Bill Hall, don't be surprised if you are one of the five Astros who made this list. The Astros have staked a pretty strong claim on the basement of the NL Central and are heading towards being sellers when the trade deadline rolls around.
The problem is that the Astros are a rebuilding team and have been playing a number of their young prospects. This means that there aren't many veterans on the team that they will be willing to move, but I have come up with five players who may be in different uniforms by the end of the season.
Bill Hall was the only notable free-agent signing this offseason, but with how well Angel Sanchez has played as a starter, how Matt Downs has done in limited action and how Jeff Keppinger is soon to come off the DL, Hall could be the odd man out. The Astros have not had a problem trading away free-agent signings in their first years, with Pedro Feliz coming to mind last year.
Hall has not lived up to expectations, hitting only .219, with one home run and nine RBI. At 31 years of age, Hall is not part of the Astros' long-term plan, and since he only signed a one-year deal, trading him at the deadline could bring back a prospect or two.
Clint Barmes falls into the same category as Bill Hall, being an older veteran playing a position where younger players could fill in and provide the same production. Barmes has been on the DL for the majority of the season with a broken hand, and Angel Sanchez has filled in more than adequately. Barmes saw his first action of the season this past weekend. Over two games, he is 0 for 7.
Sanchez on the other hand has hit .290 with 17 runs scored and 15 RBI through 27 games. Sanchez isn't the best defensive shortstop, but defense at the shortstop position isn't exactly a strong point for Barmes either.
Like Hall, Barmes is a free agent after this year and it may be more advantageous for the Astros to trade him now, as they can get prospects in return instead of letting him just walk at the end of the season.
I am sure Nelson Figueroa wishes he could go back to last season when he actually pitched well. The 2011 season has been a completely different story for this pitcher, and he has lost his spot in the rotation to Aneury Rodriguez. Through five starts he had an ERA of 8.28 and only got to the seventh inning in one start.
Figueroa is another veteran who really has no value on the Astros right now, but could bring back a prospect who could help this team in a few years down the road. Figueroa was expected to give up his rotation spot at some point this season anyway to top prospect Jordan Lyles, so a trade shouldn't come as a shock to Figueroa if the Astros are able to find a taker.
Carlos Lee has struggled so far this season and I am sure the Astros would love nothing more than to get out from underneath the $39 million that he is still owed. Lee had one of his best games this season on Sunday, going 2-for-3 with a three-run homer before hurting his ribs in a collision with Angel Sanchez.
Lee does have a no-trade clause, so if the Astros were able to find a taker, they would need to convince Lee to waive that clause. I think in the end this move would be the best for both parties, as Lee would most likely head to contender and the Astros could give Jason Bourgeois more playing time. Only time will tell if this will actually happen.
This is the one player who would most likely be available and would bring back the best return in terms of prospects. Brett Myers has shown he has the capability to be an ace of a squad over the past year-and-a-half, eating innings up and being a quality-starts machine.
He has a reasonable contract and has playoff experience, both as a starter and coming out of the bullpen. The Astros right now are not competitive and Myers, seemingly in his prime, could really help a team in the playoff hunt. A team like the Yankees might be willing to offer a great package of prospects to get a pitcher of Myers' caliber.