Houston Astros: 8 Vets Who Need to Be Axed at Trade Deadline
The Astros have finally put together a win streak of two games, their longest since the middle of June, but that doesn't mean they won't be having a fire sale over the next two weeks.
There are only a handful of players who most likely have been deemed untouchable like Bud Norris and Jordan Lyles and some who just are untradeable because no one would want them like J.R. Towles and Jason Micheals.
I have come up with eight players who teams would be interested in, where they may end up and what the Astros could expect to get in return.
I would like to throw out a disclaimer that unless otherwise noted, these are trades that I have personally come up with and would ask for if I were GM Ed Wade.
2B Jeff Keppinger
Let's start off with a trade that happened earlier this week. The Astros traded second baseman Jeff Keppinger to the Giants for two minor league pitchers, Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel.
I think this was a good trade by Wade and don't think he could of acquired much better talent than what he got for Keppinger. Sosa has shown flashes of talent over his minor league career and will most likely compete for a rotation next season.
Stoffel was drafted in the fourth round in 2009 by the Giants and has been primarily used as a bullpen arm collecting 38 saves over the past two seasons.
SS Clint Barmes
Arizona Diamondbacks receive: SS Clint Barmes
Houston Astros receive: SS Chris Owings
After a slow start, Barmes is starting to hit a little better with a .300 batting average over the month of July. His value increases with the fact that he has experience playing both at shortstop and second base.
The Diamondbacks do this trade after their starting shortstop Stephen Drew went down with the season ending ankle injury yesterday.
The Astros do this trade as they continue adding depth to their farm system with a young shortstop in Chris Owings. He had a good first season in the minors hitting over .300 and collecting 33 hits in 24 games.
He has seen his numbers slowly drop since then to this season with a batting average of only .258. I think the talent is there and worth a flyer.
LF Carlos Lee
Tampa Bay Rays Receives: LF Carlos Lee plus the Astros pay 60 percent of Lee's remaining contract
Houston Astros Receives: SS Tim Beckham
This trade all depends on the direction the Rays take. They are currently 6.5 games back of the wild card, and if they feel they have a chance, they should be buyers, and they could use another bat in that lineup.
If the Astros are willing to pay a portion of Lee's contract, he would be a perfect fit for the Rays as he could step in for Casey Kotchman at first base or play DH.
He currently has a batting average of .274 but has hit over .300 since May 1st. While his home run total is down a bit with only seven, he does have 50 RBI and 27 doubles in 2011.
The Astros would be a getting a young shortstop who was the first overall pick in 2008 but hasn't really lived up to his potential yet. He has a career batting average of .265 and the Rays may be willing to part with him.
Again, I think the talent is there and worth a flyer by the Astros.
INF Matt Downs
Minnesota Twins receive: INF Matt Downs
Houston Astros receive: LHP Pat Dean and RHP Dakota Watts
Matt Downs is having a great year as a pinch hitter and spot starter, starting at every infield position at least once this year. He currently is only hitting .252, but when he comes in as a pinch-hitter he hits .350 and has seven RBI in 20 at-bats.
The Twins could use Downs at a number of positions and could play him at second base and move Alexei Casilla over to shortstop, where he has started 20 games already this season.
The Astros do this trade as they continue adding depth to their farm system with two young arms in Dean, who can compete for a spot in the rotation in most likely two years and Watts who would be another arm that could compete for a bullpen spot next year.
SP Brett Myers
Houston Astros receive: RHP David Phelps
This would be a good move for the Yankees as they get a veteran arm who has playoff experience both as a starting pitcher and out of the bullpen.
He won't cost nearly as much for the Yankees as trading for the Rockies' Ubaldo Jiminez. Myers has struggled a bit this season, but I think would be an upgrade over Bartolo Colon, who has struggled a bit recently.
The Astros add another pitching prospect who should be able to compete for a rotation spot next year. In 2010, he went 10-2 with an ERA of 2.50, and while he has regressed a bit with a 4-6 record and a 3.88 ERA, he is still a talented pitcher who could be a back of the rotation pitcher.
SP Wandy Rodriguez
Detroit Tigers receive: SP Wandy Rodriguez
Houston Astros receive: LHP Andy Oliver
The Tigers currently are tied with the Cleveland Indians for the lead in the AL Central and a pitcher like Wandy can put them over the top.
Now supposedly, Wandy is viewed by the Astros as a front of the rotation kind of pitcher, and they are asking to be compensated as such.
I don't believe Wandy is an ace, but I do believe he is a very good No. 2 and a great No. 3, and lucky for the Tigers, they already have that ace in Justin Verlander.
Wandy would be a good fit in the Tigers rotation, and the best part for them is he has generally been a second-half pitcher, so they would most likely be getting the best Wandy.
The problem is the Tigers have a weaker farm system, so prospects are limited to pick from, but I believe Andy Oliver would be fair compensation for Wandy.
The 23-year-old has spent roughly a season at the Triple A level between last year and this year. His ERA has jumped almost a run-and-a-half from last year at 3.23 to this year at 4.63, but he is a talented pitcher who would most certainly compete next year for a rotation spot.
CF Michael Bourn
Atlanta Braves receive: CF Michael Bourn
Houston Astros receive: RHP Arodys Vizcano, CF Mycal Jones
The Braves have a big need in their outfield and are currently holding on to a 5.5 game lead for the wild card. They have the pitching to go deep into the playoffs this year but need help at the plate.
Bourn could fill that need as a speedy leadoff hitter who can get into scoring position in a blink of an eye.
The Astros could ask for a lot here because he is still young, is under contract until 2013 and comes pretty cheap. If I am the Astros, I am asking for Arodys Vizcano, a 20-year-old righty who is quickly working his way up through the minors.
I would ask them to throw in Mycal Jones as well, who has had a little off the field trouble but is still a good talent who could fill in for Bourn in a few years.
RF Hunter Pence
Pittsburgh Pirates receive: RF Hunter Pence
Houston Astros receive: SP Jameson Taillon, OF Starling Marte, SP Colton Cain
This is the trade that Ed Wade will be judged on by people if he won at the deadline or not. Hunter Pence is one of the top three players currently available at the deadline, and with as well as he has been playing, Ed Wade should be able to ask for a king's ransom.
The Pirates have been out of the playoffs for 18 years now and to continue to regain the confidence of Pittsburgh, they need to make a splash.
Hunter Pence would be a great addition for the Pirates this season and the future. He is just entering his prime and is under team control until 2014.
The Astros need to ask for Jameson Taillon before starting any trade negotiations who is the 11th best prospect according to Baseball America. Taillon was the second overall pick in 2010.
After that, I say they ask for OF Starling Marte who is hitting over .300 at the Double A level for Altoona, as well as starting pitcher Colton Cain who has been pitching well at the Single A level.
The reason the Astros can ask for so much is that they don't need to trade him. He is entering his prime, can't become a free agent until 2014 and has become the face of the franchise.
If teams really want him, they will need to make a big offer. The Astros hold all the leverage in this trade negotiation.