Results tagged ‘ Jed Lowrie ’

History of Luhnow’s major trades in Houston.

Here’s a look at the significant deals made by Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow since he took over 14 months ago (you can click on each player’s name for his 2012 stats):

Date: Dec. 14, 2011.

Astros receive: SS Jed Lowrie, RHP Kyle Weiland.

Red Sox receive: RHP Mark Melancon.

The skinny: Luhnow’s first trade as GM was a good one. Weiland showed promise last spring before a serious arm infection ended his season, but Lowrie proved to be one of the team’s top offensive weapons when healthy. Luhnow wound up dealing Lowrie to the A’s for three players earlier this week, giving this trade even a more significant return. Melancon was a bust in Boston and has landed in Pittsburgh.

Date: March 21, 2012.

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 had a good year in relief at Double-A Corpus Christi last season and could be a left-handed option in the pen down the road. Toney played at Greeneville and remains a work in progress.

Date: July 4, 2012.

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 and was impressive, hitting .284 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 109 at-bats. Everyone knew he could play defense, but he showed enough offensively that he’ll enter spring as the starting third baseman. Rasmussen was shipped to the Dodgers for RHP John Ely a few months later.

Date: July 20, 2012.

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 (RHP Kevin Comer).

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. Neither Cordero nor Francisco made it to the end of the season in Houston. Musgrove, Comer and Perez are among the Astros’ top 20 prospects.

Date: July 21, 2012.

Astros receive: RHP Matthew Heidenreich, LHP Blair Walters, a player to be named later (RHP Chris Devenski)

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. Heidenreich finished the year in the rotation at Double-A Corpus Christi and pitched well, while Walters took his lumps as a starter in the hitter-friendly environment in Lancaster.

Date: July 25, 2012.

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. Owens will come to Major League camp and will likely start the year in the rotation at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Grossman will also be at big league camp after getting on-base at a .422 clip in 36 games last year in Double-A Corpus Christi.

Date: July 29, 2012.

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. Borchering hit four homers in 30 games at Double-A Corpus Christi, giving him 24 homers and 86 RBIs for the season as a whole. Krauss killed it in Corpus Christi, hitting .414 with a .514 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage with five homers and 16 RBIs in only seven games. He finished the year in the outfield at Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Date: Dec. 5, 2012.

Astros receive: RHP Alex White, RHP Alex Gillingham.

Rockies receive: RHP Wilton Lopez and player to be named later or cash..

The skinny: Less than a week after the Astros tried to send Lopez to the Phillies, they were able to use the arbitration-eligible relief pitcher to acquire White and right-hander Gillingham. White appeared in 23 games (20 starts) for the Rockies last season and was 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA. He split the season between Colorado and Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he went 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA. He will battle for a spot in the rotation this spring, but could pitch out of the bullpen.

Date: Dec. 19, 2012

Astros receive: RHP John Ely.

Dodgers receive: LHP Rob Rasmussen.

The skinny: The Astros gave up a 23-year-old left-hander they had acquired only months earlier for a 26-year-old right-hander in Ely, who gives them Major League experience. Ely, who is 4-13 with a 5.70 ERA over three seasons with the Dodgers, is expected to compete for a spot in Houston’s rotation, though he could begin the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Date: Feb. 4, 2013.

Astros receive: RHP Brad Peacock, OF/1B Chris Carter, C Max Stassi.

A’s receive: SS Jed Lowrie, RHP Fernando Rodriguez.

The skinny: The Astros shipped Lowrie, who was set to make $2.4 million this year, to the A’s along with Rodriguez and go three young players. The trade was text book for a rebuilding club — trade an established player with a rising salary for youth. Peacock will compete for a rotation spot, and Carter is expected to be a fixture in the lineup. He’s a right-handed hitter with plenty of power. Stassi becomes one of the Astros top catching prospects in a position where there was a definite need in the Minor Leagues.

Lowrie eager for winning opportuntiy in Oakland

Jed Lowrie spent the previous couple of days in Oakland, taking a physical that was the final piece to the puzzle in a trade that eventually sent him to the A’s. When the trade was finalized on Monday afternoon, Lowrie had gone from a rebuilding team to the defending American League West division champs.

