The next two weeks should be an interesting time for the Astros and their fans in a year that has been nothing short of a disappointment. There are a number of questions that will be answered between now and the end of the month that will affect the team in the short term and the future. Here are what I think is going to happen for the Astros and answer those uncertain questions.
How will the change of ownership affect the Astros?
The chances that Jim Crane takes over ownership of the organization in time to adequately assess the Astros’ situation is slim to none. He would had to been approved weeks ago by MLB and their owners to make an educated decision. Current owner Drayton McLane could consult Crane before making any decisions but I think the Astros will not be making any big time trades at the deadline. They already did that last year with Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman and so far it has not turned out well.
What will GM Ed Wade do?
Ed Wade is sort of a lame duck, sitting in limbo, not knowing if he will have a job after Jim Crane takes control. This is his last stand and will either be very passive or come out guns a blazin. I think it will be somewhere in between because of the owner transition. I think Wade will be very cautious and will only make a trade for the bigger names if he is blown away by an offer. It is being reported that Hunter Pence has been scouted by the Pirates but the telling quote from that article is this:
"Add onto that the rumors that Ed Wade seems to be asking for way too much for Wandy Rodriguez, and you have to figure that he’d probably be asking too much for Pence too."
So who will be traded?
I think Hunter Pence is basically unavailable because of the asking price along with Brett Wallace, Bud Norris, Jordan Lyles, Chris Johnson, Wilton Lopez and Mark Melancon. I think Brett Myers and Jeff Keppinger are the closest things to guaranteed to be traded and I would put the likes of Wandy Rodriguez and Michael Bourn over 50% likely to be traded. Carlos Lee falls into the “wish we could but ain’t gonna happen” trade category. I think rumors will start flying and trade scenarios will start to come out as we head to the weekend.