Results tagged ‘ trade ’

Foltynewicz, Ruiz and Thurman react to trade

Mike Foltynewicz saw his name in trade rumors for most of Wednesday, but it wasn’t until general manager Jeff Luhnow called him later in the evening did the rumors become a reality. Foltynewicz, one of the Astros’ top pitching prospects, was heading to the Braves.

The Astros traded Foltynewicz, pitcher Andrew Thurman and third baseman Rio Ruiz in exchange for slugger Evan Gattis and right-hander James Hoyt. The hard-throwing Foltynewicz, who made his Major League debut last year, was expected to compete for a spot in the Astros’ rotation.

“You wake up in the morning and all of a sudden your name has been tossed around in some trade rumors and you’re shocked and waiting around all day and not getting back until 9 o’clock at night to find out you’ve been traded is a little shocking,” he said. “The Astros made my dreams come true. They gave me an opportunity to be in the big leagues, and they need something else right now, so they had to do what they had to do.”

Foltynewicz, the No. 19 overall pick in the ’10 First-Year Player Draft, made his Major League debut at the end of last season after going 7-7 with a 5.08 ERA in 21 games (18 starts) at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He’s looking forward to a new start in Atlanta.

“They gave me a call and said they’re happy to have me in the organization and they’ve got some high expectations and they’re real excited to have me,” he said. “They thought I was a big part of the deal to get traded. That’s my main goal is try to be a starter. That’s what I’ve been molded into my Minor League career, but whatever they want me to do I’ll do it.”

Ruiz was taken in the fourth round of the ’12 Draft after being offered a hefty bonus by the Astros, who signed No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa for less money than some other potential top picks so they could sign Ruiz and Lance McCullers Jr. away from college commits.

Ruiz hit .294 with 11 homers and 77 RBIs last year at Class A Advanced Lancaster, but found himself behind Colin Moran on the depth chart after the Astros acquired the former No. 6 overall pick from the Marlins in July. Moran is coming to spring camp and could be in the lineup at some point this year.

“Today was a little overwhelming, but I’m looking at it as another opportunity to showcase my talents and make my way to the big leagues,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz said he wasn’t sure if he would come to Major League camp.

“I’m sure they’re going to have me go in early and become acclimated with everybody, hopefully a little quicker than going into regular Spring Training,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll go in there early, whether in big league camp or showing up early and seeing faces and getting to know names.”

Thurman, a second-round pick out of UC-Irvine in 2013, was 11-11 with a 4.99 ERA in 38 games (25 starts) in his pro career. He spent last season at Class A Quad Cities, going 7-9 with a 5.38 ERA.

“I don’t know too much about trades and what goes into it,” Thurman said. “I know Evan Gattis is a good player, and I know the Astros are looking to do well at the big league level. And I know they had to give away some stuff to get a good player like him.”

Still, the trade caught him a little off guard.

“But I’m excited to get the opportunity to play for the Braves,” he said

Q and A with Moran and Marisnick

The Astros made a big trade on Thursday, sending right-handed pitcher Jarred Cosart, utility player Kike Hernandez and Minor League outfielder Austin Wates to the Marlins in exchange for outfielder Jake Marisnick, Minor League right-handed pitcher Frances Martes and third baseman Colin Moran, who was the No. 6 overall pick in last year’s Draft. They also received a 2015 Competitive Balance pick.

Here is a question-and-answer session from Moran and Marisnick.

Colin Moran

Q: What’s your reaction to being traded shortly after the Marlins took you so high in the Draft?

A: “It’s pretty surprising. I’ve been traded before. I’ve never even really been in pro ball for a Trade Deadline before. It’s exciting and I’m really happy to be a part of the Astros organization.”

Q: Do you think you’re ready for the jump up to Double-A?

A: “I’m excited for it and can’t wait to get started.

Q: What do you know about the Astros, if anything? Do you know anybody in the organization? How familiar are you with the team?

