July 28, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Armando Galarraga (30) throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fourth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE
Some things to talk about as we wait for Houston to trade TCB to Seattle for two Lookout Landing writers and a BTBNL...
1) A return to the clubhouse - Some quick thoughts on my first game back working at MMP in about two months. ...Because of work schedules and vacations, it's been since the first of June since I've covered a game. This team has changed a LOT since then. ... Cool moment in the clubhouse before the game. Chris Snyder sat down with J.D. Martinez and talked a ton about the way Pittsburgh throws down signs to pick up what pitch is coming. It's a pretty complicated process, involving outs in the inning and whatnot. Initially, I thought it was the system that he and Wandy had used here, but then I realized he had been in Pittsburgh and just knew how they operated. ... It was also apparently Sinatra Sunday, meaning they played all kinds of old music on the clubhouse stereo. For whatever that's worth. ... Craig Biggio stopped by to visit with Matt Downs and Snyder for a while. I froze. He and Bagwell are the two that I'm most afraid of losing any sense of professionalism and becoming a 13-year old fan. Luckily, I was not kicked out. ... Lastly, I've got a couple of injury notes. Jed Lowrie came by this morning on his crutches for rehab (I guess). He was wearing a knee brace but no boot on his ankle. Is that progress? Dunno. Castro is apparently looking at the end of this week for a rehab assignment and seems to think he'll join Housotn at the beginning of the next homestand, which is a week from Monday.
2) Trade fallout - Two guys I'm really high on after all these moves are Rudy Owens and Marc Krauss. I know Borchering gets all the credit for being the best prospect in the D'Backs deal, but have you looked at Krauss' line this year?
Yeah, he's walking, but he's also showing some good pop. I guess the cynical prospect analyst could compare him to Jimmy Van Ostrand, who did a similar thing in Double-A at Age 24 but never got serious consideration as a prospect.
However, I think both of these guys could move through the system and provide good value to this club. The consensus is neither will be impact players, but Krauss also could be what we expect J.D. Martinez to become (.280/.360/.450 with 20 HRs on a corner).
3) Who's next? - With the Chris Johnson trade, we find out that not only was Jeff Luhnow still willing to deal, even if he wasn't "actively engaging other teams" in conversations, but that anyone on the roster is fair game. Maybe not anyone, but even cost-controlled guys who could be here for a few more seasons.
So, if they're not just dealing big contracts, who's likely to get moved next?
Francisco Cordero - Yeah, he's been terrible and probably has very little trade value, but some team could be desperate for a low-cost reliever, right? Plus, there's little chance he will come back to haunt Houston.
Matt Downs - His value is nowhere near as high as it was last year, but can't you see some team taking a flyer on him down the stretch? After all, though his average has been terrible, he's still hit for pretty good power this year.
Wesley Wright - There's always a market for lefty relievers. How much you want to bet Luhnow could get two decent prospects for him?
Bud Norrs - I talked about this a bit on Sunday, but Norris definitely seemed pensive about a possible move. There's a good chance he gets flipped now when his value is still pretty high. I don't expect a Mat Latos type haul, but he should bring back more than Wandy, right?