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Astros Build On Bullpen, Sign Paronto

The Astros and reliever Chad Paronto have agreed to a one year deal, worth 500,000 dollars. Paronto, who was 3-1 with a 3.57 ERA in 41 appearances for Atlanta this season, will join new relievers Geoff Geary, Oscar Villareal, Doug Brocail, and new closer Jose Valverde as they try to get back to the playoffs. I think this is a great move for the Astros, who continue to build their pitching and offense in hopes of making it back. I talked with Ed Wade at the Winter Meetings and he told they still have moves to make, and they are definitely making it happen before the New Year. They have an offer on the table for Mark Prior, and from what I am hearing, is a pretty fair deal for both sides. It gives the Astros some breathing room in terms of guaranteed money and offers Prior pretty reachable incentives, assuming he can return by June. The Astros have some pitching prospects who should be up in the next couple of years, so I would watch them, like I am watching the Reds, in the NL Central. In the next couple of years, expect the NL Central to return to a pretty good level of play.