A: “When it comes to the team, I’m not too familiar. I’m a big baseball fan, so I’m pretty familiar with some guys in the organization. We had a few players drafted last year from (inaudible) so there’s quite a few faces that I’ll recognize.”

Q: Do you think it’s kind of cool that you and Mark Appel end up on the same team?

A: “Yeah. I know from playing in college and seeing him, he’s a great player and I’m excited to be on the same team.”

Q: Can you talk a little bit about you as a player? We can read the scouting report, but can you talk about what you bring and your skill set?

A: “Yeah, I mean, I try to go out there every night and be consistent. I’m a good defensive third baseman and not necessarily a huge power hitter, just more of gap to gap. Just try to hit the ball to all fields, but the big thing is try to be consistent every night.”

Q: Have you spoken with Jeff Luhnow, and if you did, what was the conversation?

A: “I have not. I had a chance to talk with the team, members of the organization. I was just really excited.”

Q: How do you feel about your season so far and is there anything you’ve been working on in particular?

A: “I think it’s been a good season. I learned a lot my first full season, trying to learn how to play every day and the adjustments that go along with it. I think I’ve gotten a lot better as the season’s gone on.”

Q: What would you say your timeline is? Do you think you have another year in the Minors left?

A: “I don’t think like that necessarily. Just trying to do everything I can to get better every day so when I do make it I’ll be ready and have an impact.”

Jake Marisnick

Q: What’s it like to, first of get traded, and come to an organization with a chance to play every day?

A: “It’s exciting. It’s definitely came as a surprise. This is my second time being traded and both times it came as a little bit of a surprise. Just knowing another team wants you to come in and play for them is exciting. I’m really excited for this opportunity. I’m ready to get after it.”

Q: I know they said when [Dexter] Fowler comes back he’ll play center, where are you most comfortable playing if you can’t play center?

A: “It doesn’t matter. Anywhere on the field, anywhere in the lineup is great. I’ll play wherever.”

Q: How important to you is that opportunity to be able to get every day Major League at-bats?

A: “As a young guy, getting out there and being able to play in the Major Leagues against that competition is huge for development and competing and just being able to see that level. It’s great for development.”

Q: How has this season gone for you? You’ve been up and down a little bit, right?

A: “Yeah, it’s been great. I came in and struggled my first month in the Minor Leagues in Triple-A and had a chance to make adjustments and find my way and started to swing the bat a little bit, and every time I go up it’s an opportunity to learn and see how the game’s played at that level. I’m excited to get out there and play.”

Q: Do you know any Astros?

A: “In Triple-A here with the Marlins, we played Oklahoma City a few times and got a chance to know some of the guys, and some of the guys I played against in showcases in high school and stuff. Getting to know them was awesome coming into the organization.”

Q: What’s it like to be joining an organization that’s trending upwards?

A: “It’s awesome. Getting to know some of these players and what they’re capable of and seeing all the young talent they have, it’s exciting. The same thing I came into here — just coming in and playing with young players is always fun, just seeing what they’re capable of and watching them grow and being able to grow with them.”

Q: How has your knee been following offseason surgery?

A: “It’s been awesome. It’s actually feeling better than it had in years. I think it might have been something that happened a while back, and just having that fixed and being able to run the way I’ve been running this year is awesome. I’ve felt great.”

Q: You’ve struggled a little bit in the Majors. Why do you believe that is, and do you think you’ll be able to do a little bit better with this opportunity now?

A: “A lot of people, first time up you put too much pressure on yourself. You want to do, not more than you capable of, but you try to force it to happen. I was able in a few games to let it happen and I was able to play my game and at times I ended up putting too much pressure on myself. I’m looking forward to getting out there and just taking advantage of the opportunity and letting my game come out.”

Q: For people who don’t know you, could you describe your game a little bit and what you would bring to the Astros?

A: “A little bit of everything. I like getting after it and getting dirty and playing hard. That’s kind of how I grew up playing. I played football in high school and that’s kind of carried over into my game on the field and I just like getting after it and playing hard.”


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 “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 “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 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 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.”