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Trade Deadline: Oh, Kike, we hardly knew ye


So, when you write one of these posts on Chipalatta, every time there’s a comment, you get an email. (Or at least I do.)

At about 3:10 p.m., I went out to mow the lawn (I work from home, so mowing at my leisure is a perk … at least that’s what my wife tells me). When I came in at 4:30, my gmail account had exploded.

Cosart gone? OK, I guess I saw that coming. Kike gone? That one was a punch to the gut.

The whole thing was a punch to the gut. Colin Moran‘s name looked vaguely familiar since I watched last season’s draft pretty closely. But I had no idea who Jake Marisnick was, much less Francis Martes.

Didn’t Luhnow say he wanted a MLB-ready bat for our thin and anaemic lineup?

Well, according to the radio and TV guys, Marisnick will be in Houston and in the lineup Friday. … Yeah, I’m not sure that’s what most of us were thinking when we were told to expect an MLB bat.

What did we gain and what did we lose?

GONE
Jarred Cosart
While 9-6 this season, there’s a lot of smoke-and-mirrors involved in Cosart’s success. His 4.41 ERA is actually not as bad as it seemed since a big blow to that stat came in one early season start. But in 116.1 innings he had just 75 Ks and a fairly high 51 BBs. His WHIP is 1.46.

That said, I was usually happy to see Cosart on the mound. We lost a pitcher who battles fairly hard, and would have been under team control for several more years.

Enrique Hernandez
Kike is still 22 years old. Let that sink in. He can play just about ANYWHERE. Yes, his arm from CF was a bit wild. Yes, his real position was blocked by a guy named Jose Altuve. But Kike was hitting .284 with a .768 OPS. Better still, on a team full of whiffers, Kike had struck out 11 times in 81 ABs (about once ever 7.5 ABs) and walked nearly as often (8 BBs).

Oh, and he hustled nonstop. That’s hard to put a price on.

Austin Wates
And, finally, we gave up AAA fixture Austin Wates. Batting .299 with a .776 OPS, Wates has only whiffed 45 times in 281 ABs. He’s also walked 43 times. A good defensive outfielder, he also has stolen 31 bases.

So, that’s what we lost: A guy who is a No. 3 starter on a decent staff, a super utility (emphasis on the “super”) player who has played well, and a AAA outfielder who is getting older but has shown some good potential.

ARRIVING
Jake Marisnick
I won’t talk about the 23-year-old outfielder’s earlier cups of coffee with the Marlins that amounted to 157 at bats between 2013 and 2014. It is not a good sample size.

The Marlins’ No. 3 prospect going into 2013, Marisnick hit .294 with an .860 OPS in AA. In 280 ABs, he had 69 Ks and 17 BBs. In AAA this season, he was hitting .277 with a .761 OPS. In 343 ABs, he whiffed 64 times and walked 17. So it looks like he’s getting better contact despite the higher level. Apparently, he’s a CF, so with him, Springer and Fowler in the outfield, I don’t expect many balls to drop.

Colin Moran
A 21-year-old third baseman drafted just five spots behind Mark Appel, Moran is hitting .294 with a .735 OPS in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. Strikes out about once every seven at-bats and walks about half as often. He’ll head to Corpus Christi, Luhnow said, so I’m guessing we’ll get a good look at this guy soon.

Moran is probably the prize of the deal for the Astros as he’s ranked as the 72nd overall prospect in baseball. Luhnow (in a fit of honesty) said he’s got just an average glove, but they think he’ll be a top-notch hitter. While I love me some Matty D’s defense, a third baseman who can pound the ball sounds good. That said, he’s in AA right now, so I’ll believe it when I see it in two years.

Francis Martes
Speaking of not counting your chickens, Martes is having an iffy year … in the Gulf Coast League. I could go over his stats, but what’s the point. Until he’s started excelling in Lancaster or Corpus … or even Quad Cities … I just don’t care. Yes, he’s 18. Yes, he’s got a great arm (I read that somewhere, but I really have no idea). There’s a long road between the GCL and Houston.

Player To Be Drafted Later
Frankly, this might be the steal of the deal. We get Miami’s competitive balance pick, probably about 33rd, Luhnow said. That’d be a few spots higher than where we got Derek Fisher this year. And it’s another big chunk of money to our pool … which only matters if we sign someone.

HOW IT’S VIEWED

Initially, I hated this. Then I dug a little deeper into the players we got. Now I just dislike it a little. Of course, it seems among people who write about this stuff for a living (still waiting on my first paycheck, Chip!), the Astros did well here. Jeff Passan, who almost never has a nice thing to say about the Astros listed Houston as one of his trade deadline winners. Peter Gammons said this is the under-the-radar steal of the day.

