Houston Astros Sell Mode: 7 Vets Who Could Be on the Block
Attention all Major League Baseball teams, are you looking for a starting pitcher with World Series experience who also has bullpen experience? The Astros have one available. How about a left fielder who would be a great DH for an American League team? We've got one of those too.
Are you looking for an all-star right fielder in the prime of his career? We even have one of those, but it will cost you. This year at the trade deadline, the Astros could be sounding like one of those used car salesman commercials in hopes of moving a number of their veterans.
They have the worst record in the majors and should be looking to rebuild their farm system with prospects. They do have some attractive veterans to teams in the playoff hunt and I have come up with seven players who I see being possibly available at the deadline.
SS Clint Barmes
The Astros traded for Barmes in the offseason with Colorado and has been off to a slow start this season. He started the year on the DL and has only hit .237 this season but did hit .258 last month.
At 32 years of age, he was considered a stop gap for the Astros, and the emergence of Angel Sanchez, while filling in for Barmes, makes him expendable. I could see a team be interested in Barmes who is looking for a utility player to add to their bench as he can play shortstop and second base.
LF Carlos Lee
Carlos Lee does have an enormous contract but has put together two productive months and could garner some interest from teams. He has hit over .300 the past two months with five home runs and 29 RBI.
I am sure the Astros will make Lee available, but there are a number of hurdles in the way. First, he is still owed a decent amount on his six-year, $100 million contract and really can only play the DH position at this point in his career.
This limits the Astros' options to only the American League and then, of course, there is the no-trade clause that Lee has.
CF Michael Bourn
I don't think the Astros want to trade Michael Bourn, but they at least need to listen to any offers that may come across their desk. He is leading the league in stolen bases, hitting a respectable .294 as the lead-off hitter and plays good defense in a premier position, center field.
He is one of the players who could bring back a decent number of quality prospects, but he is only 28 years of age. So he is still young enough that he could play a key role in a few years when the Astros are competitive again.
2B Jeff Keppinger
Jeff Keppinger is another player who falls into the same category as Clint Barmes as someone who would be attractive to a team looking for a utility-type player. He will generate more interest than Barmes though, because he has been playing much better.
He is hitting .319 with six doubles and 15 runs scored through 31 games. I think the Astros would like to keep Keppinger as he has played well over the past season and a half but they know, at 31 years of age, he probably won't be able to contribute at this level in the future.
SP Brett Myers
Brett Myers would have probably brought back more in the return if the Astros traded him during the offseason; but he still has some value and should generate a lot of interest. He has experience as a starter, closer and relief pitcher, and has playoff and World Series experience as well.
He has a reasonable contract that runs through 2012 and is only 30 years of age. He currently has a record of 3-7 with a 4.60 ERA but has pitched better over his last three starts, including a complete game against the Dodgers.
SP Wandy Rodriguez
Wandy Rodriguez, like Bourn, is a player who the Astros won't be actively shopping but, if an offer shows up, they will take a look. Wandy has been the Astros' best pitcher so far this season going 6-4 with a 2.97 ERA.
He is 32 years of age but has been in the majors for only six years and doesn't have the normal wear and tear of 32-year-olds. He also is a much better second-half performer and any team that trades for him will most likely be getting the best Wandy.
RF Hunter Pence
Please don't look annoyed Hunter, you are the best player on the Astros and there are a number of teams that would love to have you playing for them. This is why your name keeps coming up when any trade scenarios are discussed involving the Houston Astros.
MLB Trade Rumors breaks down a piece by Buster Olney on ESPN.com where he says the Astros have made Pence available but they are asking a lot in return for him, as well as Wandy Rodriguez.
I don't see Pence being traded because he is a fan favorite and has really developed into the face of the franchise, but I am sure GM Ed Wade will be listening to all offers.