Bill Hall Signs With Houston; Now What?

Yesterday, we heard from Tony Jackson that the Dodgers and Bill Hall each had a “strong preference” for each other. (This inspired me to make the joke on Twitter, “Maaaake out already.”)

Well, Ken Rosenthal tells us now that Hall has found another date to the prom:

Source: #Astros agree with Bill Hall. Will be regular 2B. 1 yr, $3M range with mut opt. Pending physical.

A few days ago, I looked at Hall and wasn’t thoroughly impressed, though I do like him far more as a team’s second baseman than their left fielder. But I also concluded by saying that he was the best of a bad lot, so I’d have been okay with it – and now he’s gone.

That leaves us with… well, it’s not good. Jackson claims that Scott Podsednik is still in the running, which is an idea that is just so incomprehensible with the way this roster is constructed that I won’t even discuss it until it happens. Colletti’s claimed for weeks that he’d be comfortable allowing Jay Gibbons, Xavier Paul, Tony Gwynn, and even Trayvon Robinson to fight it out for left field time, but since they’re all lefty and since none of them – along with Andre Ethier – can hit lefty pitching, not having a righty (if not two) off the bench to substitute seems like a poor choice.

Meanwhile, the Athletics just picked up Josh Willingham (OPS+ of 127 and 129 the last two years) for two prospects who ESPN’s Keith Law described as “a minimum-salary relief arm in Rodriguez plus a fringe prospect in Brown” – i.e., not a great haul. Sure, Willingham’s going to make about $5m in arbitration in 2011. He also had a .909 OPS against left-handed pitching last year. He’d have looked nice in the middle of the lineup, no? You don’t think this team would have been better off not signing Matt Guerrier to a multi-year deal – a move that just about everyone hates, by the way – and instead sending a fringe outfielder and lottery ticket reliever to the Nats, and using Guerrier’s money to pay Willingham? Would Paul and Travis Schlichting have been enough? Because I’d have done that deal ten times out of ten.

But it’s too late for Willingham, I suppose, and now we’re left with only the prayer that Scott Podsednik won’t be walking through that door. I’d like to think that there’s still hope for Lastings Milledge or Marcus Thames on low-guarantee deals, but I think we all know how likely that is. Or you can hang on to the pipe dream that Ivan DeJesus forces Juan Uribe to 3B and Casey Blake to LF, though I can’t really see that happening either.

Really, it’s a sad day when a Bill HallBill Hall!- goes elsewhere, and all you can think is, “oh, crap.”