Jed Lowrie: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Counting down to July 31st

So as the Astros begin to plateau and reach the level we all realistically expected, at least in the wins and losses aspect, the next big date on the calender is July 31st. We all know what that date represents but just to spell it out, it is the last day trades can be made without going through the waiver process. It’s a bit more complicated than that but in essence, that’s the deal in a nutshell. So the Astros have a ton of pieces that would make a contender very happy and which should be for sale. The obvious three are Wandy Rodriguez, Carlos Lee and Brett Myers while a surprise player or two may become options as we get closer to that date. Lets go through a couple of possibilities and scenarios that might develop from what we know now.

The easiest of the three to move will be Brett Myers. He is having an all-star season returning to the bullpen as the Stros closer and considering contending teams are always looking for good bullpen arms at the deadline, his name will come up a ton. Now throw in the fact he has been great as a closer, Myers might have the most true value of all the Astros that will be shopped. Even with a vesting option that could be triggered upon closing a certain number of games, clubs shouldn’t be to scared off considering its only another year on the deal if so. I could see the Giants make a major play on Myers, they’ve been linked to him since Brian Wilson was lost for the season. Truth, any contending team will probably call and it will depending on how much Jeff Luhnow can squeeze out of the market. Myers should be in another uniform by the deadline and if he continues producing at this rate, should bring back a very nice prospect.

Wandy Rodriguez is the most intriguing because while his numbers would tell you he’d bring back a great package of prospects, that seems to remain a question mark. I could certainly see a team like Toronto who is losing arms left and right make a play for the lefty. We could also see teams like the Cardinals, Reds and maybe Los Angeles make a call to Jeff Luhnow. One team that might just be ideal for Wandy is Baltimore, they are in the race and could use a veteran pitcher. Wandy, like Myers, should be wearing another uniform within six weeks but the package should be larger with more moving parts.

The third candidate to be moved is Carlos Lee but this one might get tricky. Lee was having a decent first half of the season before getting injured but certainly no longer the great power hitter he once was. I think a team like Pittsburgh looking for help at 1B might be willing to bite or even an American League team looking for a DH. His salary, as always, will be an issue but shouldn’t be the problem it’s been in prior years. Throw in the fact the Astros will assuredly eat quite of bit of cash to get a deal done and it’s still very possible to see Lee dealt. Given Brett Wallace‘s improved play this season and I could see Lee dealt sooner than later but for something of value.

All along we expected Wandy to be the big fish in the trade market for Jeff Luhnow but now Brett Myers appears to have taken that spot. Not that Wandy hasn’t been good, minus a couple bad starts, he has been his normally good self. I see Myers being the priority much like Hunter Pence was last season while Wandy takes second fiddle like the Michael Bourn role. Also don’t be surprised if we begin to hear Wilton Lopez‘ name pop up, he has been fantastic this season and could nab good value in return. I’ve also seen rumors about Jose Altuve and Jed Lowrie, I see the Astros listening but it would take a fantastic package to move Altuve and I can see Lowrie being an option for many teams like the Tigers. Rumors have begun to swirl about Lowrie being available for the right price. If a team presents Jeff Luhnow with a good to great package for the 28 year old SS, Jed’s stay in Houston might end up being rather short. Expect the Stros to be wheeling and dealing once again come the deadline and another major change should improve the farm system drastically much like it did in 2011.

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Tags: Brett Myers Brett Wallace Brian Wilson Carlos Lee Cincinnati Reds FeatureHunter Pence Houston Astros Jed Lowrie Jeff Luhnow Jose Altuve Michael Bourn Pittsburgh Pirates San Francisco Giants St. Louis Cardinals Trade Deadline Wandy Rodriguez Wilton Lopez

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