“At the end of the day, the game is all about winning,” Lowrie told MLB.com. “I got a great opportunity in Houston, and I really enjoyed my short time there. I’m looking forward to the next step in my career.”

The Astros traded Lowrie and right-handed pitcher Fernando Rodriguez to the A’s in exchange for first baseman Chris Carter, right-hander Brad Peacock and Minor League catcher Max Stassi. It’s yet another trade by Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow to bolster a farm system now considered among the best in the game.

Lowrie, who turns 29 on April 17, played 93 games at shortstop for Houston last season, spending time on the disabled list for a sprained right thumb and sprained right ankle. He hit .244 with 16 home runs and 42 RBIs, while his .980 fielding percentage led National League shortstops with at least 70 games.

“I figured, given where I was in my career and the point where the Astros are as an organization, I figured when Jeff got what he was looking for he could continue to build the Minor League system and try to turn over the organization,” Lowrie said. “I figured at some point it was in the cards. The timing of it, I wasn’t sure of. Going into a week before Spring Training starts for me and the position guys, I was expected to start the year with the Astros, but that’s not the case. I’ll be out in Phoenix with the A’s.”

Astros reach deals with Norris, Lowrie and Wright

The Astros reached agreements Friday with all three of their arbitration-eligible players, signing shortstop Jed Lowrie to a one-year, $2.4 million deal, right-hander Bud Norris to a one-year, $3 million deal and left-hander Wesley Wright to a one-year deal.

Terms of the Wright deal weren’t disclosed.

Friday marked the deadline for the teams and players to exchange salary numbers in advance of next month’s scheduled hearings, but the Astros were able to avoid going to an arbitration panel.

The 28-year-old Lowrie, who made $1.15 million last year, set career highs in games (97), at-bats (340), runs (43), hits (83), home runs (16) and walks (43) despite missing 52 games with a sprained right ankle and leg injury. He wound up hitting .244 with 42 RBIs.

Norris, 27, was 7-13 with a 4.65 ERA in 29 starts last year, allowing 165 hits and striking out 165 in 168 1/3 innings. He went 0-12 with a 6.34 ERA during a streak of 18 starts in the middle of the season while he battled injuries and inconsistencies. Norris had a 1.71 ERA at home and a 6.94 mark on the road.

Wright, 27, was 2-2 with a 3.27 ERA in a career-high 77 games last year, which led the Astros and ranked tied for sixth in the National League. His .226 batting average allowed ranked fifth in the NL among left-handed relievers.

“I’m happy to have it behind me and can focus on the upcoming season and going out and doing my best to help us win some ballgames,” Wright said. “It’s good to know that part of the situation is taken care of and we can focus on baseball activities.”

Astros face arbitration decisions

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the club plans to tender contracts to their four remaining arbitration-eligible players – pitchers Bud Norris, Wilton Lopez, Wesley Wright and shortstop Jed Lowrie. Lopez, of course, has been subject of trade speculation, but for now he remains with Houston.

The deadline to tender a contract is 10:59 p.m. CT Friday.

Norris, Lopez and Wright are all eligible for arbitration for the first time, and Lowrie is going through the process a second time. Each player will submit a desired salary for 2013, and the Astros will also submit their offer. That serves as the starting point for the negotiations, and both sides typically meet in the middle

If the sides can’t find common ground, they will take their case before an arbitration panel in February that will determine the players’ salary. In this scenario, this is no middle ground. The panel will side with either the player or the team, but negotiations can continue right up to the hearing.

Astros assistant general manager David Stearns is going to be spearheading the team’s arbitration process.

“He has some experience in that area, both from the labor relations side of Major League baseball, as well as the team side,” Luhnow said. “Our cases are nothing too complex at this point. They’re all first-year guys, with the exception of Jed, who’s a second-year guy. We went through preparing for a cast last year. We’re in pretty good shape, and I feel good about we’re going to get all our guys done.”

Here’s a closer look at each player:

– Jed Lowrie made $1.15 million in his first season in Houston in 2012 and was putting up All-Star numbers before a sprained right ankle suffered in mid July put him on the shelf for 52 games. He wound up hitting .244 with a career-high 16 homers and 42 RBIs. Lowrie could as much as double his salary from a year ago.

