Houston Astros Should Sign Jose Valverde, Let Miguel Tejada Go

Richard ZowieCorrespondent IDecember 1, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16:  Jose Valverde #47 of the Houston Astros picthes in the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 16, 2009 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It looks like the Houston Astros have come to a crossroads of sort. During this offseason they have to decide on which players to keep, which to acquire, which to let go, and which not to pursue.

Think of it as a poker game, minus the cheesy sunglasses and ESPN's inexplicable decision to put this cure-for-insomnia "sport" on its airwaves.

Or, think of it like that line from Kenny Rogers' song "The Gambler":

"You have to know when to hold them, fold them, walk away, run", etc.

Houston offered closer Jose Valverde salary arbitration. They say he's looking for a multi-year deal worth lots of dough. If Houston fails to sign him, they'll get a draft pick as compensation.

Whoop-dee do.

It will probably end up being another draft pick who'll be a bust, and may not even get signed.

Hey, Houston, Valverde's turning into a good closer, something that seems rare these days. Do what it takes to sign him.

In the past 15 years or so, I think I can count all of Houston's good closers on one hand: John Hudek, Billy Wagner, Octavio Dotel, Brad Lidge, and Valverde.

Valverde was 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA and 25 saves last season. Please don't let him leave just because some team offers him more money.

Meanwhile, Miguel Tejada has great qualities, but he's aging and has lost his range. Don't overpay him. If you do that, you'll have no money to acquire other players Houston desperately needs.

Like another starting pitcher, or perhaps another lefthander in the bullpen. Maybe someone who can get clutch hits.

And perhaps a Kirk Gibson-type who wants to win and expects nothing less from his teammates.

And, of course, if you do get a Gibson-type, try to avoid coaxing Jesse Orosco out of retirement.