While I think the Carlos Lee deal brought closure to an era of bad baseball in Houston, Tuesday’s Wandy Rodriguez trade brought closure of a different kind. It seemed like every offseason and trade deadline for the past 100 years Wandy was close to being dealt but it never happened. It never happened until now and it feels different. When Hunter Pence was traded, it hurt, watching him leave the field and literally begin to cry made it hard to watch. When Michael Bourn was traded, the emotions that come to mind are anger and confusion. This time a different emotion struck me, relief. In a way, Wandy moving on represented the beginning of the next phase of Astros baseball.
Before we move to that next phase, it’s good to remember Wandy in an Astros uniform. Let’s remember that Wandy was constantly underrated by the national guys and overrated by the local fans. We got a good package for him, yet I read a few Houston media members question the amount of money and prospects in play. At the same time, quite a few of the national guys seemed to be very pleased with the deal and praising GM Jeff Luhnow. Truth be told, it’s probably right in the middle. Luhnow did a nice job of getting quality prospects but could it have been better? Maybe. What is Wandy on a contending club? On the Astros he was their ace, most of the time, but currently struggling. Had he been pitching like an ace, things might have worked out differently. Sadly, he wasn’t and so he looked like a #3 starter at best. Given that, Wandy delivered what he always did, a very solid return just like he did on most nights at Minute Maid Park.
So Wandy is now history and the last member of the 2005 team is gone. I keep seeing that but besides a nice 3+ inning stretch in game 1 vs Chicago, he really didn’t start to make his mark until 2007. That’s cool, the sentimental value is enough for me to go with it. Always thought he was about to cry when encountered with issues on the mound but as the years went on he learned to either avoid them entirely or not cry and just pitch his way out of it with a devastating sweeping curve. Saturday night, when Wandy faces his former mates, let’s all remember that he was one of the most likeable guys on the squad. Now he is just a footnote in the Stros’ legacy and maybe when we think about him down the road I hope we think of that curve ball that always baffled so many big league hitters.