– Bud Norris had a strange year statistically, going 7-13 with a 4.65 ERA in 29 starts. He had 165 strikeouts in 168 1/3 innings, but went nearly three months without a win while battling various injuries and some inconsistencies. He was 4-1 with a 1.71 ERA at home and 3-12 with a 6.94 ERA on the road. He started strong, but was 0-12 with a 6.17 ERA in 18 starts from May 26-Sept. 20. He finished the season having not allowed a run in his final two starts, 13 1/3 innings.

Norris made $511,000 last season and should see a substantial bump based on his body of work, perhaps in the $2 million range

– Wesley Wright, who made $512,000 last season, is one of the longest-tenured Astros, having pitched parts of five seasons with the club from 2008-12. He made a career-high 77 appearances as lefty specialist last year and went 2-2 with a 3.27 ERA, including a 19-game scoreless streak. Lefties have hit just .170 off of him the last two years combined and he’ll remain a key cog in the bullpen.

The Astros got Wright in the Rule 5 Draft in 2007, and he’s had an unusual tenure in Houston. He’s been tried as a starter, had his arm slot temporarily changed and bounced between Triple-A and Houston so many times he could start his own shuttle service. But he appears to have entrenched himself in the bullpen and will be paid accordingly.

Wilton Lopez, claimed off waivers in 2009 by Ed Wade, has been a workhorse member of the Astros’ bullpen the past three years, going 6-3 with a 2.17 ERA last year in 64 games. He also had a career-high 10 saves after assuming the club’s closer role following the trade of Brett Myers and ineffectiveness of Francisco Cordero. He posted the lowest walks-per-innings ratio among all NL relievers (1.09) last season after setting the franchise record in 2010 by issuing only five walks in 67 innings pitched. He began last season by facing 78 batters without issuing a walk.

Lopez made $515,500 last season and could wind up around $1 million next season based on his workload and track record. That’s if the Astros don’t trade him.

Astros SS Jed Lowrie out 4-6 weeks with nerve injury

Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie will probably be out four-to-six weeks with a nerve injury in his right leg, general manager Jeff Luhnow said Tuesday.

Lowrie, who leads the team with 14 home runs, injured the leg and sprained his right ankle during a play at second base Saturday in San Francisco and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. He was examined by team doctors on Tuesday in Houston.

Luhnow said Lowrie will be on crutches and will have to wear a protective boot for a week before being re-evaluated. Lowrie was hitting .253 with a club-best 14 homers and 36 RBIs through 80 games and losing him is a big blow to an Astros team that had batted just .201 in his previous 15 games before Tuesday.

“We’re going to have to think about how to cover his at-bats and innings out there,” Luhnow said.

Marwin Gonzalez, a Rule 5 pick last December, will get most of the playing time at shortstop for now, but Luhnow hasn’t ruled out going outside the organization for shortstop help.

“He’s done a good job and we’re certainly thankful we have him, but we need to consider other options, whether it’s bringing up somebody else from Triple-A or looking outside the organization,” Luhnow said. “At this point it could go faster, but four-to-six is what we’re expecting.”

Meanwhile, catcher Jason Castro, who was also played on the disabled list on Sunday (backdated to July 8), had his ailing right knee examined Tuesday in Houston. Astros manager Brad Mills said Castro has some meniscus damage, but Luhnow remains hopeful Castro can return with a week.

“We’re still hopeful it’s going to be a short-term situation and he can come back when he’s eligible and shortly after,” Luhnow said. “We’ll know more in the next couple of days.”

Castro, who missed all of last season after undergoing ACL surgery on his right knee, was hitting .254 with two homers and 20 RBIs in 20 games this year, but had begun to experience some soreness in the knee.

“He’s going to have more fluid drained [Wednesday] and hopefully we’ll know more in three or four days,” Luhnow said.

Lowrie has spent time on the disabled list in each of the last four seasons, including this year, when he injured his thumb in Spring Training. He hurt his shoulder last year in a collision with Red Sox teammate Carl Crawford and missed time in 2010 with mononucleosis.

