Astros Trade Rumors: Carlos Lee, Wandy Rodriguez, Jed Lowrie Among Houston 'Assets'

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 27: Carlos Lee #45 of the Houston Astros flies out to center fielder Carlos Quentin #18 of the San Diego Padres in the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park on June 27, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Houston wins 1-0 on a complete game by Lucas Harrell. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Astros could be making some moves before the trade deadline at the end of the month. But who is it going to be?

Trade talks in Houston are going to be focused on Dwight Howard until that saga finally ends. Not that Howard is interested in the Rockets, but until he lands somewhere, that trade possibility, at least in theory, isn't going away.

But quietly, we could see some cosmetic changes with the Astros, it's just hard to say who. A trade that would've sent Lee to the Dodgers and what's left of that godawful contract fell through over the weekend, and the Stros' first baseman has been rather short with the media on the subject at hand.

This is difficult especially since he holds the power to veto certain deals, like the one with the Dodgers, for example. The reality with dealing Lee is sort of disheartening because the Dodgers were in a unique situation, actually looking for someone to fill in at first base and add a little production to the batting lineup.

And even though Lee, way past his best days, is still one of the Stros' best players, not a lot of teams are looking for a player like him, particularly with the $6.5 million he's due after July 31. Houston would have to pay some of his salary to get a deal done. If they're not going to get anything of quality for Lee, the Stros should just keep him.

Can't believe I actually wrote that. Zachary Levine from the Chron cites a source with knowledge of Lee's contract that says the no-trade list "skews toward higher-payroll teams." True, "higher-payroll teams" are the types to spend this kind of money, but what kind of "higher-payroll team" is a Carlos Lee away from contending? Most of them have first basemen, and sticking him in the outfield isn't worth any amount of his contract.

Stros skipper Brad Mills gave these comments, via Levine:

"We'll see how that is and moves forward, but I'm not expecting anything at all," Mills said. "You try to smooth that out as much as you can, but it comes down to: He played by the rules, and he exercised everything he had."

So, yeah. We'll see.

Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers are a couple of names that of come up in trade rumors, but Myers' pitching as of late doesn't make for much of a selling tool. He's given up a total of 16 hits and six earned runs in his last five outings, the most recent a blown save against the Padres in their series finale last week.

He's definitely still a good closer, but the timing is bad here.

Wandy's hasn't been great lately. He hasn't been terrible either, keeping his ERA around 3. For contenders looking for pitching as the back end of the season approaches, Wandy is an attractive piece. The only problem is that other pitchers (i.e. Matt Garza) might be preferred over him if they hit the market.

Last season, the Stros shopped Wandy but he ultimately stayed home. He has to be most likely to go this season. Wandy is owed $13 million next season, with a club option for the same amount in 2014. No one on the team is worth $13 milli at this point.

There hasn't been much more on the Jed Lowrie trade rumors, but the Pirates are still a possibility. Clint Barmes isn't hitting very well (only batting .205, but did have an RBI against the Stros on Monday), so they could use an upgrade to their lineup. The issue there is whether or not the Pirates are willing to send the kind of prospects to make it worth the while.

It's a question of whether or the Stros' "assets" are truly desirable.

Read more on the Astros at The Crawfish Boxes and head over to Baseball Nation for news and analysis around Major League Baseball.

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