Battle for Fourth Place Reaches Fever Pitch as Astros Trade for Randy Wolf
July 25, 2008
(Houston, TX) – As the baseball season approaches its final two months, the divisional races have begun to shake out, separating the contenders from the bottow dwellers. This seems to happen every year just short of the July 31 trade deadline – those teams still in contention try to add pieces to shore up their squad, and those teams out of it trade away expensive players for young players they can use in the future.
And then there are the Houston Astros.
The last place Houston Astros – or Lastros, if you prefer – earlier this week acquired veteran pitcher Randy Wolf for the San Diego Padres, or whatever team he has been worthlessly toiling for this year. From the outside, the acquisition makes little sense. After all, Wolf is only signed through this year, and as of Friday, the Astros sat a whopping 13.5 games out of first place.
But the Astros say this is the move that is going to get them right back in the thick of things. Right back into fourth place.
“We’re thrilled to add a veteran presence, and lefty pitcher like Randy Wolf,” Astros General Manager Ed Wade said late Thursday night. “With [ace pitcher Roy] Oswalt out, we needed to make a move. And this is the move. We really believe this acquisition will catapult us into fourth place in the NL Central.”
Though the Astros are in last place, they are just a few games out of fourth, behind the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, and St. Louis Cardinals, who have pulled away from the Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Astros.
“First place is just not in the cards for us this year,” Wade conceded. “But we’ve got a great ballpark, and now with Wolf, we’ve got a mediocre team. That should make our fans excited to come out and see us play. And if not, we’ll start giving out hot dogs or hookers or something.”
Reactions from around the NL Central were mixed.
“So, as I understand it, this trade happened like two day ago,” Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry said Friday. “And I guess maybe I heard about it then, but I just didn’t believe it, and then I forgot about it. I mean, why in the heck would the Astros being acquiring people?”
Reds manager Dusty Baker, however, was nervous. “Dang, dude. Randy Wolf, man? That guy is a horse,” Baker said. “We were hoping to hold on to sole possession of fourth place, but now that’s in trouble, dude. I guess it’s time to start leading off [Corey] Patterson again, and upping those pitch counts.”