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Post-Roygate, Astros Have More Pieces For Sale

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One of the arguments we've made in favor of the Roy Oswalt trade is that the acquisitions of J.A. Happ and Brett Wallace give the Astros the flexibility to make more moves before the trade deadline.  Two of the Astros' best remaining trade chips are starting pitchers (Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez), while their best tradeable position player is Lance Berkman, who will likely depart in the off-season whether he is traded or not.  Keep in mind that Berkman doesn't necessarily need to be traded before the non-waiver deadline, since his salary makes him likely to clear waivers in August.

Another possibility is Jeff Keppinger, who is a good utility player and has proven this year that he has enough bat and glove to be an average starter at second base.

Other potential trade chips could include bullpen pieces like Brandon Lyon or Matt Lindstrom, or even a young position player like Michael Bourn or Hunter Pence.  These four players are unlikely to be moved, but in the Astros' position, nobody should be untouchable for the right offer.

With one more day until the deadline, the Astros should, and probably will, focus on finding out what the market is for their remaining players.  What should they seek in return?

  • High-upside minor league starting pitching.  While the Astros do have some good pitching down on the farm--arms like top prospect Jordan Lyles and inningseater Dallas Keuchel--none of the pitchers above short season ball have no. 1 starter upside.  Granted, pitching prospects with that high a ceiling are rare, but they are an important asset to collect, even if they are unlikely to reach their potential.  A pitcher like Tampa Bay's Matthew Moore or one of the Dodgers' top pitching prospects (like native Texan Chris Withrow) would be a good get.
  • A near MLB-ready second baseman with more upside and better defense.  While Jeff Keppinger is having a nice season, and is not part of the Astros' problem, he isn't part of the solution either--especially if he himself is traded.  I would have liked to get Harold Garcia from the Phillies, but that trade is done.  Kicking the tires on a buy low candidate like Todd Frazier of the Reds might be one idea, although whether any of the Astros' pieces interest them with Oswalt off the market is another matter entirely.  Perhaps New York's David Adams?
  • Potential impact bats.  We have plenty of speed and defense up the middle now down on the farm.  What we're a little thin on is prospects who could develop into middle of the order hitters.  Brett Wallace should be adequate (although unspectacular) at first base, but we need players for other positions with similar bats.  Above short season ball, J.D. Martinez is the only one who stands out, and he still needs to prove himself at AA.  Young, raw players like Telvin Nash and Ariel Ovando are a very long way from the majors.  We need some players in full season ball with that kind of potential, even if they are raw and have issues to work out to reach that point; which is probably the only way a club could be convinced to part with them.  Maybe Tampa Bay's Cody Rogers or Kyeong Kang (I just love his name).

What kinds of players would you like to see the Astros pursue before (or after) the non-waiver trade deadline?