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Astros Want Bagwell to Call It Quits


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c/o ESPN.com....

 

Jeff Bagwell intends to play for the Astros this season, but the team isn't sure that's the best financial decision.

 

The first baseman has played his entire career in Houston and leads the franchise in home runs (449) and RBI (1,529), but missed much of last season after shoulder surgery.

 

"Nothing is going to keep me from attempting to play baseball next season," Bagwell told the Houston Chronicle.

 

The team, however, wants him to announce he can't play anymore, he and agent Barry Axelrod told the paper. Then the Astros would be able make an insurance claim for $15.6 million of the approximately $17 million he is owed in 2006.

 

"We're trying to get some objective information," Astros general manager Tim Purpura told the paper. "A healthy Jeff Bagwell is what we want. If he can't be a full-time player, we have to figure out if we can collect on the insurance or not."

 

To that end, the team has asked Bagwell to visit orthopedist Dr. James Andrews on Thursday in Birmingham, Ala., the Chronicle reported. The deadline for the insurance claim is Jan. 31.

 

Bagwell isn't excited about the trip, and he's not ready to quit playing.

 

"There's no question in my mind I can hit," he told the paper. "It's whether or not I can throw for a full season. Everything has gone exactly the way I thought it should. I'm getting stronger. Am I able to throw 120 feet? No. Am I making progress? Very much so.

 

"I'm going to try and play baseball at spring training. There's no getting around that. Unless something major happens, I'll be there."

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Just my two cents:

 

This has to be such a slap in the face to Bagwell. He's been the face of the franchise, their good guy and one of the truly great team players (I believe he even offered to pay his own way to be with the team last year when he was hurt) and now the Astros are forcing him out? All the while you know they have this insurance money from Bagwell earmarked for Clemens who is pretty much wrapping the Astros around his finger while flirting with the Red Sox and Yankees.

 

To me, this is just bush-league. Bagwell's always been there for the Astros, but they'd rather allow themselves to be manipulated by Beltran and Clemens last off-season, and Clemens again this offseason before rewarding Bagwell's loyalty.

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Loyalty doesn't exist in sports anymore, not even franchise faces, players nowadays are traded like nothing, it's all a money scandal. Back in the days, guys spent their whole careers with the teams they came up with, it's just that loyalty from both sides like: "thank you for giving me an opportunity", and the team : "thank you for playing well for us and representing us well with the fans." Nowadays is what have you done for me lately, HUH?

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