Results tagged ‘ trade ’

Luhnow excited to add more talent to system

More has been written about the players the Astros have dealt in the past few weeks, proven veterans like Brett Myers, Carlos Lee and Wandy Rodriguez, than the bushel of players the Astros have gotten in return.

That’s natural when you consider the prospects the team has acquired are unknown commodities, but general manager Jeff Luhnow likes what the Astros were able to do in Tuesday’s trade of Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates.

The Astros sent Rodriguez to the Pirates and acquired left-handed pitchers Rudy Owens and Colton Cain and outfielder Robbie Grossman. Owens is on the 40-man roster and headed to Triple-A Oklahoma City, Grossman is going to Double-A Corpus Christi and Cain is headed to Class A Lancaster.

In all, the Astros have acquired 11 Minor League players and two players to be named later in four July trades.

“We’ve accumulated quite a lot of talent in our system, and it’s everywhere – from rookie ball to Triple-A – and we feel good about that,” Luhnow said.

Owens, 24, has posted an 8-5 record and a 3.14 ERA in 19 starts for Triple-A Indianapolis this season. He has 85 strikeouts and has walked only 25 in his 117 1/3 innings pitched. Owens, who will join the club’s 40-man roster, was Pittsburgh’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009 and 2010.

“To have a left-handed starting pitcher that’s that close to the big leagues is huge for us,” Luhnow said.

Grossman, 22, was hitting .262 with 20 doubles, seven home runs, 35 RBIs and a .374 on-base percentage in 94 games for Double-A Altoona this season. Primarily a center fielder, Grossman was named Pittsburgh’s Minor League Player of the Year last year after hitting .294 and leading the Florida State League with 124 runs scored and 104 walks in 134 games.  The switch-hitting Grossman is currently ranked by MLB.com as Pittsburgh’s No. 7 prospect. He was originally a sixth-round selection in the 2008 Draft out of Cy-Fair High School in Houston.

“Grossman has a unique ability to get on base, and it’s something we’ve always liked,” Luhnow said. “He did it in high school when he was here in Houston and he’s done it his entire career. He really profiles as a good, plus center fielder who can lead off and get on base at a high clip.

“Something we’ve stressed all year with this club is pitch selection and not chasing and getting on base and doing the things that set up for big innings. We’ve done better, but we haven’t executed that as well as I would like to see. We’re doing a lot of reenforcing of that playing style in the Minor Leagues, and so we get someone who excels in that. He’s the first Minor League player to have 100 walks and 100 runs since Nick Swisher, who’s well-known for that kind of stuff. He has tremendous offensive upside for us and can play defense.”

Cain, 21, is 3-5 this season with a 4.20 ERA in 16 starts for Class A Bradenton in the Florida State League. He has allowed just a .242 opponent’s batting average, including a .226 mark against right-handed hitters. A graduate of Waxahachie High School in Texas, Cain was considered one of the top high school players in the state before being selected by Pittsburgh in the eighth round of the 2009 Draft.

Wandy on his way to Pittsburgh

Wandy Rodriguez, the last remnant from the Astros’ 2005 National League championship team, was shipped to the Pirates on Tuesday night in the latest of a flurry of deals Houston has made this month.

Rodriguez told MLB.com getting traded was difficult, especially when he went into the dugout and hugged teammates and coaches before leaving the ballpark. He’ll join the Pirates when they arrive in Houston on Thursday.

“I feel like I could cry,” he said. “It’s a hard situation. We’ve been together for years in Spring Training and through the season and when he I said goodbye to my teammates, it was very emotional.”

Rodriguez, signed by the Astros as an un-drafted free agent in 1999, had been in the organization for more than 13 years.

“I’ve been in this organization for a long time,” he said. “The city and the fans have been great to me.”

That being said, Rodriguez understands the club is headed in a new direction as it rebuilds.

“I understand for the Astros organization, they want young guys,” he said. “Pittsburgh is very, very good and playing really good now.”

The Astros, who also sent cash to the Pirates, also acquired left-handed pitchers Rudy Owens and Colton Cain and outfielder Robbie Grossman. It’s the third trade the Astros have made in a span of five days as they continue to stockpile Minor League talent.

