In what has been a quiet offseason for the Houston Astros things are starting to happen. Since Jeff Luhnow came to town several moves have been made to the Htown roster. None of those moves were mega-deals, but each has brought a little something to the table with a side serving of a glimmer of hope.
The latest of these moves is the signing of Zach Duke to a minor league with an invitation to Astros Spring Training in Kissimmee, Florida.
Duke, who is a native Texan, is a left-handed pitcher whose career started off very promising with the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, his numbers have climbed where they shouldn’t and have sunk in places you’d rather not see. He has a relatively low walk rate (2.4/9 career) but also a relatively low strike out rate (4.6/9 career). His fastball hovers around 87mph so it isn’t his bread and butter, but rather a changeup and curveball that get him through.
Despite an All-Star appearance in 2009 representing the Pirates, Duke hasn’t had much success in the majors. Last season in 9 starts with the Diamonbacks he put up and 4.93 ERA and went 3-4. Interesting note: Duke hit his first career homer last season with the Diamondbacks…..against Houston’s own Bud Norris.
I’m not expecting much to come from this trade. Luhnow could have been thinking that this veteran presence and nice guy would make a good clubhouse addition if Wandy were to be gone and they needed another middle to late rotation guy. Spring Training will likely tell the story.
In the meantime, there are rumors flying about former Astro, Roy Oswalt. There’ve been whispers about offers for him from Boston, St. Louis and even Houston. Don’t get all aflutter on this one. Roy is most likely to land in St. Louis.
And finally, congratulations and best wishes to Jeff Luhnow and the soon-to-be Mrs. Luhnow who are getting married today! I love a good wedding…almost as much as a good trade.
Terri Schlather (AGirlintheSouth) is the tortured Senior Houston Astros Writer for Aerys Sports. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her ridiculous ramblings on sports, vodka and the weeone on twitter @agirlinthesouth.