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Houston Astros Deal Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez Next?

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 28: Manager Brad Mills #2 of the Houston Astros takes the ball from Brett Myers #39 of the Houston Astros as leaves the game in the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Minute Maid Park on June 28, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer IJuly 22, 2012

The overhaul of the Houston Astros continued yesterday, when Brett Myers was dealt to the White Sox for two players and a third to be named later.

The White Sox clearly filled a pressing need. Closer Addison Reed needed some help and with the White Sox falling behind the Tigers. Now was the time to act.

As for Houston, general manager Jeff Luhnow is staying on track to bring in as many new players to the worst team in baseball as possible. As this writer wrote the other day, this is rebuilding in bulk.

By the time this deal will be done, Myers will have fetched three players who have one distinct attractive trait in common: They were not members of the current Astros.

Matt Heidenreich pitched well for Single-A Winston Salem but struggled when promoted to Double-A Birmingham. He is only 21 years old, and the Astros can be patient with him.

Twenty-two-year-old lefty Blair Walters has a career 13-6 record in 171.1 minor league innings but has struggled with Winston Salem.

The third player will be named later. Chances are it will be another player in Single-A ball, as Luhnow is trying to stock the lower minor league levels with more and more talent.

The fact that Houston sent cash to Chicago as well to help offset Myers' contract shows this was not a salary dump but a pickup of bodies. If Luhnow simply keeps bringing in as many new faces to the organization, the odds of one or more of them succeeding increases.

Two young players came over for Carlos Lee. He turned three players into five young players and two veterans in the Blue Jays deal. Now three will arrive for Myers. Assuming Francisco Cordero and Ben Francisco are not in the long-term plans, Luhnow took five players on a 100-loss team and traded them for eight young players to develop for the future.

And Luhnow is probably not done, either.

With nine days before the waiver trade deadline, he has one last chip. Wandy Rodriguez is the only familiar name left on the Astros' pitching staff. His name is swirling around trade rumors, and according to the Houston Chronicle, he is distracted by not knowing his fate.

Rodriguez can be pretty certain that he will be on a contender in August. Even with his recent struggles, he has maintained a respectable 3.75 ERA and leads the league with 20 starts.

A contending team will covet Rodriguez's arm, and Luhnow will no doubt convert him into two or three young players.

The bounty of these trades probably will not be felt for a couple of years. But that shows some long-term thinking on Luhnow and the Astros front office. If some of this talent blossoms in 2014 or 2015, Astros fans can point to the massive trade-off of 2012 as the beginning of a new direction of the team.

And if the trades do not work, then nobody can fault the Astros for not trying to do something different to shake the team up.

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