MLB Trade Rumors: 10 Houston Astros Trade Ideas To Acquire a True Ace
After the Houston Astros traded Roy Oswalt last summer, there has been a glaring need for a true ace, someone who can anchor the top of the rotation and set an example for the rest of the pitchers. Brett Myers pitched well down the stretch for them last year but does not have the talent to be that true ace the Astros need.
Cliff Lee is a great example of the difference a true ace can have on a team. The Texas Rangers played very well after they traded with Seattle for Lee. He set a great example for the rest of the young pitchers like CJ Wilson and Tommy Hunter. The Astros need this kind of leadership with young pitchers like J.A. Happ and Bud Norris being relied on to play key roles this year.
Here are 10 trade ideas that would allow the Astros to acquire that top-of-the-line pitcher. Some of these pitchers may not be considered true aces right now, but they have the potential to become that true ace.
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Houston Astros Receive: SP John Danks
Chicago White Soxs Receive: 1B Brett Wallace, RP Mark Melancon, SP Mike Foltynewicz
Why this trade would work: John Danks is a young pitcher who posted career numbers in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched and WHIP last season. Back in 2008, Danks was called upon to start the American League Central tie-breaker game against Minnesota. He did not disappoint helping the White Sox get a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Twins.
This trade would be good for the White Sox as well because they get one of the top starting pitchers in the Astros farm system in Mike Foltynewicz, who has an above average fastball and changeup and an improving slider. Mark Melancon is a young relief pitcher who has the tools to be a good closer in this league.
The White Sox would also get Brett Wallace who would be their future first basemen to replace Paul Konerko when the time comes. Wallace has potential to be a very good bat in the middle of that lineup for years to come.
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Houston Astros Receive: SP Chad Billingsley
LA Dodgers Receive: OF Carlos Lee, SP Brett Myers and C Jason Castro
Why this trade would work: Chad Billingsley is another pitcher who was thought of as a true ace coming up through the minors but he hasn't quite reached that potential. However, he is only 26 years old, and the tools are still there for him to become that true ace. He has playoff experience and has had a winning record every season.
This trade would also benefit the Dodgers as they get a power-hitting left fielder who would fit into the middle of that lineup with Matt Kemp and James Loney. Brett Myers is a veteran arm who showed last season that he could still pitch very well.
The Dodgers also would get a top-catching prospect in Jason Castro who has major league experience and showed great promise last year. He could step in right now and be the starting catcher for the Dodgers.
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Houston Astros Receive: SP Clay Buchholz
Boston Red Soxs Receive: SP Brett Myers, SP Jordan Lyles, and OF JD Martinez
Why this trade would work: Another young pitcher who has the potential to be a true ace, given the opportunity, is Boston's Clay Buchholz. Buchholz pitched a no hitter in only his second career start in 2007 against the Baltimore Orioles. He posted career numbers in his first opportunity as a full-time pitcher in the rotation this past season.
The Red Sox would consider this trade because they get the most major league-ready pitcher in the Astros farm system in Jordan Lyles. They also will get a top outfield prospect in JD Martinez who can step in for JD Drew when the time comes.
Starting pitcher Brett Myers can step into the starting rotation or come out of the bullpen, as he has done both in his career. He also has pitched in the World Series back in 2008 and this experience could be valuable if the Red Sox are able to get back to the playoffs this season.
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Houston Astros Receive: SP Daniel Hudson
Arizona Diamondbacks Receive: OF Carlos Lee and SP Jordan Lyles
Why this trade would work: Daniel Hudson is a young pitcher who has showed a lot of potential in the past two years. In 2009, he pitched in five different levels for the Chicago White Sox including the majors.
Then Hudson was included in a trade last season that sent him to Arizona for Edwin Jackson. He finished the year 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA. He is only 23 years of age, and if he keeps developing at the pace he is, he will be a true ace very soon.
This trade would benefit the Diamondbacks as well because they fill a big hole in left field with a big bat in Carlos Lee. Young hitters like Justin Upton, Chris Young and Stephen Drew could really benefit from having a veteran power bat in the middle of the lineup.
They also receive Jordan Lyles, who will most likely be the Astros first call up this season. He could fill a spot in the rotation for Arizona or spend some more time in the minors but, either way, he is a talented pitcher who could help Arizona in the future.
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Houston Astros Receive: SP Max Scherzer
Detroit Tigers Receive: SS Jonathan Villar and SP Brett Myers
Why this trade would work: Max Scherzer is another pitcher who has the ability to become a true ace. He pitched decently in 2009 for Arizona and was traded before the 2010 season to Detroit for Edwin Jackson.
In the early part of 2010, he did struggle and was sent back down to the minors to work on some mechanics. This worked wonders because when he came back, he was a dominant pitcher. He had a 2.67 ERA after the All-Star break and averaged almost a strikeout per inning in 15 starts.
