Derek Lowe is looking for a team that will let him start

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Despite finishing the year in the Yankees’ bullpen Derek Lowe said at the beginning of the offseason that he wanted to be a starter in 2013 and apparently he’s sticking with that plan.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that Lowe “has heard from five teams, all of which want him to be a swingman” and is currently turning down those inquiries.

“I want to be a starter and feel I have a lot left in being a regular starter in a rotation and making my 30-plus starts,” Lowe told Cafardo. “I can still do that. It’s frustrating to see other starters who have come off injuries get a shot, and I’ve never been hurt and can still help a team. I’m sure things will get going for me in January. I want to pitch. I’m nowhere near ready to retire.”

Lowe is right about the never being injured and always making 30 starts thing. He made 30-plus starts every season from 2002-2011 and likely would have done so this year if he hadn’t been bumped from the rotation for performance reasons. Of course, that’s not exactly a positive thing and during the past two seasons Lowe has a 17-27 record and 5.23 ERA in 55 starts while managing just 5.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

At some point health and durability cease being valuable for a pitcher when he can’t get hitters out any longer and teams seem to think Lowe has reached that point at age 39. If he does get a chance to start in 2013 it will almost surely come via minor-league contract.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?