Results tagged ‘ trade ’

Astros promote Tucker, trade Chambers

With prospect Preston Tucker on his way to Triple-A Oklahoma City after being promoted from Double-A Corpus Christi on Thursday, the Astros opened a spot on the RedHawks roster by trading outfielder Adron Chambers to the Blue Jays for left-handed pitcher Alejandro Solarte and infielder Will Dupont.

“We felt we’d give Chambers a chance to get with the big league club somewhere else,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said.

The Astros signed Chambers as a left-handed bat who could play all three positions in a reserve role, but Alex Presley has filled that role in Houston. Chambers, 27, was hitting .281 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 25 games for the RedHawks.

Solarte and Dupont are both 19 and will report to Kissimmee, Fla.

“They’re guys we like,” Luhnow said. “We’re trying to fill out our short-season rosters, and we figured if we could find some guys that were already playing that we liked a little bit, that would a good way to get some value back. Our outfield picture [at Oklahoma City] is getting pretty crowded.”

Tucker, who was named to the Texas League All-Star squad, currently leads the league in homers (17) and RBIs (43) while hitting .276 in his 65 games with 17 doubles and a .536 slugging percentage. He will start in the outfield at Oklahoma City along with Domingo Santana and Austin Wates, and Marc Krauss is splitting time between the outfield, designed hitter and first base.

“We have four guys that can play out there,” Luhnow said. “I think Tucker, Santana and Wates need to get regular time, and Krauss needs to work in and get some time first and DH and outfield so he can be that versatile guy for us. It’s a pretty good mix there.”

When asked about any upcoming promotions in the Minor Leagues, Luhnow said nothing is on the front-burner. Several Astros Minor League players have earned All-Star selections in their respective leagues, and Luhnow wants them to enjoy that experience.

Harrell eager for new start, thanks Astros

Lucas Harrell, who began the year by making three starts in the Astros rotation, found himself a new home Monday when the club traded him to the D-backs in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

Harrell went 0-3 with a 9.49 ERA in three starts for the Astros before being designated for assignment on April 16. He was outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City six days later, and it was clear both parties were ready to go in different directions.

He said he’ll join the D-backs’ Triple-A affiliate in Reno, Nevada, in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

“I’m excited,” he told MLB.com “It’s a new opportunity. It’s a fresh start, a chance to go out there and work on some of the things I wasn’t doing well, which was causing me to be unsuccessful with the Astros. Hopefully I’ll get it all corrected and make it back to the big leagues.”

Harrell’s stock had fallen significantly since his breakout 2012 campaign in which he was 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA in 32 starts. He’s at this best when he has his sinker working and is working at a quick tempo and had flashes last year that were reminiscent of the 2012 Harrell. He allowed two or fewer runs in 11 of his 22 starts and finished seventh in the American League with a 1.93 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio.

Harrell had a solid April before having a rough stretch in May in which he went 1-4 with a 7.53 ERA in six starts. By July, he was out of the rotation and banished to the bullpen.

“I had a good year and a half,” he said. “The first of last year was pretty good and then I struggled. I kind of got what I deserved because you don’t pitch well you don’t get an opportunity to stay.”

Claimed off waivers from the White Sox in July 2011, Harrell wound up being the Astros most effective starting pitcher in 2012 before going 6-17 with a 5.86 ERA in 36 games (22 starts) in 2013.

Harrell on Monday thanked former owner Drayton McLane and general manager Ed Wade in showing faith in him and current GM Jeff Luhnow in giving him a chance.

“The fans were great,” Harrell said. “Hopefully, [the Astros] will get everything figured out, what they want to figure out, and they can start winning some ballgames for the city. The city will be behind the team if they’re winning, and hopefully they can get back to where they were in 2005.”

Facing Norris will be ‘weird’ for Astros

Tonight will be flat-out weird. The Astros are going to face off against former teammate Bud Norris, who was traded to the Orioles on Wednesday in exchange for outfielder L.J. Hoes, left-handed pitching prospect Josh Hader and a Competitive Balance Draft pick.

