The Astros had a good trip to the City of Angels, taking two of three from the Dodgers but they still have a major league worst record of 27-47. The team has been struggling and with the trade deadline a little over a month away, it is time for Ed Wade to start working the phones, calling other teams to see what value some of the Astros’ players have.
A number of players on the roster will draw interest from other teams looking to make a push to the playoffs but with the Astros being sellers, they hold all the leverage in trade negotiations. Especially if there is interest in a player from more than one team. The Astros players fall into three main categories: Most likely traded, Untouchable, and Couldn’t Give Away. Here is how I see the trade deadline going for the Astros.
This category is for the players that the Astros see as playing a key role in the Houston organization in the future. Players like Brett Wallace, Chris Johnson, J.A. Happ, Bud Norris, and Jordan Lyles make up this category for the most part. Three other players who I think should be in here, Hunter Pence, Wandy Rodriguez and Michael Bourn, could possibly be moved at the deadline.
Hunter Pence is playing awesome this year and would bring back the best and most prospects in any trade but I think he is too valuable to this organization. He is from Texas, is a fan favorite and has become the face of this organization. Michael Bourn could also bring back some top prospects but I think is a player that, like Pence, the Astros need to commit to and make the face of this franchise.
Wandy is the longest tenure Astro, being the only player remaining from the 2005 World Series team (ahhh the good ol’ days) and while he is getting on the older side, I think he still has a number of good years left. He entered the majors at a much later age than most pitchers so I think he could pitch effectively for another six or seven years. Ken Rosenthal said that even though Wandy will garner some interest, specifically the Yankees, on the trade market it is unlikely he is moved because “the Astros value Rodriguez as an ace, while the Yanks would view him as a back-of-the-rotation addition.”
Couldn’t Give Away
Two names come to mind right away but for different reasons. Brandon Lyon has been awful this year and even if the Astros tried to trade him, they couldn’t because of his performance, his large contract for a reliever, and the fact that he is on the DL and could possibly be heading for season ending surgery.
The other player is Carlos Lee, who is still owed a large chuck of his six year, 100 million dollar contract. Even if the Astros did find a team crazy enough, most likely one from the American League who would plug Lee in at DH, Lee has that no-trade clause in his contract. He loves Texas and most likely would not want to move, even to a team like the Yankees, who I think would be a good fit for Lee.
Most Likely to be Traded
This is the category most Astros’ fans will be concerned with. Who will be traded? What will we get in return? Well the big name that is likely to be moved is Brett Myers. He is getting up there in age but can still provide some value to the right team. He can be a starter, or come out of the pen, like he did with the Phillies. He has playoff and World Series experience and isn’t owed too much money. He probably would of brought back better prospects last year but he still has some value on the trade market.
The other player that is most likely gone is Jeff Keppinger. He is hitting over .300 and with his ability to play multiple positions, he would be a great player coming off the bench for a playoff team. He also has a very reasonable contract as he is only owed 2.3 million this year. I would hate to see Keppinger go as he is a great team player and seems very liked in the clubhouse.
I could see the Astros trying to package Kepp and Myers together in hopes of bring back better talent. Clint Barmes is another player who could generate some interest from a playoff team looking for a bat to come off their bench who can play both middle infield positions.