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5 trades the Astros could make to upgrade the roster


There are varying degrees of grades regarding the Astros’ roster shuffling and juggling over the winter. Most fans are happy to finally see some active movement to significantly upgrade the major league roster. The question, however, is more about the type of improvement.

Some fans would like to see more upgrades to the rotation. Others believe a dominant closer would move the team into the playoff contender realm. Still others believe a corner infielder is needed. So, while Jeff Luhnow suggests there won’t be any more major moves before the season, here are some suggestions for a few trades that would help to crystallize the roster through trade.

  • Kyle Smith (or another young pitcher), Domingo Santana and a lower-level prospect to Boston for 3B Garin Cecchini. Cecchini is nearly MLB-ready, but he’s blocked by the newly acquired Pablo Sandoval.Cecchini isaLuhnow-style,highOBP left-handed hitter. He might need a little more seasoning at AAA, but would be in Houston be the end of May or early June.
  • Brett Oberholtzer, Tony Kemp, Domingo Santana and another lower-level player for Cole Hamels, $30 million andaPTBNL. Philadelphia would either pay for the $6 million 2019 buyout or add $12 million for that season if it vests.
    • Cash or player return can see-saw if you want to play with it. Higher cash included, lower player return, or vice versa.
  • Kemp, Jon Singleton and lower-level pitcher to Philadelphia for Jonathan Papelbon and $5 million.
    • 2016 option would become guaranteed for Papelbon if he is traded.
    • Or Houston could simply do a straight-up Chris Carter for Papelbon and $5 million, though Philadelphia is more likely to want prospects in return.
  • Here’s another thought: Kemp, Singleton, two lower-level prospects to Philadelphia for Jonathan Papelbon, Ryan Howard and $15 million.
    • Astros could also request the Phillies buyout the 2017 option ($10 million).
  • Carter to Colorado for Carlos Gonzalez. Yes, a little risky, but CarGo is a Gold Glove OF. This trade upgrades the OF and provides the Astros other pieces to use in trade if necessary. Evan Gattis could slide into the DH role (or to first base if Singleton is either moved or sent to Fresno). Since the Rockies want to unload Gonzalez’ contract, Houston could conceivably ask for $$ in the deal as well.

These are only speculative. All the players (at least on the opposition) are known to be on the block and Houston could clearly plug them in easily. Granted, the names could change on the Astros’ side depending on specific players targeted by Philadelphia, Boston or Colorado, but these aren’t totally unreasonable.

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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in beautiful Colorado Springs, CO, and wakes up each morning to the tallest spot in the region, Pikes Peak. He is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 50 years. A native of another picturesque city, Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. Pastor Bosman came up with Chipalatta, and it has stuck.

50 comments on “5 trades the Astros could make to upgrade the roster

  1. Mr. Bill
    February 16, 2015

    For me it’s all about 2017 and beyond. Forget Hamels and Papelbon – and please no Ryan Howard. I want to fill the holes we have at A and AAA at P [we need a lot of hard-throwers], C, 1B, and 3B. The only potential trade that you mentioned that interests me at all relates to the Cecchini kid. Here are my questions: 1. Is he – as a potential rookie – better than a Luis Valbueno/Marwin Gonzales platoon now? 2. Is he likely -based upon minor league numbers, athleticism, and intangibes – to be better than Collin Morin in 2017?

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      February 16, 2015

      Mr. Bill, not sure I’d pull the trigger on Howard either. However, he could be the bargaining chip to get a better deal for Papelbon, which several people seem to be high on. Papelbon is not going to be happy there this season and would be willing to come to Houston. If — IF the Astros were to take on Howard, they’d need to have several mitigating factors, one of which would be a lot of $$$ coming Houston’s way.

      Like

      • daveb
        February 16, 2015

        Didn’t we just trade, a few months ago, one of our young starting pitchers with high upside for our latest third baseman of the future? Of course we also traded another potential third baseman of the future in Ruiz. And now we’d be trading a couple of additional prospects for our newest third baseman of the future? And I’m still not ready to part with Santana. That ill advised short stint in Houston sure seems to have spooked more than a few of us.

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      • Steven
        February 17, 2015

        I think I was spooked BEFORE that debacle of a debut.

