Ed Wade has to cut payroll.â†µ
No matter where you try to find a rationale for yesterday's trade, that appears to be the leading response. Matt Lindstrom, who had a dominant first half before a back injury limited him in the latter part of the season, was dealt because he was due to make roughly $3 million next year in arbitration, and the Astros had to get something for him.
That might even hold up under a casual glance. But there's a real problem with this reasoning: they had already made a trade earlier this offseason with the Rockies. A trade in which they dealt Felipe Paulino, who has great stuff and a fairly good outlook long-term as a reliever, to the Rockies for infielder Clint Barmes. Make no mistake, Barmes is an upgrade from incumbent shortstop Tommy Manzella, maybe not much more than a slight one, but an upgrade. The rub? Barmes is scheduled to make around 4-5 million in arbitration this year. Paulino will make the league minimum.â†µ
Why is this important? Well, if the Rockies valued Lindstrom so much, and the Astros clearly were trying to get rid of him, why didn't they just send him to Colorado in the first place for Barmes? From everything I've read, Jonnathan Aristil is filler. Basically the trade comes down to non-top 20 prospect Wes Musick versus Paulino, who was very much in the Astros Top 10 coming into last year. Would anyone make that trade? Particularly while Paulino is still cheap? I don't think I would. Moreover, Wade let himself be boxed into his circumstances. Instead of letting Bill Hall's signing wait until they could secure a deal for Lindstrom, they pounced and painted themselves into a position where they had to move him. The return that they got, especially considering the market for relievers this offseason (3 year contracts being handed out left and right), was completely underwhelming.â†µ
Wade allowed the market to play him, rather than play the market himself. While trading away someone who could easily become a competent young reliever isn't the end of the world, it's still frustrating to watch the local nine shoot themselves in the foot time and time again. Shuffling competent players on and off the roster while picking up promising young talent is a good blueprint. Giving up promising talent to do it just puts you right back at square one.â†µ