Houston Astros Trade Rumors Swirling
There is rampant speculation swirling around a Carlos Lee to the Los Angeles Dodgers trade rumor, and word is that an offer is actually on the table. Depending on who you are and how you look at it, fortunately or unfortunately Carlos Lee has a no-trade clause in his contract with which he can use to veto a deal to the Dodgers.
That part of the equation is out of Jeff Luhnow’s hands, but Luhnow does have some big decisions to make as the trade deadline quickly approaches.
Carlos Lee, Brett Myers, and Wandy Rodriguez are all tradable assets that the Astros could potentially get a decent return on. Count me in the camp that believes the Astros should try to deal all three, if possible.
It goes without saying that the Houston Astros are not contenders, nor will they be for a few more years. The Astros are in full rebuilding mode, choosing to restock what has been a barren farm system for years and years, thanks to Drayton McClain’s strategy of trading away young prospects for aging has-beens at the end of their careers or half year rentals.
Miguel Tejada, Carlos Beltran, Jose Valverde, and a host of others were run through the organization, staying just a short time, while the Astros’ cupboard was emptied. When the keys to the organization were finally handed to Luhnow and new owner Jim Crane, the once proud franchise was a shell of its former self, a roster full of average prospects and journeymen all trying their hardest just to stay in the big leagues.
After a stellar draft in which the Astros acquired what could be argued as three first round talents in Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers Jr., and Rio Ruiz, the Astros’ farm system is starting to show signs of life. Couple that with the solid years of pitcher Jarred Cosart and slugging first baseman Jonathan Singleton in the minors, two players acquired in the Hunter Pence deal from the Phillies, and suddenly things don’t seem so bad on the farm.
This is the reason why the Astros absolutely must do whatever it takes to get something in return for Carlos Lee, Wandy Rodriguez, and Brett Myers.
If the Astros say they are in rebuilding mode, then Astros management needs to act like they are in rebuilding mode. If the team is able to acquire more young talent that is close to Major League-ready in deals for the veterans, it could turn the 2012 season into one of the more productive personnel seasons in recent history for Houston, while simultaneously giving the rebuilding process a bit of a jump start.
Wandy Rodriguez’s stock is currently about as high as it is going to get, meaning now is the optimal time to sell. Rodriguez is far and away the best left handed starter on the market, a coveted commodity for teams in the hunt for the playoffs. At 33 years of age, Rodriguez is 6-5 with a 3.52 ERA on the season. While Wandy’s strikeout numbers have declined, averaging just 5.9 K’s per nine innings, his command has been very good this season, averaging just 1.9 BB’s per nine innings, the lowest of his career.
Brett Myers, meanwhile, has been in the closer role for the Astros this season after two years as a starter in Houston. Myers has 17 saves to go alone with a 3.71 ERA, a bit misleading for how well he has pitched. Myers has converted 17 of 19 save opportunities and walked just five batters in 26.2 innings of work.
There is a demanding market for closers in the Major Leagues, as countless teams are dealing with injuries in the bullpen this season. Keep an eye on the New York Mets, who just lost closer Frank Francisco to an oblique injury. They are rumored to be heavily interested in Myers’ services and will certainly be involved in any trade talks regarding the Astros’ closer.
As for Carlos Lee, only time will tell whether the 1st baseman will remain an Astro. His power numbers are down, with just 5 home runs on the season, but Lee is hitting for very good average at .290 and seldom strikes out. He’s a natural hitter, but he’s also a Texan at heart, and it may take quite a bit of convincing for Lee to waive his no trade clause to move out to Hollywood.
In any case, the Houston Astros and general manager Jeff Luhnow have a golden opportunity as the trade deadline approaches to give the Astros’ farm system a real shot in the arm. What happens over the next month should tell us just how competent the new Astros’ management really is, but to this point, they’ve given us no reason to worry.