Results tagged ‘ trade deadline ’

Tumultuous weekend for Astros

What a weekend for the Astros.

When they get back together at Minute Maid Park on Monday afternoon, there should be some introductions in order. In the past 72 hours, the Astros traded away the best hitters in their lineup — outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn — and sent starting third baseman Chris Johnson and first baseman Brett Wallace to the Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Whew.

Instead of Bourn and Pence, fans will have to get to know players like Luis Durango and Jimmy Paredes. Who are they? They are the newest additions to the club and will join the team Monday. There’s a good chance when the Astros hit the field Monday against the Reds they’ll have three players in the lineup who spent most of the season at Double-A Corpus Christi. Houston Hooks, anyone?

With Johnson going to Oklahoma City, it looks as though Paredes will start at third base. He was iffy defensively during Spring Training when he was in the middle of the infield, and he strikes out three times more than he walks. But he’s as athletic as crazy and just 22 years, so I’m anxious to see what he’s got. Just like I’m anxious to see more of J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve.

I’m guessing Carlos Lee plays first base until Wallace returns. Jason Bourgeois will play center field until Schafer is healthy, with J.D. Martinez in left and perhaps Brian Bogusevic in right. Jason Michaels and Durango will be in the mix, too. When Schafer returns in about 10 days, Bourgeois could play right field. This all has to be sorted out.

The times certainly have changed for the Astros, and it’s going to require a large amount of patience from the fans. For the second year in a row, the Astros traded two key players and stocked up on prospects. If they pan out the way the Astros hope, they will be well-positioned for the future. As for now, it’s time to enjoy the kids.

The following links are a recap of the day’s coverage on MLB.com:

Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace talked to me about getting sent to the Minor Leagues

The Astros trade Michael Bourn to the Braves for Jordan Schafer and three prospects

Here’s everything you need to know about the prospects the Astros got from the Braves

Astros CF Michael Bourn talked to MLB.com following the trade and gave his thoughts

Astros general manager Ed Wade tried to trade Wandy Rodriguez, but they will try to slip him through waivers and try to deal him in August

On a final note: I’m taking the next few days off, but will be back in the saddle later this week. Thanks for turning to MLB.com for the best coverage of the Astros at the Trade Deadline.

Bourn reflects on time in Houston

A few hours after being traded to the Braves, center fielder Michael Bourn spoke with MLB.com via telephone about the deal, his time in Houston and his future in Atlanta.

“I’m happy I’m joining them, but at the same time I didn’t want to leave my hometown,” said Bourn, a Houston native. “That’s part of playing baseball and part of what you do.”

As the Trade Deadline grew closer and the rumors picked up, Bourn had a sense he could be on the move.  The Astros sent Bourn to the Braves less than 48 hours after they sent two-time All-Star right field Hunter Pence to the Phillies.

In exchange for the speedy Bourn, the Astros received outfielder Jordan Schafer from the Braves and three Minor League pitchers – left-hander Brett Oberholtzer and right-handers Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu.

“They’re trying to rebuild and reload,” Bourn said. “I understand that. There are no hard feelings involved. I knew what was going on. I told everyone else, when I saw Hunter go there might be a possibility I’m going, too. That’s a part of what happens sometimes.”

Like Pence, Bourn is going from the team with the worst record to a playoff contender.

“I know they’re good,” he said. “I know that much, alright. But other than that, I don’t know a whole bunch about them. I know they’re a first-class organization from what I hear. I’m happy to be part of that and see how I fit in.”

Here are some other news items from Sunday:

  • General manager Ed Wade announced that OF Luis Durango has been recalled from Triple- A Oklahoma City to replace Bourn on the 25-man roster. Durango was claimed off waivers from San Diego on June 29 and was hitting .278 in 25 games at Oklahoma City with 13 stolen bases as the RedHawks centerfielder. The 25-year-old has Major League experience, spending parts of 2009 and 2010 with the Padres, hitting .305 in 37 games with seven steals.
  • RHP Brandon Lyon has been transferred to the 60-day DL.
  • OF Jordan Schafer and RHP Juan Abreu have been placed on the 40-man roster. Abreu has been optioned to Triple A Oklahoma City.

 

Pence still an Astro, for now

The Astros remain in intense trade talks regarding All-Star right fielder Hunter Pence on Friday afternoon, specifically with the Philadelphia Phillies.

