On July 24, the Astros traded Wandy Rodriguez, the last remaining player from their 2005 World Series team, to the Pirates. At the time of the trade, Wandy was 7-9 with a 3.79 ERA in 21 starts. In return, the Astros received Houston native, OF Robbie Grossman, LHP Colton Cain and LHP Rudy Owens. The Pirates wanted Wandy to help solidfy their rotation as they made a push for the playoffs and in return, the Astros received three more prospects to add to their vastly improved farm system. We’ll take a look at how each player involved did after the jump.
As they did with all of their trades this season, the Astros kicked in a significant amount of cash in the deal to get better prospects in return. Over twelve starts down the stretch for Pittsburgh, Wandy sported a 5-4 record with a 3.72 ERA, giving him a season record of 12-13 with a 3.76 ERA. Not bad at all. Pittsburgh imploded down the stretch and was not even close to making the playoffs. They should be competitive next year with their current roster and Wandy will look to be a part of that.
As for the prospects received in the deal, the prize was CF Robbie Grossman. Grossman was a 6th round pick in the 2008 draft from Cy-Fair High School. He enjoyed a nice breakout season in 2011 as he had 104 walks and 127 runs scored in a single season. He was immediately assigned to AA Corpus Christi and hit .267 down the stretch to go along with 3 HR’s, 11 RBI and 4 SB. He finished with a .266 AVG, 10 HR’s, 47 RBI and 13 SB. He started off on fire for the Hooks but really struggled the last few weeks of the season. Something tells me he will begin the 2013 season at AAA Oklahoma City but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back at AA to begin the year with a mid season promotion if all goes well.
Next up in the deal is another Texas native, Colton Cain. Cain, a LHP was drafted in the 8th round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of Waxahachie High School. Upon being traded he was assigned to Class High A Lancaster. Cain struggled this year, going 2-2 in seven starts with a 5.55 ERA. He finished the season with a 5-7 record and a 4.64 ERA. He will likely begin the 2013 season back at Lancaster with a promotion to AA on the horizon with strong results.
Finally, we have Rudy Owens. A 28th round pick in the 2006 draft, Owens, also a lefty, is the closest to the majors having spent this season at the AAA organizations for both Pittsburgh and Houston. Down the stretch for AAA Oklahoma City, Owens went 2-3 with a 4.34 ERA. He finishes the year with a total combined record of 10-8 with a 3.48 ERA. Owens will definitely be given a spring training invite and figures to be a strong candidate for a spot in the 2013 Astros rotation which will also include Bud Norris, Jordan Lyles and Lucas Harrell. The final two spots should be up for grabs barring any trades or free agent signings.
This was a good trade for both teams. No, Pittsburgh did not make the playoffs, but they still have Wandy under contract for a few more years so i’ts not like they traded away prospects for a rental. They also did not trade their top prospects in this deal. Plus, they have a team built to win now, although they will need to make more moves as they are still not a championship caliber team. On the Astros side, they added three quality prospects and one prospect (Grossman) who could turn into a star for them if all goes well. The Astros also were very lacking in left handed starting pitching depth and acquiring Owens and Cain helps to build that depth. This one is definitely a win-win for both Houston and Pittsburgh.