 

So, after digesting this deal, how do you feel?

Are you angry we didn’t get a more polished MLB-ready bat?

Would you have traded Cosart? What about Hernandez?

What about these players the Astros got in return? Which one are you encouraged about? Which one looks like a bag of balls thrown in at the last minute?

Would you have made this deal? Would you have stood pat instead?

 

 

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About BrianT

Brian Todd is a freelance writer working and living in Rochester, Minn.

53 comments on “Trade Deadline: Oh, Kike, we hardly knew ye

  1. Astro45
    July 31, 2014

    Brian: The plan continues to be we develop prospects that get to the ML and then trade them for more prospects. The 2014 Astros are not improved. Doubt I will live long enough to see them competitive. I am not moaning the departure of any of these but we traded them for players that are not ready for prime time.

    Like

    • BrianT
      July 31, 2014

      Oh, we were definite sellers at the deadline. And while I didn’t expect us to be buyers, I didn’t think the balance would be so … imbalanced.

      Like

  2. Dan P
    July 31, 2014

    Thanks for the write up Brian T – I don’t feel as bad as I did though I really would have rather seen a pitcher traded for SS help.
    I just wish we did some moves that did not seem so far down the line.
    You would think a young arm like Cosarts would be worth immediate good help at a position.

    Like

    • BrianT
      July 31, 2014

      No problem, Dan. Hope you’re having fun.

      To hear Luhnow tell it, the Astros did get immediate help in Marisnick. I’ll believe it if he doesn’t hit below the Mendoza line for the remainder of the season. If he breaks .250 I’ll be thrilled. (Yes, I’m being a bit sarcastic.)

      Luhnow’s other assertion is that Peacock is an even swap for Cosart. Well, maybe some day, but that has not been the case thus far this year.

      In essence we traded Cosart to play Peacock and swapped my new favorite player, Kike Hernandez, for the unsettlingly bad Marisnick. In addition, we get Moran, a Rookie Ball pitcher and a draft pick.

      If this were an accounting problem, I’d say we came out ahead, but it just doesn’t feel that way right now. Not sure it’ll feel that way by next April either. Maybe by April 2016.

      Like

      • Dan P
        August 1, 2014

        Both Cosart and Peacock have similar stuff and both struggle to get it over the plate at times and to get outs at times.
        It felt like Cosart was able to bulldog thru problems that Peacock had not yet learned to do.
        Was this our big move to get the 1-1 again? Yikes.

        Like

  3. Devin
    August 1, 2014

    The spreadsheet warriors may be happy, but this trade puts us one step closer to drafting 1.1 again in 2015 and doesn’t really look like a net improvement unless that competitive balance pick pans out.

    Even if Cosart’s ceiling is Bud Norris, I don’t think the delta between Moran (in a year or two) and Dominguez for offensive wins created surpasses Cosart over any replacement at our current disposal. Factor in defense and the loss of Like and it just looks like more painful losses with sub-Mendoza hitters for awhile. Does this mean Fowler is done for the year…or most of it?

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      August 1, 2014

      Devin, if I told you that for the last 28 days, Kike’s slash line was .246, .316, .348, .664, with no homers and no stolen bases would you believe me? Now that’s not terrible compared to other Astros, but let’s not fall in love with a guy after 24 games in the major leagues. Although he is not an outfielder, he showed decent range, no arm and a fielding percentage of .946 in CF, so I don’t think we will be hurt defensively by this trade.

      Like

      • daveb
        August 1, 2014

        Glad you found something positive out of the deal oldpro.

        Like

  4. 1oldpro
    August 1, 2014

    Let’s talk a little about Marisnick. As far as his major league numbers, he was in the majors before he ever got to AAA and that is kind of a silly JD Martinez-like move the Marlins made. Marisnick only has 350 PAs at AAA now and he is only 23.
    His last 28 games Marisnick has been sensational, so it appears he is coming into his game. He had a four game series against the Redhawks recently and OKC could not get him out. He had 9 hits in four games.I am sure that is when he caught our attention. Remember that this is his first try at AAA and he had a slow April, but his numbers in July were great. He walks into a great situation. Fowler and Springer will be back soon and he will take that third spot. Grossman and Hoes have not done enough and Wates is gone, Santana has placed himselpf in AAA until at least 2016, so this is a great chance for the Astros to come up with a good third outfielder for 2015 and beyond.
    I don’t know why Wates was never in the plan for Luhnow, and that will remain a mystery, but Marisnick has a ton of upside and I, is big and fast and could fit in great here.