        His K rate has been astronomically bad in the minors. Santana is matching Carter and Singleton’s K rates in the majors in the MINORS. I think its typical to see a 5-7% increase in K rate at the big league level – the pitching is just that much better, but if he sees that kind of increase, he will have to post a .400 BABIP to have a .250 average. It could get real ugly, real fast.

        On the flipside, he can draw a walk and hit the ball a country mile. I’m not opposed to seeing him in AAA all year “working” on it, but because of that K rate, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing him moved if the return is high enough.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 1oldpro
    February 16, 2015

    Chip, I love the post!
    Trade #1- Smith and Santana for Ceccini. Forget about the throw-in because you’re giving up a top 10 and a top 20 for a high top 10 already. My problem with this trade is that you’re trading prospects for a prospect at a position that we are already crowded in. Dominguez, Valbuena, Sclafani, Moran, Davis are already in the org and Ceccini is not as ready as you think, in my opinion. His defense at 3B is improving but still weak. He has some speed for a big guy and that’s a tool but I don’t see him improving the team this season and then you start back with the logjam we cleared with the Ruiz trade, so this trade is not my favorite.. If Ceccini were a year older and had another AAA year under his belt, I would like this trade because he would probably be ready to play in the majors. If Santana were a year older and had a great AAA year under his belt, Boston might like it better, too.

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      February 16, 2015

      OP, obviously Cecchini and Moran are probably close to the same player in many ways. Heck, I remember a player years ago who came up as a third baseman, but hit his way onto a team and found a decent career at first base. I do think Cecchini will be ready this season, maybe not to break camp. Of course, the Sox got him some playing time in LF last year, so that would also be a possibility.

      You can never have enough “athletes”. Not talking players. Athletes. Players who know the game, play hard, have some tools and won’t take “no”. FWIW, Cecchini’s dad is a celebrated high school baseball coach, so Garin comes from great stock! Also, his younger brother (Gavin) was a first rounder in 2012 (Mets).

      Like

      • daveb
        February 16, 2015

        I’d rather get Cecchini by trading a Larry Anderson type guy sometime in August. True about the athletes though. I’ve said this recently: We have gotten less athletic overall in the past 8 or so months.

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  3. Dan P
    February 16, 2015

    Nicely done Chip –
    – I would be most interested in the trade for Cole Hamels, because that is the one that I think gives us a shot at the playoffs this season. Plus I don’t give a darn about Jim Crane’s budget – though – yes – there would have to be money moving our way.
    – Don’t see why we need to give up prospects for a prospect 3B in Ceccini
    – I understand the desire to have an experienced closer – I am just willing to give up prospects and a bunch of bucks for Papelbon at his age.
    – How about this – The Phillies send us two prospects and Ryan Howard and we pick up his remaining salary and send them nothing

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    • 1oldpro
      February 16, 2015

      Well I like the Hamels trade, too. because it replaces a LH #4 starter with another LH #1 starter. I don’t think we need three LH starters so Ober being included is right. I don’t like losing Kemp because it hurts. A trade is supposed to hurt so I’m okay with it. Santana is a fair trade for a lot of cash given to offset Hamels salary and we have lots of outfielders, so we have room to move guys up and also frees up another spot on the 40-man, in case we need to bring Tucker up.
      But Hamels doesn’t just help us for this year. He helps us in the years we are supposed to be competing and that’s why I like the trade. If we give them a low level prospect I am okay with that but I would rather not it be a pitcher.

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    • Dan P
      February 16, 2015

      Oops – I meant to say on Papelbon that I am not willing to give up prospects and bunch of bucks …..

      Like

  4. Dan P
    February 16, 2015

    Oh and I am intrigued by the CarGo trade since I think they will be trying to trade Chris Carter at some point.

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  5. Chip Bailey
    February 16, 2015

    Oh, and one other thought then I’ll need to get some “real” work done today. Some have guffawed at Luhnow for detouring from The Plan of building through the minors as the base for the big league club. But who knows if this was the plan all along, to build a foundation in the minors, then add major league pieces through free agency and trading some of those pieces in the minors?

    We’re all at a bit of disadvantage by not knowing exactly what the plan was in 2011, much less how that plan has morphed over the past few years due to the Porter debacle, the TV deal mess, draft issues, etc.

