Results tagged ‘ Berkman ’

A look back at two years of Astros trades

With the Trade Deadline over, it’s time to reflect on the deals the Astros have made in the past three seasons. Houston has made a flurry of deadline deals in 2010, ’11 and ’12 as it rebuilds and stockpiles prospects.

In that time span, the Astros said goodbye to, among others, Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Brett Myers, Carlos Lee, J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, Wandy Rodriguez and Chris Johnson.

In the month of July of this year alone, they acquired 13 Minor Leaguers and two players to be named later and were the most active team when it came to trading.

Here’s a look at the major deals the Astros have made in the last two years (you can click on the players’ names for his current stats):

Date: July 29, 2010.

General manager: Ed Wade.

Astros receive: LHP J.A. Happ, OF Anthony Gose, SS Jonathan Villar.

Phillies receive: RHP Roy Oswalt, cash.

The skinny: Oswalt had requested a trade after being frustrated with how the Astros were playing. The Astros obliged, getting a low-cost starting pitcher in Happ and a pair of prospects. Gose was immediately shipped to the Blue Jays, and Villar remains one of the team’s top prospects, though he recently broke his hand punching a door.

Date: July 29, 2010.

General manager: Ed Wade.

Astros receive: IF Brett Wallace.

Blue Jays receive: OF Anthony Gose.

The skinny: After acquiring Gose from the Phillies, the Astros immediately turned around and dealt him to the Jays in exchange for Wallace. Considering Wallace was a first baseman, that began speculation that Lance Berkman was on his way out the door.

Date: July 31, 2010.

General manager: Ed Wade.

Astros receive: RHP Mark Melancon, IF Jimmy Paredes.

Yankees receive: 1B Lance Berkman, cash.

The skinny: Berkman had the right to approve any trade, and when the Astros came to him and said they possibly had a deal with the Yanks, he didn’t stand in Houston’s way of getting more young players. Berkman didn’t do much with the Yankees, and Melancon wound up taking over as closer in 2011 before later being shipped to Boston. Paredes has moved around the infield, but he’s one of the most athletic players in the system and is putting up stellar numbers in Triple-A this year.

Date: Dec. 23, 2010.

General manager: Ed Wade.

Astros receive: LHP Wes Musick, RHP Jonnathan Aristil.

Rockies receive: RHP Matt Lindstrom.

The skinny: Lindstrom pitched one year in Houston and was inconsistent while battling to stay healthy, so the Astros spun him to Colorado and took a flier on a pair of Minor League pitchers.

Date: July 19, 2011.

General manager: Ed Wade.

Astros receive: RHP Henry Sosa, RHP Jason Stoffel.

Giants receive: IF Jeff Keppinger.

The skinny: Keppinger was a solid hitter who performed well in Houston, but with the club in rebuilding mode, the Astros dealt him for a pair of Minor League arms. Sosa wound up pitching in the Astros’ rotation last year, but is now playing in Korea. Stoffel is closing at Double-A and has some potential.

Date: July 29, 2011.

General manager: Ed Wade.

Astros receive: RHP Jarred Cosart, IF Jonathan Singleton, RHP Josh Zeid, player to be named later (OF Domingo Santana).

Phillies receive: OF Hunter Pence.

The skinny: Pence was Houston’s best hitter and due to receive a big raise in arbitration, which really didn’t make much sense for the Astros considering the direction the club was going. Thus, the popular outfielder was sent to the contending Phillies, who paid a high price. Cosart and Singleton became Houston’s top two prospects, and some scouts believed Santana might wind up being the best player in the deal. Pence was traded by the Phillies to the Giants a year later.

Date: July 31, 2011.

General manager: Ed Wade.

Astros receive: OF Jordan Schafer, RHP Juan Abreu, RHP Paul Clemens, LHP Brett Oberholtzer.

Braves receive: CF Michael Bourn.

The skinny: Two days after trading Pence to the Phillies, the Astros traded another popular player by sending Houston native Bourn, a Gold Glove outfielder who had come into his own offensively, to the Braves. The haul wasn’t quite as impressive as what the Astros got in return for Pence, but the three Minor League arms have some promise. Schafer hasn’t lived up to potential.

Date: Dec. 14, 2011.

General manager: Jeff Luhnow.

Astros receive: SS Jed Lowrie, RHP Kyle Weiland.

Red Sox receive: RHP Mark Melancon.

The skinny: Luhnow’s first trade as GM appears to be a good one for the Astros, though both Lowrie and Weiland are on the disabled list (Weiland is out for the year). There were questions about Melancon’s ability to close, and he was a disaster in Boston. Lowrie was one of the most productive shortstops in the NL before he injured his leg in July.

Date: March 21, 2012.

General manager: Jeff Luhnow.

Astros receive: LHP Kevin Chapman, player to be name named later (OF D’Andre Toney).

Royals receive: C Humberto Quintero, OF Jason Bourgeois.

