HOUSTON - JUNE 24: Pitcher Wandy Rodriguez #51 of the Houston Astros in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Minute Maid Park on June 24, 2010 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The Houston Astros may not be done moving pieces around, but chill people. It's just movement.
Once Carlos Lee was traded earlier this month, the dominoes were in effect for the dead weight on this Astros team. As fans, writers and baseball lovers, we can't resist the opportunity to dissect a trade for its pros and cons, winners and losers, etc. That's why when the Astros dealt Lee, and later J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez this month, we had to know how good the prospects coming back were.
The sad truth is the Astros never had assets that warranted high-upside players in return, and we knew that. But it was important to be able to analyze how well Jeff Luhnow was doing in negotiating these deals and attempting to rebuild a putrid farm system.
With Wandy gone to the Pittsburgh Pirates now, the last of the major dead weight trades has been done. The Crawfish Boxes did a pretty good job of showing you the players the Astros have traded for even since dealing Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn. Prospective lineups, batting orders, pitching rotations and all sorts of analysis are provided there.
But when you really get down to it, there is nothing that jumps off the radar in considering the deals the Astros have made. What's even more important to consider, though, is that none of them were supposed to. That's the whole reason Houston was in the situation it was in: not enough talent, from top to bottom.
What we basically have here is an experiment. The Astros picked up close to 40 players for its handful of "stars" over the past couple of years. And we don't know if there's a position player better than Jed Lowrie on that entire list. That's a bit troubling.
Still, the Astros have new ownership, new management and they're going to need new personnel in order to form this new identity. So getting rid of the old players isn't necessarily about getting good ones in return (since we only had mediocre ones from the beginning). It's just about dropping the dead weight.
Where does this leave the Astros?
It leaves them with high draft picks and an opportunity for the brass to really flex its muscle and show its capabilities. Most Astros fans were satisfied with the organization did in the draft overall, even though taking the young Carlos Correa was met with mixed emotions initially.
Fans have to hope that the team gets lucky with some of these players they've traded for, because most of these deals have obviously been "best we could get" situations. With all of this obscure, raw talent, hopefully at the least there are some re-tradeable pieces.
It's hard to judge the substance of these deals prematurely, but one thing about Jeff Luhnow: the man moves quickly.