MLB.com has confirmed Pence was briefly removed from the lineup prior to Thursday’s game in St. Louis because of potential trade, but wound up staying in the order and going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles in the Astros’ win. Pence was in the lineup on Friday night for Houston’s series opener against the Brewers, batting fourth.

Although there are reports the Astros and Phillies have discussed a three-team deal, a person close to the situation told MLB.com Friday that a two-team swap remains Houston’s focus. The Astros are coveting several prospects for Pence, who’s the top name on the trade market in the wake of the Carlos Beltran trade.

The Atlanta Braves are also reportedly in the mix for Pence’s services, along with the Reds and a handful of other teams.

Astros general manager Ed Wade had no comment.

The Astros are also getting heavy interest about Gold Glove center fielder Michael Bourn, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and, to a lesser extent, right-hander Brett Myers. The non-waiver Trade Deadline is 3 p.m. CT on Sunday.

Pence, 28, is hitting .309 with 11 homers and 62 RBIs for the Astros and made the National League All-Star team for the second time. He’s making $6.9 million this season and still has two years of arbitration remaining, so any team acquiring him would have him under control for at least two more seasons.

Astros in numerous conversations

With the Trade Deadline a week away, the Astros are engaged in numerous trade conversations, general manager Ed Wade said on Sunday. Wade has a policy not to discuss trade specifics, but what’s known is outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn – their two best offensive players – have been attracting considerable attention.

Bourn and Pence would come with a steep price tag, which means Houston could be more likely to deal pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers. CSNPhilly.com reported Sunday that Pence is the top target of the Phillies and that they would have be willing to give up outfield prospect Dominic Brown.

Right now, the Astros are open to listening to anything.

“As I’ve indicated before, at the very least we have to be good listeners,” Wade said. “We can always say ‘no’ to anything that we don’t think improves us in the short term or long term. It’s important for us to be proactive on a couple of different fronts as we were with Jeff Keppinger, and at the same time be receptive and responsive to any other inquiries or opportunities that may present themselves.”

Oswalt at his best as trade deadline approaches

Based on the way he’s pitched in the first half of the season, Roy Oswalt‘s trade value has never been higher. Sure, if the Astros are going to trade Oswalt there are other things that will play into it, such as the amount of money he’s owed, his desire to pick where he wants to go and the prospects the Astros will get in return.

But when you talk about the way he’s performed on the mound, he’s been terrific.

Oswalt threw his second career one-hit shutout by beating the Pirates on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep. It was his 19th career complete game and seventh shutout, and was the first Astros’ one-hitter since 2008 (Wandy Rodriguez).

Oswalt made 18 starts in the first half of the season and went 6-10 with a 3.08 ERA, and 15 of those were quality starts. He entered Thursday with the third-lowest run support in the league, which is why he’s 6-10 instead of 10-6 and going to the All-Star Game.

Oswalt said this is the best first half he’s had in the last few years.

“I feel like it is,” he said. “I had a pretty good year in ’05 at the beginning of the season, but overall the last three or four years it’s probably the best I’ve felt.”

There were numerous scouts on hand to watch Oswalt, including those from the Phillies, Twins, Dodgers, Mets and Rays, all of which could be potential trade targets. Oswalt has asked the Astros to trade him to a contender, and non-waiver deadline is three weeks away (July 31).

“That’s the business part of it,” Oswalt said. “The best part of it is when you step across the white lines you don’t have to worry about it. You go out thre and play the game and give 100 percent and that’s all you can ask for yourself.”

What should help to drive up Oswalt’s trade value even more is how well he’s pitched in second halves in his career. He’s 73-58 in the first half in his career, and 70-22 in the second half.

Oswalt has three scheduled starts for the Astros prior to the trade deadline, so if he is dealt he could still have a shot at getting the club’s all-time wins record. He’s sitting on 143 wins, which is one shy of Joe Niekro‘s club record of 144.

“I’ve been here for 10 years now and there’s a lot of great pitchers who have come through here,” he said. “You start talking about names like Nolan [Ryan], [Mike] Scott, [Joe] Niekro and [Larry] Dierker. That’s some pretty good quality names there. Any time you get mentioned in same sentence as them it’s pretty special.”

Oswalt is scheduled to open the second half of the season July 16 against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Could it be one of his his last with the Astros?

 

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