    Like

    • Astro45
      August 1, 2014

      I would agree if the trade was Marisnick for Wates. Similar players with similar stats. But I would not trade Cosart for Wates either. Down the line, this may be a good trade but not for this year’s team. We gave up a starting pitcher, Utility, and good AAA hitting OFer for 3 prospects – with one perhaps MLB ready.

      Like

      • Astro45
        August 1, 2014

        Oh, and a draft pick.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        August 1, 2014

        This year’s team is exactly where I said it would be at the beginning of the season. It is currently 44-65 and a half game ahead of the worst team in baseball. This season no longer means anything but a chance to figure out who is on the team on April 1st 2015.
        We screamed for Springer last year to be brought up and he wasn’t. Now, we get a guy who is young and kicking butt in AAA and we do get a chance to see him play in Houston because Florida stupidly brought him up twice when he wasn’t ready. I am so ready to see a CFer in CF,.instead of Kraus in LF, a backup ss in CF and LJ Hoes in RF. I’m so ready to see Fowler, Springer and Jake, from State Farm, in the outfield! Let’s go!
        Lost in all this is the bullpen blowing a win for Jake Buchanan last night, and who pitched so similarly to Cosart, constantly in trouble but getting out of it with grounders.

        Like

    • rj
      August 1, 2014

      thanks for the reasoned opinion oldpro. seems like most are knee jerk today.

      Like

  5. Kevin
    August 1, 2014

    thanks old pro for the info

    Like

  6. 1oldpro
    August 1, 2014

    Mike Foltynewicz is on his way to Houston to join the bullpen. This move is to give him a looksee by the team and Strom and to keep his innings down for the year.
    The plan is to use him in the bullpen, but he is slated to remain a starter in the Astros organization next year.

    Like

    • daveb
      August 1, 2014

      I think this is a good thing. But someone please tell me what the problem is with Tropeano, bedsides the fact that he’s not on the 40 man. Bad hygiene?

      Like

    • BrianT
      August 1, 2014

      The 40-man thing is exactly why Tropeano is still in OKC.

      Welcome, Folty! I think a couple of months in the bullpen will help his development.

      Like

      • drbill14
        August 1, 2014

        Folty was not on the 40 man either was he?

        Like

  7. Mr. Bill
    August 1, 2014

    Jake from State Farm . . . wears khakis . . . sounds hideous. Good one, OldPro!

    Like

  8. Larry Leach
    August 1, 2014

    How do you compare Colin Moran with Rio Ruiz as prospects?

    Like

    • BrianT
      August 1, 2014

      Moran is older, played college ball at a top program and is a bit more polished. Ruiz is a a great talent (as is Moran) who needs some more time to grow into his game.

      Like

      • daveb
        August 1, 2014

        Moran, the elder, is a year older than Ruiz. But yes, he does have college ball under his belt that Ruiz does not. But while we’re on the subject, if Ruiz had been told he’d by reaching CC this year, he might be a bit offended right now.

        Like

    • daveb
      August 1, 2014

      Good question LL. Moran comes with the better pedigree, and has had to hit against arguably tougher pitching down in Florida, while Ruiz plays half his games in a launching pad. Maybe as a result, his 2013 stats are significantly better than Moran’s. Seems that Ruiz has the better glove and has certainly shown more power over his first two minor league seasons. That’s why I’m not very impressed with the trade. I don’t think we needed a third base prospect in exchange for a real live major league starting pitcher. And why would Florida give up so quickly on the 6th guy taken in the draft last year? Have they seen something in Cosart that our home team experts have missed? I personally see a lot more coming from Cosart. He’s shown quite a bit of nails in just 30 ML starts. He’s just getting going.

      Like

      • Tim
        August 1, 2014

        Or maybe the Astros saw something in Marisnick and Moran that Miamia missed. I was never a fan of Cosart and, although I liked Kike, I don’t think he would have been much more than a Placido Polanco type player. A nice player, but nothing to lose sleep over. The tools of Marisnick are out of this world and other than Ruiz we have very limited depth at 3B. Moran. although lacking power in a heavy pitchers league, is still hitting for a strong average. I love this trade!

        Like

  9. 1oldpro
    August 1, 2014

    Here’s one way, according to MLB:
    Moran- Astros #5 prospect: Hit 65, Power 50 Run 40, Arm 55, Field 50, Dverall 55
    Ruiz- Astros #9 prospect: Hit 55, Power 55, Run 30, Arm 55, Field 50, Overall 50
    Moran is a 21 year old who bats righty.
    Ruiz is a 20 year old who bats lefty.

