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February 04, 2005

Rangers ink Astacio

Texas signed pitcher PEDRO ASTACIO to a one-year, Major-league contract and added him to the 40-man roster. Terms were not disclosed.

Astacio was asking for $700,000 up front and $1.3 million in incentives, quite a generous self-assessment considering his ERA+ of 77 during the last three years. What he will receive from Texas is not known at this time.

Even with a surgically repaired shoulder, Astacio probably represents a step up from John Wasdin in terms of an AAA insurance policy. Texas used sixteen starters last year; for him and almost any veteran in Oklahoma with a decent arm, the question isn't if they'll be called up, but how often. Astacio would be a fine NRI. Unfortunately, the Major-league contract essentially guarantees a spot in the rotation. My thinking was that a strong Spring Training from Juan Dominguez or Ricardo Rodriguez would get one of them a spot in the rotation. Now, Rogers, Drese, Park, and Astacio are in place and last spot is presumably Chris Young's to lose.

Not to seem overly pessimistic, but the rotation as a whole has a high risk of failure. Rogers pitched well last year but is 40. Drese pitched very well last year but has a very spotty track record. Young is promising but unproven, certainly no lock to provide 180 league-average innings. Chan Ho Park is Chan Ho Park. And Astacio has 45 awful ML innnings to his credit over the last two years. There is a chance, not a small one, that the rotation could approach 2003 in terms of historic ruination.

UPDATE: Astacio gets $800,000 for signing his name and up to $2.2 million in attendance and performance bonuses. Furthermore, John Hart proclaimed him a "quality guy," presumably in reference to his pitching ability and not his character. Astacio pleaded guilty to punching his estranged, pregnant wife in 1999 and temporarily faced deportation to the Dominican Republic.

Posted by Lucas at February 4, 2005 05:57 PM