Norris has spent his whole career with the Astros and will be wearing orange and black tonight instead of orange and blue. He’s pitching in a pennant race for the first time in his career, so how will he respond? The Astros aren’t exactly the 1927 Yankees, but on Wednesday they bashed out 15 hits and 11 runs. Wonder what Bud was thinking?

Astros catcher Jason Castro said tonight’s game will unusual.

“It will be interesting,” he said. “It’s kind of weird, kind of surreal, I think now just having caught him so much I don’t think I’m going to have to watch any video on him tomorrow, but we’ll see. It will be fun and hopefully we can put up something similar to what we did [Wednesday}. It would be nice. Keep swinging it. He’ll do just fine over there, but hopefully that starts after we’re out of here.”

When the Astros traded Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates last year, his first start came against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Rodriguez went six innings against the Astros and allowed six hits and three runs.

This feels different. Norris was in the Astros clubhouse yesterday, took the team bus to the ballpark. Now he’s on the other side.

“He’s going to definitely try to have a good day and hopefully we stay with our approaches sand everything that’s been working the last couple of days,” Castro said. “We know what to expect as far as the stuff that he’s gotten and how he’s going to attack a little bit. We’ll see how he’ll adjust, and it will be fun.”

Norris excited for opportunity in Baltimore

Bud Norris, one of the few remaining players from the Astros’ previous regime, is on his way to a pennant race.

The Astros finally pulled of a deal just minutes before Wednesday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, sending Norris to the Orioles in exchange for outfielder L.J. Hoes and another player.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” Norris told MLB.com. “I’m very thankful for Houston and the organization for everything they’ve done for me and given to me. You get drafted by them and come through the Minor League system and play here for four years. Houston’s been my home for a long time. It will be hard to leave a lot of it behind me, but as I look forward I’m excited to play in Baltimore. They’ve got a great city and a great, young team. They play together and play very hard. I’m excited to go to postseason and make a run at something.”

Norris, 28, is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 21 starts for the Astros, but was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday in Baltimore, only adding to speculation a trade was in the works. At a $3 million annual salary, Norris was the Astros’ highest-paid player and is under club control for two more years beyond 2013.

Norris, the longest current tenured member of the team, has seen more than 12 trades in the last few years, with many teammates leaving Houston for greener pastures. The list includes Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Lance Berkman, Michael Bourn, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Chris Johnson, J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon.

“I really wanted to get an opportunity play in the postseason,” he said. “You play in the big leagues to go out there to win to be the best you can be. It’s been a tough stretch the last four years in Houston and I’ve seen a lot of people get traded from them. I’ve prepared for it and I’m really excited for the opportunity to pitch in Baltimore.”

The trade punches a huge hole in the Astros’ rotation, but they have some arms coming in the Minor Leagues. Jarred Cosart, one of their top pitching prospects, made his debut earlier this month and more young arms could follow.

With Norris off the books, the Astros’ highest-paid player is veteran left-hander Erik Bedard, who’s making $1.15 million. The only other player making more than $1 million is relief pitcher Wesley Wright at $1.025 million.

The Astros traded closer Jose Veras to the Tigers on Monday in chance for outfield prospect Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later. Vasquez was the No. 4-ranked prospect in the Tigers system and was sent to Class A Quad Cities.

Norris says next 24 hours will be ‘pretty interesting’

Bud Norris, his heading swirling full of emotions about 24 hours prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, told reporters Tuesday afternoon in Baltimore he remains committed to the Astros, but wouldn’t mind getting a chance to play for a contender.

Norris got a call earlier that morning from manager Bo Porter, informing him he wasn’t going to get the ball in the series opener against the Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. He wasn’t traded, but the Astros wanted to sit him out as a precaution.

“They scratched me for a lot of reasons,” he said. “So it’s a little unfortunate. I wanted to go out there and pitch, but I understand there’s a lot of stuff flying around me. I’m here to support my teammates tonight and just go out and see what happens. I just have to be prepared for both ends of it. You could stay, you could go. So I’ve been concentrating on pitching here, and that’s what I’ve done for the last four years and it hasn’t changed yet, so that’s the way my focus is going to be. It’s out of my hands.”

