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Houston Astros Need to Sign a Veteran Starting Pitcher

MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 30: Jordan Lyles #41 of the Houston Astros is congratulated by his teammates after getting the win against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 30, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Astros defeated the Brewers 7 - 0.(Photo by Mark Hirsch/Getty Images)
Mark Hirsch/Getty Images
Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer IOctober 31, 2012

New Houston Astros manager Bo Porter must know that his first season at the helm will not be a smooth one. The team will be moving from the National League Central to the very competitive American League West.

A huge chunk of their games will be against the playoff teams in Texas, Oakland and the star-filled squad in Anaheim. And, while Seattle is not a pennant contender, they need to face Felix Hernandez as well.

Their team is young and inexperienced and clearly has an eye towards 2014 and beyond to contend.

The Astros should not try and sign players foolishly to make a splash. They should not even pick up the phone to reach the agents of Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke or David Ortiz.

But adding a pair of veterans could help accelerate the rebuilding process.

In a previous Bleacher Report article, I suggested the Astros sign Nick Swisher to be a veteran hitter who could play the corner outfield positions, first base or the designated hitter.

With a super young rotation, they could use a veteran innings eater. While Greinke would probably be out of their range price-wise and in terms of contention, there are other options.

Anibal Sanchez and Edwin Jackson are going to be on the market. Incredibly, Jackson has not yet played for the Astros in his many travels.

Of course the Astros could pick up a veteran on his last legs like Derek Lowe, Kevin Millwood or former Astros star Roy Oswalt. But the team does not need that now.

They need one pitcher they can rely on to build the confidence of the team, bullpen and take pressure off of the rest of the rotation. If that means overpaying a year on Sanchez, Jackson or even Kyle Lohse, then it might be worth it.

Teams rebuild quickly in today's climate. Witness the turnarounds of the NationalsOrioles and Athletics. The Astros can be one of those teams. They have the young talent and a No. 1 overall pick this spring to put into the system.

They need a few veterans to show the young kids how to win. That would be worth Sanchez's, Jackson's or Lohse's asking price.

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