Jeff Luhnow has been the Astros General Manager for a little over 13 months now, and he's been a busy man. Besides earning rave reviews for his mastery of the 2012 MLB Draft, he's already completed a whopping 10 trades.
Luhnow trades were accompanied by mixed reviews. Die-hard Astros fans, who believe in the re-building process, lauded Luhnow's trades, as did prospect enthusiasts across the internet. Contrarily, casual Astros fans, old-school beat writers, and anonymous executives ripped the trades, claiming Luhnow was 'going overboard'.
I, for one, loved the trades. The Astros weren't, and aren't contending, anytime soon, so why not unload as many tradable assets as possible, acquiring cheap young talent in the process? Will any of the prospects Luhnow acquired become above average Major Leaguers? It's not likely. But Luhnow was able to build an insane amount of farm system depth (from a bottom 5 system, to top 10), losing very little long-term value.
Below is a cumulative snapshot of Luhnow's trades:
Players traded - 14
Average age of players traded - 31
2012 WAR of players traded - 11.0
Who - Mark Melancon, Humberto Quintero, Jason Bourgeois, Justin Ruggiano, Carlos Lee, David Carpenter, JA Happ, Brandon Lyon, Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Chris Johnson, Wilton Lopez, Ben Francisco*, Rob Rasmussen*
2012 BA Top 10 Prospects (team-specific) traded - 1
Players traded FOR - 26
Average age of players traded FOR - 23
2012 WAR of players traded FOR - 2.3
Who - Alex White, John Ely, Alex Gillingham, Francisco Cordero, Matt Dominguez, Kyle Weiland, Jed Lowrie, Mark Krauss, Brian Borchering, Rudy Owens, Robbie Grossman, Colton Cain, Matt Heidenreich, Blair Walters, Chris Devenski, Adrian Wojciechowski, Carlos Perez, David Rollins, Kevin Comer, Joe Musgrove, Jobduan Morales, Kevin Chapman, DeAndre Toney, Theron Geith, Ben Francisco*, Rob Rasmussen*
2012 BA Top 10 Prospects (team-specific) traded FOR - 4
2012 BA Top 20 Prospects (team-specific) traded FOR - 7
2012 BA Top 30 Prospects (team-specific) traded FOR - 1
2012 BA Unranked Prospects (team-specific) traded FOR - 6
Best trade - Mark Melancon for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland
Worst trade - Justin Ruggiano for Jobduan Morales
In Luhnow's first 10 trades he was able to accomplish a couple things. First, he added much-needed depth to the Astros farm system, which is a big reason why they've become a top 10 system. Second, he turned 14 players into 26 - another plus for a re-building franchise. He also shed a ton of salary, age, and locked up the first overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft (maybe 2014, as well).
Overall, I couldn't be happier with the trades Luhnow has made since he became the Astros GM. The only potential long-term piece he parted with was Chris Johnson (Ruggiano is 30 and won't have a BABIP over .400 ever again), while adding potentially-productive major leaguers like Dominguez and Lowrie, and prospects with relatively high ceilings, like Grossman, Musgrove and Comer.
Did I mention he traded 300-pound Carlos Lee, and elbow-less Wilton Lopez, not once, but twice? In Luhnow We Trust.