“Wandy has been a terrific pitcher for the Astros for a long time,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “Trading a player like Wandy is not easy, but we know this deal is a very good one for us, the Pirates and for Wandy. We thank him for all he has done for the Astros and wish him continued success.”

Rodriguez was 80-83 with a 4.04 ERA in his seven seasons in Houston. He’s struck out more batters than any left-hander in Astros history and is second on the team’s all-time charts among lefties in starts (218), wins and innings pitched (1,306 2/3).

Rodriguez, 33, is making $10 million this season and $13 million next year. There’s a $13 million option for 2014 that essentially kicks because Rodriguez is traded. It’s unknown how much money the Astros are sending in the deal.

Owens, 24, has posted an 8-5 record and a 3.14 ERA in 19 starts for Triple-A Indianapolis this season. He has 85 strikeouts and has walked only 25 in his 117 1/3 innings pitched. Owens, who will join the club’s 40-man roster, was Pittsburgh’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009 and 2010.

Grossman, 22, was hitting .262 with 20 doubles, seven home runs, 35 RBIs and a .374 on-base percentage in 94 games for Double-A Altoona this season. Primarily a center fielder, Grossman was named Pittsburgh’s Minor League Player of the Year last year after hitting .294 and leading the Florida State League with 124 runs scored and 104 walks in 134 games.

The switch-hitting Grossman is currently ranked by MLB.com as Pittsburgh’s No. 7 prospect. He was originally a sixth-round selection in the 2008 Draft out of Cy-Fair High School in Houston.

Cain, 21, is 3-5 this season with a 4.20 ERA in 16 starts for Class A Bradenton in the Florida State League. He has allowed just a .242 opponent’s batting average, including a .226 mark against right-handed hitters. A graduate of Waxahachie High School in Texas, Cain was considered one of the top high school players in the state before being selected by Pittsburgh in the eighth round of the 2009 Draft. <p>

Myers happy to be headed to White Sox

The Astros continued to restock their farm system on Saturday by trading veteran pitcher Brett Myers and cash considerations to the White Sox in exchange for right-handed pitcher Matt Heidenreich, left-handed pitcher Blair Walters and a player to be named later.

Myers spoke exclusively to MLB.com on Saturday about the trade, saying he was excited to be going to a White Sox team that’s in first place in the American League Central.

“They’re in first place,” he said. “I’m pumped about that and to play for a team that’s fighting for a championship. That’s why I play the game, to win championships.”

Myers, who closed for the Phillies in 2007, has saved 19 of 21 games this year for the Astros in his return to closer. He has a $10 million option for 2013 that vests if he finishes 45 games this year. He has finished 29 games so far. There’s a $3 million buyout if the option doesn’t vest.

The Astros are expected to pick up most of the remainder of Myers’ $11-million contract for this year.

“I was happy they gave me an opportunity to re-establish myself as a starter, and this year they needed a closer,” Myers said. “They had a couple of guys to pick from and they asked me to do it and I was happy to do it. I had a good time there. It was good for my family and everything and it was a good place to play. I guess it just didn’t work out in the end for us.”

Myers, 31, signed a one-year deal with the Astros prior to the 2010 season and went 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA in 33 starts, earning him a two-year contract extension from former general manager Ed Wade. Myers went 7-14 with a 4.46 ERA in 2011 before being moved to closer prior to this year.\“Brett showed that he was a real team player by going to the bullpen for us and was very successful as our closer,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “We appreciate everything he has done for us.”

On Friday, The Astros shipped veteran starting pitcher J.A. Happ, veteran reliever Brandon Lyon and Minor League reliever David Carpenter to Toronto in exchange for seven players – reliever Francisco Cordero, outfielder Ben Francisco, four Minor League prospects and a player to be named later.

It’s the third major trade Luhnow has pulled off this month, having sent Carlos Lee to the Marlins on July 4 in exchange for two prospects. Earlier this year, he shipped veteran catcher Humberto Quintero and outfielder Jason Bourgeois to Kansas City for two Minor Leaguers.

