This isn’t going to be another article dissecting what the Astros did or didn’t do at the trading deadline. What’s done is done and now we can move forward.
The Astros certainly did that by beating the Orioles 11-0 Wednesday night only a few hours after Bud Norris switched clubhouses. Granted they did lose the next two nights, but that should not surprise anyone. We all know that this season cannot be measured with simply wins and losses.
Three players left Houston last week, and I’m not sure that any of them should have come as a surprise. And only one of them, Norris, really had any value or future with the Astros.
It was a minor miracle that Jeff Luhnow was able to move Justin Maxwell. And adding a young pitcher in Kyle Smith who was the 11th best prospect in the Royals organization according to MLB.com, makes it that much better.
Maxwell was added on waivers at the beginning of last season by Houston and ended up being one of their best offensive players. The outfielder did only hit .229, but he hit 18 home runs and drove in 53 runs. Heading into this season, Bo Porter was counting on Maxwell to bat cleanup and to be a veteran right handed presence in the batting order. Many were of the thought process that the Astros should have struck while Maxwell’s value was high and dealt him in the offseason.
That sentiment only picked up stream as Maxwell struggled this season and it appeared that he had lost all value. For a player that did not have a future with the Astros, a pitcher with a 2.85 ERA on the season who was drafted in the fourth round in 2011 is a pretty good return.
Jose Veras certainly was a good signing this winter. You take someone who had seven career saves, sign him to be your closer for half the season, and then see him have success in that role. Danry Vasquez may only be 19 years old, but the outfielder has potential. And he is certainly more useful to the Astros in the future than Veras. If Luhnow was able to find Veras, he should be able to find another reliever like him just as easily.
The Norris trade was the biggest trade made at the deadline, and the one most discussed. It will still be a few years until we can accurately judge whether or not the trade was a success But for me, the important thing is that it is behind us.
Norris was the last Astro of value to be traded. Now that he has been moved, we can truly start to look forward for the future. It is still possible that another veteran like Erik Bedard or Lucas Harrell is dealt, but it would not be a groundbreaking deal.
Jose Altuve received a contract extension last month, and with Norris traded, the Astros are now truly looking towards the future. No longer will there be speculation and rumors of possible trades looming over the team.
Now it will still be painful for the rest of this season and likely most of 2014 as well, but the future is here. It looks like it will be a bright one, and the prospects added last week could very well be a part of that. However, it is still too soon to know for sure. What we do know, is that we don’t have to look over our shoulders anymore. Yes it is because there is nothing of value left to sell, but that doesn’t matter. We can now truly start moving forward.