The Houston Astros, NL Champions of 2005, have been my favorite baseball team since I was born, as my dad has always been a hardcore fan of theirs. Needless to say, 2006 was a disappointing year for us. We gave the Cards a good run for their money there at the end of the season, but it was too little, too late, unfortunately. Hopefully we can improve this offseason and contend for the playoffs in 2007. Now, some notes to touch on. First off, Aubrey Huff. Will the Astros re-sign him for the 2007 season and beyond, or will he land in a different uniform? Keep in mind, Purpura has three choices for third base, not including any free agents or third basemen who may be available through a trade: Mike Lamb, Morgan Ensberg, or Huff. IMHO, not one of those guys have a reliable bat, but I think Huff would be the best choice out of that trio. I've said it time and time again, Ensberg's 2005 season was a fluke. He won't do it again, may not even come close to it again (just look at what he did this past season). Mike Lamb can be a strong bat off of the bench, and we can't forget about a certain Astro's son that's waiting in the minors (read: Koby Clemens). Next, the Clemens/Pettitte scenario. The Astros are in quite a pickle with this Clemens/Pettitte thing. Clemens' indecision is not such a big deal, because it's pretty much understood that if he does pitch, it'll be a midseason arrangement again, and whatever salary he makes will just be tacked on to the set payroll. But Pettitte's indecision is putting the Astros in a terrible predicament. Pettitte told reporters in New York over the weekend that if he had to decide today, he would probably not play anymore. But one thing is for sure, Purpura is not waiting around. He is going to put the team together as if Roger and Andy are not returning. You may be thinking that's good news, and it is, on some levels. But I just don't see this ending well. Either way, Purpura is going to take the blame for however this plays out. Let's say the Astros go on with business, sign free agents, make trades and wind up with an $85-$90 million payroll at the end. Then Pettitte decides he wants to come back, but the Astros don't have the $10 million or so tucked away for him anymore. Pettitte goes elsewhere, and the fans blame Purpura, and/or McLane. Then, Clemens gets wind of this and decides he's mad at the Astros for giving his buddy Andy the shaft, and Roger signs with the Red Sox. Again, Purpura and/or McLane get hammered. Or, the Astros keep $10 million aside for Pettitte, do nothing while the majority of the desirable free agents go elsewhere, and then Pettitte retires. Again, bad news for the Astros in the court of public opinion. The Astros have little power here while Pettite and Clemens are in the driver's seat.