Heidenreich (6-5, 185) was 9-4 with a 3.95 ERA in 18 combined starts at Class A Winston-Salem and Dobule-A Birmingham with two complete games and a shutout. The 21-year-old, who was the White Sox fourth-round selection in the 2009 draft, has a 25-17 record in four Minor League seasons with a 3.87 ERA in 75 appearances (56 starts). He will be assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi.

Walters, 22, was 4-6 with a 3.96 ERA in 18 combined starts with Class A Kannapolis and Class A Winston-Salem this season while tallying 93 strikeouts in 97 2/3 innings with 22 walks. Walters, who was taken in the 11th round of the 2011 Draft by the White Sox, has a 13-6 record in his two Minor League seasons with a 3.99 ERA in 32 appearances (31 starts) with 165 strikeouts in 171 1/3 innings of work. He will be assigned to Class A Lancaster.

“The pitchers we are receiving are talented young prospects with big-league upside,” Luhnow said. “They have had success in their young careers and we’re excited to add them to the mix.”

Carlos Lee era is over in Houston

Only days after they were unable to complete a deal to send Carlos Lee to the Dodgers, the Astros on Wednesday pulled off a trade to send the 36-year-old veteran to the Marlins. The Astros will get Minor League third baseman Matt Dominguez and left-hander Rob Rasmussen in return.

Dominguez will report to the Astros on Thursday in Pittsburgh, while Rasmussen will report to Double-A Corpus Christi.

“Carlos has been an important part of our team and our community in Houston for almost six seasons and he will be missed,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “We made this move with an eye towards the future, and are very excited about adding Dominguez and Rasmussen to our talent base. Both players have a bright future.”

Lee was pulled from the Astros’ loss to the Pirates at PNC Park in the middle of the seventh inning Wednesday, and by the time reporters were allowed in the clubhouse following the game his locker had been cleaned out and he was gone.

The move paves the way for Brett Wallace to be called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City and finish the year at first base. Wallace has been putting up big numbers in the Minors and performed well in 11 games with the Astros earlier this month, hitting .333 with two homers and four RBIs.

The trade comes as no surprise for an Astros team that’s rebuilding and looking to add more young players. Lee was in the final year of a six-year, $100-million contract and represented one of the last holdovers from an era when the Astros were still competing for playoff spots on yearly basis.

Lee was having poorest offensive showing with the Astros, hitting .287 with only five home runs and 29 RBIs in 66 games. His power has dropped dramatically from the first four years of his contract when he averaged more than 30 homers and drove in more than 100 runs.

It’s not known if the Marlins are paying any of the roughly $9 million Lee is owed this year.

The Astros nearly sent Lee to the Dodgers last weekend and were awaiting his approval on the deal before the Dodgers backed out. Lee has a limited no-trade clause, which means there are 14 teams to which his contract can’t be assigned. The Marlins were not on his list, so he couldn’t block the trade.

Barely a year removed from reaching the World Series in 2005, the Astros signed Lee the day after Thanksgiving in 2006 with hopes he could get them over the hump. A veteran club that included Craig Biggio, Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman had a winning record only once – 86-75 in 2008 – after signing Lee and began to sudden show its age.

The Astros signaled they were rebuilding beginning in 2010 when they traded Oswalt and Berkman, two of the most accomplished players in franchise history, and last year moved up-and-coming outfielder Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn for more prospects.

Lee was moved from left field to first base after Berkman was traded.

Astros GM Jeff Luhnow took over last December and has said he wants to continue to infuse young talent into an increasingly improving Minor League system. Luhnow will probably also try to move veteran starter Wandy Rodriguez and veteran pitcher Brett Myers prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Dominguez was the Marlins 12th overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

The third baseman out of Chatsworth High School near Los Angeles, Dominguez is regarded as a standout defensive player who has had his struggles at the plate. In 78 games with Triple-A New Orleans, the 23-year-old batted .234 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs in 78 games.

When the Marlins moved Hanley Ramirez to third base, it blocked Dominguez’s path to the big leagues.

