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To hear Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker tell it, he wishes the team would have added a veteran starting pitcher to the mix this offseason after Justin Verlander left in free agency. Here's what Baker had to say on Thursday when asked whether the Astros considered doing just that over the winter (via Chandler Rome): 

"You got to ask the powers that be. I got the power, but not the authority. That was always a consideration for me … We didn't have a general manager in place in order to make that move."

Indeed, after parting ways with erstwhile GM James Click not long after the club won the World Series last year, owner Jim Crane didn't name a permanent successor until Dana Brown's hiring in late January. By that late hour, almost all of the compelling names were off the board. Among those is reigning AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, whom the Astros failed to re-sign. Verlander wound up inking a two-year pact with the Mets

To be sure, the Astros during their recent run have withstood the departures of multiple quality starting pitchers, and the expectation is that they'll once again do so. The thing about rotation depth, however, is that it's there until it isn't. On that front, Houston recently got the news that right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. won't be ready for the start of the season because of a muscle strain in his forearm. This shouldn't have been all that surprising given that McCullers has only once managed to register a qualifying number of innings in a season. As a result, prospect Hunter Brown will likely work as the fifth starter for now. While he's got a promising ceiling, he's hardly a known quantity. Last year, veteran righty Jake Odorizzi filled that role, but he signed with the Rangers this winter. 

Maybe the Astros can repeat what they achieved last season when just eight total pitchers made starts for them and just seven made more than two. That kind of stability isn't the norm these days, however, and Baker -- who knows a thing or two about a baseball thing or two -- seems very aware of that.