Even as he repeatedly checked his phone in the clubhouse, Norris found time to escape the rumor mill by playing cards with teammates – the same teammates who stood behind him and jokingly read a fake report from the television that he had been traded.

Norris wouldn’t handicap whether he would be with the Astros in a day.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t want to put any numbers on it. Everybody speculates where I could go and stuff like that. It’s out of my hands. It’s the GM and the front office, and I just want to play baseball for wherever I am and right now. I’m still an Astro and that’s where my focus is.

Norris, the longest current tenured member of the team, has seen more than 12 trades in the last few years, with many teammates leaving Houston for greener pastures. He admits he can’t help but wonder what it would be like to pitch for a contender.

“Absolutely,” he said. “That’s why you play the game, is to compete and go out and win. We’ve been through it the last couple of years here, but to see 10-plus players I’ve seen [traded] in my four years is pretty crazy and I know now that maybe I’m the next piece…

“Like I said, I just want what’s best for me and my family and my future, and I’m very thankful for the Astros and everything they gave me. If they decide otherwise, I understand the reasons behind it and I still wish them well. I have to be a little selfish and take care of myself.”

Norris admitted the last few days have been nerve-wracking.

“And exciting at the same time,” he said. “My emotions are here and there and everywhere. I’m glad I had an off day [Monday] to give me time to relax and rest up. The next 24 hours will be pretty interesting.”

Norris scratched as three teams pursue him

The Astros scratched Bud Norris from his scheduled start Tuesday night against the Orioles and will instead send Lucas Harrell to the mound.

Norris, who’s on the trading block, has yet been dealt and was expected to be at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in an Astros uniform later in the day. The Astros are pulling him from the game as a precaution in advance of Wednesday’s 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline.

A source told MLB.com on Tuesday three teams were hard after Norris, including the Orioles, who are in contention in the American League East, but no deal is imminent.

Norris, 28, is 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 21 starts and is on pace to throw 200 innings for the first time in his career. He certainly could help plug a hole in the rotation of a contending team and the Astros are still trying to acquire as many prospects as they can.

Astros acquire outfielder for Veras

The Astros have acquired outfielder Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Jose Veras.

Vasquez, 19, has spent the 2013 season at Class A West Michigan where he has hit .281 (105-for-374) with 16 doubles, five triples, five homers and 39 RBIs in 96 games. He is currently ranked by MLB.com as the Tigers’ No. 4 prospect and will report to Class A Quad Cities.

“There was some significant interest in Veras,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “Obviously, he’s been successful in the bullpen and we’re going to miss him. Really, I felt like this was an opportunity to improve our organization as a whole for a player who can help a playoff-contending team.

“I really like the player we got back. I’ve been following him since he was an international free agent, and he’s at the A ball level and you plug him into Quad Cities with [Rio] Ruiz, [Carlos] Correa and the pitchers there, it’s a pretty formidable group there and pretty exciting. He’s young and has a tremendous upside. He has the potential to be hit in the middle of the lineup.”

Veras signed with the Astros during the off-season and went 0-4 with a 2.93 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 2013. He recorded 19 saves in 22 opportunities, including 11 in a row. The trade leaves the Astros with a huge void at closer in a bullpen that was already struggling to protect leads.

“There’s an opportunity in our bullpen for guys to step and take advantage of the opportunity that presents itself,” Luhnow said. “We’ll see. You can never tell how someone is going to react in the ninth inning until they’re in that situation. There are guys who have the ability to do it. They’ll have an opportunity for sure.”

With the trade deadline coming Wednesday, the Astros could still deal starting pitcher Bud Norris, but nothing is imminent.

“There’s nothing close at this point, but we still have two and a half days to go and still a lot of activity could happen, even though nothing’s close,” Luhnow said.

Norris could be facing final few days with Astros

The Astros play their second to last game before the Trade Deadline when they meet the Blue Jays on Sunday. The team is off on Monday before opening a series in Baltimore, where right-handed Bud Norris will get the ball in the series opener. Norris remains the center of trade talks and could be dealt prior to Tuesday or in the hours before Wednesday afternoon’s deadline.

