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Lee, Walker, & now Maddux? Are Andy & Rog & John Valentin enough?

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by eric.81, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. eric.81

    eric.81 Contributing Member

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    Lee, Walker, & now Pudge? Are Andy & Rog enough?

    The Cubs have done nothing this offseason but add offense to their already excellent pitching staff. They've traded for Derek Lee (31 HR & 92 RBI), signed Todd Walker (.283, 85 RBI), and are now on the verge of signing Pudge (.297, 85 RBI + big time intangibles).

    From where I'm sitting (which is Cub-Hater central) that looks like some great additions to a pretty good team. The Wood, Prior, Zambrano trio is arguably better than our trio sans the Rocket, but their offense looks stronger and younger than ours. There is even SOME talk of them landing Greg Maddux.

    Have the Astros done enough even with the additions of Andy and (maybe) Roger? Is the Hidalgo situation still up in the air? IMHO, our offense was a bit of a weak link last year. Going into the offseason, I thought our best bet for adding a bat would come with the Wagner trade, but instead we got a fifth starter (at best) and some salary relief. Granted, that trade helped get us Pettitte, but I'm still worried about our offense.

    So, what are everyone else's opinions? Is last years squad + Andy, Roger, & more AB's from Ensberg going to be enough to take the suddenly free spending Cubs? I'm worried they got so close last year that they're swingin for the fences this year. Maybe we could sign Steve Bartman and take him with us every time we head to Wrigley!

    BTW, Happy New Year all... I wish everyone good fortune in '04.
     
  2. eric.81

    eric.81 Contributing Member

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    Does anyone hear crickets chirping?
     
  3. VesceySux

    VesceySux Contributing Member

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    Oh, wait... That's my cue, right?

    [Insert Drayton bashing here]
    [Insert Biggio retirement tomfoolery here]
    [Insert "(NL Central team) just signed X, Y, and Z" talk here]
    [Insert more Drayton bashing here]
    [Insert "Trade Bagwell!" irrational statement here]
    [Insert Jimy Williams-hating sentiments here]
    [Insert backhanded insult to apathetic Astros fans here]
    [Insert ridiculous trade scenario involving Hidalgo here]
    [Insert Piazza gay rumor here]
    [Insert even more Drayton bashing here]
    [Insert optimism about new Astros-Rockets cable channel here]
    [Insert parting shot about "Scrooge McClane" here]

    Have I covered all the bases? :)


    Oh, BTW, I do think the Cubs will be a force to be reckoned with. Their pitching is awesome. But, just remember this:

    THEY'RE THE FREAKING CUBS. THEY'LL FIND A WAY TO SCREW THINGS UP. IT'S WHAT THEY DO. THEY'RE LOVABLE LOSERS.

    If Miller can return the form, if Oswalt can continue to dominate, if Pettitte is as good as advertised, if Clemens finally signs on the dotted line, if Kent can step up production, if Hidalgo stays the course following his good 2003 campaign, if Biggo isn't a liability in centerfield, if Lane does well in the majors, if Bagwell continues to hit... I can honestly say the Astros can beat the Cubs next year.
     
  4. RunninRaven

    RunninRaven Contributing Member
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    I think our current roster is plenty to win the division and do damage in the postseason...assuming it stays relatively healthy. If we get another good year out of Hidalgo (the way Lane was playing last season, even if we don't he might could pick up the slack offensively) and Roy/Wade can keep their bodies and minds together, we should be plenty solid in all facets of the game.

    I look for a slightly better season offensively from Everett as he seemed to make more and more solid contact as the season progressed last year. His defense will be stellar as usual with occasional brainfarts on throws to first. Ensberg will be good, Bagwell will continue to slowly decline but will still command enough respect from pitchers to post a pretty good OPS, and Kent and Berkman will both hit well.

    I'm also not worried about the bullpen despite the Wagner loss. If Lidge doesn't run out of gas at the end of the season like he did last year, the pen will be fine with guys like Stone and company taking care of things until the Lidge/Dotel combo comes in.

    Besides, I'm not too worried about the Cubs this season, because they have in the past, and continue to show a blatant disregard for the healthy of young pitcher arms, and I have no doubt that they will ruin Prior and Wood before it is all said and done (maybe Zambrano too).
     
  5. eric.81

    eric.81 Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the input guys. I mean yeah, the Astros do a have an above average lineup/defense and a WAY above average pitching staff (with or without the Rocket), but the Cubs always seem to pick up "sexy" names that tend to put fear in me.

    Last year, it was Lofton and Aramis Ramirez. This year, it's Lee, Walker, and (possibly) Pudge. Anyway, the 'Stros always seem to stay in it and put themselves in the possition to win the division.

    BTW, the CARDS are now in the hunt for Maddux... anyone worried about them?
     
  6. London'sBurning

    London'sBurning Contributing Member

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    Sounds like the Cubs are becoming the Yankees in the NL division. They've made a ton of money being a below .500 team and never really had a need to upgrade their team with quality players. It seems now that they've actually built up their young pitching staff and since Sosa threatened becoming a free agent, the Cubs owner has decided to go on a spending spree to acquire whoever the hell he wants. The Cubs more then make enough money to practically sign anyone they want, and now that they've got a winning attitude it looks like they are. They'll definitely be a scary team next year.
     