    We can all argue and debate which pieces should be traded and when — and especially for what return, but I believe we’d all agree that it was going to happen sooner or later. Perhaps not as quickly, suddenly or even all at once, but eventually.

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    • daveb
      February 16, 2015

      I’m guilty as charged. And still dubious regardless.

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      • 1oldpro
        February 16, 2015

        Me, too!
        If you lose Jandel, Aiken, Nix, and Marshall and trade Cosart, Folty, Tropeano, and Thurman, you are doing some thinning at pitcher and are also admitting what I’ve been saying all along: you are trading your top pitching prospects because you aren’t developing them into pitchers you are confident in. So then you end up trying to start over with your pitching by adding FAs and drafting again.
        Now’s the time for someone to play their “what about Collin McHugh?” card. Then I play the Folty, Tropeano, Cosart card! All I can say is that my three were all top prospects FOR US who never got a chance to be good FOR US like they all dreamed about for years. Now somebody can play the Keuchel card, but do it soon, before he gets traded.

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      • Tim
        February 16, 2015

        Here is the thing OP, Neither Cosart, Folty or Nitro were Luhnow drafts/acquisitions. He clearly has a bias toward his own players. I won’t play the Keuchel card because Luhnow didn’t draft him and I won’t even play the McHugh card as I need to see more than 1 year of success from him. However, I won’t fault Luhnow for ‘not having confidence’ in the pitchers he traded because he had no play in bringing them to the Astros. Thus, these players probably didn’t fit the ‘Luhnow profile’. I am not saying they won’t be solid major leaguers, but he can’t be faulted for ‘giving up’ on them if he never started with them.

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      • Tim
        February 16, 2015

        Correction on my earlier post. Luhnow did draft Thurman, but his projection is a back end of the rotation starter and those types are a dime a dozen. Folty and Cosart have the highest projection of all the pitchers we traded, but most have them as solid #3 types.

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      • 1oldpro
        February 16, 2015

        “I didn’t draft them” is not a legitimate excuse for not knowing how to develop them.

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      • Tim
        February 16, 2015

        You said he lost confidence in them and I was pointing out he probably never had confidence in them. Who says they weren’t being developed?

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      • 1oldpro
        February 16, 2015

        Me.

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  6. Kevin
    February 16, 2015

    For me after all these off season moves, lets see how ST shakes out, who’s on the 25 and 40.? Who is in Fresno, CC etc. , let everyone settle in and at like 60 games then lets see what we can do to upgrade.

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  7. BrianT
    February 16, 2015

    I’m with Kevin.

    It’s funny how everyone wants trades, but then they complain about who we lose. Unfortunately, not every trade can be Anderson for Bagwell. You have to give up talent to get talent.

    Now you can say Luhnow didn’t get enough, but I like this team he’s built. I think .500 is pretty easily attainable. I think 83-85 wins seems likely. No, that doesn’t get Houston in the playoffs, but it puts them on the doorstep with Correa and Moran and Appel knocking on the door.

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  8. Tim
    February 16, 2015

    If we could get Hamels for the pieces you suggested I would jump all over it and not think twice. However, I am sure it is going to take Appel, Correa or both to acquire Hamels. I might consider Appel, but I would hang up the phone the second they demanded Correa. Next, the Papelbon proposal is too steep for my blood considering he is an aging closer and regressing. In addition, he is not a good clubhouse guy from all reports. I will pass on him.

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    • 1oldpro
      February 16, 2015

      I would have considered Appel in the Hamels deal two months ago and I think I might have proposed it somewhere in this blog. But Hamels name has been out there too long now and it’s obvious they aren’t getting what they want, so I make the offer like the one Chip proposes and keep Appel and Correa out of it. Philly is strapped and I would deal with them without letting one of my top two go. Now, if they want to talk about Moran for Hamels, instead of Domingo, I do that deal and then send my guy Chip Bailey in to get Ceccini for Domingo and Smith. That way I end up Hamels and Ceccini and no logjam at 3B.

      Like

      • Tim
        February 16, 2015

        I would definitely propose Chip’s offer, but fairly certain it would get rejected. I might still consider Appel, but wouldn’t offer much more than him.

