Can you believe it has been an entire week since the non-waiver trade deadline?
The Astros have been making a lot of moves, starting with callups for J.D. Martinez and Luis Durango in place of Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn. But J.B. Shuck soon took Durango's place, and Enerio Del Rosario has gone on the DL.
The real moves were sending Brett Wallace, Chris Johnson and J.A. Happ down to AAA Oklahoma City to work on a few things. The move clears more playing time for Brian Bogusevic and Jason Bourgeois, especially when Jordan Schafer returns from the DL. It also clears the way for Carlos Lee to play first base full-time. Jimmy Paredes, the Astros ninth-best prospect according to Jim Callis, also got a callup.
With Jose Altuve, Bogusevic, Bourgeois and now Paredes and Shuck, the Astros have a lot of speed in their lineup (that group has 116 stolen bases across the minors and majors in 2011). If only Brad Mills would stop shoving Jason Michaels and Angel Sanchez in the lineup three times a week. Mills actually batted Sanchez third if you can believe it, hoping that he would channel his inner Jeff Keppinger I guess.
The Happ move was a no-brainer and should have happened at least a month before, but what is puzzling is that they called up Wesley Wright. Jeff Fulchino also returns after allowing just one run and no walks in 13 games for the Redhawks.
Now that the trade deadline has cleared, there are three more things to watch out for: the signing of George Springer, the possibility of waiver activity and our new acquisitions in the farm system.
Now that Jordan Lyles, J.D. Martinez and Altuve are with the big club, Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton will get the lion's share of attention, but the next most promising prospect is Mike Foltynewicz. The 19th overall selection in last year's draft has battled through some issues this year and with the help of Lexington Legends pitching coach Dave Borkowski (yes you read it correctly), is making steady progress.
Springer meanwhile was in Houston to take a routine physical a week or so before the August 15th deadline, and seriously stop fretting. He is going to sign. You just do not let guys with his ceiling slip from your grasp, and I have to believe he wants to do nothing but sign.
As I have said before however, don't expect Wandy Rodriguez or Brett Myers to be moved, as Ed Wade had to kick in cash for both the Bourn and Pence deals. Meanwhile we learn from the Boston Globe that the Astros were shocked at the lack of interest in Brett Myers. I'm more hopeful that someone accidentally claims the nimble first baseman Carlos Lee. Oh Kenny Williams where art thou?
While I will not recount my anger at Wade's trade-deadline performance, as can be seen here, these two links are worth sharing with you. Firstly, Bourn was always the Braves guy, and if this really is the case then Wade should have driven a far harder bargain. Secondly, this article points out that there has been far more anger directed at the Pence trade than the Bourn trade, and fans seem non-plussed about losing Bourn, arguably the more valuable player than Pence.
The next two months will tell us more about how the Astros will fare over the next three seasons with some already predicting 100-loss seasons for 2012, 2013 and 2014. I'm sure Wade thinks he knows what he's doing, but I feel like I'm looking at a half-started then discarded jigsaw puzzle. I can see the sky and bits and pieces here and there, but without the box to compare I'm not sure how it all fits together. Who of the current crop of position players can post a season WAR over three? Martinez? We have only hit 65 home runs so far this season, and next year the total might be even lower.
There are some bright spots. Last night was the second time this season the Astros have hit three or more home runs in a game, with the other time being against the Cubs in late May when they hit four. Clint Barmes continues to excel and Wade's unwillingness to discuss the shortstop with other teams may suggest he thinks he can sign him to an extension for 2012. With nothing in the wings until Jonathan Villar, who could do with another season in the minors, re-signing Barmes, especially at a crucial position makes some sense. However good an acquisition he may seem, the Astros may regret giving up Felipe Paulino, who has shone for the Royals this year.
If he establishes himself over there, how that would annoy us as we grind our teeth at Happ.