    Like

    • Devin
      August 1, 2014

      Actually, both bat lefty.

      Like

  10. Steven
    August 1, 2014

    Still not enamored with the deal. I wrote a diatribe the other day comparing Cosart to Norris. The difference is that Cosart was still young enough to change his warts. Norris never did. It appears from a distance that they have similar attitudes towards being coached into improvement, so maybe the Astros saw that and saw it as selling high. Only Luhnow knows.

    Marisnick is a lot like Krauss in this regard – both have been pretty good in the minors but both have produced disastrous results in the majors. Krauss has more power and draws more walks, but Marisnick does have MUCH better defense and more speed. Not a fan because if he hits .250 he will only have a .290 OBP. His contact rates suggest his BABIP will have to survive at .320ish to be decent, and with no OBP to fall back on he could be liability during a slump. Still gotta like the toolsy side – 369 innings is a very small sample but his 16 UZR/150 is a sign that he is very good defensively – but we’ll see how that translates to the ocean of CF in MMP. Good power/speed combo also. I am guessing that the mandate on Porter at this point is going to be to play the guy everyday and see if thats a guy they want. Even if the OBP and K’s become non palatable 5-6 days a week, the tools will probably keep him around for a while as a sub/PR/defensive replacement that can pinch hit in the right matchup.

    Good player to have – not worth losing a guy that will probably win 13-15 games this year.

    Like

  11. 1oldpro
    August 1, 2014

    Andrew Aplin promoted to OKC. I love this move because they need fielders and he needs the work. Never liked DDJ taking his CF slot away after the great job Aplin did in CF at Lancaster.
    Moran fills Aplin’s CC roster spot.

    Like

  12. daveb
    August 1, 2014

    Who knows what will happen. With trades like this, we might not know for several years, unless Cosart wins 20 next year or Marisnick performs so well that Springer gets stuck in right. My essential concern is that we’re trying to grow a good club. And Cosart was a valuable part of our rotation, just 30 starts into his career.

    With the other guys, they are still prospects, even Marisnick. We traded a performer, and a second guy that was performing, granted in a very short sampling. I think the deal slows our march back to respectability. That’s my problem with it.

    Like

  13. tedf1948
    August 1, 2014

    Just to let everybody know, this will be a rant. We have had three straight 100-loss seasons and as soon as this trade is over, the majority of the bloggers, on a number of sites, are talking about what a great trade Luhnow just pulled off. Maybe yes, maybe no. Everybody talks about the sabrmetrics and how we are much better off. Everybody talks about our great pitching depth. But we have taken three straight 1-1s and our farm is rated number 3. Cosart was praised last year as a great piece of that depth and now he is gone. We have no one in the minors who is guaranteed to be a MLB star. They are all prospects. Regardless of how good we look with the mathematics and slide-rules, at some point they actually have to take the mound and step up to the plate. It appears to me that we may lose another hundred this year and one of the posters on the other site was overjoyed because now our farm system has to be rated #1. When do they pass out the awards for the best farm system. I guess it is after the playoffs. I look forward to seeing it. I hope these trades work out, but we need to stop being overjoyed at our draft position and worry about the wins and losses on the field. Those are the only numbers that count.

    Like

    • Astro45
      August 1, 2014

      In memory of our absent Bopert, I just want to add the following link. For those of you not old enough, this is from Stalag 17 movie (forerunner of Hogan’s Heroes). They have been in a German POW camp for years and he gets a letter from home. It just reminds me of people continuing to believe in Crane/Luhnow and winning every trade and signing. “I Believe it.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trjDFPAij40

      Like

      • rj
        August 1, 2014

        hilarious clip astro45!! and an outstanding movie.

        Like

  14. Becky
    August 1, 2014

    Sorry fellas, I’m a bit late to the game, but last night we had a HUGE lightening storm in Kingwood, and it set our neighbors house on fire. They pretty much lost everything………..four pumper trucks until 3:oo am. It knocked out our internet, and fried EVERY SINGLE T.V. we have. I feel blessed that all we lost were a couple of televisions. I didn’t like this trade for a number of reasons. If the Marlins were THAT impressed with Moran…….they would have balked in trading him. Which leads me to think he’s not “all that”. Cosart cooked his own goose here, and Luhnow was actively shopping him. Hernandez was a nice spark, but never did get a chance to find a spot on this team. He was NOT a CF…….no matter how HARD Porter tried to sell it. Where is the BIG bat we were looking for? Marisnick might have some good tools, but it was my impression the Marlins gave up on him. I guess we will see tonight, if he can play center field. Glad to see Folty finally get the call, but if all he get’s to do is come outta the pen…….you will see steam coming out of his ears. He wants to start………..

