According to multiple reports, including this one on Fox 26 by Mark Berman and this one in the Denver Post by Troy Renck, the Houston Astros have reached an agreement to trade Matt Lindstrom to the Colorado Rockies for former University of Houston left-hander Wes Musick and right-hander Jonnathan Aristil.
Lindstrom was acquired from the Florida Marlins last winter for right-hander Robert Bono and shortstop Luis Bryan. He had an up-and-down season in Houston, blowing multiple saves and spending quite a bit of time on the disabled list with various injuries. He also struck out 43 in 53 1/3 innings with 23 saves.
Lindstrom is also in his second year of arbitration. After making 1.625 million in 2010, Lindstrom is probably in line to double his salary next season. With the Astros likely wanting to keep the payroll below 80 million and the signing of Bill Hall to a 3 million dollar contract, this move was probably inevitable. The Astros still have Brandon Lyon as a closer and a host of other bullpen options, like Rule 5 draftees Aneury Rodriguez and Lance Pendleton.
Musick is an interesting prospect. John Sickels gave him a C- grade before the 2010 season and Baseball America left him out of the Rockies Top 30 prospects, though they did leave him in the organizational depth chart as a left-handed starter. The 24-year old from Lufkin isn't big at 6-foot, 190 pounds, but he did show a good ability to strike guys out last season.
Though he was a little old for the South Atlantic League, Musick struck out 109 in 123 innings while giving up just 29 walks. After the all-star break, he upped those totals to 48 strikeouts in 55 innings with just nine walks. He's not the best prospect in the world and probably will be pushed aggressively to Corpus Christi next season, but Musick still has some potential.
Left-handers who can strike guys out and have a good ground ball rate (1.3-1.5 in his career) are not easy to come by. At the very least, Musick could be depth as a LOOGY in a season or two. At best, he could become Wandy Rodriguez, a late-blooming lefty.
Overall, this is a very pedestrian trade. The Astros probably needed to shed some payroll and a former closer who has problems with injuries was a good place to make a change. This is Lindstrom's fourth team in his career and his third in the past three years. I know many of you will be underwhelmed with this move (I was), but the fact is, Lindstrom's value couldn't have been too high. To get an interesting lefty out of the deal who has a chance to produce at the big league level could be considered a win. A slight win, true, but a win nonetheless.