Rasmussen, a 23-year-old lefty, was 4-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 16 starts at Class A Jupiter. He was recently promoted to Double-A. The Marlins selected Rasmussen in the second round out of UCLA in 2010.

Lee-to-Dodgers deal is off

Tired of waiting for an answer from Astros first baseman Carlos Lee whether he would waive his limited no-trade clause, the Dodgers have pulled their trade offer, according a baseball source.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow didn’t return a message seeking comment.

Lee said following Sunday’s game against the Cubs that he still hadn’t made a decision on whether to accept the trade, though several of his teammates believed the slugger wanted to stay with the Astros. Lee was pulled into manager Brad Mills’ office upon his arrival at Wrigley Field for a closed-door meeting and left with the club for Pittsburgh on Sunday night.

Lee said Saturday he was informed by Luhnow he would be sent to Dodgers in a trade if he approved the deal. Lee, in the final year of six-year, $100-million contract, has a limited no-trade clause and would have to waive it to be sent to Los Angeles. He has given the Astros a list of 14 teams to which his contract may not be assigned (he had the ability to change that list at the end of last year). The limited no-trade supersedes his 10-5 rights to veto any trade.

Brian McTaggart

Lee expects to decide by Sunday to accept trade

Astros first baseman Carlos Lee expects to make a decision by Sunday whether he’ll accept a proposed trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After going 0-for-4 and hitting into a double play in the Astros’ 3-2 loss to the Cubs on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field, Lee admitted the weight of trying to decide whether to accept the trade to the Dodgers or stay in Houston has been difficult.

“That’s why I’ll probably decide by tomorrow. Either I’m going or not,” he said. “I’m going to sit down and talk to my wife tonight.”

Lee said prior to the game he was briefed by general manager Jeff Luhnow about the situation earlier in the day. Lee has a limited no-trade clause and said he would have to approve a trade to the Dodgers.

“I met with Jeff this morning and he told me what’s going on and let’s see what happens,” Lee said.

Lee did confirm the Dodgers have made an offer for the 36-year slugger who was hitting .285 with five homers and 29 RBIs this year. His power numbers have dropped off dramatically – he hasn’t any homers on the road – from earlier in his career, but he’s struck out only 17 times in 242 at-bats and could flourish in a better lineup.

“L.A. has made an offer,” Lee said. “I just told Jeff I want to see my options. I just want to wait and see what my options are.”

Luhnow said Saturday he has a policy not to discuss trades.

“The information you guys have learned from Carlos, that’s fine,” he said. “But I’m not going to add anything to that at this point.”

When Lee signed his six-year, $100-million deal with the Astros the day after Thanksgiving in 2006, the team one was year removed from the World Series and identified him as the big bat it needed to help get the team over the top. He delivered in his first three years with Houston, hitting .305 with an average of 29 homers and 107 RBIs.

Over the next few years, however, the Astros began cutting payroll and were hampered by an overall lack of talent in the Minor Leagues. Management realized it needed to rebuild, and Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt were traded for prospects in 2010. Young stars Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence followed in 2011.

Lee’s limited no-trade clause means he has to give the Astros a list of 14 teams to which his contract may not be assigned (he had the ability to change that list at the end of last year). The limited no-trade supersedes his 10-5 rights to veto any trade.

Lee, who has about $9 million remaining on his contract this season, has deep business ties in Texas and owns and operates a large ranch not far from Houston. When asked if he’d like to finish out the season in Houston or go to a contending club, Lee said that consideration would factor into his decision.

“That’s one of the things I have to think about,” he said. “There ain’t much I can tell you right now.”

One of the players that could be set to come to Houston in a potential deal is Dodgers pitching prospect Garrett Gould, who was scratched Friday from his scheduled start for Class A Rancho Cucamonga.

Astros send Quintero, Bourgeois to Royals

The Astros have traded catcher Humberto Quintero and center fielder Jason Bourgeois to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Minor League lefthander Kevin Chapman and a player to be named later.

