Astros trade talented victim of roster crunch to White Sox for intriguing young arm

The Corey Julks era in Houston is officially over as he was traded to Chicago on Wednesday.
Cleveland Guardians v Houston Astros
Cleveland Guardians v Houston Astros / Logan Riely/GettyImages

At the center of the Houston Astros' struggles this season has been their inability to put together a cohesive pitching staff. Injuries to key arms have played a big role in that, but some of the guys that Houston was counting on both in the rotation and the bullpen have failed to step up. As a result, the Astros have been forced to make some difficult roster choices, including DFAing Corey Julks last week.

Julks has value as a bench outfielder with real upside, but Houston felt forced to make the move in order to add RHP Alex Speas via a waiver claim to add more pitching depth. Unfortunately, Julks was out of minor league options and he was the odd man out with Joey Loperfido getting called up.

For Astros fans hoping that Julks would make it through waivers and head down to the minor leagues, the news on Wednesday was disappointing as the White Sox made their waiver claim for Julks and the two sides worked out a trade to send the outfielder to Chicago in exchange for minor league pitcher Luis Rodriguez.

Astros News: Houston trades Corey Julks to White Sox for pitcher Luis Rodriguez

Unfortunately, Houston had little leverage when it came to keeping Julks around. They either had to pull him back off of waivers after being claimed, which was not deemed to be an option given their 40-man roster situation, trade him to the White Sox, or just let Chicago have him for free.

Still, the return for Julks isn't terrible, as Luis Rodriguez is a 20-year-old right-handed pitcher who posted impressive strikeout totals while in the Dominican Summer League in 2023. He is still very far away from the big leagues, but there is real potential here for an impact reliever in the Astros' bullpen down the line.

As for Julks, this should be an opportunity for him to get some more playing time and showcase his talents. As he heads into his arbitration years, being able to show out and establish his value should at least be an opportunity to get a nice raise going forward. The downside for him, of course, is that the White Sox are terrible and probably will be that way for a long while.

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