When the season began, fans and sports writers knew that the Astros would be sellers come the trade deadline this year. They finished with the worst record in baseball in 2011 which landed them the top pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. Veterans such as Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Carlos Lee figured to each bring back a nice set of prospects if and when they were dealt to contending teams. Lee was traded on July 4 to the Miami Marlins for LHP, Rob Rasmussen and 3B, Matt Dominguez. Add Jed Lowrie to that mix, who was acquired via trade in December along with Kyle Weiland for Mark Melancon and the Astros looked like they were in a prime position to add several prospects to an already improving farm system. However, things are not going as they were expected to.
Wandy Rodriguez entered the year as the staff ace. He has pitched pretty much how we expected him to and at this point, I believe there is little doubt that he is traded. My question is, how much can he actually bring? We here in Houston have seen his stuff and everyone knows how valuable a good left handed starting pitcher can be but on a playoff team, he isn’t an ace. He’s more of a #3 starter, which is still good, but are teams trading for him going to give up a #3 type package or an ace’s package? I still think he is moved and I believe Jeff Luhnow and the opposing GM will meet somewhere in the middle. Among teams with possible interest, the Blue Jays and Cardinals have been consistently linked to Wandy in the past.
Next up is Brett Myers. Brett Myers was moved to the closers role in the offseason and handled it very well to start the season. However, for the past few months he has looked pretty average. He has had two different outings where he has given up at least seven hits, hasn’t had a single strikeout in July and unless he turns it around with numerous saves and/or scoreless frames between now and the trade deadline (July 31), it’s hard to imagine there will be much demand for him. If there is a market for his services, I have a hard time believing we would get anything of significant value in return. My gut tells me that if he is traded, it will be in a cost cutting manner where we get rid of his contract and receive a few lower level prospects in the process similar to the Jeff Keppinger trade to the Giants of a year ago.
Finally, there’s Jed Lowrie. A few weeks back there was a rumored trade that would have involved Jed Lowrie going to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dodgers top pitching prospect and Texas native, Zach Lee headed to Houston. Those talks were later deemed unreal but also confirmed that the sides had spoken about Lowrie. Lowrie figured to bring back the highest package of prospects, if dealt. That is until last night when Lowrie suffered what looks to be a very bad injury. Late last night, one report stated that he had suffered an ankle sprain, but then this morning another report said he was seen leaving the clubhouse with crutches. Either way, Lowrie figures to miss some significant time, if not the rest of the year, with this injury and will not be traded before the trade deadline. This is a prime example of “striking while the iron is hot” instead of holding out for more players, if that was the case. I’m hopeful for Lowrie’s sake that his injury isn’t a significant one. The poor guy hasn’t been injury prone, he’s just been unlucky. When healthy, he has shown that he can produce.
Jeff Luhnow will certainly have his work cut out for him in the next few weeks as his club looks to be active as the deadline approaches. As I said earlier, I still expect Wandy to be traded. Chris Johnson and Matt Downs could be traded as well which in turn, would open up a spot for Brett Wallace at the big league level. The next few weeks will definitely be fun to watch.