Many of you have written or tweeted (follow me @daveraymond4 on twitter – I’m happy to respond) expressing some confusion and/or concern about the Houston Astros‘ evolving roster. So I thought I’d try to put it all down in one place and then open the floor for questions.
Since taking over as the Astros General Manager, Jeff Luhnow has traded away eight players. Depending on your level of agreement with the club’s desire to rebuild, you may have a wide range of feelings about that. Make no mistake, though, this was the stated plan a long time ago. So here are the former Astros, where they are, and what they’ve done:
- Mark Melancon – 0-2, 5.95 ERA w/ Boston Red Sox
- Humberto Quintero – .232-1-19 before being released by the KC Royals
- Jason Bourgeois – 33 at bats w/ KC Royals, 160 at bats w/ Omaha Royals
- Carlos Lee – .231-1-8 in 12 gms. w/ Miami Marlins
- Brandon Lyon – tossed scoreless inning last night for Toronto
- J.A. Happ – retired two hitters for Toronto last night
- David Carpenter – assigned to AAA Las Vegas
- Brett Myers – traded to Chicago White Sox yesterday
In return, the Astros have received 16 players from the Red Sox, Royals, Marlins, Blue Jays and White Sox. Here’s a glance at what these trades have brought back to the organization:
- Jed Lowrie – Astros starting SS w/ 14 HRs before going to DL in mid-July
- Kyle Weiland – Astros starting RHP, made 3 starts before going to DL in April
- Kevin Chapman – LH reliever @ AA Corpus Christi, 6-3, 1 sv, 2.16 ERA and 45 SO in 41.2 IP
- D’Andre Toney – .257-2-11 w/ .350 OBP and team-best 6 SB for Greenville
- Matt Dominguez – was 2-for-8 in 4 gms. w/ Astros, .243-7-52 at AAA level this yr.
- Bob Rasmussen – short LHP; 2nd round pick by Marlins in 2010; at AA Corpus Christi
- Francisco Cordero – current closer for Astros, was 3-5, 2 svs, 5.77 ERA
- Ben Francisco – platoon RF for Astros w/ Brian Bogusevic
- Joe Musgrove – 19-year old RHP, big kid; TOR’s 1st pick in 2011 compensation rnd of draft
- Asher Wojciechowski – 23-year old RHP; TOR’s 1st pick in 2010 compensation rnd of draft
- David Rollins – 22-year old LHP, 10-1 career minor lg. record w/ 2.46 ERA. 104 SO in 113.1 IP
- Carlos Perez – 21-year old catching prospect, high-ceiling @ premium position
- Player to be Named – I have no idea, but I heard it might be Babe Ruth
- Matt Heidenreich – tall, 21-year old RHP; former 4th rounder, 25-17 w/ 3.87 ERA in 3+ yrs.
- Blair Walters – 22-year old RHP, in two yrs. in minor leagues: 13-6, 3.99 ERA in 32 gms.
- Player to be Named – not sure, but I heard it’s definitely NOT Old Hoss Radbourn
In all seriousness, it’s always tough to know what a team is getting with a “player to be named later.” Sometimes it’s an important part of the trade, sometimes it’s not a significant part of the transaction. Given what we’ve seen from Luhnow so far, I suspect that at least one of those PTBNL will be a prospect-level guy.
Regardless, we’ve seen the Astros take eight players from the big league roster and turn them into 16 new bodies. That’s huge. I’m not much for talking about contracts and salaries and arbitration. Those things don’t interest me. I want to know who’s going to play; how good will these guys be?
That said, those eight former Astros are being paid around $40 million this year with at least some future obligations, specific or implied. Shedding whatever payroll they did, the Astros created ongoing payroll flexibility. Again, that’s going be pretty important.
More to the point, the players the Astros traded away ranged from 27 to 36 years old. The average age of the incoming 14 players is 24.2 years old (which included Francisco Cordero at 37 and does not included the two PTBNL).
It’s not easy to see guys go. We all know that. It’s kind of like eating vegetables; not fun, but necessary for our health.
The fact is, you’re witnessing one of the most dramatic turnaround efforts in decades. The Astros are getting younger, deeper and more talented while, at the same time, getting payroll back in line with revenues. Next step is to develop the talent.
Then the team can spend some money to build around the home-grown nucleus.
As Luhnow said on his pre-game show today, “There is a plan in place. We want to get to a point where we can compete year in and year out.” It takes time.
I’m sure you have a lot of questions. I don’t have every answer, but I’ll try to explain whatever I can. Feel free to ask via twitter or through comments to the blog.