I’ve seen a ton of tweets, articles, and blogs written asking why several of the Astros top performing prospects, specifically Matt Dominguez, Jimmy Paredes and Brandon Barnes, have not yet been called up. Before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the speculation was that these players would be called up to help a team struggling to win games. The non-waiver trade deadline came and went and only Brett Wallace was called up. Fans have been scratching their heads and throwing their arms up in both confusion and frustration. Our big league team has struggled to score runs yet some players at AAA are scoring and producing runs easily. So, the question remains, why haven’t these (and other) players been called up yet? The answer is simple, because the trade deadline isn’t over yet.
The non-waiver trade deadline was July 31, which meant any player could be traded without having to be exposed to waivers. Once that date passed, teams now have until August 31 to trade players, however, all players are subject to waivers. For example, if the Astros wanted to trade Jed Lowrie, they would have to put him on waivers for a certain period of time. If he clears waivers, then the Astros can trade him to any team they choose, however, if a team claims him, the Astros can only trade him to that team, pull him back off waivers, or simply let the claiming team have him and his contract for nothing as a salary dump.
Personally, I believe GM, Jeff Luhnow would still like to trade at least one, if not both, of Scott Moore and Matt Downs. Both are utility infielders with decent enough power who could easily help a contending team as a bat off the bench. Luhnow wouldn’t be asking for much, nor should he, but these are two guys I expect to see some chatter about this month. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bud Norris and/or Lucas Harrell‘s names mentioned as possible trade targets this month, however, I believe a trade involving either of them is much more likely to occur this offseason.
Our minor league teams are also in playoff races for the first time in quite a while this season, so that could also be playing into the decision making. However, Luhnow has already gone on record as saying certain players would be promoted at some point before the season is over. George Springer, Marc Krauss and Asher Wojciechowski are all players that have been either subtly or bluntly mentioned by Luhnow as being promoted at some point before the season is over. I see people suggesting that Luhnow and Crane are keeping the worst possible product at the big league level in order to assure the Astros of the top pick in the 2013 MLB Draft. That is something that I simply do not believe for several reasons that I won’t get into. So why the wait? Once players on the big league team are moved or even DFA’d if a trade cannot be worked out, the call ups will begin and it will trickle down throughout the system as we will see a flurry of promotions before season’s end.