So I get to the theater to see “The Dark Knight Rises”, I park the car, buy the ticket and on my way into the theater, I pull up twitter on my iPhone and see that we have completed a mega deal with the Blue Jays involving ten players. The Astros have traded starting pitcher, J.A. Happ along with relief pitchers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter to Toronto for a package of seven players including a player to be named later and two current major leaguers. The current major leaguers are RP, Francisco Cordero and OF, Ben Francisco, who will report directly to the Astros while the minor league players acquired include Asher Wojciechowski (1st rnd pick in 2010), Joseph Musgrove (1st rnd pick in 2011), Carlos Perez and David Rollins. More on these guys after the jump.
Rather than complain about how terrible Happ has been since he’s been here or that Ed Wade insisted on him over younger prospects in the Roy Oswalt trade since he was “major league ready”, I’ll just say, it was time for a parting of the ways. Happ is still under team control for the next few years as is David Carpenter. Brandon Lyon is a free agent at season’s end. The Blue Jays announced that Happ and Lyon will report to their bullpen while Carpenter is being optioned to AAA Las Vegas. Here’s wishing them the best.
Coming to the Astros are some real nice prospects. I’m of the opinion that the Blue Jays have the best, deepest farm system in baseball, so for us to pull off a trade including their 8th, 9th and 11th prospects (per MLB.com rankings) for the price of Happ, Lyon and Carpenter, was shocking to me, to say the least.
Wojciechowski, was a supplemental first round pick in 2010. The 23-year-old righty has a 4.05 ERA over three seasons in the minors. Thus far this year at Class A Dunedin, he is 7-3 in 18 starts with a 3.57 ERA and 76 strikeouts. In his last seven starts, he was 5-1 with a 1.49 ERA. Per Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle, Wojciechowski will report to AA, Corpus Christi.
Musgrove was Toronto’s first pick in the 2011 compensatory round of the draft. In two appearances, including one start, with Rookie Level Bluefield this year, he was 0-0 with a 1.12 ERA with no walks and nine strikeouts. Musgrove made a combined nine appearances, including seven starts in 2011. Musgrove is the player in this deal that I know the most about. He typically sits between 91-94 MPH on his fastball but can get it up to 98. He also features a nice curveball and a changeup that needs some work. Musgrove could be a starter but might also find himself as a closer on a big league team. My guess is he will report to Low A Lexington.
Rollins was a 24th round selection of the Blue Jays in the 2011 draft. Thus far, he is 6-1 with a 2.78 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 18 starts with Class A Lansing this season. He also has a 10-1 career minor league record spread over parts of two seasons. He is both a lefty and a Texas native. Hailing from Deberry, Tx and having attended San Jacinto College in Houston, I’m sure Rollins will be happy to be back home. I think Rollins should go straight to AA as he has proven to have controlled both Low and High A ball in the Blue Jays organization, but ultimately, I think he will report to High A Lancaster.
Now we have Carlos Perez. The only minor league non pitcher acquired in the deal. Perez was signed as a free agent out of Venezuela in 2008. Thus far, he has hit .269 spread over 70 games at Lansing with 21 doubles, 5 triples, 5 home runs and 40 RBI. He has played parts of five minor league seasons, in 332 games, compiling a .279 career average with 70 doubles, 24 triples and 11 home runs. Zachary Levine also reported that Perez will report to High A Lancaster for the Astros. In a subsequent move, current Lancaster C, Ben Heath is being promoted to AA and AA starting C, Chris Wallace is moving from AA to AAA.
The player to be named later may very well be a draft pick from last year or could simply be a player on a list of players we can choose from similar to the deal involving Hunter Pence when the PTBNL chosen ended up being Domingo Santana. Both Francisco Cordero and Ben Francisco do not figure to be in the Astros future plans. Cordero is in the final year of a contract and Francisco seems like he will be a non tender candidate this winter.
Look, I’m not being a homer on this, but the Astros clearly won this deal. Lyon was not going to be back next year and Happ was a prime candidate to be non tendered. At best, Carpenter will be a nice setup man, so to acquire seven players for those three is a great deal for Jeff Luhnow and the Astros. Also, for those keeping count, this now makes two of the three players Oswalt was traded for, that have been flipped to Toronto. Only Jonathan Villar remains from that deal. On behalf of Astros Nation, I’d like to welcome our new players to our revamped minor league system!!