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Houston Astros Sign Jack Cust, Grab DH A Year Early

The deal's not as odd as it seemed immediately—what was initially reported as a two-year deal is actually a one year deal with a maybe-we're-in-the-AL-now-and-you-hit-dingers-last-year club option—but it was still odd to hear that the Houston Astros, on the American League's door but still without a need for a full-time DH, signed three-true-outcomes hero Jack Cust, and not just because he's not a former St. Louis Cardinals executive.

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Cust—one of my favorite players ever since he became one of the last Ken Phelps All-Stars in Baltimore and finally broke out in Oakland—has no defensive value and is coming off a year in which he slugged just .329, but his career-low OBP is .344 and he somehow managed to parlay his .213 batting average last year into a replacement-level job at DH for the hapless Seattle Mariners, so it's not a terrible gamble. As a pinch hitter and left fielder of last resort the Astros could (and likely would have) done worse.

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But I have to imagine this stings a little for the Detroit Tigers, who—having learned at the same moment that they needed to scrounge up a DH of their own, now that Victor Martinez is likely to miss the season—probably could have used Cust more than the dilettantishly DH-ing Astros.

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