Sports Outside the Beltway

Loretta to sign with Astros

By Amy K. Nelson
ESPN The Magazine

Mark Loretta will sign with the Houston Astros on Thursday, his agent said. Financial terms were not immediately available.

The free-agent second baseman had multiple offers, including ones from the Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds. But he will sign with the Astros, his agent Bob Garber said.

Loretta, a 12-year veteran, played for the Boston Red Sox last season, hitting .285 in 155 games. He has previously played for the Brewers, Astros and Padres and has a career .299 average and .987 career fielding percentage.

I personally don’t understand this. The Astros already have future Hall of Famer Craig Biggio and Chris Burke, who should be playing 2B but Biggio has blocked him for what seems like 10 years. Burke is going to play CF.

The only way this move makes sense is if Loretta splits time at 2B, 3B, and 1B, and if Biggio is given 2 days off a week. The team still has Morgan Ensberg, although he is being used as trade bait, at 3B and the OF is full and that rules out Biggio or Berkman moving back there.

Loretta is a fantastic player, a clubhouse leader and a player who plays like every play could be the last one in the 7th game of the World Series. I still don’t understand Houston’s plan with this signing but all-in-all Loretta is a good fit for just about any club, even if he doesn’t have a position to call his own.

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