If the Astros Become Sellers

MLBTR posted this article about what to expect if Houston becomes sellers (i.e. continues to lose and be out of conention at the deadline); I thought it was worth reposting and discussing here.

My thoughts on their thoughts:

Carlos Lee- of course Houston would love to get rid of him, but there's no way he could return anythign of value, especially without Houston eating over $20 of his salary, which would defeat the purpose of trading him.  Not to mention he will veto any trade to an AL team, which is the only place he would have any value to a buyer/contender (that is, assuming his perforrmance rebounds).  More likely is the team outright releasing him, but I just don't see Drayton (or any other owner) just throwing money away like that, especially given that there aren't any 40HR/yr hitters in AAA.  And even if there were, Lee could be relegated to a bench role and Michaels released.  Verdict: Carlos Lee will be an Astro until his godawful contract runs out after the 2012 season.

Wandy Rodriguez- I pretty much agree with MLBTR here, although I doubt that if Wandy continues to struggle they try to give him away in a salary dump.  More likely they'd hold on to him and hope for a return to form.  If Wandy's perforamance returns to his norm (as it I think it will), he coudl return a solid haul.  He'd be a great 4th starter on a contender (like the Yankees).  Verdict: either Wandy or Myers will be moved if the 'stros are out of contention.

Brett Myers- I agree with MLBTR here as well.  I think Myers is the most likely player to be traded in the event Houston becomes sellers, as he is sturdy, playoff tested, quality, and not prohibitively expensive.  That, and he's having a great year so far.  I completely disagree with the follow-up post at MLBTR that says Myers is a 5th starter on an AL east team.  He's a #2 or #3 guy on all but a handful of big league rotations.  If he continues pitching as he has since he got to Houston, he could bring back an Oswalt type haul. Verdict: either Wandy or Myers will be moved if the 'stros are out of contention.

Hunter Pence- Trading Pence would piss off the fanbase.  I also don't think it would be a good idea, as he is under team control through 2013 and could either be a factor once the tema is ready to contend or a trade chip in a future deadline deal in 2012 or 2013.  Verdict: Hunter stays.

Brandon Lyon- Disagree that Wade would look to get rid of Lyon in a salary dump.  Houston has already trimmed payroll to where it needs to be and doesn't need to dump any salaries.  They need players.  Good players.  And while Lyon has some trade value, I highly doubt he would be able to bring back any impact prospects.  Added to that is the fact that he is the only veteran in a very young bullpen.  Verdict: Unlikely to be moved.

Michael Bourn- MLBTR made me think here.  I think it would be a good idea to trade Bourn this year.  Here are the reasons why:

-He's coming off an all-star season in 2010, is playing fairly well, and could really help a team in need of a leadoff hitter and CF.

-He's cheap as a rental.

-He is only under team control through next year and his salary is likely to skyrocket just as age starts to erode his most valuable skills.

That said, it would take a unique fit to get fair value.  But if there's a team whose CF gets injured or has CF as a lone weak spot, he could bring back a very, very good return.  I love watching him play, but it might make sense for him to go.  Verdict: Under the right scenario, he should go; call it 30/70.

Barmes/Hall/Keppinger- I'm lumping these 3 guys together since they are basically the same thing: a versatile veteran infielder with a manageable salary.  To the point I made in the Lyon comments, the Astros farm system isn't in need of fringe prospects; it's recovered to the point that the only real needs are high upside, impact players.  It's hard to imagine any of these 3 guys bringing in those kinds of players.  On the other hand, all 3 will be free agents after the season, and if there is a player in the minors (Manzella?  Clemens?) who needs a chance, having a pending free agent veteran on a losing team won't do much good, so I can see a circumstance in which moving one of them makes sense.  Verdict: Looking strictly at roster nubmers, I think it's likely that 1 or 2 gets moved to a contender needing a utility man, for a fill in prospect or reclamation project.

Other playes MLBTR didn't address:

Q- I honestly could see him being dealt if Towles and Corporan both keep shining; he could help a contender needing a backup catcher.

Norris, Happ, Aneury, Abad, Lopez, Del Rosario, Valdez, Melancon, Wallace, Sanchez, Johnson, Downs, Towles, and Bourgeois are all young players the Astros should be giving playing time to and finding out what exactly they have, not trading away.  Besides, none of them have much value at thsi point.

It's hard to imagine Michaels or Inglett drawing any interest, as players like them can be found on the free agent wire and in any AAA team.

If Figueroa rebounds, he may draw some interest from teams looking to acquire an insurance arm, but I doubt it.

Jeff Fulchino probably doesn't have much value.


What are y'all's thoughts?  Who would be shopped?  What would the expected return be?

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