The skinny: Quintero and Bourgeois were back-ups who couldn’t crack the starting lineup of a last-place team, and Luhnow managed to trade them for two Minor Leaguers. Chapman has shown some early promise at Double-A, while Toney could be one to watch years down the road. Bourgeois wound up in the Minors with the Royals, who soon cut Quintero.

Date: July 4, 2012.

General manager: Jeff Luhnow.

Astros receive: IF Matt Dominguez, LHP Rob Rasmussen.

Marlins receive: 1B Carlos Lee, cash.

The skinny: The first of five major trades in July, the Marlins were desperate for first base help and gave the Astros two Minor League players for the aging slugger. The Astros were happy to get him off their roster, and were even willing to pay the bulk of his remaining contract. Dominguez was brought up to the Majors, but was sent back down a few days later.

Date: July 20, 2012.

General manager: Jeff Luhnow.

Astros receive: RHP Francisco Cordero, OF Ben Francisco, RHP Asher Wojciechowski, RHP Joe Musgrove, LHP David Rollins, C Carlos Perez, a player to be named later.

Blue Jays receive: LHP J.A. Happ, RHP Brandon Lyon, RHP David Carpenter.

The skinny: The Astros acquired seven players, including four Minor Leaguers and a player to be named later, in a 10-player deal with the Jays. Happ had been with the team two years and could never gain consistency, while Lyon was in the final year of his three-year deal. This trade was more about the Minor League arms the Astros received, while addressing a catching shortage in the system, more than it was about the two big league players they received – Cordero and Francisco.

Date: July 21, 2012.

General manager: Jeff Luhnow.

Astros receive: RHP Matthew Heidenreich, LHP Blair Walters, a player to be named later.

White Sox receive: RHP Brett Myers, cash.

The skinny: With Myers having a good shot at vesting his 2013 option that would have paid him $10 million, the Astros sent him to the White Sox and stockpiled a few more Minor League arms. Myers was having a solid season as closer after starting 66 games the previous two years in Houston.

Date: July 25, 2012.

General manager: Jeff Luhnow.

Astros receive: LHP Rudy Owens, OF Robbie Grossman, LHP Colton Cain.

Pirates receive: LHP Wandy Rodriguez, cash.

The skinny: The rebuilding effort continued as the Astros sent Rodriguez – the last remaining member from the 2005 World Series team – to the Pirates for three more prospects. The Astros had to pay a substantial part of Rodriguez’s remaining contract, but they felt getting more prospect was worth the price.

Date: July 29, 2012.

General manager: Jeff Luhnow.

Astros receive:  IF Bobby Borchering, OF Marc Krauss.

D-backs receive: 3B Chris Johnson.

The skinny: The Astros pulled off their fifth trade of the month. Houston wasn’t actively shopping Johnson, but he had recently gone on a tear and some teams were getting aggressive in their pursuit of the 27-year-old third baseman. Unlike the previous trades in July in which the Astros stockpiled the pitching, the Johnson trade brought a pair of bats, and in the case of Borchering, maybe some much-needed power to the system.

Some Astros news from Saturday morning

After about 48 hours of nothing but rain and two games that were washed out, sun came to Kissimmee on Saturday, allowing the Astros to play the Washington Nationals. Of course, the big news recently is Lance Berkman‘s knee surgery, which went off without a hitch.

Puma is expected to return in two to four weeks, which means he could be out of the lineup Opening Day. What the Astros are doing to make sure they’re prepared and how this affects the club will be the subject of a story posted later today at

Remember, the Astros have a split-squad on Saturday, with Felipe Paulino starting against the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla. Most of the regular starters are in Kissimmee for the Washington game.

Here are some other news items gathered pregame Saturday:

  • RHP Alberto Arias, who was diagnosed with right shoulder inflammation Friday, will now throw until Sunday, after which he will be reexamined. Arias said Saturday his shoulder felt better after treatment, and he could get a cortisone shot soon if he needs it.
  • RHP Brandon Lyon, who faced live hitters in the batting cage Thursday for the first time this spring, said Saturday he felt good. Manager Brad Mills said Lyon could face hitters again Sunday and even gave a hint to what is ahead: “We’re going to take it precautionary and bring him along slow. If he does throw well, it might in a couple of a days [when he gets in a game]. Let’s get through tomorrow’s hurdle first.”
  • RHP Brian Moehler, who was scheduled to start Friday’s game that was rained out in Dunedin, will start Tuesday’s split-squad game at the Yankees, Mills said. Moehler threw 61 pitches in a three-inning simulated game inside the batting cage in Kissimmee upon the team’s arrival from Dunedin on Friday.
  • With Opening Day nearly three weeks away and starters getting stretched out more in each start, the Astros will likely have to start sending players to Minor League camp soon. Here’s what Mills had to say about that: “We’ll wait and see. I haven’t sat down and talked to [GM] Ed [Wade] about it, but here becomes a time the guys that are going to be on the ballgame need to get regular at-bats on a consistent bases be ready. We’re not too far away from it, is what I’m saying.”
  • C Jason Castro is back with the club and was in the starting lineup Saturday against Washington. He missed two days of workouts earlier in the week. He said he had a fever of 102-degress each day.

