would be fun to be able to play in Houston, where he lives and went to college. #Astros— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) December 10, 2013
Jesse Crain has a career 19.8% strikeout rate and a 9.3% walk rate. He also has a career 3.05 ERA, a 3.77 FIP, a 4.19 xFIP and a 3.84 SIERA. He's pitched particularly well the last three years in Chicago with the White Sox. Last year he posted a 0.74 ERA, a 1.52 FIP and a 2.94 xFIP in 36 2/3 innings, while dealing with right shoulder -- his throwing shoulder -- problems.
If Crain is expressing interest in playing for Houston then the Astros could probably get a hometown discount. The questions are about if he can recover from his shoulder problems, and if the Astros are willing to take that gamble.
Rockies Acquire Brett Anderson
This is what Purple Row had to say about the move:
When healthy, Anderson has been a formidable southpaw, posting a career 3.81 ERA and still rates above average even when you adjust for Oakland's pitcher friendly park. He throws four pitches for strikes. A fastball that generally sits around 92 MPH, a low to mid 80's change up, a curve ball, and his most effective weapon, the slider...
...In Pomeranz, the Rockies lose the center piece of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade from 2011. In a disappointing tenure with the Rockies, Pomeranz made just 30 starts, posted a 5.20 ERA, and walked 4.6 batters per nine innings. Still, Pomeranz showed potential down the stretch when he recovered from a biceps injury and pitched out of the bullpen. There's still a very real chance that he puts things together in Oakland...
...This deal is a gamble for the Rockies, but with the price of pitching on the free agent market, it's a gamble that may be worth taking.
Anderson had been a target by several of our writers, but it looks like that possibility has been plucked from their fantasies.
Fowler > Anderson all day, every day.
Astros Looking at Grady Sizemore and Corey Hart
Speaking of our writers, here's another guy(s) a few have been hot for. From David in our email thread:
Richie Justice just said on MLB Network that Astros looking at Grady Sizemore and Corey Hart as 1B options too. Mentioned all the relievers we've already heard about today. -David
McTaggart confirms the rumor on Twitter:
The #Astros are one of a handful of teams who have talked with reps for Grady Sizemore, who hasn't played since 2011.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) December 11, 2013
From 2005 to 2008, Sizemore had a 128 OPS+, with above-average defense in center field, and didn't post a WAR total lower than 5.7. He was considered one of the best players in baseball at the time. Since then, he's struggled to stay healthy. From 2009 to 2011 he played in 210 games and hasn't played in any games, minors or majors, since September 22, 2011.
For his career, he has a 10.6% walk rate, a 20.2% strikeout rate, a .204 ISO, a .359 wOBA and a 120 wRC+. His defense is a mystery, and if teams are looking at him as a possible first basemen, then that further decreases his value. Steamer projects him to only have one plate appearance, while Oliver projects 600 plate appearances that would result in a .327 wOBA and a 106 wRC+. Sizemore is the definition of low risk, high reward.
On to Corey Hart.
Hart, like Sizemore, has been dealing with some knee issues. Last year, while rehabbing his left knee, he felt some discomfort and had to have surgery. Hart finished 2013 with exactly zero plate appearances.
For his career, Hart has a 7.1% walk rate, a 20.4% strikeout rate, a .354 wOBA, a 117 wRC+ and awful defense. Still, depending on the price he makes an intriguing option for the Astros.
Astros Interested in Reliever Joba Chamberlain
Back to our good buddy Evan Drellich:
Source: The Astros have interest in Joba Chamberlain. Buy-low candidate who, as a rookie in New York, had his locker next to Roger Clemens.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) December 11, 2013
Chamberlin, 28, is the polarizing pitcher from New York.
"Start him; don't start him. Oh, look we broke him. Get him outta here!"
For his career, Chamberlin has a 23.2% strikeout rate and a 9.5% walk rate. Hubba, hubba! Last year, he posted a 4.93 ERA, a 5.64 FIP, a 4.60 xFIP and a 4.44 SIERA. Chamberlin is a player that probably needs a change of scenery. I'm not necessarily saying the pressure of New York got to him, but it just seemed like they didn't know how to handle him. His peripherals are good: high strikeout rate, low walk rate, average groundball rate. The thing that seems to be working against him is his career .314 BABIP. Of course, if you're a strikeout guy and you keep the walks down, that won't matter as much for a reliever.
Take, for example, his 2008 season, arguably his career year. He had a .324 BABIP, a 28.3% strikeout rate and a 9.4% walk rate. Since then his strikeout rate has decreased, but it's been more erratic than trending downwards. That's likely due to the fact that he was tried out in the rotation, then placed back in the bullpen. Last year, his downfall was a walk rate over 13.1% and a 18.2% home run to fly ball ratio. Both numbers were career highs for him. Chamberlain is an excellent bounce-back candidate, especially if he can get out of New York, where it appears he's out lived his usefulness.
Keep it here for the latest rumors and any breaking news.