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      • Steven
        February 17, 2015

        Hamels is under team control for 4 years. It maybe at a high price, but its fixed, and easy to plan for. You can understand the high demand on a reasonably price ace (he will make much less than Scherzer and company) – they have no reason to rush it. I don’t think its about not getting what they want as much as they know they can only do this once, so they are going to take the best offer. The proposed offer just won’t be good enough – especially if Boston does pony up the hot shot catcher they have in the minors right now.

        I think we can all agree on this – Correa shouldn’t be in the conversation, and if they say his name more than twice, be done with it.

        Now given the Phillies top rated organizational prospect is also a SS, maybe Appel can get the deal done. I wouldn’t trade Correa unless I was fleecing the Minnesota Vikings out of 10 years worth of draft picks, wait, not even then because we know draft positioning and quantity of picks don’t translate as well in baseball, but it would take something of monumental, organizational mountain moving to do it. I think this guy is going to be a multiple time all star talent.

        Appel, not so much. Might be good, might be OK, might blow up on us. I think the Phillies know this too. If Appel is the conversation starter, and Santana is a piece, they will want even more given the questions around those two. As much as I want Hamels, I just don’t see us being a fit without it including Springer or Correa.

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    • Steven
      February 17, 2015

      Tim – I agree. I just don’t see the pieces listed as enough to get Hamels. I am positive any conversation for Gonzalez or Hamels will start with Correa, and that is a deal I would be unwilling to make if I was team boss.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. md57
    February 16, 2015

    I really liked the article, and enjoyed reading all the comments, but I think we’re, at least, a year or so away from having serious talks about trading away top-of-the-line prospects for a #1 starter such as Hamels. We have a decent rotation right now. Let’s see how they do, before making such a major upgrade.

    I think most of you will agree that our offense, as it stands right now, could put up some pretty good numbers. They could also go down in baseball infamy. If it’s the latter, that major investment in a premier #1 starter would just be a complete waste of money and talent.

    As for Papelbon, I could only see him as potential trade dead-line deal, which of course means that we’re contending, our bullpen is inadequate, and Papelbon is putting up good numbers. Our two new guys put up numbers that indicate dominance. Let’s see if either can do that in the closer’s role. If they can’t, let’s look at Papelbon or someone like him.

    I think I would take a wait-and-see attitude on our 3rd base situation as well.

    I, like the rest of you, am very anxious to see the Astros play competitive baseball on a consistent basis. I guess I’m just a bit more cautious about needlessly depleting our talent pool. And I guess I can blame Drayton McLane’s last 4 or 5 years for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. astrocolt45
    February 16, 2015

    NO, NO, NO, NO, CarGo. Hmmmmmm. I need to get back with you on that one.

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  11. 1oldpro
    February 16, 2015

    I’m not liking the CarGo trade either That’s a $12mil difference between him and Carter’s salary and then Cargo is $18 mil next year and $20 mil the following year. I don’t like accelerating salaries for decelerating production. Right now the Astros are close to their $70 million payroll. I’m not in favor of raising it to $82 million for him.
    As for Ryan Howard, Philly made that bed so let them have the nightmares.

    Liked by 1 person

    • astrocolt45
      February 17, 2015

      I can not put together a 3 way. (Talking trade now) If one could trade Carter and a Catcher and/or OFer, then swap CarGo to ??? but it just does not work for me. He is due $53 Million. You need a team that is willing to spend and has excess you can use.

      Like

  12. rj
    February 17, 2015

    i don’t like any of those trades. and i really don’t like taking on high salary for declining players who are much more prone to injury than players in their 20’s. those big salaries always at some point come back to bite you. an example is choo from last year, a real good player but what did Texas get out of him? a lot of days on the injury list while having to pay him ~17 million. even the 3 million we paid crain for nothing hurt, imagine 17 million or more.
    i don’t think you’ll see anything major from the Astros till maybe near the trade deadline.

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  13. Becky
    February 17, 2015

    Last time I heard……Hamels has a no trade clause, and the Astros are near the top of it…..ain’t gonna happen. BUT….we could trade Villar for Hamels STRAIGHT UP! Let’s see how the guys on the farm produce this year, before we start trading them away. I haven’t been a fan of the trades so far.

    Like

  14. Devin_
    February 17, 2015

    I’m not sure I follow why Philly or Colorado are interested in any of those trades. Carter doesn’t fit in the AL anymore than he fits into our LF. In the other trades, as much as I like Singleton, can you tell me how much we got for Brett Wallace?

