I've been fighting a crashed computer for the past two days, which hasn't left me in a good mood. However, the new of new Astros GM Jeffrey Luhnow's first trade couldn't have made me happier.
Not only did the Astros pick up a solid option at shortstop with some upside, a starting pitcher who's not only big-league ready, but could fill in for Wandy or Myers if either are traded, but he also recognized the value of his own assets.
I know how hard it is to get over, but after years of having a GM who placed a high value on relievers, the new GM seems to understand the overall value of a closer. Melancon was a great prospect, did a solid job last season and could have been a good closer. But, there was little evidence he could be a lock-down closer on par with the best of the best. On a last-place team with little chance to improve in the coming season, a closer was not very useful. For him to bring back two useable pieces?
The first question now is who will close for Houston. But, if we look at Luhnow's background, that's not a question that has bothered the Cardinals much in years past. They turned to the unproven Ryan Franklin after Jason Isringhausen left town, then went to Fernando Salas once Franklin lost his effectiveness.
The Astros could have signed one of the leftover shortstops on the market to fill the void until Jonathan Villar is ready, but instead, they went out and got a player with more upside. If Lowrie pans out, he gives the team much more value than a one-year stopgap. If he doesn't, he'll be a bench guy until his arbitration kicks in.
Yep, this trade was a nice tonic. I hope it's not the last.