This World Series match up is giving me flashbacks to 2004, when I thought that Houston was legitimately going to win the title. Now watching Carlos Beltran in a Cardinals uniform just makes me sad (Why did you have to let Scott Boras lead you astray after 2004 Carlos? WHY!?!?!). Anyway, lets get our minds out of what could have been to what could be. You know how the game works, we propose a fantasy trade and argue over which GM hangs up first if the trade is offered. First up!
Quantity or Quality? Buxton is drawing comps to Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen, which should make any fan drool. He's putting up Troutian numbers in his first year in the minors and many observers are already saying he's a future Hall of Famer. He is incredibly polished for his age and is a safer bet to have a quality major league career than Springer.
Springer on the other hand just had one of the best minor league seasons ever, and he's closer to being ready to the big leagues, but there are still legitimate questions as to how his strikeout rate and two-strike approach at the plate will effect his long-term value. Wojciechowski is optimistically a 3rd starter, but may end up being a no. 4 on most teams. Vasquez has intriguing tools and may turn out to be a quality ML outfielder, but it's much too early in his development to tell.
So who hangs up first? I think Terry Ryan does. The Astros' deal does make some sense, getting that kind of talent and depth for a rebuilding team is always a good idea, but Buxton is as sure a prospect as you're going to get and it's possible that none of the players the Astros offer will pan out. That being said....it's a deal that makes some sense for the Astros too. Imagine having Buxton AND Correa playing on the same minor league teams and coming up to the big leagues at the same time, amazing right? I think Luhnow would have to consider this deal, but trading away depth doesn't exactly fit in with what Luhnow is trying to accomplish with this team. Plus trading away our two prospects who are closest to the majors would probably anger a fan base which is tired of waiting for a quality ML product, so Luhnow probably hangs up shortly after Ryan does.
A trade for certainty over uncertainty. Speaking of an irate fan base what if Jim Crane decides that he wants to speed up the rebuilding process and doesn't feel like worrying about George Springer striking out 200 times next year? He taps Giancarlo Stanton as the best young outfielder available who is the impact bat that the Astros lack and will still be in his prime for when the team is looking to contend in 2015 and beyond. They make the deal and make a huge media deal about how the Astros ownership group is serious about winning.
Meanwhile Miami gets a cheap replacement for Stanton, a nice arm for the middle or back of their rotation, and can plug DDJ back into his natural position at 2B. Honestly, if Miami is serious about trading Stanton this seems like exactly the type of deal they would go for. Springer has more all around tools in his game than Stanton does and may hit for more power. Shoring up their infield and rotation with prospects makes the deal attractive to a team that is close to fielding a quality young roster that wants to contend in a few years.
If I'm Luhnow and I believe in George Springer then I say no. Wait. Yes. Wait.......George Springer is the same age as Stanton? Hmmmm.....this is actually kind of tough. I would LOVE Stanton's bat in the Astros lineup. He fills a massive, gaping, unsightly hole in our batting order. But Springer could end up being just as good, and will likely have more defensive value even if he doesn't stay in center....plus DDJ and Tropeano could end up being pretty good....well....ya this is still tough. I don't know who would replace Springer in center if he was traded, so I'm thinking Luhnow says no, but if he did say yes, I wouldn't be mad.
Trade no. 3: Anyone for Astros no. 1 pick in the 2014 draft.
Just kidding. Even if this was possible I actually wouldn't trade anyone for 2014 first pick Carlos Rodon. Maybe Jose Fernandez, but even then the idea of Rodon and Appel being the Astros' version of Johnson/Schilling, Koufax/Drysdale, and Spahn and Sain makes me giddy. We could even start a saying like Appel and Rodon and pray to God, or something. Rodon and Appel and then post bail? Appel and Rodon and you're long gone. Yeah I think maybe that's the one.