Describe a characteristically "Luhnow" move. Take your time. Think about it. What do you get?
I'm guessing it goes something like this:
You start out glad for any news. You're underwhelmed with the names involved, though. No "name" prospects in trades. No high-profile free agents. So, you're a little disappointed until you dig into the meat of the deal. That's when how good it was sinks in.
Look at the Carlos Lee deal. At first, we were thrilled just to be rid of the big lug. Matt Dominguez has potential but little hope for positive outcomes. Then, Matty started hitting and flashing the leather, making that a solid deal. Same with the Happ/Lyon trade.
Same with the Jose Veras signing, the Bud Norris deal and on and on. The only to moves I can think of that missed here are the Carlos Pena signing and the Ruggiano trade. But, 90 percent of the time, Luhnow's deals age very well.
Bill Simmons sometimes refers to things as "the Reuben sandwich." His point is that a Reuben rarely looks enticing on a menu. It's not exciting but every time you order it, good things happen. It doesn't disappoint.
This Feldman deal fits right into that mold. It's not like the Robinson Cano deal. It's not a gamechanger for the rotation and Feldman likely won't be an All-Star. But, he's got a high probability of living up to the contract. Feldman could very easily be worth two wins in each of the next three season. He will eat innings and give Houston a reliable veteran presence. His numbers aren't flashy, but they're effective.
Oh, he will be good, too. The projection systems see him being worth as much as Bud Norris last year. So, Luhnow basically traded Norris to the O's for a big league outfielder, a draft pick, a high upside pitcher and Feldman. Not bad, huh?
This was a classic Luhnow move in another way, in that it came out of nowhere. Of all the moves mentioned, nearly all of them dropped on us unexpectedly. There were no cross country flights or leaked negotiating sessions. They got the deal done quietly and effectively. That's a Luhnow hallmark.
This also continues a trend of the Astros adding money. Tie this deal into the Fowler move and Houston will have effectively doubled its payroll from the end of last season. Say what you will about Fowler not being here in August. Feldman certainly will be. Three year deals don't get traded in July. This is real, tangible payroll increase on an effective MLB-caliber starter. If the Astros are going to raise payroll, this makes more sense than $240 million on Cano.
Add in the fact that Houston isn't don't yet and there's a lot to like about the 2014 Astros. Once they sign two relievers, the payroll likely goes up to around $40 million. No embarrassment to baseball there. So, this Feldman deal accomplishes a lot. It's not flashy and is overshadowed by big news in other parts of Houston. But, it's pretty satisfying.
It's a Reuben move.