HOUSTON - JULY 23: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros bobbles the ball after making a stop against the Cincinnati Reds at Minute Maid Park on July 23, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
As it becomes my time once again to come up with a creative title, which probably violates a few rules about using personal pronouns, you're probably asking why it had to be death by radiation. Or maybe you're used to me by now and totally understand. But if not, here's my rationale:
Well it sure felt like death by radiation. It was a low scoring game for a while and lasted nearly 4 hours, so you know the Astros were always close to getting the lead back, unlike those games where they were blown out and you changed the channel because there was no way the Astros would have won. But like the Astros always do, they failed to attain their goals once again and end up losing in almost the same way an animal dies with the food just two inches away from its mouths. Therefore, it was a slow and painful loss, similar to death by radiation. And the Astros lose their 20th game in their past 22 consecutive games. Isn't that terrible? Don't answer. It was a rhetorical question. They lose 8-3.
Anyway, I think the highlight of the game, other than CJ's 4-hit performance and Wandy's 3-run performance was Mr. Jeff Luhnow making an appearance in the booth. I think what really got my attention was that, at some point this year, perhaps in the next few weeks, it has been known that Brett Wallace, Jimmy Paredes, Brandon Barnes, and Mike Hessman all deserve to play in the major leagues and at least a few of them will get called up. Jeff Luhnow mentioned the first week of August as being the moment in time that players will be promoted. So it's currently Monday, July 23, 2012 and we're about 8 - 9 days until the earliest we could see movement, but the real issue is that some players will have to go somewhere in order for other players to get called up. This could be satisfied either by trade, release, or sent down to the minors. So let's discuss what could happen...
I think Brett Wallace, Brandon Barnes, and Jimmy Paredes will be called up in the first week of August. Brett Wallace will play 1st base, replacing Scott Moore. Moore will play RF when a RHP is on the mound and he will replace Brian Bogusevic, who I think is really close to ending his tenure with the Astros as it's not hard to find an outfielder with no bat and good defense. Brandon Barnes will play CF when a LHP is on the mound, replacing Ben Francisco who is just a guy. I imagine a scenario when Barnes and Maxwell play in platoon roles with Schafer and Moore. I also think if Barnes plays well, he may become more than just a platoon guy and end up taking some of Schafer's starts against RHP if he establishes himself. He was highly praised by Jeff Luhnow in the conversation earlier today, so it's hard to imagine Barnes not getting called up. So, Wallace and Barnes getting called up is almost definitely yes.
The next guy, Jimmy Paredes is a bit more up in the air. Where he will play is the big question. I think there are a few possibilities, one more extreme than the other. 1. Jose Altuve is traded and Paredes starts at 2nd. 2. Chris Johnson is traded and Paredes takes over at 3rd base. 3. Paredes becomes a super utility guy, getting some time in the infield, outfield and in pinch hit opportunities. 4. Paredes is not called up. 5. Paredes is traded.
In response to option #1, I feel like Altuve could be traded, potentially. The reason why he could be traded is that we have someone who could replace him immediately and provide some value and in addition, Altuve doesn't project to get much better than he currently is, which means average defense, doubles power, high average, not much higher OBP. Altuve is a valuable player, but he's not a star. Therefore, his value to another team may be greater than his value to us, which is something that the Astros I think should consider. But I wouldn't trade Altuve unless the return involves at least a B+-rated prospect. #2 is also a possibility, since the Astros also have several guys who could easily replace CJ at 3rd including Paredes, Moore, and Dominguez. Since CJ might have more value now to other teams than he has to us, he might be traded. Several other teams could use a 1st baseman or a 3rd baseman. In response to the other options, I think #4 is probably a more safer option for one to predict since it requires nothing to happen, but with Luhnow's praise of Paredes, we'll probably see him in the big leagues one way or another, barring a trade.
So, players who are probably gone: Ben Francisco, Brian Bogusevic
Question marks: Chris Johnson?, Altuve?
Players who are definitely brought up: Brett Wallace, Brandon Barnes
Players potentially called up: Jimmy Paredes? Matt Dominguez? Sasquatch?
What do you think will happen?