Should the Astros Trade Jose Altuve?

Let me start this by saying two things. First, I do not believe Jose Altuve will be traded. Second, I do not think Jose Altuve is untouchable in trade talks. A month or so ago, Ken Rosenthal wrote that he believed the Astros should trade Altuve to help bolster their “weak” farm system as he believes he could bring in a ton. This showed me two things. First, it shows that Rosenthal, along with most national writers, still do not pay attention to the Astros farm system which has greatly improved over the past year. Second, it shows that if traded, Altuve could bring in a very nice haul for the Astros. We’ll take a look at the pros and cons of a possible Altuve trade after the jump.

Pros:

Jimmy Paredes. The Astros 2B has played very well so far this season and is ready for a promotion to the big leagues. He could fill in for Altuve immediately if he is traded. Paredes, as most of you remember, was acquired with Mark Melancon from the Yankees for Lance Berkman in July 2010. Former General Manager, Ed Wade, and the rest of the prior Astros front office, really did Paredes a disservice as they moved him around to several positions and brought him up to the majors too early in an effort to showcase him, along with other prospects, to save their jobs. Paredes is hitting .312 with 7 homers and 28 steals in AAA and his defense has improved greatly. The Astros also have 2010 first round pick, Delino DeShields Jr. at Low A, but he isn’t close to the big leagues.

The Return. The Astros will definitely get a huge return for Altuve if traded. The fact that he is a great young player is one reason but also, we now have a competent GM in Jeff Luhnow running things. The Astros minor leagues have definitely come a long way in terms of legitimate prospects but still lack top of the rotation type of pitchers. Jarred Cosart is the only pitcher in the system who profiles as a possible ace or top of the rotation starter. An Altuve trade would bring at least one possible ace like pitcher in return and then some.  C, OF, 3B could also be targeted. The Tigers, Cardinals, Rays, Dodgers, Giants and Pirates are all teams that are pushing toward the playoffs and could use 2B help. In other words, there is most definitely a market for Altuve should he become available.

Cons:

I’m going to sum up all of the cons in one paragraph, but simply put; Altuve is a franchise cornerstone. He is only 22 years old and under club control for the next five years. The Astros are in the perfect situation with Altuve. He is a young, productive player at a cheap price and the team does not have to worry about free agency for half a decade. He is also the type of player you would hope to get back when you are trading a veteran for a group of prospects. Why trade for that if you already have it? He is still young enough that he will still be a very productive player in a few years when we are competitive and starting to contend again unlike other Astros veterans who will likely be traded in Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers. Altuve hits for average, has some power and has greatly improved his walk rate and OBP in just one season. Just imagine how much more productive he will be as he grows and matures in MLB. He is the perfect lead-off hitter.

To sum it up, you could make arguments for both sides. I could see the Astros trading him in the next few weeks for a nice haul of prospects, promoting Jimmy Paredes to the big leagues and putting the Altuve era in the rear view mirror. However (and in my opinion, most likely), I could also see the Astros viewing Altuve as one of the best pure hitters in the game and decide to build around him. It will not be long before some of the club’s top prospects such as Jonathan Singleton, George Springer and Jarred Cosart come up. These are guys that will join Altuve as faces of the franchise and will help get the Astros back on the road to contention.

Topics: Baseball, Brett Myers, Delino DeShields Jr., Detroit Tigers, Ed Wade, George Springer, Houston Astros, Jarred Cosart, Jeff Luhnow, Jimmy Paredes, Jonathan Singleton, Jose Altuve, Ken Rosenthal, Lance Berkman, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mark Melancon, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Wandy Rodriguez

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  • Rev Rube

    Couldn’t agree more with both your pros and cons. In addition to Paredes, recently drafted Nolan Fontana projects to be a high OBP guy with excellent defense as well. I love Altuve and would like to keep him but if, say, LA wants to part with Zach Lee for instance, we may be foolish not to jump on it. This is a good problem to have.

    • BHam2421

      I agree. We finally have a plethora of middle infield prospects. I am not advocating or condemning a trade of Altuve, I’m just saying if we are offered a nice haul for him, we’d be foolish not to consider it. Your suggestion of Zach Lee is spot on. I am a HUGE Zach Lee fan. Would love to bring him home to the Astros.

      • WarningTrackPower

        I’m nodding my head in agreement of pretty much everything here… It appears that Zach Lee would be a great addition to the farm system. But, I’m wondering if many of us thinking of Zach Lee is because we are either from Texas, or are LSU fans? My questioning here is to the fact that Lee has had some struggles.

        • BHam2421

          I’m not an LSU fan nor am I in favor of trading for or acquiring someone just because they are from Texas. Zach Lee is a beast. He has everything needed to be an ace at the next level and I have no reason to think he wont be based on his results thus far.

  • http://twitter.com/PHABMK6 P.D. Starr

    I like Altuve, but the Astros better be careful on even thinking of moving Altuve. He was an All-Star and has slowly taken over as the face of the Astros franchise. He has brought back of memories of the former Astros who worked hard and proved doubters wrong.

    He is a player, but on a crappy team have to be careful on where he value lies. They need to keep him and build off of him and Lowrie, they are the only two MLB ready players starting for the Astros right now.

    You can’t keep trading, the rebuild has to start. Altuve is a good piece to start.

    • BHam2421

      You have solid points as always man. As far as building around both Altuve and Lowrie, I would almost bet my next paycheck that one is traded before the start of next season. Most likely Lowrie. Both have extremely high value and would bring back a premium set of prospects. For a team with almost no top of the rotation pitching prospects, we’d be foolish not to at least listen, especially if a team is willing to throw one at us. (Such as LAD with Zach Lee.)

      • http://twitter.com/PHABMK6 P.D. Starr

        You know how I feel about Lowrie. The Astros have some money to spend next off-season. They have to roll with the middle infield for at least one more season. Let Lowrie prove he can be healthy for more than a season. No one wants a guy who is in and out of the DL.

        • BHam2421

          Yea and that’s my issue with Lowrie. Its a roll of the dice. We discussed this very subject in our podcast last week and it still puzzles me. We dont know what his normal production year is. What if he has a healthy season this year with 20 bombs and has a healthy season next yr with only 7 or 8? His value would definitely go down. It will definitely be interesting to see what happens with him though.

  • Austin

    I just wanted to start off by saying that I really enjoyed this article. Ok so if the Tigers would be interested in Altuve (should he become available) would you be able to get both Nick Castellanos and Jacob Turner in return? Or would you have to include Lowrie in that deal to get both of the Tigers top prospects?

    • BHam2421

      Thanks for the props, Austin. I would think that if Altuve were traded to the Tigers, that yes, we would be able to get both Castellanos and Turner. Lowrie being included now makes no difference. He has no value now that he has been injured with a possible season ending injury.

  • Kevin_Creagh

    The Pirates don’t need 2B help. Neil Walker is 2nd in the NL in wOBA, wRC+, WAR.

    • BHam2421

      It was more of a suggestion, not a trade rumor.

      • Kevin_Creagh

        I know. I’m just saying that the Pirates have Walker, who is better than Altuve, and don’t need any help at 2B.