Houston Astros Make Two Thanksgiving Eve Trades, Jed Lowrie


There is a disturbance in the Houston Astros’ force with the Jed the Jedi’s trade

The Houston Astros have a flare for the dramatic as they make two moves before leaving the office to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. Even though I wouldn’t put it past Jeff Luhnow to invite his family to the office to celebrate the holiday there, but the rest of the MLB GMs will be out of the office. As I was making a donut run this morning, the Astros made two trades between the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles.

The Astros traded Jed Lowrie back to Oakland Athletics three years after trading him there to get Chris Carter, Brad Peacock, and Max Stassi. The move back then was to get more prospects in the fold, and they did not need Lowrie’s bat as they were losing 100 plus games each season. The philosophy has changed with the winning in 2015; they were playing for the now and not the later. Lowrie was to be used until Carlos Correa was deemed ready to play every day in the majors, which was accelerated when Lowrie hurt his thumb on a slide into home plate.

This time around, the Astros did not get the haul they got before, but they did get the 30th top prospect from the Athletics. The A’s had Marcus Simien manning shortstop in 2015, where he showed his biggest flaw was his defense as he made 35 errors at shortstop. While he was not the sole reason for the A’s issues in 2015, Lowrie’s leadership and defense at shortstop should help them in 2015.

Who did the Astros get, good thing you asked? The Astros received Brendan McCurry, who pitched in 2015 with the Double-A Midland Rockhounds. He was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2014 MLB draft by Oakland and appears to have been fast-tracked with his Oklahoma State stats as the single-season saves record with 27 via MLB Pipeline. He started at High-A out of college and moved to Double-A the following season.

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If a player is being groomed for the bullpen, they will be moved along quicker as they don’t have to go 6-7 innings in a start. This appears to be the course for McCurry; it’s hard to imagine things changing with the Astros with the depth they have with starting pitchers in the minors. McCurry is 23 years old, should start the season in Triple-A, could get an invitation to Spring Training in 2016 if he is being fast tracked. The Astros have not really been an organization to fast track players, McCurry and Riley Ferrell could be fast-tracked to improve the bullpen.

Why did the Astros make this move?

  1. They are maybe on the verge of signing a free-agent and need a roster spot on the 40-man roster.
  2. Lowrie didn’t have a place on this team with Correa aboard.
  3. This eliminates $14 million dollars in salary over the next two years, could be used for a free-agent.
  4. Luhnow and Lowrie had a good relationship, Luhnow did not want to see his friend in a platoon at third base.
  5. Lowrie was not in the future plans for the Astros.
  6. They get someone who could help in the bullpen down the road.

Trade with the Orioles

L.J. Hoes was designated for assignment by the Astros before the deadline to protect players from the Rule V draft to open a spot for Andrew Aplin on the 40-man roster. Hoes played much better at Triple-A than he did with the Astros. The Baltimore Orioles traded Hoes to Houston in the Bud Norris trade, and now the prodigal son returns to the birds.

I’ve read on Twitter that the Bud Norris trade was a waste; I would have to disagree with that. The Astros got L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader, and a pick that later turned into standout outfield prospect, Derek Fisher. Hader was the real deal as a prospect and was a big part of why the Astros were able to get Mike Fiers included in the Carlos Gomez deal with the Brewers.

Next: Houston Astros: 3 Things to be Thankful For This Offseason

Just because Hoes didn’t pan out, doesn’t mean the whole deal was a waste. Many people considered him as a throw in with the primary target being Hader and the pick, he served as outfield depth with the Astros. Both these trades were needed to get better for the 2016 season, and I hope that everyone has a great Thanksgiving day tomorrow. For the latest Astros news, check back with CTH often.