Astro Roster Changes Finally Come, As Reality Sets In

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Maybe it was getting swept by the Texas Rangers, or maybe it was losing two of three games to the Kansas City Royals.

Maybe it's that the Houston Astros are 2-8 for their last 10 games, or that through 70 games they are one of the worst teams in baseball with a record of 24-46.

Maybe it's all of the above. But whatever it is, the changes are finally coming.

After blowing a game to the Rangers yesterday - thanks to some really questionable managing on the part of Brad Mills (seriously, what was the thinking behind walking Vladimir Guerrero, who had a nice o-fer going, in order to pitch to Josh Hamilton who had been destroying the Astros the entire weekend in the ninth inning) - general manager Ed Wade announced the newest scapegoats for the team's failure: reserve outfielder Cory Sullivan, reserve catcher Kevin Cash, and reliever Casey Daigle.

The three were designated for assignment, and in their place, Jason Castro, Chris Johnson, and Jason Bourgeois were called up from Round Rock.

These moves have been a long time in coming.

And after the moves were announced by Wade, Mills stated that Castro and Johnson will be assuming the starting duties at catcher and third base.

So it looks like the Astros might finally be realizing that they're never going to win games with a bunch of old washed-up guys playing and maybe, just maybe, they should see what the youngsters are actually able to accomplish if given the chance.

But things still aren't perfect. Not by a long shot.

Somehow, despite everything, Pedro Feliz still has a spot on the roster. Feliz is hitting .220 with a .242 on-base percentage, a .296 slugging percentage, and a .537 on-base plus slugging percentage. He's only hit two homers. This is the guy Wade gave 4.5 million dollars to play for the Astros. And his defense, which was advertised as being of Gold Glove caliber has been more of Golden Glove caliber, and he's been making Carlos Lee look like an above-average fielder.

He's still on the roster.

If anybody should have been designated for assignment, it should have been Feliz. Cash has never been known as a hitter, and if the brain trust thought he had suddenly learned how to hit, then maybe they need to have a few MRI's after the doctors are through with Humberto Quintero. And Sullivan was just a fifth outfielder.

Yet Feliz is on the roster.

In the long term, it probably doesn't matter, though, if Feliz ends up riding the bench for the rest of this season, the decision to keep him on the roster and not give another shot to someone like Edwin Maysonet is just puzzling.

Though maybe someone should really start questioning why it is that Ed Wade still has a spot with the brain trust.

Luckily, though, the Astros will finally start getting some answers. Like can Chris Johnson hit major league pitching, or not? If he can hit, does his supposedly sub-par fielding matter? Just how sub-par is his defense when compared to Feliz?

It appears that Jason Bourgeois is not really going to be getting much of a chance, since he's taking Sullivan's fifth outfielder spot, and we know that nothing is going to keep Carlos Lee out of the lineup.

Then there's the big question: Jason Castro? Is he really the answer at the catcher? Can he hit big league pitching? Can he hit the pitching consistently? How will he be defensively? Will the pitchers trust him?

The Astros have been a bad team for a long time. But worse than being a bad team, they've been a bad, boring team. They'll still probably be a bad team, but maybe with all the young kids trying to prove a point they'll be a little bit more entertaining to watch.

Though, speaking of entertaining, one has to ask just how it is the Astros could have dumped Casey Daigle. Sure, he hasn't been that good in his role as a reliever, but the most entertaining part of several recent home games has come from watching Fox Sports Houston trying to find any reason to put up a shot of Mrs.Casey Daigle sitting in the stands. But now that he's gone, she's gone, which means they'll be stuck just showing us the Astros.

So, Ed Wade, couldn't you have dumped one of the many other relievers who have been sucking really bad? Or better yet, couldn't you have signed Mrs. Daigle to a contract instead? She's supposed to be a pretty good pitcher after all.

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