Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Luhnow's 2012 deadline was defined by the massive 10-player trade with Toronto, in which he swapped beleaguered starter J.A. Happ, who was previously nabbed in the ill-fated Roy Oswalt trade, struggling setup man Brandon Lyon and promising middle reliever David Carpenter for five prospects and two menial major leaguers.
Lyon and Happ have been their same marginal selves since leaving, and I still love Carpenter, who has been superb for the Atlanta Braves, posting a 1.89 ERA and averaging 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings. However, the Astros received a much better haul.
While Cordero was terrible and Francisco was an afterthought, the five prospects provide much to be excited about. David Rollins impressed in High-A, Double-A and Triple-A, collecting a 3.40 ERA with a 9-5 record. His ceiling is that of a fourth or fifth starter, or even a long reliever.
The next player, the PTBNL, Kevin Comer, is a raw high-ceiling high school starter but isn't putting up the solid stats he needs to fulfill his projection as a No. 3 starter. Joe Musgrove was also drafted in the first round out of high school and is slightly better than Comer but also can't put up a solid statistical season. However, he still has plenty of time at age 20 to fulfill his ceiling as a No. 2 starter.
Next, and possibly the best player in the deal, is Asher Wojciechowski. Wojo, who has a projectable ceiling as a No. 3 starter, a projection which he has just about achieved, has impressed in 25 games between Double-A and Triple-A, posting a 3.25 ERA, a 9-7 record and a solid 1.132 WHIP. He could earn a call-up this September and contribute full time next season as a member of the rotation.
The last player to be received in the trade was the promising catcher Carlos Perez. Perez was signed in 2008 and has always shown his great talents as a defensive catcher, but more recently he's shown an ability to hit.
In time between Double-A and Triple-A, Perez has hit a respectable .271/.331/.361 slash line. As a major leaguer, Perez could become a catcher who hits about .270 with 10 home run power. He could back up All-Star Jason Castro. Either way, Perez will need more seasoning next season in Triple-A to further develop his bat.
Even though the Astros had to part ways with three players, one of whom is playing very well, they won the trade by far because of the five prospects they received in return who, added together, give the franchise a bright future.