Monday, June 4, 2012

Rosenthal: Astros should explore trading Altuve

So the Twitter feed almost exploded over the weekend, because Ken Rosenthal said that the Astros should explore trading Jose Altuve, the popular, productive, 22-year old 2B who won't be a free agent until 2018. Today, Rosenthal explained his position:

If general manager Jeff Luhnow could flip Altuve to the Tigers for a package that started with right-hander Jacob Turner, you think he would just reject the idea out of hand? Of course not.

Rosenthal goes on to say that it certainly seems like Paredes will be a solid 2B. I can understand Rosenthal's point: at least consider any trade that comes your way. As @KevinBassStache points out, if you can turn Altuve into 2-3 MLB-ready players, wouldn't you do it? Maybe you'd consider it, and reject it out of hand. What if Altuve is like spending $1 on a scratch-off and winning $100. Trading Altuve would be like taking that $100 and buying 100 more scratch-offs. You might win $50! And then you realize that you just gave away $100 to win $50.

It's too early to tell if Jose Altuve is the 2B for the next ten years. But for now, the Astros have hit on Altuve. If it takes five years to complete the rebuilding process, Altuve will be 27 years old - still (ideally) on the upswing of his career. What's more, in a time when casual Astros fans look at the lineup and say, "Who the hell are these guys?" Altuve is quickly becoming a fan favorite. My wife, who would qualify as a Casual Fan, recently noted, "Every time I look up, that little guy is on base." I nodded.

Sentimentality meant something to the old regime, and remains to be seen about the new regime. I'm not saying sentimentality is a bad thing (or a good thing), and I would expect Luhnow & Co. to explore every realistic trade opportunity that came up. But at some point Rosenthal (and other national media types) need to realize that perhaps the Astros need quality, not just quantity.