If The Astros Become Sellers

The Astros are ten games under .500 and 9.5 games back in the NL Central.  84% of the season remains, so they've got plenty of time to right the ship.  It's difficult to imagine this organization selling.  Recent history: on July 22nd, 2008, they were 12 games back in the division and 11 out in the wild card.  GM Ed Wade acquired Randy Wolf anyway, and the team went 40-22 from that point and finished 3.5 games out of the wild card.  The Astros hate to quit on a season, but let's suspend our disbelief and look at who'd be available if they did sell.

Carlos Lee could be attractive to teams if he starts hitting, except for the $55.5MM owed to him over 2010-12 and the full no-trade clause.  Here's what ESPN's Jayson Stark wrote about Lee a year ago: "One club that inquired about him over the winter says it was told Lee has already informed the Astros he's 'not going anywhere' as long as his no-trade is in place."  The no-trade apparently becomes partial after 2010.

Roy Oswalt is pitching well, with his best strikeout rate in years.  He's owed $31MM for 2010-11 and has a $16MM mutual option for 2012.  Stark heard from an Oswalt friend last month that the pitcher's preferred destinations are Atlanta, St. Louis, and Texas, if a trade becomes necessary.  The friend also opined that Oswalt might be willing to accept a trade to a team with a deep rotation, aside from those three.  Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports talked to Oswalt in February; he spoke about retiring after the 2011 season.  Oswalt made it clear that he'd want a trade if the Astros went into rebuilding mode.  Wade implied the team's asking price for their ace would be prohibitive.

Then there's Lance Berkman, who earns $14.5MM this year and has a $15MM club option for 2011 with a $2MM buyout.  He also has a full no-trade.  Berkman suggested in February he'd look elsewhere if the Astros decline the option, a decision they'll make toward the end of the season or after it.  Stark wrote recently that "there is also a lot of buzz that assuming the Astros pick up Berkman's $15 million option for next year, they'll tack on a short extension."  Stark talked to a Berkman friend who feels the first baseman is most likely to finish his career with the Astros.

Kaz Matsui has a limited no-trade clause; he's earning $5MM in the last year of his deal.  He's losing playing time to Jeff Keppinger and has negative trade value.  Similarly, Pedro Feliz at $4.5MM wouldn't net much.

Wandy Rodriguez is under club control through 2011; he's earning $5MM this year after losing an arbitration hearing.  He's a bit of a late bloomer, and swapping him for cheaper, controllable arms would have to be considered.  The Astros could also offer a rental in Brett Myers, who earns $3.1MM this year with a $2MM buyout for 2011.  Myers has been hittable, but otherwise pretty good this year.  Veterans such as Brian Moehler, Tim Byrdak, Geoff Blum, and Jason Michaels would probably be available.

Catcher J.R. Towles could be dealt regardless of the Astros' status.  He's frustrated about being demoted to Double A, and told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart he has to talk to his agent to see what his options are.  The 26-year-old has shown offensive promise in the high minors but it hasn't carried over yet.  The Astros' catcher of the future, Jason Castro, is playing at Triple A Round Rock.


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31 Comments on "If The Astros Become Sellers"


East Coast Bias
5 years 2 months ago

How does Jason Stark know so many ball player “friends” anyway?

I don’t see the two big bats moving. Oswalt has a much better chance.

Pseudonymus Bosch
5 years 2 months ago

This would be more likely if Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman could still accurately be described as “big bats.”

Does any team in baseball have this many no-trade clauses?

Taskmaster75
5 years 2 months ago

Cubs.

5 years 2 months ago

Seriously, it’s almost like a running joke.

Not only did Hendry excessively commit millions of dollars to these guys, but he made sure that he couldn’t trade them either, even if some other team wanted to take them. As a Chicagoan, I’ve really come to dislike Mr. Hendry.

TwinsVet
5 years 2 months ago

It’s frightening to think how miserable this team could be in 2012.

Triteon
5 years 2 months ago

It’s fun to think about it if you’re in an opposing NL Central city!

I’d like to see Oswalt in Cardinal red next year, providing we can’t or don’t re-sign Penny.

j6takish
5 years 2 months ago

Texas really needs a top of rotation guy, if they are still in it come July I could see Roy in Ranger Blue

Triteon
5 years 2 months ago

I think that’s the most likely scenario, too. It would be incredible for him to pitch in a stadium of that size, especially in left field.

5 years 2 months ago

That would be great for Cards. Roy has always excelled in the 2-3 role and would kill with those bats behind him.

5 years 2 months ago

Oswalt for Vazquez.

5 years 2 months ago

No. Chance. In. Hell.