  7. eric.81

    eric.81 Contributing Member

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    Not only that, but I believe they're owned by the Tribune Company which has a TON of money. I just remember about 4 - 5 years ago hearing sports pundits asking, "Why won't the Tribune Co. spend some money on the Cubs?"

    It looks like they decided to take everyone's advice... sucks for us huh?
     
  8. PhiSlammaJamma

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    The Cubs have an awesome pitching staff. They are probably the best team in the majors. They were probably the best team last year too. They just couldn't finish.
     
  9. eric.81

    eric.81 Contributing Member

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    So are you a little worried, like me, that we need maybe a slight tweak in our offensive personnel?

    CF - Biggio
    3B - Ensberg
    1B - Bagwell
    LF - Berkman
    2B - Kent
    RF - Hidalgo
    SS - Everett
    C - Ausmus

    That's (basically) our lineup. I know there are potentially five 30 HR guys in there between the #2 spot and the #6 spot but where's the team speed? We'll have decent defense and above average to excellent power but, ask the Marlins (hell ask anyone), come playoff time it's "little ball" that gets you the tough wins. Since the Astros started racking up Central titles, they've NEVER had a squad that could play "little ball." IMO, that's why they've never gotten out of the first round. When you run into the best pitching in the game (which typically happens in the playoffs) you need to be able to "manufacture" runs... something that slow, power hitters have trouble doing.

    Does anyone agree with that assesment? I feel like that's the reason, even in '98 when we had AMAZING pitching, that our offense just DIES in the playoffs... that and the killer B's amazing ability to choke!!
     
  10. edwardc

    edwardc Member

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    Some one else noticed that there is not a lot of speed on this team.But they still manged to waive a player that has speed and maybe could have played CF as a backup.
     
  11. London'sBurning

    London'sBurning Contributing Member

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    Yeah this team has a ton of power and homerun hitters, but an offense needs balance. All championship teams had great pitching, clutch hitting, and a balanced offense. Homeruns are great but if there's no one on base to take advantage of those long balls, it's not that beneficial. In close games, speed gets those crucial manufactured runs that result in whether your going to advance in the playoffs or go home. As much power and hitting this team has, the fact that we don't have very much speed or balance worries me.
     
  12. bigboymumu

    bigboymumu Member

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    I agree!
     
  13. eric.81

    eric.81 Contributing Member

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    So, more than one of us agree that we are severely lacking in an important area... team speed. Who can steal that base for us? Lay down that bunt for us? We've got nobody!! Is there any way we can/will remedy this problem before or during the season?!?!?
     
  14. VesceySux

    VesceySux Contributing Member

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    Well, we could package one or more of our pitchers (of which we have a plethora of) and try to trade for speed. So, who's out there that can be had? By chance, do we have any speedsters languishing in the minors right now?
     
  15. bobmarley

    bobmarley Contributing Member

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    Namely Chris Burke 2B will be up within the next year or two who has great speed and OBP and average. there are also a few others but havent looked it up in a minute.
     
  16. azn-baller

    azn-baller Member

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    and what have the astros accomplished??
     
  17. VesceySux

    VesceySux Contributing Member

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    Chicago Cubs (since 1962, when the Astros came into the league):

    1984 - Division champs - NL Championship series - lost 2-3
    1989 - Division champs - NL Championship series - lost 1-4
    1998 - Wild card - NL Division series - lost 0-3
    2003 - Division champs - NL Championship series - lost 3-4 (in a heartbreak)

    Houston Astros

    1980 - Division champs - NL Championship series - lost 2-3
    1981 - Division champs - NL Division series - lost 3-2
    1986 - Division champs - NL Championship series - lost 2-4
    1997 - Division champs - NL Division series - lost 0-3
    1998 - Division champs - NL Division series - lost 1-3
    1999 - Division champs - NL Division series - lost 1-3
    2001 - Division champs - NL Division series - lost 0-3


    Considering the fact that neither team has made it to the World Series in that time (1962 - present), I'd say the Astros have the upper hand here with all the division championships. Also, the Cubs went 39-40 years without even a divisional champ title (1945-1984). Lovable losers, indeed.

    ... But that's just my opinion.
     
  18. eric.81

    eric.81 Contributing Member

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    Ouch.

    What's the word I'm thinking? Ah... touche?


    The Cubs have done a lot more losing in the past decade than the Astros. In fact, the Yankees, Braves, Red Sox, and Astros have won more games in the past 10 years than anyone else!
     
  19. Uprising

    Uprising Contributing Member

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    Damn.....I heard that sizzle.

    insert-[/sound "tsssss" /sound]
     
  20. GreenVegan76

    GreenVegan76 Contributing Member

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    The Cubs have made some great moves this offseason. The Pudge signing could be the biggest in the NL. But the Astros aren't slouches either. The Oswalt/Miller/Pettitte trio can go toe-to-toe with any in the majors. Berkman will likely bounce back from a relatively sub-par season, and Kent may be the best offensive 2B in the NL. They still need to move Hidalgo (for just about anything, at this point), but they are going to be strong in 2004.

    The Cubs definitely improved themselves, but it's still a wide-open three-team race.
     

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