Astros have veteran Chacon on radar

Astros have veteran Chacon on radar

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros have made an offer to right-hander Shawn Chacon, one of a handful of free-agent pitchers still looking for work in the final stages of the 2007-08 offseason.

As of Tuesday afternoon, general manager Ed Wade had not heard back from Chacon's agent, Dan Horwits.

"I'm talking to his agent but we haven't reached any agreement yet," Wade said.

It is unclear how close the two sides are to finalizing a deal, but it appears there is interest on both sides. Any final agreement would be contingent on Chacon passing a physical, and the two sides could be that close to putting a deal in place.

A message left for Horwits was not immediately returned.

Chacon is versatile enough to serve in both starting and relief roles, although he prefers to start. The fact that the Astros have holes in their starting rotation could be enticing to the 30-year-old righty. Chacon was moved from the Pirates' rotation to the bullpen midway through the 2007 season, not because of poor performance, but because the Bucs 'pen was in desperate need of help.

In a relief role, Chacon emerged as a solid setup man and received most of his work in the eighth inning. The Astros have Doug Brocail and/or Oscar Villarreal penciled in as setup men but may embrace another late game option.

Chacon's first choice was to remain with the Pirates, but because there is probably no room in their rotation and his salary demands were far from what the Bucs were offering, it appears Chacon is looking elsewhere. He's been rumored to be interested in the Orioles, but two days before pitchers and catchers report to Florida, it appears the Astros have made a bold appearance on Chacon's radar.

Chacon was 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA over 64 games in 2007, including four starts. Over seven Major League seasons, the right-hander has a career mark of 43-58 with a 4.98 ERA over 254 games (119 starts).

Alyson Footer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.