    Like

    • Astro45
      August 1, 2014

      Glad you are O.K. Becky. Sort of puts baseball the game in perspective. Give us an update when you get a chance on Tanner.

      Like

    • Dan P
      August 1, 2014

      Glad you are safe Becky – feel very bad for your neighbor.
      What I’m struggling with – what we are all struggling with is that these moves like ones before them can not be evaluated in the present and we are sick of waiting for the future.
      I don’t like giving up pitching especially pitching that is performing at the major league level in exchange for unknowns at positions we are not that lacking.
      And if we could hold a late lead the team would be on a 4 or 5 game streak ( I’m really out of touch right now)

      Like

  15. Becky
    August 1, 2014

    Altuve just manufactures runs……..that’s all!!!

    Like

  16. Becky
    August 1, 2014

    Cosart lost tonight.

    Like

    • trshack
      August 2, 2014

      Well at least that makes me feel a little better.

      Like

  17. rj
    August 2, 2014

    jerome williams. 4 innings 13 hits 10 runs. everybody gets better when they leave here

    Like

    • BrianT
      August 2, 2014

      Actually, for Williams that’s not that bad.

      Like

      • Astro45
        August 2, 2014

        I was thinking that he might be a “mole” put there by Luhnow to insure another 1.1. If so, it was a stroke of genius.

        Like

  18. daveb
    August 2, 2014

    Thomas Shirley was the third guy to get the ball last night for OKC. An inning and a third. I’m sure he was thrilled with that.

    Like

  19. 1oldpro
    August 2, 2014

    Shirley projects as a Loogy. because of his delivery, which hides the ball from left-handed hitters, but shows it very early high to RH batters. Who knows what Luhnow has planned for pitchers, but Shirley has a good chance to be a left handed specialst in the bullpen in the majors. He was brought into the game in the seventh inning last night specifically to get LH Brett Nicholas out and he struck him out to end a threat.

    Like

    • daveb
      August 2, 2014

      pro, I’m good with that. I’ve been complaining that we’re not doing much to develop our pen from within. So the question with Shirley is, why start him 16 times this year? You think they’ve just now acknowledged what the 25 old guy is going to be best at?

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        August 2, 2014

        Honestly, I think it has to do with what happened in Lancaster, CC and OKC with the pitching staffs. Luis Cruz got hurt and missed some time and Appel took a lot longer to show up in CC and Velasquez got hurt, so Shirley kind of got stuck in CC in the tandem , but starting more than relieving. Now that White, Nitro, Wojo, Martinez and Owens(Weiland?) are back in OKC, they can plug Shirley in where he is needed or where they want to see him. Chapman is still crazy wild and Urkfitz is not consistent, so they desperately need some lefties to develop in the minors for their pen.

        Like

  20. daveb
    August 2, 2014

    One more thing about Shirley. He’s actually been a bit better against righties this year.

    On another note, I just saw that Joe Sclafani has his average up over .300, with a .390 OBP. The kid doesn’t have a full time job but just won’t go away. Maybe he’ll be our next Enrique.

    Like

    • Devin
      August 2, 2014

      Good point. It could be the FO is anticipating a surplus of utility players in the coming years.

      Like

  21. Becky
    August 2, 2014

    OMG……….Singelton had a inside the park homerun!! AND……Altuve just manufactures runs, AGAIN! Obie was AWESOME, and so was Folty!
    Daaaaaaang that kid can throw some heat! This was a complete team win!

    Like

    • Dan P
      August 3, 2014

      On vacation and feeling like those who don’t get Comcast – the team is just a stat sheet.
      They have been doing better the last week – except for a leaky pen they would be riding a good winning streak right now.
      Looks like Carter might be wanting that job longer term.

      Like

  22. Becky
    August 3, 2014

    Santana back up with the big club………

    Like

  23. Becky
    August 3, 2014

    That’s a pretty happy clubhouse today!! The third complete game for Feldman.
    Pretty cool!

    Like

    • Steeeve
      August 3, 2014

      At the game today. Feldman was great, not only controlling the game with his pitching but making several nice, veteran fielding plays. And, it looked like Jon Singleton might have learned a lesson; he ran hard on everything. (If you missed it, he was quite nonchalant from home to first on his inside-the-park homer, which would have easily been stand up had he hustled all the way.)

      Like

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