Welcome Aboard, Pedro Astacio
[February 27th] -- Wasn't it just yesterday that Nationals' general manager Jim Bowden said that the team was no longer talking to Pedro Astacio, that he was asking too much money, that he didn't want to be pay a "premium" just because Brian Lawrence got hurt?
Why yes, I think it was just yesterday.
Nonetheless, The Nationals have signed Pedro Astacio to a one year, $700,000 contract that kicks in an additional $500,000 if he goes north with the team. If he's a good boy and puts up some Lawrence-like numbers, he could make as much as $2 million. The Nats beat out both the Rockies and the Reds, as well as the Padres, who offered him a major-league contract that would have begun on May 1st, the first day his old team could sign him.
Astacio's best season came in 1993, when he went 14-9, 3.57 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He won 17 games with the Rockies in 1999m although his ERA took a beating at Coors Field. The rest of his career has been up-and-down, with no more so than in 2005. He went 2-8, 6.04 with the Rangers before being released. With the Padres, he was a stud, going 4-2, 3.17.
Astacio is an innings-eater who has a moving fastball that tops out in the low 90's. He has a good change-up, a big curve and a hard slider. He gets rid of the ball quickly, which keeps base runners close; his stolen bases-against numbers are very good. On the bad side, he starts out vey slow, typically having an ERA much higher in the first half of the year. He's not a bad defender; he just gets so caught up with the batter that he kind of forgets where he is. And he's 36.
That said, the guy has a career major league record of 124-119. His strikeout to walk ratio is well above 2:1. He's averaged 204 innings per season over his career. He is what he is; a bottom-of-the-rotation guy who'll likely end up with about 10 wins and an ERA in the 4.15 range. This is a good signing. It replaces a 200+ inning pitcher with another 200+ inning pitcher without having to give up Ryan Church, Nick Johnson, and yes, even Alfonso Soriano. Brian Lawrence's track record indicated he would have, should have, won 10-12 games this season. With Astacio in place, the team shouldn't miss a beat.
Hopefully, he'll pick up where he left off last season. Hopefully, he'll earn the entire $2 million. That would be a win-win for everybody.
I hate Drese...so I would take Armas over him any day. I must say though that I'm sad, I really though Lawremce was going to have a good year. Oh well, Astacio is a good last minute replacement..I miss Loaiza.
I'm not as optimistic about his durability, though. He's pitched only 171 IP total the last three seasons.
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