The rumor mill just keeps churning, and the latest rumor involves Houston Astros left-hander Brett Oberholtzer.
Per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Astros are now looking into trading the lone holdover of the Michael Bourn trade to the Atlanta Braves back in 2011.
This rumor shouldn’t surprise many folks. After all, the Astros have appeared ready for some time about moving on from the 26-year old pitcher. Making just eight major league starts in 2015 due to injuries and ineffectiveness, a fresh start for both sides may be a good thing.
Oberholtzer started his Astros career on the right foot after finishing the 2013 season with a 4-5 record in 10 starts (13 game appearances) while finishing with a 2.76 ERA/3.51 FIP. He took a step back in 2014, finishing with a 5-13 record with a 4.39 ERA. However, his 3.56 FIP and .325 BABIP seems to indicate that he suffered from bad luck or poor defense often.
2015 was the low point of Oberholtzer’s Astros career. Between a blister on his left hand and general ineffectiveness, he finished the season making only 20 combined starts between the minors and the majors. And with the plethora of young arms advancing through the Astros minor league system, it now seems like the right time to move on.
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The Astros front office probably isn’t expecting anything more than a low-level prospect if the team trades Oberholtzer alone. And like Jon Heyman mentioned in his tweet, the Philadelphia Phillies and Cinncinatti Reds seem like logical fits. Consider this: both franchises are entering full-on rebuilds. Adding a controllable pitcher like Oberholtzer could allow either the Phillies or the Reds top pitching prospects more time to adjust fully in the minors before the jump to the majors is made.
Of course, where the southpaw actually lands is contingent on what type of offers the Astros receive. The Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers are also rumored to be possible trade partners.
Editor’s Note: It would appear that Oberholtzer is in the proverbial dog house with management, most notably A.J. Hinch following the way he gave up and threw a pitch at A-Rod versus the Yankees. He was demoted down to Triple-A, most people assumed it was punishment as I wrote here: The Astros send a message with Oberholtzer’s demotion. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t pitch again for the Astros.
Sometimes a fresh start is for the best. If a trade happens, it will allow Oberholtzer to put finally the struggles of the past two years behind him and be given the opportunity to start anew. And the Astros will be allowed at the very least more flexibility on the 40-man roster. That may be the closest thing to a win-win in this situation.
**Statistics Provided by Fangraphs.com**