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  15. Mr. Bill
    February 17, 2015

    I confess that the main reason I want no more trades any time soon is because I have lost all confidence in Jeff Luhnow’s ability to even envision, much less negotiate, any trade that has the long-term effect of upgrading our organization. All his trades thus far look like short-term dumps – sometimes of salary [e.g. Dexter Fowler] and more often the dumping of good-looking albeit unproven prospects the fans had looked forward to seeing get their chance in Houston [e.g. Kike, Cosart, Tropeano, Folty, Ruiz, etc.]. Unfortunately, Luhnow as much as said today that dumping the talent we have in the pipeline is a big part of his agenda. So far it looks like his ONLY agenda.

    There are some things Jeff appears to do at or near league average. He can pick up guys off the waiver wire. He can dumpster dive for talent through minor league contracts and NRIs with some success. He can sign some lower-level free agents like Gregorson and Neshek [although insulting remarks today about bringing his buddy Colby Rasmus into the fold at $8M in hopes the latter can build his stats back up in 2015 and perhaps bolster his place in the 2016 FA market smack of organizational treason to me].

    But two areas in which Jeff has definitely not performed well at all as a GM are in the drafting function [at least in the early rounds], and in the trading function. He seems to regard his job simply as to dump the talent we had in the pipeline that – until he started trading it away – got us identified for a short while as having one of the best farm systems in baseball.

    Please, Jeff, just stick to the lower level free-agent signings and NRIs. Leave the trades to your successor – may he come quickly, in our day! – because you are simply not good at the trading game.

    Like

    • Becky
      February 17, 2015

      Agree 100%.

      Like

    • Tim
      February 17, 2015

      I am a little confused. You say he has struggled with the draft, especially the early rounds, yet he took the 30th ranked farm system and, by some prognosticators, turned into the top farm system in less than 3 years. Granted, some of the prospects he has traded has now dropped us to the 3rd-6th ranked system, but his ability to recognize and draft top talent is proven. Chip mentioned that the plan all along may have been to stockpile the farm system and then use those pieces to then upgrade the major league team. I think that is the plan. This season will be very telling whether the trades he has made were good or not, but many on here were demanding we start upgrading the major league roster and now that Luhnow has done this they want to deadpan his trades before seeing how they play out. shouldn’t we wait to see how the players acquired perform before we say Luhnow is failing in making trades?

      Liked by 1 person

      • astrocolt45
        February 17, 2015

        Tim, I hope you don’t take this as an argument. But here is my take. Starting with trades like Carlos Lee. I see no reason to 2nd guess the Matty D acquisition. But for whatever reason, “The Plan” did not involve taking the money saved on all those larger contracts and spending/investing in MLB ready talent. So we stayed in the cellar longer than I liked. I have to give JL a pass on those decisions. To date, in a very short period of time, none of his draft picks are on the team. Again, I need to give him a pass on drafting for a couple more years. But one GUESS and only a guess is he leans on stats too much. Stats give you info on performance, but those old time guys with “eye balls” notice nuisances that can be changed. IF and again IF JL purged all of the guys that use eye ball judgment then he may have difficulty in advancing the talent. I will never be a fan of this plan or any plan that says we win more games if we lose more games.

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      • Tim
        February 17, 2015

        AC45,

        I agree with some of what you are saying. We can’t judge Luhnow right now because there hasn’t been enough time to determine if his drafts or trades have been a success or failure. I am not calling him a success yet, but I do see a farm system that was so horribly bad get turned around in less than 3 years so I like what I have seen so far, but that doesn’t mean the plan has been a success.

        Unfortunately, the losing to get back to winning was the quickest way to make it happen. We can thank Uncle Drayton for allowing the farm system to be completely gutted with no reinforcements added. Thus, in my opinion, the best and quickest way to get this organization back to a championship level was to completely sell all decent major league talent, lose for a few years and draft well. Drayton tried to keep a championship team going via free agency and it was a disaster.

        Like

      • Devin_
        February 17, 2015

        Woohoo! We drafted 1.1 for three consecutive years and managed to go all the way to the third best farm in baseball in that time! Luhnow and co. had the largest draft pool all three years. They had prior first round picks George Springer almost going 40-40 and Delino DeShields, Jr., stealing 100 bases in a single year bolstering their picks in the eyes of talent evaluators. We can give them credit for making some smart picks to make our lower level clubs some many, but we need to see more guys graduate to higher levels while continuing to improve. We’re not there yet.