Lowrie feeling better, hopes to play Friday

Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie remained hopeful Thursday afternoon that he could be in the lineup for Friday’s Opening Day game against the Rockies at Minute Maid Park. Lowrie hit soft toss and hit off the tee Thursday and fielded grounders on the field and says his sprained right thumb is feeling better by the day.

“I felt great today,” he said. “It’s another step in the right direction, so I’m encouraged. It’s just one of those things that you just continue to go down that road and continue to progress.”

Lowrie sprained the thumb eight days ago and hasn’t played since. The Astros are debating whether to put him on the disabled list to start the season and activate Brian Bixler or keep Lowrie on the active roster with hopes he can play this weekend.

“I don’t want to count it out,” Lowrie said. “I want to wake [Friday] and see how it feels. They want to see me do a few things before they give it the OK and I’m in the same boat. I need to get into a few rounds of batting practice. Let’s just take steps forward every day.”

Astros manager Brad Mills said he’s made out his lineup for Friday’s game with Lowrie being ready to play.

“With as much as it has improved these last couple of days, there’s definitely a real good chance,” he said.

If Lowrie can’t play, rookie Marwin Gonzalez, a Rule V pick, will start at shortstop.

Astros set the 25-man roster

Here it is. The Astros have set their 25-man roster (players in italics are on an active Opening Day roster for the first time):

PITCHERS (13)

Fernando Abad (L)

David Carpenter

Rhiner Cruz

J.A. Happ (L)

Lucas Harrell

Wilton Lopez

Brandon Lyon

Brett Myers

Bud Norris

Fernando Rodriguez

Wandy Rodriguez (L)

Kyle Weiland

Wesley Wright (L)

CATCHERS (2)

Jason Castro

Chris Snyder

INFIELDERS (6)

Jose Altuve

Matt Downs

Marwin Gonzalez

Chris Johnson

Carlos Lee

Jed Lowrie

OUTFIELDERS (4)

Brian Bogusevic

Travis Buck

J.D. Martinez

Jordan Schafer

Lowrie hopeful to play Friday

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager Brad Mills held a brief meeting with shortstop Jed Lowrie prior to Wednesday’s exhibition game against the White Sox at Minute Maid Park to get a health update.

Facing a 4 p.m. Wednesday deadline to set the 25-man roster, the Astros are deliberating whether to put Lowrie on the disabled list to start the season. He’s been dealing with a sprained right thumb for a week and would miss the first six games of the season if he’s disabled.

Lowrie said Wednesday he was encouraged after hitting off a tee Tuesday.

“You know what, it feels a lot better than I thought it was going to at this point,” he said. “It’s only a week out and it feels like it’s been about two months. I’m very happy with the progress it’s made, and I think it’s just because it’s a muscle strain it’s about getting soreness and stiffness out.”

Luhnow said that if Lowrie is only going to miss the first couple of days of the season, the team won’t put him on the DL to start the year.

“If we thought it was going to be just a couple of days and get him back Sunday, we’ll probably keep him active,” Luhnow said. “We could set the roster today with him on it, which is the most likely event, and continue monitoring it day-to-day before we make the [DL] decision. If we knew he was going to go on the DL, we’d probably do it today, but since we don’t know we have some options.”

When asked if he was likely to go on the DL, Lowrie wouldn’t say.

“I’m not going to make those decisions, and the bottom line depends on how my thumb progresses,” he said. “Once again, it’s day to day. We’ll take it at that and leave it at that.”

As as the progression goes, the last few days have gone really well.

“I hit a couple off a tee yesterday and it reacted a lot better than I thought it was going to,” Lowrie said. “It surprised [hitting coach] Mike Barnett as well, so I’ve been able to take grounders and play catch and that last thing is just hitting. Obviously, the bat being right where the muscle is strained is the last hurdle.

“Considering how swollen it got and how bad it hurt, I’m really happy where it’s at. I’ve made a ton of progress in a short time. Four days ago, I could barely grab the bat. It’s bouncing back and that’s the idea, just to continue to take steps forward as opposed to doing something drastic and maybe having a setback. I want to keep that momentum going.”