Both players hugged teammates and said their goodbyes as they left the facility following Tuesday’s game. Bourgeois was scheduled to start Tuesday against the Cardinals but was scratched just before first pitch. Quintero was supposed to play in the second half of the game, but he wound up not playing.

“It was a great opportunity to get my first full season in and now somebody wants me,” Bourgeois said. “I’ll always have place in my heart for Houston. I grew up there, so I think that says a lot.”

The 24-year-old Chapman, who was selected by KC in the fourth round of the 2010 June Draft out of the University of Florida, was one of the top strikeout pitchers in the Texas League while at Northwest Arkansas in 2011. In 25 relief appearances, he tallied 50 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings pitched while totaling three saves.

Chapman began the 2011 season at Class A Wilmington where he struck out 40 batters in just 22 1/3 innings in 15 appearances with seven saves. His combined stats for 2011 were a 1-4 mark with a 4.94 ERA in 40 appearances with 10 saves and 90 strikeouts in 62 innings.

“Jason and Humberto were a big part of this team last year and both will be missed,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement. “They are quality players and well-liked in Houston.  This deal gives us an opportunity to add prospect depth and we are excited about both players coming our way.”

 Bourgeois, a 30-year-old Houston native, appeared in 93 games last year for the Astros, hitting .294 with 16 RBIs and 31 stolen bases. He was considered one of the favorites for the backup outfielder role, but the Astros added depth in that department in the offseason by bringing in Travis Buck, Jack Cust and Fernando Martinez, among others.

“It’s bittersweet,” Bourgeois said. “You always want to have a uniform on. I’m going to another organization and I’m glad somebody wants me.”

Bourgeois is a career .262 hitter with 46 stolen bases in 192 career Major League games with the White Sox and Astros, who claimed him off waivers in 2009.

Quintero, 32, is a hard-nosed backup catcher who has been with the club since 2005, the second-longest tenure on the team outside of Wandy Rodriguez. The strong-armed Quintero has spent parts of nine seasons in the big leagues and last year started 73 games at catcher when Jason Castro was lost for the season.

“I got my house and everything in Houston and I’m going to miss everybody here,” Quintero said. “Baseball is baseball and I’m going to go someplace else I get more opportunity to play.”

With Castro missing all of last year following knee surgery and undergoing foot surgery in December, the Astros signed Chris Snyder off the free agent market to add some depth at catcher. Castro is completely healthy

Quintero was bothered by a bulging disk in his back early in the spring, but the Royals had been scouting him for days as they search for a replacement for the injured Sal Perez. Quintero is a career .234 hitter with 15 homers and 94 RBIs in 379 career games.

Oswalt, Pence return. Will you cheer or boo?

For the first time since they were traded to the Phillies, pitcher Roy Oswalt and right fielder Hunter Pence return to Minute Maid Park for tonight’s game against the Astros. Oswalt has been with the Phillies for more than a year, but this will be his first trip to Houston in those red shoes. Pence was traded just a few weeks ago and is flourishing with the best team in baseball.

Oswalt, who left in Houston one win shy of tying the franchise record for wins, asked Astros management for a trade last year when he didn’t like the direction the club was headed. Pence certainly didn’t ask for a trade, but the Astros were in payroll-trimming mode and were able to land some of the Phillies top prospects in exchange for the high-flying outfielder.

Earlier this year when Lance Berkman made his return to Minute Maid Park with the Cardinals, he received a nice ovation. Not surprising, since he’s one of the most popular players in franchise history. Pence and Oswalt are in the same category. But Astros fans haven’t always been so kind to those who have returned in different uniforms.

Carlos Beltran, who spent only four months in Houston and had a legendary performance in the 2004 playoffs, still gets booed six years after he shunned the Astros and signed a big-money deal with the Mets. Brad Lidge, the closer during the terrific playoff seasons in 2004 and 2005, still gets booed as well, which is a little strange. I’m guessing it has to do with giving up his homer to Albert Pujols in Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS than it does anything else. Lidge was a model citizen and good player in Houston.

So, what will be it be, Astros fans? Boos or cheers for Oswalt and Pence?