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      • Tim
        February 17, 2015

        Actually, Devin, Keith Law had us at #1 last year and you are making my point that it is too early to call Luhnow’s drafts and trades a success or failure. How can anyone call the Conger and Gattis trades failures when neither player has played a single game for us and the prospects haven’t done anything in the major leagues yet? It is impossible to evaluate any of Luhnow’s trades at this point, except the Jed Lowrie trade, which was a big win for Luhnow.

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      • Mr. Bill
        February 18, 2015

        Luhnow’s first year to draft was 2012. He got us all excited that year with Correa, McCullers, and Fontana as the top 3. No actual results yet, but we expect good things in 2016 from at least 2 of these. If Jeff had come anywhere close to this in the next two years, we would actually think this was not luck, and that he was actually good at drafting from the cream of the crop and investing the big slot money. But both 2013 and 2014 – years in which we picked 1.1 – were nothing like 2012. These 2 years are what i was talking about concerning the early rounds of the Luhnow draft era. If you don’t take advantage of early picks at the top of the heap, you squander an incredible opportunity that you may never get again. Here are his early round picks in

        2013:
        1st round – Mark Appel [passing over Kris Bryant; Appel may make it to the team, or he may not; but he certainly has not shown major star quality so far; people on this blog are talking a lot about trading him away, rather than seeing him pitch for us];
        2nd round – Andrew Thurman [a unnecessary throw-in with Folty and Ruiz on the Gattis trade, probably because AT had an ugly 5.40 ERA and a 1.409 WHIP in 115 innings at Quad Cities last year]

        2014:
        1st round – Brady Aiken [I find it hard to call this debacle anything other than a potentially devastating organizational set-back – as it also cost us our 5th round choice, Jacob Nix, at the very least]
        Comp round – Derek Fisher [slow, not athletic; another 1 tool, big K guy – hit all of 2 HR last year in 42 games at low A; here’s hoping Mr. Fisher shows something more soon, but right now he looks like a pretty obvious waste of a high pick and a lot of slot money].

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      • 1oldpro
        February 18, 2015

        Bill, I don”t know where you got your scouting report on Derek Fisher. He is not slow, as Jon Mayo gives him an above average grade on speed and he did steal 17 bases in 21 attempts in Tri-City. He is not a bad athlete either, as he is considered a good fielder with a below average arm, so he is probably a LF only. He is graded as a slightly above average hitter with slightly above average power and his initial hitting stats bear that out.
        Fisher came in behind other draftees because of the CWS and he missed six weeks of the season in 2014 because of a broken bone in his leg which limited his workout, so he was not in the best shape. He was drafted in the sixth round out of high school, so he has been well thought of for awhile and he was actually a 1st round pick of the Astros even though he was fairly young at 20 last season. He is currently the Astros #10 prospect, so I definitely don’t see him as a mistake in Luhnow’s draft.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Mr. Bill
    February 17, 2015

    What he said: “We’re going to have to start trading some of these guys,” Luhnow says of deep farm. Says Foltyniewicz won’t be last top prospect traded.

    What he meant: You may get nothing much in return, so get used to it. But I don’t want to have to work late around the time of the Rule 5 draft next year.

    What he said: “I think we’re going to set off a lot of fireworks and that train will be busy.”

    What he meant: “You do know by ‘that train’ I am talking about the railroad job I am doing on the guys who have played their hearts out at Lancaster and CC, don’t you?”

    What he said: “[we] have 6 outfielders who can play at 3 OF positions.”

    What he meant: “We also have 2 outfielders who know one in their right mind would put in any outfield position – but we’ll probably put them there anyway.”

    What he said: “between Castro and Conger we have a really good duo”

    What he meant: “A few minutes ago Dallas Keuchel and Colin McHugh walked between Castro and Conger. That’s the really good duo I was talking about.”

    What he said: “I believe nobody knows where we are right now.”

    What he meant: “I’ve always loved it here in St. Louis.”

    What he said: “we wanted to give Colby a chance to rebuild his value with the Astros in 2015, so he will be able to go out and get a big contract. ”

    What he meant: “Did I really admit that on open mike?”

