Let me preface this, all emails were sent BEFORE the trade happened except the last one from me. This originated Wednesday evening and was discussed Thursday morning.
With the Astros as likely buyers and a few rumors already swirling of them being interested in several players who are likely to be available, discussion always goes to what trade chips the Astros have.Everyone has differing opinions on which prospects should be made available and which ones they are willing to deal. Given that that the quality of return (years of control, performance, contract, ect) differs with every player, this is a pretty complex question. But, with the general term of receiving an impact player in return, who are you unwilling to trade and who would you like to be traded to get an impact player?
I am willing to trade Tony Kemp. I love that guy, but his value may be at its highest right now when he is on the cusp of breaking into the MLB. If Tony's impact is going to only be at 2B/CF, then he is going to have trouble ever being a MLB regular with the Astros. Jose Altuve is signed through 2019 (including the team option years), and he is not even two years older than Tony. Marisnick and Springer can both play CF and Brett Phillips is coming down the pipe at a pretty rapid pace. Losing Kemp would hurt, but due to the Astros' depth and Kemp's lack of defensive versatility, he becomes the most expendable of the prospects.
The prospect I absolutely do not want traded is the aforementioned Brett Phillips. It's still a small sample size, but Phillips has not struggled at AA so far at barely twenty-one years old. He has all of the tools to be a hugely productive player. He can run. He possesses solid contact skills. He has developed some nice power. His arm is a true plus plus tool. He is the closest thing to a 5-tool prospect in the system (5-tools is overused).
Probably the only guy I consider to be untouchable in the whole system right now is Brett Phillips. Maybe Derek Fisher, but definitely Brett Phillips. (And Vincent Velasquez, if we're still counting him as a prospect.)Everyone else is on the table. A.J. Reed is on the table. Tony Kemp is on the table. Daniel Mengden is on the table. Jacob Nottingham would have to get a hell of a return, but he's on the table. Mark Appel is on the table. Michael Feliz. Domingo Santana. Josh Hader. Teoscar Hernandez. Colin Moran.I could go on, and that's the point. There's depth in this system, so if you can take two or three guys and turn them into an impact player - especially one with team control - do it. Personally speaking, I would rather the Astros look more like they're standing pat than like they're torching the farm. So I'm fine if none of these guys get moved, but if you're going to make a move, I'd do it with anyone but Phillips and Velasquez. And maybe Fisher.
I'm one of the "I'll listen on anybody" guys. Phillips isn't off the table for me; no one is. But for one of the guys out there we know to be available, like Hamels and Cueto, I wouldn't include him, so I guess he is realistically off the table for me. I would need someone who is young, cheap, controllable, and very good, to consider dealing the few guys at the top of my list, and if you consider the candidates, none of them really fit the bill. So maybe a lot of guys are realistically off the table for me.
The two guys I'd most prefer losing would be Kemp and Santana. Both are probably at peak value right now, especially Santana, who I full expect to collapse once exposed to MLB pitching long-term. Kemp has no real spot on this roster. Phillips, Nottingham and Reed are the guys I would probably balk at dealing most. It's a small sample for Reed, but he's handled AA very well so far. If he's legit, then he's probably the 1B of the future, which also makes Singleton very trade-able.
Which is an aside, sort of, since they're not technically prospects, but guys like that, Singleton, Oberholtzer, I feel like those are guys who can and maybe should be moved. Think about the comments you've heard from other teams; Cincy, Chicago, Oakland...most of them are saying they don't want to do a full tear-down. Philly might be the only SP seller out there who's looking to just sell everything they can and get the best, toolsiest prospects they can, regardless of readiness. I feel like a team like the White Sox might really value an Oberholtzer, who has some remaining upside and they can immediately insert into their MLB rotation, just as much as a talented prospect.
Interesting in these responses considering the trade. Brian included Nottingham in the players he would balk the most at losing and sure enough you did balk at the trade some.