Berkman to have surgery

Astros first baseman Lance Berkman will under surgery to remove loose particles from his left knee and will miss two-to-four weeks. The date of the surgery isn’t known, and it could take place in Houston or Kissimmee, Fla.

It’s unknown whether he’ll be ready for Opening Day. Berkman was examined Friday morning by team medical director Dr. David Lintner.

“We’re probably looking at two-to-four weeks,” general manager Ed Wade said. “Whether or not he’s going to be ready for Opening Day really just depends on the healing process. They haven’t even gone in yet so it;s too early to tell, but the normal timeframe would be two-to-four weeks. We’ll see where it flows from there.”

Berkman has had the knee drained twice in the last week.

“He had more swelling in it today,” Wade said. “Dr. Lintner was due down here so he had a chance to see him firsthand and deal with it. We were hoping that it was something he could have gotten through non-surgically, but it makes sense at this point to get it cleaned out and have him move in a straight line when he is back on the field.”

Also, right-hander Alberto Arias saw Lintner on Friday and was diagnosed with a shoulder strain. He will throw Friday and get t cortisone shot if he’s still feeling discomfort.

Berkman back in No. 3 hole

Astros first baseman Lance Berkman was shuffling across the clubhouse Sunday morning when told by reporters he was hitting third in the lineup for the first time since May 30.

“It doesn’t matter to me one way or the other,” Berkman said.

The Astros were 16-28 with Berkman in the No. 3 hole heading into Sunday’s game against Detroit and 15-8 when he had hit fifth, which he has done most of June. But with Miguel Tejada out of the lineup for a day off, Berkman was back in his familiar No. 3 spot.

“This is just today,” manager Cecil Cooper said. “Tomorrow he could be hitting eighth.”

When pressed by reporters, Cooper finally gave his thoughts on Berkman.

“He’s a three-hole hitter,” he said. “That’s who he is. He’s the best hitter we have. He’s struggled all year for the most part, but he’s the best hitter we’ve got. That’s where you put your best guy. I’d love to see him get back there because that’s where he belongs.”

Berkman wasn’t so sure.

“I think we have three or four guys who could hit there, and it’s a matter of what works the best,” he said.

Berkman entered Sunday hitting .296 with 11 homers and 34 RBIs since April, when he hit .162 with five homers and 10 RBIs. He was hitting .236 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs in the No. 3 spot and .286 with five homers and 13 RBIs in the No. 5 spot.

“With the exception of the first month, I’ve felt pretty good at the plate,” Berkman said. 


New dad Berkman out of lineup; Drayton stays optimistic

Lance Berkman, who had started 63 of the team’s first 67 games, was out of the starting lineup Tuesday against the Royals after his wife, Cara, gave birth to their couple’s fourth daugther on Monday. An off day might come to a good time for Berkman, too, considering he hit .167 (5-for-30) on the team’s nine-game road trip.

With Berkman out of the lineup, Hunter Pence was batting third with the 18th time this year.

Back to Berkman. He now has four girls, putting him on par with Geoff Blum (four girls) but one shy of Doug Brocail (five girls). Interestingly, Jeff Bagwell and Brad Ausmus had nothing but girls, too. Craig Biggio (two boys) was certainly an exception.


Astros owner Drayton McLane (two boys, if you’re wondering) made his way around the clubhouse as he typically does before games, stopping to shake hands with the players. He also took a few moments to discuss the state of the team with reporters.

McLane is enthused the Astros have won six of seven series entering this week’s series against Kansas City.

“If you go back to 2004, we’re making the move awfully early,” McLane said. “If you remember in 2004 we were way, way down at the All-Star break and we made the playoffs and went within one game of going to the World Series, and in 2005 we were down at the break. The team is grudaally improving and has won a lot of series and wer’e going to do that against the Kansas City Royals.” 

Royals owner David Glass, who was the CEO of Wal-Mart for 27 years and is a close friend of McLane, sat with McLane in his seats behind home plate.

“We have Whataburgers bet on who wins the series,” McLane said.

McLane is optimisitc because ace Roy Oswalt (3-4) hasn’t gotten on the track, and the pitching staff has been slowed by injuries but appears to be getting healthier.

“If you asked me back in spring training, would Roy Oswalt have [three] wins at this stage and I’d say, ‘No, he’d have 8 to 10 wins at this stage,'” McLane said. “So we need Roy and his pitching and he needs run support and I think he will pitch much, much better going forward.

“Mike Hampton has had some injuries and I think he can pitch better going forward and Wandy will be more consistent. If we can get the pitching in there, the hitting will definitely be there, too. We need to get a number of the others that have been injured in there, too.

“That’s the bright light. Some of our star players haven’ t played exceptionally well and they will. It always worries you until they start clicking, but in the last two weeks you see them playing with more confidence.”