Houston GM Ed Wade has gotten a lotta crap for the moves he’s made this offseason. Nick, who is not prone to hyperbole, just wrote a post describing Wade’s “overwhelming incompetence.” And his is a pretty popular sentiment on the internets.
I’ve defended Wade in the past. But not today. I think his moves this offseason have been, at best, shortsighted. But I will point out this simple fact: the Astros finished 2007 in fourth place. And they’ll enter 2008 with a real shot to win the NL Central.
Now, granted, the Astros playoff chances could only exist in the NL Central, which is a piss-poor division indeed. But we can’t blame Ed Wade for that, can we? Ok, maybe we can blame him for one-sixth of the division’s crapiness. But I digress.
The Astros ended the offseason with an infield lineup that included Adam Everett, Ty Wigginton, and Mark Loretta. Ewwwwwwwwww. They’ll presumably go into 2008 with an infield that still has Wigginton, but now boasts Miguel Tejada and Kaz Matsui, not to mention RBI machine Lance Berkman. That’s a solid group, at least offensively.
The outfield corners will be manned by Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee, both potential all-stars. And Michael Bourn, acquired in a trade with the Phillies, should be, at the very least, a capable defensive player in center and could develop into a threat at the top of the lineup. Plus the team will have Geoff Blum coming off the bench. And now they’ve got a dominant closer to finish games with a flourish.
Now, I know, I know, the Astros still don’t seem to have enough pitching — though the way Wade is going, nobody would be surprised if he signed a big name in the next few days (Carlos Silva?) or traded the team’s next five first round draft picks for Erik Bedard.
But even if Wade does nothing, and Houston enters 2008 with a rotation consisting of Roy Oswalt and a bunch of question marks, he has succeeded in putting together a lineup that could be successful and surely will be entertaining. And, if you’re an Astros fan coming off a season that offered little excitement beyond the Craig Biggio farewell tour, that probably sounds pretty good right now.