Lowrie wants to be on the field when the Astros open the season Friday against the Rockies, but he’s not going to rush it and cost him time into the season.

“You work all spring and that’s what you’re getting ready for is Opening Day, but this is a marathon,” he said. “It’s 162 games. Friday is going to be exciting and I want to be out there, but I think it’s in my best interest and the club’s best interest to make sure it’s ready to go for the long haul.”

Lowrie injury a growing concern to Mills

UPDATED: GM Jeff Luhnow weighs in on Lowrie:

Astros manager Brad Mills spoke Saturday morning with a growing concern that shortstop Jed Lowrie won’t be ready for the start of the season.

Lowrie, who sprained his right thumb diving into second base during a pick-off attempt Wednesday, took some ground balls and played catch on Friday, but Mills said he didn’t feel as good as the team would have hoped.

“He wasn’t able to grip the ball as well as we’d like,” Mills said. “We’re going to wait and see how that works out. It’s pretty tender.”

Mills raised some doubt whether Lowrie would be able to play in any of next week’s exhibition games – Monday at Double-A Corpus Christi and Tuesday and Wednesday against the White Sox in Houston. An X-ray and an MRI showed no structural damage to the thumb.

“Jed was going so well and swinging the bat so well,” Mills said. “We’re going to have to check him out and make sure he’s healthy, throwing and swinging the bat and everything else. It’s going to be interesting to see how he comes around.”

When asked if Lowrie might not be ready for Opening Day, Mills said. “There’s always that concern, there’s no doubt. But these next couple of days are going to be crucial in trying to figure out how it is and into tomorrow and as we get into those exhibition games, whether he’s going to be able to play at all.”

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said team is prepared for anything.

“It’s really about how much [Lowrie] can tolerate and how quickly he feels ready to get back into games,” he said. “That could be a few days, it could be a couple of weeks and anywhere in between. We need to proceed with contingency plans in place for Jed being ready to go Opening Day and Jed not being ready to go Opening Day.

“The good news is even if he’ snot ready to go Opening Day, we’re not talking about an extended absence. We’re talking about something relatively short. It would be nice to have him in there on Opening Day and he’s a big part of the team this year, but if he’s not it won’t be the end of the world.”

If Lowrie starts the year on the disabled list, it could be backdated until Wednesday, assuming he doesn’t play in any games the rest of the spring. That means if Lowrie started the season on the DL, he would miss the first six games of the regular season.

As far as contingency plays, the Astros still have Rule 5 shortstop Marwin Gonzalez in camp and have brought Brian Bixler and Angel Sanchez back over from Minor League camp.

Meanwhile, center fielder Jordan Schafer, who hasn’t played in nearly two weeks because of a nerve injury in his left hand, was scheduled to take batting practice Saturday. Schafer was supposed to hit on the field Friday, but team doctors wouldn’t allow it.

“Today’s a big day for him,” Mills said.

Lowrie relieved thumb injury not serious

Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie was relieved to learn Friday the MRI performed on his sprained right thumb showed no ligament damage. Lowrie said he’s day-to-day and hopes to be ready for Opening Day in a week.

Lowrie sprained the thumb diving into second base on a pick-off attempt Wednesday and was taken for X-rays, which were negative.

“I got about the best news I could have as far as the MRI is concerned,” Lowrie said. “There is no ligament damage and that’s obviously great news. It’s just a day-to-day thing, until I can go.”

Lowrie said the thumb was already feeling better.

“The inflammation has gone down,” he said. “It’s still pretty sore, but the fact the inflammation has gone down is a good indication it’s going in the right direction. I don’t think I have any restrictions at this point. It’s just do whatever I can, so I’ll take it step by step.”

Lowrie said he’s still not able to grip a bat, however

“I haven’t even tried yet, but I don’t think it’s at that point yet,” he said. “It’s still too sore to the touch. I don’t think there’s any reason to push it when it’s still sore. We’ll get all that taken care of and go from there.”

Lowrie, acquired from the Red Sox along with Kyle Weiland in a December trade, is having a terrific spring. He was hitting .333 with two homers and seven RBIs in 36 at-bats and had a .429 on-base percentage.

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