10 Reasons Astros Blew the Trade Deadline
The trade deadline has come and past and the Astros did exactly what everybody expected in being sellers. After the dust has settled on an active trade deadline, Hunter Pence is now a Philadelphia Phillie and Michael Bourn is an Atlanta Brave.
Half the fun for fans and media experts alike is to critique each team and assign the title of 'winner' and 'loser' based on the trades, or lack thereof. Unfortunately for the Astros, at this point it is hard to put them in the winner category.
These are the top 10 reasons the Astros blew the 2011 MLB Trade Deadline.
10. Didn't Get Rid of Carlos Lee's Contract
Yes, this was a bit of a long shot due to Lee's contract and the fact he has the no trade clause but the guy has been playing pretty well over the past few months. Lee hit over .300 in May and June and is currently hitting .295 in July and has 60 RBI for the season and thought he might be able to generate some interest.
The reason the Astros need to move him is that he plays below average in left field and takes away playing time away from Brett Wallace at first base. He still has value as a DH and would of been a good fit over in the American League. For the time being and probably through the rest of his contract, Lee will be with the Astros.
9. Didn't Trade Away Brett Myers
Brett Myers value has dropped significantly since he signed an extension with the Astros last year. He does not look like the same pitcher and has really struggled with the home run ball this year.
With that said, Myers could still provide value to a playoff team as he has playoff experience both as a starter and coming out of the bullpen. The Astros have been willing to eat good portions of players contracts in the past and maybe they were willing to do that with Myers but no one was biting.
Myers, like Lee, will probably end up staying with the Astros for the rest of his contract unless he starts playing better.
8. Traded Jeff Keppinger Too Early
The Astros moved Keppinger on July 19th, 12 days before the trade deadline. Now this was by far the best return for the Astros in terms of talent of the three trades they made.
However, teams will sometimes becomes more aggressive in trading for a player as the deadline gets closer. The Astros could of possibly created a bidding war and got a little bit better return on Keppinger.
Now, I don't work in the Astros front office and maybe the Giants were the only team calling about Keppinger. Maybe the Astros were worried if they waited the Giants would of moved on to another team and made another trade for a second baseman. I think it would of been worth the risk to wait trading Keppinger.
7. Didn't Trade Pence to the Braves
Buster Olney tweeted after Hunter Pence was traded to Philadelphia, that the Braves were willing to include minor league pitcher Mike Minor in a trade with the Astros. For those that don't, Mike Minor is one of the top pitching prospects in the Braves organization and I think is going to be a very good starting pitcher one day.
What is even more surprising that the Astros didn't pull the trigger on the Braves trade was that Jon Heyman tweeted that the Astros were not in love with the Phillies' prospects. If all reports are accurate, I wonder why the Astros made this trade with the Phillies.
6. Didn't Get Domonic Brown
Domonic Brown is a young corner outfielder who has already played at the major league level and has endless potential. Why the Astros did not start trade negotiations there and work from that, I don't know.
The Phillies have protected Brown from being traded the past few years in trades for the likes of Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay and looked ready to move him for Pence. The Astros had no interest and there was tweets that the Phillies were trying to move Brown to get prospects the Astros wanted.
The guy is a talented ball player and could have become the face of the franchise and I think the Astros missed a great opportunity here.
5. Didn't Trade Clint Barmes
The Astros had their focus on how these trades will help the team in the future and one player who most likely does not fit into that formula is short stop Clint Barmes. He is a free agent after this season and like Carlos Lee has been playing better as of late.
Now I don't think the Astros could of gotten anything great in return for Barmes but I have to think there was a team out there that could use some back up infield help. Moving Barmes would of given more playing time for Angel Sanchez, who I think can be a serviceable short stop for the Astros for the next few years.
4. Didn't Trade Wandy...yet
According to Ken Rosenthal, there was a lot of interest in Wandy Rodriguez in the final two hours leading up to the deadline. The issue that arose was over the contract that Wandy currently has and how much the Astros were going to pay of it.
Because of this, many believe that Wandy will be placed on waivers and likely traded sometime this season. The problem is this can restrict the quality of prospects the Astros could get in return rather than trading him before the deadline.
If he is claimed, the Astros can only work out a trade with that one team. They will lose a decent amount of the leverage they could of had before the deadline by creating a bidding war among teams.
3. Didn't Get a Top Prospect from the Braves for Bourn
The Astros traded Michael Bourn to the Braves this morning in return for Jordan Schafer and three minor league pitchers. The problem is that the Braves have four top pitching prospects in Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Arodys Vizcaino, and Randall Delgado and none of them are coming to the Astros.
Bourn is one of the top center fielders and lead off hitters in the game. He has over a .300 batting average and leads the league in steals, not to mention he plays above average defense. He is still under contract for two more years and is still fairly young at 28 years of age.
Michael Bourn is a good enough player to warrant the Astros receiving one of those top four pitchers and if not the Astros should of worked out a trade with a number of the other teams interested in him. John Paul Morosi reported that the Nationals, Indians and even the Reds were among the other teams interested in Bourn. I find it hard to believe that not one of these three teams were offering a better return for Bourn.
2. Didn't Get More Major League Ready Prospects
One of the biggest reasons the Astros blew this trade deadline was that they did not get any major league ready prospects. They did get Jordan Schafer but he is a career .223 hitter and hasn't shown much in his two years at the major league level.
I think the Astros dropped the ball not getting a Mike Minor or Domonic Brown because fans could rally around these players and they could start to become the face of the franchise. The Astros traded away the top two fan favorites in Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn and the franchise it seems is without an identity.
The prospects they received will most likely not be ready for The Show for another two years and I am sure this will only drop fan's interest in the team even lower than it has been this year.
1. They Traded Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn
The Astros traded away their two best and two most popular players and I still am not sure why. Both players are fairly young at 28 years of age. They have been producing very well this season and are still under contract for at least another year.
The Astros have new ownership coming in and both players could have been locked up to long term deals that would of built a base for the organization to build on. Instead of using them as building blocks, the team is back to square one. They have lost their face of their franchise and fans must wait another two or three years to even think about being competitive.
Over the past two years the Astros have now traded away Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn and haven't seen much in return to date. At some point, the organization needs to stop trading away their top players and make a commitment to them in terms of long term deals.
Like I said earlier, it is tough to say if the Astros are really winners or losers because the majority of the prospects are still two to three years away and that is when it will be time to evaluate these trades. Only time will tell if these trades were the right moves for the organization.