HOUSTON -- The Astros don't figure to make much noise in the free-agent market this offseason, but they've certainly been aggressive in signing Minor League free agents.
The Astros continue to stockpile non-roster players for Spring Training, announcing Tuesday they had agreed to terms on a Minor League deal with infielder Scott Moore, a left-handed hitter who spent the entire 2011 season at Triple-A Iowa.
Moore joins outfielders Brad Snyder, Nick Stavinoha and Travis Buck and infielder Joe Thurston as players signed by the Astros this month to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training. The team also added infielder-outfielder Brian Bixler and catcher Craig Tatum off waivers.
"It builds depth we can tap into at the Major League level," Houston general manager Ed Wade said. "It provides hopefully a higher-quality club at Triple-A next year and gives us an opportunity to progress young prospects at a proper pace so we're not rushing anyone to fill a spot at Triple-A. The guys we signed have big league experience and will be given an opportunity to show what they can do in Spring Training."
Moore, 27, has a .223 career average with seven homers and 27 RBIs in 80 career Major League games with the Cubs (2006-07) and Orioles (2007-08, '10). He batted .295 with nine homers and 53 RBIs in 123 games at Iowa last season.
The versatile Moore can play three infield spots, having started 42 games at third, 36 at first and 24 at second last season, as well as making one appearance in the outfield. He was originally drafted by the Tigers with the eighth overall pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.
The Astros have also re-signed outfielder Brandon Barnes and pitchers Alberto Arias, Xavier, Cedeno and Jose Valdez, each of whom has played in the Houston organization the last few years, to Minor League deals.
Wade is in Milwaukee at the General Managers Meetings, where he's able to meet face to face with front-office officials from other clubs. Wade has said repeatedly the Astros aren't going to be a player in free agency, so he's getting an early read on the trade market.
Houston may be looking to move starting pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers this winter in an effort to save money.
"I still envision us trying to see the lay of the land in regard to trade position," Wade said. "We'll pay attention to the free-agent market, but I don't see us being an extensive, big player in the market."
Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.