It is beyond obvious that the main focus for the Houston Astros this offseason should be acquiring starting pitching. However, it seems that retaining Randy Wolf may be all Houston does. But, there are other options floating around and even a few rumors.
As of now, Houston as resigned LaTroy Hawkins to a one year $3.5 million deal. Hawkins will probably fill the role of set-up man to Jose Valverde, if Valverde remains with the team.
Houston has also signed Taiwanese pitcher Chia-Jen Lo. Lo is a reliever/set-up man who will see at least one to two years in the minors, maybe more, according to Astros assistant GM Rickey Bennett.
Next on the "to-do" list
According to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros next step is to attempt to resign Doug Brocail and Randy Wolf.
Bringing back Brocail would be beneficial to the club but no a necessity, especially if Chris Sampson remains in the bullpen. A possible Sampson, Hawkins, Valverde combinations isn't out of the question. However, Brocail brings depth and leadership to the pen.
Randy Wolf is Ed Wade's current No. 1 priority. Look for something to happen by the end of the week with Wolf.
What will Ed Wade do if he can't sign Wolf? That is yet to be seen, but there are a few other pitchers said to be on Houston's radar including Andy Pettitte and Mike Hampton.
A rotation with Oswalt, Pettitte, Hampton, Wolf, and Wandy Rodriguez would be pretty good; however, don't look for Drayton McLane to break the bank putting it together.
Another spot the Astros are weak in is catcher. Humbert Quintero is currently pegged as the Astros' starting catcher. Ed Wade has said he would like to find someone who can at least tandem with Q.
There have been rumors of the Texas Rangers showing interest in third baseman Ty Wigginton. The Rangers have pretty serious depth at catcher so most likely the trade would involve sending a catcher to Houston, presumably Jared Saltalamacchia.
Personally, I don't understand sending Ty to the Rangers for Salty. Wigginton is gonna give you solid defense at third, and 20 or so homers from the bottom of the lineup. This was a career year for Ty, so if the Astros are going to sell, now is the time.
However, who is going to play third after Ty leaves? Geoff Blum? I like Blum; he is a bench player at this point in his career.
On top of all this, Saltalamacchia isn't a proven player, so I would pass on this trade and try and focus on getting starting pitching at anyway possible.
That's it for now. I'll update with more info as soon as possible.