Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bearing the Bruntlett of the Decision

Came across this while skimming the news on MLB.com today. It interested me for a couple of reasons.

First, I immediately remembered this pearl of wisdom from Astros manager Phil Garner. Was that only ten short months ago? And now Garner can't find room on his roster for his "best player?"

Of course, the Astros picked up Mark Loretta over the winter to take care of the utility infielder/guy that goes in after Adam Everett is pinch-hit for role. That's a position which Loretta is more than qualified to fill. And Chris Burke, while listed as an outfielder, is available to run in at second base as well.

But it still seems odd that Garner can't find a spot for his "best player." Unless, of course, the quote from last May was just an example of a manager blowing smoke.

Here's where it all becomes clear: The Astros can't make a decision about which marginal second-liners should fill out the pitching staff, so let's keep them all!

The Astros can pretend they're considering opening the season with only 11 pitchers, but seeing that they have yet to determine who will win the fourth and fifth spots, it would be foolish to assume that they won't need an extra hand in the bullpen.

So if it comes down to keeping Bruntlett on the team or carrying a 12th pitcher, Bruntlett is clearly the odd man out. And since the only time the Astros carry three catchers is when rosters expand in September, Munson, who has caught considerably fewer games than front-runner Humberto Quintero, is probably ticketed for Triple-A Round Rock.


This is an insane bit of roster construction. The seventh hitter in the Houston lineup will be Everett, who had a .290 on-base percentage with a .352 slugging average last year. Batting eighth will be Brad Ausmus, who somehow remains in the game despite a .285 slugging average in 2006. Ninth is the pitcher. So, in any game in which the Astros are behind late, they really need three pinch hitters, plus two guys to replace Everett and Ausmus in the lineup. So, the best thing to do is to saddle yourself with a five-man bench, including another catcher (Humberto Quintero) who can't hit, either?

In Munson's case, contract status has a lot to do with why he probably won't make the team. As a non-roster invitee, the club can send him to the Minor Leagues without risking losing him. Quintero is out of options, so if the Astros wanted to send him to Round Rock, he'd have to first pass through waivers.

Also, Munson made the team last year because the Astros were relatively desperate for offense. This year's revamped lineup will allow manager Phil Garner to rely more on defense at the catcher position.

--mlb.com (again)

Yeah, because who needs offense out of the bottom third of your batting order? Hmmm...pennant winning teams, perhaps?

Oh, and who the hell cares if Humberto Quintero has to pass through waivers? Or even if you lose him? There is no shortage of guys like him available for the price of a phone call.

Brewers and Cubs, right down to the wire in the NL Central this year. The Astros won't be a real factor. Not with this kind of thinking.


  • Geez, buddy -- don't I have enough to worry about without you jinxing the season?

    By Blogger Bob, at 10:59 PM  

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