5 years 2 months ago

I don’t see why not? The Yankees get a reliable starter, and can afford it. He would accept it, because they have a deep rotation, and the Astros get more money to spend this offseason with Vazquez off the books.

5 years 2 months ago

Dude, add prospects. Just because they shed payroll is not a great reason to get rid of a top of the rotation/consistent/proven arm. Bats are different, arms like Roy O require a little “sting” to be involved in the trade.

5 years 2 months ago

This isn’t the NBA, you don’t deal your best players just to shed payroll. If the Astros deal Oswalt, it’s going to be because they have absolutely, 100% no chance to make the playoffs this season.

If that’s the case, why the hell would they want Vazquez? The Astros aren’t just going to dump a pitcher as good as Oswalt to free payroll, by trading Oswalt for prospects they could not only save money on their 2010 payroll, but they could add some additional young talent to an organization that desperately needs it.

The only people who think that trade is a good idea are Yankee fans, I would presume.

rynonocerus
5 years 2 months ago

i’m pretty sure the yankees are not one of the teams on his list of teams he said he’d go to. i might be wrong, but i’m pretty sure i am not.

Yankee_Baal
5 years 2 months ago

The Yankees have young live arms in the minors to trigger a possible deal with the Astros and have a deep rotation. Also, Pettite and possibly Clemens could convince their former teammate to go to the Yanks.

5 years 2 months ago

Denied.

Yankees420
5 years 2 months ago

Please tell me your just being sarcastic.

Baseball Lifer
5 years 2 months ago

The Rangers wont be able to neither…. Not until the ownership situation is fixed… And given that Tom Hicks is being hard to work with, i dont see a resolution anytime soon. Once MLB takes it from Hicks we could… But i find it hard to imagine that MLB would grant anymore additional $$$ to the Rangers to add a Player of Oswalt value. If you see the Rangers involved in a trade, i would imagine player salaries would be even.

Martin_Guerrero
5 years 2 months ago

roy oswald for tommy hunter chris davis and joaquin arias

5 years 2 months ago

They’ll probably want someone with more star potential. All of those guys have some sort of limitation that will likely prevent them from reaching star status.

tmoney352
5 years 2 months ago

i think hunter and davis would probably be the where the rangers would start from, with the astros asking for holland i would guess (much like the jays did with halladay, though the jays wanted more than just holland).

i personally think the astros would be doing well in taking up davis and hunter. true that both players dont have immense star potential though. maybe the rangers throw in kiker or someone of that ilk as well.

5 years 2 months ago

They can’t give up Holland, though. That guy has some huge upside, he might be as good as Oswalt by next season.

5 years 2 months ago

The Astros are frustrating to me as a fan. It’s like everyone but mgmt can see that this requires a complete overhaul.

Trade Roy O, the guy needs to be traded. You can read the frustration on his face. I think his stats last year were 5 games lost after he left the game by the bullpen and 7 games he was given less than 2 runs in support of his start. Hard to swallow.

5 years 2 months ago

In their defense, some of those were the same starts probably… hah. Kind of like losing a no hitter. It happens, especially when the team behind you is bad.

PDR297
5 years 2 months ago

Where does Pence fit in to this scenario? I realize he’s not hitting right now, but he’s the young one with team control who could get you a similar if not better package than Roy. If anything, move everything not bolted down and keep Roy as a ticket sales/mentor/ace capacity. Roy has more value to this team than he would to others.

East Coast Bias
5 years 2 months ago

But wouldn’t that be the kind of players they want to bring IN and not ship OUT?

Yankees420
5 years 2 months ago

Yes

rynonocerus
5 years 2 months ago

until drayton mcclane sells the astros, there will never be a rebuild and he won’t trade any of his “favorites” (oswalt, berkman, pence, etc.). apparently mcclance is asking way too much for the team, which has prevented him from selling it thus far. the attendance is down to florida marlins level, no one wants to watch the astros anymore.

rhombus67
5 years 2 months ago

oswalt to the rangers would have to be headlined by one of : Martin Perez, Tanner Scheppers, Derek Holland.

I could see a package of one of those guys along with Chris David, Wilmer Font, etc… 2 or 3 other guys. A similar package to what the Jays got for Halladay except only 1 blue chip prospect instead of 2 (like Drabek & Michael Taylor).

Triteon
5 years 2 months ago

I mostly agree, especially regarding an in-season trade. But for an off-season move I’ll go back to my Penny comment…he’s making $10MM on a 1-year deal, if Penny doesn’t re-sign the net difference in getting Oswalt is a +$4MM. It adds a 200-inning arm and keeps Oswalt our of another team’s system. I think the biggest obstacle is figuring out what the Cardinals could possibly give the Astros other than salary relief.