Norris is 0-2 with an 8.47 ERA in his last three starts, and manager Bo Porter spoke to him last week about the importance of worrying about pitching and ignoring any rumors. Porter thinks Norris is in a better frame of mind now.

“I explained this Bud in several conversations in which we’ve had as it relates to this whole trade rumor: the best thing you can do is go out and play,” Porter said. “I don’t have a crystal ball, Bud Norris doesn’t have a crystal ball. None of us are psychic. We can’t predict what’s going to happen. Is there a probability? Yes, because he’s a commodity in which other people would like to have, but at the same time he’s a commodity for us as well.

“Like I said to him, just go out and pitch and don’t worry about what the next day is going to bring and whether you’re going to be here or someplace else. Let the decision-makers that are making those decisions be able to be allowed them to make the decisions and you control the portion of this that’s in your hands, which is your performance.”

Relief pitcher Jose Veras could also be moved prior to Wednesday, and Porter acknowledged there’s a chance some deals could be made.

“When you have players other teams are interested in, you’re bouncing a bunch of things off the wall,” Porter said. “Obviously, I’m here on the field with the day to day, so I’m not privileged to all the many conversation in which they’re having, but [general manager] Jeff [Luhnow] and I are in communication in relations to the different teams that are interested in our players.”

Astros deal Martinez for Minor League arm

Outfielder Fernando Martinez, who appeared in 52 games for the Astros over the past two seasons, was sent to the Yankees in a trade on Tuesday. The Astros acquired right-handed pitcher Charles Basford, who will report to Tri-City.

Martinez, who was at Triple-A Oklahoma City, hit .182 with one homer and three RBIs in 11 games with the Astros this year before being designated for assignment. He batted .237 with six homers and 14 RBIs last year for Houston, but had an inability to stay healthy.

Basford, a 37th-round pick by the Yankees last year, made his first appearance of the season Monday for Staten Island and allowed four hits, including a homer, in two innings. The 22-year-old right-hander was drafted out of Samford University.

A former top prospect of the Mets who was claimed off waivers prior to the 2012 season by Houston, Martinez battled for a spot in the Astros’ outfield to start the season, but wound up beginning the season on the disabled list.

Martinez in February was among five baseball players connected to a South Florida clinic that’s been linked to performance-enhancing drugs, according to an ESPN “Outside the Lines” report.

Astros add to bullpen depth with Blackley

Left-handed pitcher Travis Blackley was sent to the Astros from the Oakland A’s on Thursday in exchange for Triple-A outfielder Jake Goebbert. Blackley, who was designated for assignment six days ago, will be in uniform for the Astros when they open a three-game series against the A’s on Friday at Minute Maid Park.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Blackley will be used in long relief.

“He’s a left-handed long man, which is something we’ve been trying to figure out how to work into our roster,” Luhnow said. “He had a lot of success as a starter and we believe that will translate well into our bullpen. We did have our scouts see him this spring and there was a long list of players that became available as the season started when everybody cut down to 25 [players]. He was at the top of our list, and we made a few phone calls and got it done.”

Blackley played a key role in the A’s run to the AL West title in 2012, going 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA. He struck out 69 batters and walked 30 in 102 2/3 innings. The southpaw has pitched over 1,100 innings in the Minors.

The Astros will have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster on Friday, but Luhnow said adding Blackley gives them more flexibility.

“There’s some good lineups we’re going to be facing with left-handed hitters, and four of our five rotation guys are right-handed, so if you follow them up with a left-handed long man, it gives you a platoon advantage that’s nice to have,” he said. “He’s been effective against lefties and righties.”

Blackley has held right-handers to a .269 batting average and left-handers to a .243 batting average in his career, which has included stops in Seattle and San Francisco. He’s one of three Astros players who played for the A’s organization last year, joining starting pitcher Brad Peacock and outfielder Chris Carter.

Peacock and Carter came to Houston two months ago in the trade that sent Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez to Oakland. <p>

Goebbert, a 13th-round Draft pick from Northwestern in 2009, spent the majority of the 2012 season in Double-A Corpus Christi, where he hit .304 with a .399 on-base percentage. The 25-year-old has 176 walks to 262 strikeouts in more than 1,500 Minor League at-bats.

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