September 02, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow before a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Reviewing the Mega Deal with Toronto

On July 20, Jeff Luhnow struck a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays in a huge ten player trade. The Astros agreed to trade RHP Brandon Lyon, LHP J.A. Happ and RHP David Carpenter to  Toronto in exchange for RHP Francisco Cordero, OF Ben Francisco, RHP Joe Musgrove, RHP Asher Wojciechowski, LHP David Rollins, C Carlos Perez and a player to be named later, which ended up being RHP Kevin Comer. Cordero was later released and Francisco was traded to the Rays for a player to be named later, which ended up being Theron Geith. Let’s take a look at how everyone involved in the deal did during the stretch after the jump.

J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon immediately joined the Blue Jays while David Carpenter was optioned to AAA Las Vegas. Carpenter pitched to the tune of a 3.57 ERA over in 16 appearances for AAA. Lyon had a 3.00 ERA stretched across 29 appearances with the Jays giving him a season ERA of 3.1 with both the Astros and Jays. Happ struggled, pitching as both a starter and reliver and ended up injuring his foot and being placed on IR in September. He had a 4.69 ERA in 10 games, 6 of those starts giving him a season total of a 4.79 ERA stretched across both Houston and Toronto for the 2012 season.

As mentioned earlier, Francisco Cordero was eventually released and Ben Francisco was flipped a month later to the Tampa Bay Rays for LHP Theron Geith. Those two were never going to stay here past the season anyway. This trade was clearly about getting young prospects into our system to help with the rebuilding process.

The prospect received by Houston that is closest to the majors is Asher Wojciechowski.  Wojciechowski was a supplemental first round pick in 2010 by the Blue Jays and upon being traded to Houston was immediately promoted to AA Corpus Christi. In eight starts with the Hooks, Wojo pitched to the tune of a 2-2 record with a 2.07 ERA. He finished the season with combined stats of 9-5 with a 3.09 ERA between Houston and Toronto. He could start next season back in Corpus but something tells me he will be fast tracked to AAA Oklahoma City.

Joseph Musgrove and Kevin Comer (the player to be named later in the deal) were both supplemental first round picks in 2011 and both were assigned to Greeneville upon being traded. Neither pitched very much, which is understandable since both were drafted straight out of high school last year and are still very young, so we wont dissect the numbers since its such a small sample size. Its important to not overuse their arms at such a young age. I expect both to begin the 2013 season pitching for the Astros new Low A affiliate, the Quad City River Bandits.

Next is Texas native David Rollins. Rollins, a lefty, was drafted in the 24th round of the 2011 draft by the Blue Jays. After the trade, he was assigned to Class Low A Lexington and pitched pretty well. Over six starts, he finished with a 1-3 record and a 3.48 ERA. He finished the season with combined stats of 7-4 with a 2.98 ERA between Houston and Toronto. He will likely begin the 2013 season at High A Lancaster with a chance at being promoted to AA Corpus Christi at some point during the season.

Finally, we have the only non pitcher received in the deal (as far as prospects go) with Carlos Perez. His situation was unique because was the low man on the catcher totem poll in the organization (Toronto) with the best catching depth in the minors. He’s solid with the bat and his defense is above average as well. Upon being traded, he was assigned to High A Lancaster and finished with a .318 BA and 10 RBI. He finished the season with 5 HR’s, 40 RBI and a .278 BA between Houston and Toronto. He will likely serve as the everyday catcher at AA Corpus Christi to begin the 2013 season.

Its clear that the Astros did very well here. Happ was a non tender candidate in the offseason, Lyon was due to become a free agent (which we would not have re-signed) and Carpenter was pitching poorly. For those three, the Astros received prospects to strengthen their system, three of which were former first rounders. I still have no idea why Toronto did this deal and from what I’ve read, neither do their fans or beat writers. They had their eye on J.A. Happ for quite a while as they originally wanted him included in the deal that sent Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. My guess is that they think they can turn around Happ’s career. Even if that’s the case, I don’t see that as a reason to trade all the guys they did. This one is a win for the Astros.

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Tags: Houston Astros Toronto Blue Jays

  • Dennis

    You forgot to mention how Kevin Comer, who pitched in the low 90s and touched 95 in HS, is now sitting high 80s and can barely crack 90s. Rollins is organizational fodder. In all honesty, Happ, Lyon and Carpenter for Asher, Musgrove and Perez is pretty even.

    • BHam2421

      I completely disagree. Comer was drafted straight out of high school and yes his velocity was done but so was his innings. Being that he is a cold weather pitcher and a high school arm in his first season, the drop in velocity is expected and not surprising. Scouts say his velocity will pick up as his body adjusts to pro ball.

      Rollins, yes, is likely organizational depth. Could he get better? Yes, but I wouldnt hold my breath.

      Saying Happ, Lyon and Carpenter for Wojo, Musgrove and Perez is even is definitely an opinion and only that.

  • Ryan

    I think everyone throws Happ out the door to quickly. When you look at his stats over the past 2 seasons he has seen an increase in velocity, strikeouts and ground ball% as well as fewer walks/9 innings. Simply put, he is an improving player who being a lefty still has plenty left in the tank. Toronto acquired themselves a major league starter (with 2 more years of control) and anyone who watched him in the stretch run as a starter saw that he is definitely a legitimate starter moving forward.

    • BHam2421

      He also has had an increase in walks and ERA. I get what you’re saying and I truly hope he rebounds but the fact remains that he hasn’t pitched well hardly at all since he was traded from Philadelphia.

    • EvilGenius

      Happ might be a major league starter, I’ll grant you that but don’t embarrass yourself by failing to recognize an average / bellow average starter in the NL does not translate to the ALE

      The reason the deal is awful is because the Jays traded depth. I happen to like Perez but the real loss is felt in this deal when the Jays make other ones and gut some of their top tier talent, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with these types of players are what you have to do to succeed under 100mil payroll in the AL

  • George Nickerson

    Anthopoulos kind of fellow to pay them back some on Gose. Houston in bad shape he does that stuff. How he is. He just handed Red Sox his manager to right their pitching staff. He never had to do that…Alex is soft.