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So the Astros and D-Rays made a deal yesterday. The Houston squad was acquiring a player who, for those of you not versed in the Tampa Bay lore, is the greatest player in the history of their franchise.
Aubrey Huff is no Hall of Fame legend, like Wade Boggs, who toiled briefly as a Ray.
He's no Fred McGriff, whose 493 career homers put him at least in the general vicinity of Cooperstown.
But make no mistake. Huff was the lone good Ray, hitting 20+ HR in the last four seasons with RBI totals above ninety in the last three. He hit .288 while flying all over the diamond, playing any position Larry Rothschild, Hal MacRae, Lou Piniella or Joe Maddon would let him play.
Not to mention he did this all in pitiful seasons where staff aces included Victor Zambrano and Jeremi Gonzalez. (Nightmare alert.)
He's now going to Houston to supplant underachiever Mike "I'm Very Similar to My Teammate Jason Lane" Lamb at third base.
And that's the gun, boys.
So begins the offseason of trade talk.

Today Reds GM Wayne Krivsky (right) and Nationals GM Jim Bowden had a little powwow. And Krivsky was icing down his head with cold steaks after the hurting Bowden put on him.
Why was this a bad deal already? Well, let's think of some reasons.
Krivsky just made Royce Clayton his starting shortstop. The guy he traded away, Felipe Lopez, was not a good defensive shortstop at all, but he hit the daylights out of the ball last year. An .838 OPS from an SS is pretty good.
Krivsky then shipped away talented outfielder Austin Kearns, who was supposed to be caught in some massive logjam last year, relieved earlier in the offseason, though, by the trade of first baseman Sean Casey. Maybe this was to open up right field for Ryan Freel or prospect Chris Denorfia. I don't think that was the goal though. The Reds got Gary Majewski... who aside from one outlier last year has been a pretty mediocre reliever with a perilously low strikeout rate for a set-up man.

The Mets, though, are ominously quiet. Why's that?
I've got an answer. Because Livan Hernandez, notably of the most abused arm in baseball and of a 5.94 ERA this season, will cost you Lastings Milledge.
And I think that will make Minaya stand pat with the starting pitching, if only because of the potential help that could come from youngsters like Pelfrey, Maine and Bannister, all of whom have pitched well at various levels this year.
But mostly because of the fact that Jose Lima is sitting in AAA, ready to strike at will, whenever the Mets need to end a winning streak or lose a couple games.
Jose Lima is the Barbra Streisand of baseball, where he just keeps going on farewell tours because people will pay a bunch of money to see him (although maybe they wouldn't if they had more advance notice he'd be pitching).

The grand prediction of the day: the Mets stand pat again. They can't really improve in the field by any acquisitions and I will vomit if I see the last name Kennedy on the jersey of a Mets second baseman.

Thankfully, though, now that he's signed with the Yankees, nobody has to see the name Ponson on the back of an XXXXXXXXL jersey. Pinstripes are supposedly slimming though.

I'll be back tomorrow with the return of baseball, but I'll be ranting on steroids rather than previewing Mets-Cubs.

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