Detroit would be receiving a young shortstop who has great potential in 19-year-old Jonathan Villar. He was one of the prospects the Astros received in the Oswalt trade last year. He is still a few years away from being ready for the majors.
Brett Myers would be a veteran arm with playoff experience that could help the Tigers this year as well as over the next few years. He would step into the second spot in the rotation behind Justin Verlander.
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Houston Astros Receive: SP Josh Johnson
Florida Marlins Receive: 2B/OF Delino Deshields Jr., 1B Brett Wallace, and SP Brett Myers
Why this trade would work: Josh Johnson has some of the best skills as a starting pitcher in the major leagues. However, he is a serious injury risk and has had trouble staying healthy. He has already had Tommy John surgery back in 2007 and struggled with back and shoulder injuries this past season. Even with all these issues, he went 11-6 with a 2.30 ERA and 186 strikeouts.
If there wasn't the health issue, Johnson would be close to untouchable or command a lot more in a trade, but the Marlins would consider this trade because they get a young, fast player in Delino Deshields Jr. who could potentially play center field or second base. Brett Wallace is another young bat with great potential that the Marlins could add to their lineup.
Houston Astros Receive: SP Matt Cain
San Francisco Giants Receive: SS Jonathan Villar, SP Jordan Lyles and OF JD Martinez
Why this trade would work: Matt Cain is one of the more underrated starters in the majors. He is an innings-eater type pitcher and has been improving each year. He had four complete games last season and two of those were shutouts. He is only 26 years old and showed why he should be considered a true ace in the playoffs this past season, going 2-0 in three starts with an ERA of zero.
The Giants received three top prospects in the Astros farm system. Exciting shortstop Jonathan Villar is still a few years away, but starting pitcher Jordan Lyles could be brought up to the majors this season and contribute. They also would get the outfield prospect JD Martinez, who was promoted two levels in 2010 from Single A to Double AA, skipping high Single A.
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Houston Astros Receive: SP Dan Haren
LA Angels Receive: SP Jordan Lyles, SP Brett Myers, RP Mark Melancon
Why this trade would work: Dan Haren is older at 30, but he is a three-time All-Star with playoff experience who has been an ace for teams in the past and could fill that role nicely for the Astros in 2011.
He was traded about halfway through last season from Arizona to the Angels and saw his numbers actually improve after the trade. In 14 starts for the Angels, he went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA and is 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA for his career in the playoffs.
The downside with Dan Haren is that he can't seem to put a full season together of good pitching. One half he is mediocre-to-bad and the other half he is dominant, so he will need to be more consistent if he wants to be considered a true ace.
The Angels, in return for Haren, would get a good veteran arm in Brett Myers, a young major league-ready pitcher in Jordan Lyles and a relief pitcher with closer potential in Mark Melancon.
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Houston Astros Receive: SP Cole Hamels
Philadelphia Phillies Receive: SP Jordan Lyles, OF/2B Delino Deshields Jr., SP Mike Foltynewicz and C Jason Castro
Why this trade works: Cole Hamels is one of the pitchers out there who has already proven to be a true ace. He was one of the key pieces to the Phillies World Series championship in 2008 when he was NLCS and World Series MVP. During those playoffs, he went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA.
He now sometimes is forgotten considering the other great pitchers on the Phillies, like Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee, but Hamels would be the best player for the Astros to pursue because he has already proven he can carry a pitching staff. In the World Series, the other Philadelphia starting pitchers were Joe Blanton, Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer.
Hamels is just reaching his prime at 27 and can provide valuable experience and leadership for the other pitchers.
For the Astros to get a pitcher of Hamels caliber, it will cost a lot. They would probably have to give up their top two pitching prospects in Lyles and Foltynewicz as well as Deshields and their starting catcher Jason Castro.
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Houston Astros Receive: SP Felix Hernandez
Seattle Mariners Receive: SP Jordan Lyles, SP Brett Myers, SP Mike Foltynewicz and C Jason Castro
Why this trade would work: King Felix would be a tougher pitcher to pry from the Mariners as there isn't much more talent in that starting rotation, and he is arguably one of the best pitchers in the majors. He was able to win the AL Cy Young even though he pitched on a team that had 101 losses. He has improved his ERA every year that he has been a full-time starter and had six complete games last year.
He is the type of pitcher who takes the team on his back and does everything in his power to make sure they get a win. He accounted last year for over 20 percent of the team's wins.
It would be a tough sell for the Astros to get a pitcher like King Felix, but a package of Myers, Castro, Lyles and Foltynewicz would be a good starting point and may be just enough to talent to pull a trade off. This would help them rebuild their starting rotation and provide them with a promising young catcher.