Bourn prefers Houston

For the second day in a row, the Astros clubhouse was filled with anxiety as everyone wondered if more players were on their way out the door. The Astros traded Hunter Pence to the Phillies on Friday, and were reportedly in talks with the Braves for a possible deal for Michael Bourn.

The Astros’ efforts to trade outfielder Bourn were picking up steam on Friday evening, according to multiple reports. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported Saturday it’s growing more likely Bourn will be dealt before Sunday’s 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Bourn said Saturday he’d prefer to stay in Houston, his hometown.

“Yeah, of course,” he said. “I don’t control that. There’s nothing I can do about that. There’s nothing I can say because everybody knew [Hunter] wanted to stay here and he had no control. Sometimes the business side takes over the love side. You’ve got to understand that.”

Bourn was trying to stay focused as much as possible.

“I know it was a little tough for Hunter,” Bourn said. “It’s a tough thing to deal with all the time. If one of your big pieces leave, then they’re trying to start the whole thing over. That happens from time to time and you have to deal with that. Whatever they decide to do, I’ll have to be prepared every day.”

Bourn, 28, is having his best season, entering Saturday hitting .304 with a Major League-leading 39 stolen bases. Since June 1, he’s tied for first in the National League in hits and ranks fourth in batting average (.338).

Cosart thrilled to join Astros

The dream of pitching in the Major Leagues just got much better for Jarred Cosart.

Cosart, one of four players acquired by the Astros in the deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Phillies on Friday night, grew up cheering for the Astros from his home in League City, Texas, which is about 27 miles south of Houston. He’ll report to Double-A Corpus Christi (at Midland, Texas) on Sunday and hopes to be pitching at Minute Maid Park soon.

“I can’t describe it in words,” Cosart told MLB.com via phone. “It’s stuff you read about all the time, players having a chance to play for their hometown team. I don’t know how many guys in the Major Leagues right now have that opportunity. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and I’m going take it and run with it.”

Cosart’s parents are vacationing in San Diego and began to hear rumors he was being traded to Houston.

“They heard my name pop up and finally saw it up there [on TV],” he said. “They were kind of shocked, but after the shock wears off you get excited. I heard from a lot of friends and family. I turned my phone off last night about 3 a.m.”

Cosart, 21,was drafted in the 38th round of the 2008 Draft but signed with the Phillies with an over-slot deal instead of heading to Missouri. He’s always had electric stuff, but he had trouble staying healthy over his first couple of years and threw just 95 2/3 innings from 2009 to ’10.

In 2009, he had back and shoulder problems. In 2010, his season ended in June because of a bad elbow. Even in limited time, though, he showed what he can do, striking out 102 and walking just 23 in that span.  Cosart has one of the better fastballs in the Minors, and it was on display at this year’s Futures Game, when he was touching 98 mph.

Cosart said he’s healthy. He was 9-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) at Class A Clearwater.

“I’ve had some really minor little injuries and I never wanted to have that label,” he said. “I worked really hard this last offseason to get in shape for the season. It worked out well and I know I’m starting to let it go, get after it. I feel like I’m close to where I need to be.”

When he heard he was traded, he texted J.D. Martinez and told him he’d be joining him in Corpus Christi. He didn’t know at the time Martinez was headed to the Major Leagues in the wake of the Pence trade. Cosart and Martinez played against each other several times last year in Class A Lexington and talked a lot.

Not only is Cosart joining the Astros, but he’s moving up a level in an organization that’s showing increasing willingness to promote young prospects. Jordan Lyles in the Majors at 20 years old, and Jose Altuve and Martinez were promoted from Double-A.

Suddenly, Cosart is much closer to reaching the Major Leagues.

“It doesn’t matter what team, but now that I’m with my hometown team it’s unbelievable,” he said. “And the fact they’re rebuilding and they have a lot of young guys and there’s an opportunity. I want to pitch in the big leagues and I want to win. There Astros are going into that mode and they want to win with younger guys. It shows a lot about the organization’s belief in young guys and giving younger guys a chance, something the Phillies really didn’t need to do.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 71 other followers