    Like

  17. Mr. Bill
    February 18, 2015

    The 2013 Lowrie trade was a ‘big win’ for Luhnow? To each his own. What I recall is that it meant we got Jonathan Villar as our shortstop. And we got:

    1. a league leader in Ks who can’t play defense, whose 30-something HRs came in streaks and were woefully insufficient to propel us past 4th place in our Division [and that only because the Rangers got horribly snake-bit by injuries],
    2. a catching prospect who was still not ready for prime time 2 years later – so clearly that the FO decided it needed to trade higher performing prospects for an interim back-up catcher whose supposed ‘pitch framing’ skills, if real, will be irrelevant [a] because he’s sitting on the bench most of the time, and probably [b] because the league is talking about going to an electronic strike zone; and
    3. an inconsistent, injury prone starter whose fastball maxes out around 94 – much less talented than the one we traded away to Miami – and who has pretty good movement but no command or control.

    This was a big win? I suppose it was if you get off on the entertainment value of watching Chris Carter strike out 394 times in 293 games and watching our first basemen and the guys in the dugout absolutely cringe every time Jonathan Villar scooped the ball and came up to throw.

    Like

    • Tim
      February 18, 2015

      We got one of the best young power hitters in the game, a solid catching prospect and a BOR starting pitcher and the player we traded is back with the Astros with team control for 3 years. That is a clear cut win for Luhnow. There is no other way to spin. Sorry, Mr. Bill.

      Like

  18. Mr. Bill
    February 18, 2015

    OP1, thanks for the update on Derek Fisher. I certainly hope his leg heals well and he has a better year in 2015. He’s ours, and we support him and wish him nothing but the best. My point is not that he is somehow horrible; my point is simply that he is not the 4 or 5-tool kind of potential star I expect a great talent scout to be looking for – and paying big slot money to – at the highest levels of the draft.

    Like

  19. 1oldpro
    February 18, 2015

    Can some of you come up with some more trade ideas? I have never been real good at that, but I promise I will compliment you on your courage and foresight.
    What do the Astros still need at this point? I suggested a closer, some have suggested a starting pitcher. I spent some time reflecting on the Astros bench last night and that bench really has to consist of four players to cover backing up eight fielding positions. I came up with Conger, of course, Marwin as a utilty guy as a switch hitter. We need a RH bat to back up Valbuena and Singleton and we need an outfielder. But having just one outfielder on the bench is dangerous. My mind kept coming back to the Astros’ prospect who had the highest batting average in the AFL this Fall and who could possibly play infield and outfield AND is a switch hitter and is in AAA already, but is not on the 40-man roster. Could Joe Sclafani be this year’s Kike Hernandez and fill a ton of rolls on the bench? Would the Astros dare give him a spot if he earned it this spring? Would a bench of Grossman, Sclafani, Marwin and Conger give you enough there to fill all the backup roles and provide enough offense off the bench? They are all four switch hitters so that does provide tons of matchup possibilities.
    What do you ladies and gents think?

    Like

    • Devin_
      February 18, 2015

      Yes to Sclafani. What I’ve seen doesn’t inspire me that he will ever win a batting title, but he should at least be a tough enough out to hold his own over 200 AB.

      I wouldn’t trade anyone…yet. The crunch comes in June when you have new signees pushing guys who maybe aren’t ready for AA or AAA. The question is whom should be targeted. I don’t know that answer until we see if the team can compete the first two months. If yes, you try to fill whichever positions aren’t carrying their weight. If no, let’s see who wants Carter, Castro, or Rasmus…the guys Crane and Luhnow won’t want to pay in 2016.

      Like

  20. Devin_
    February 18, 2015

    Baseball Prospectus has our system ranked #12 in all of baseball. FanGraphs thinks we have three of the top 100 prospects (5 – Correa, 18 – Appel, 75 – Velázquez). Correa is behind Bryant, Buxton, and Addison Russell.

    FWIW, Rio Ruiz is #43 on the FG list. Folty is #69. Phillips is #105 and Moran is #121.
    year.

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      February 18, 2015

      Devin, the new post regarding the Astros’ minor league system and that info went up about an hour ago. Check it out…

      Like

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This entry was posted on February 16, 2015 by in Astros.
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