Now that Clint Barmes has joined an NL Central rival, well rival for one more season, the Astros have a glaring hole at the SS position. Say what you will about Clint Barmes but he was a very steady hand at short and hit with decent power. The Astros understood losing Barmes would likely occur in this offseason with many contending clubs looking for shortstops, not sure the Pirates were at the top of that list though. With the ownership change, finding a replacement may not come right away and with in-house choices limited, Angel Sanchez and Brian Bixler, going outside the organization maybe the best option available. Jimmy Paredes does bring a certain amount of intrigue but reports suggest that shortstop maybe not be his ideal position and with a young rotation that may not be a wise choice.
Since the ‘Stros have a young rotation, helping them out defensively will be very important to their confidence and growth. One free agent who could help fill the void, while not breaking the bank, is Jack Wilson. Astros fans are very familiar with Wilson from his days with the Pirates and his nightly web gems. Wilson is an excellent fielding option that will make the easy play and pull off the incredible one routinely. He is not much of an offensive threat but could end up being a nice #2 option or down in the order but he certainly won’t be acquired for his bat. He shouldn’t command much more than Jamey Caroll and Mark Ellis while less than the 10.5 million Barmes received. Ideally, he could bridge the gap to Jonathan Villar who is still at least one year away from making an impact at the major league level.
While Jack Wilson won’t make people run out to the box office and buy season tickets like a Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins, he will certainly fill a big need on the cheap and that’s something that probably would make Jim Crane smile.