Friday, April 22, 2016

Recent Trade Reviews

One of our readers has asked us to look at the trades from the last few years, so I figured I'd give it a go.

4/18/14 - RHP Lucas Harrell traded to Arizona for a PTBNL. Everyone knows the Astros held on to Harrell for about a year too long, but it's important to remember that in 2013 every other member of the Astros rotation not named Bud Norris that threw at least 75 innings had an ERA over 4.50. Once it was obvious that he was just a one year wonder, sticking with Harrell and hoping he would figure it out and quit whining about the infield shifts was really the only choice they had other than just releasing him. Since there's no evidence of a player ever actually coming back to Houston that's basically what the Astros did here. Harrell hasn't reappeared in the majors, though he is playing for Detroit's AAA squad this year after spending 2015 in Korea.

5/19/14 - LHP Raul Valdes traded to Toronto for a PTBNL or cash. Valdes was a lefty with a high K rate, high BB rate, high H rate, and high HR rate. Houston had taken a flier on him and it didn't work out. No player ever came back to Houston, so this is just another example of Crane trying to pocket as much cash as possible #AMIRITE. Valdes spent 2015 pitching in Japan.

6/12/14 - OF Adron Chambers traded to Toronto for LHP Alejandro Solarte and 2B Will Dupont. Chambers was a AAAA outfielder. He hasn't appeared in the majors since 2013 and spent 2015 playing in Venezuela. Dupont appeared in 6 games in the GCL for Houston and spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons playing Independent ball. Solarte spent 2015 with Greeneville and was released this January.

7/7/14 - LHP Alex Sogard traded to Arizona for 3B Cesar Carrasco. Sogard spent 2015 in Independent ball. Carrasco played for Tri-City in 2015. His assignment for 2016 has not yet been announced.

7/31/14 - RHP Jarred Cosart, UT Enrique Hernandez, and OF Austin Wates traded to Miami for OF Jake Marisnick (Swoon), 3B Colin Moran, RHP Francis Martes, and a 2015 compensation pick. Cosart finish 2014 well for Miami, but has since struggled due to injury and ineffectiveness. Hernandez fizzled in his time with Miami, but has since done quite well since being flipped to the Dodgers. Wates did quite poorly in AAA for Miami and was release after the 2015 season. Marisnick has been a stellar defensive player and a streaky but mostly below average hitter for Houston. Moran has hit and hit and hit since coming over and nearly won the starting 3B job in spring training, had it not been for Tyler White. Martes jumped up prospect lists after a strong 2015 and started 2016 in Corpus. The draft pick was used to take Daz Cameron.

11/5/14 - RHP Nick Tropeano and C Carlos Perez traded to the Angels of Wherever They Feel Like Today for C Hank Conger. Tropeano has had a promising start to his career with the Angels and looks to be earning his spot in their rotation. Perez is a defense-first catcher who has seen decent playing time in the majors in 2015 and 2016. Conger provided decent pop for Houston in 2015 as he split time with Castro, but has forgotten how to throw out baserunners. He was sold to Tampa in December, because it's still ok to buy and sell humans in Major League Baseball in 2016, I guess. But at least we got to watch him dance.

12/11/14 - RHP Jason Garcia traded to Baltimore for cash. This was a Rule 5 thing. NBD.

1/14/15 - RHP Mike Foltynewicz, 3B Rio Ruiz, and RHP Andrew Thurman traded to Atlanta for RHP James Hoyt and C/DH/LF/? Evan Gattis. Folty struggled last year for Atlanta and dealt with a scary blood clot. He should be ready to pitch again soon. Ruiz hit a figurative wall in 2015, failing to hit for either average or power, but has started 2016 strong in AAA. Thurman has fallen on his face so far in his time with Atlanta and is currently relieving in AA. Hoyt has pitched well for Fresno and nearly made the team out of spring training. He figures to be in line for a call up this year. Gattis grew and impressive beard in 2015 and hit 27 homers, propping up his production to league average levels. He started 2016 on the DL, shaved his beard, and has been working out some at catcher again this year.

1/19/15 - OF Dexter Fowler traded to the Cubs for RHP Dan Straily and 3B Luis Valbuena. Fowler had another decent season for Chicago in 2015. After nearly signing with Baltimore in the offseason, he has returned to the Cubs and has started the 2016 season extremely well. Straily spent most of 2015 in Fresno before making a few poor starts for Houston last year. He was traded to San Diego this spring training, who then waived him. Cincinnati then claimed him and he's currently pitching in a swing role for the Reds. Valbuena bat flipped his way to a career high in homers last year but saw the rest of his triple slash decline drastically. He's been seen this year swinging a toothpick at Colin Moran, trying to keep him from invading the hot corner of Houston.

1/21/15 - C Carlos Corporan traded to South Oklahoma for RHP Akeem Bostick. Corporan did his best to sabotage the Dallas Rangers of Arlington by completely refusing to hit as their backup catcher. He signed with the Yankees over the offseason who then sold him to Tampa at the beginning of the season. Why does Tampa continue to think it's okay to buy people of other nationalities? Anyway, Corp's in AAA this year. Bostick has been trapped in the upper atmosphere in Lancaster, doing what pitchers in Lancaster do.

3/26/15 - 1B Dan Johnson traded to Cincinnati for cash or a PTBNL. IDK, MLB says PTBNL, B-R says purchased. W/E. Johnson didn't hit for anybody in 2015. I mean, he played for St. Louis, but he didn't hit. After spending spring training with Tampa, he was released and continues to not hit, only now it's presumably from his couch instead of the batter's box.

4/1/15 - INF Gregorio Petit traded to the Yankees for cash. Petit played a little in NY and a little in AAA last year, but didn't have success for either team. He's in AAA for the Angels in 2016.

5/15/15 - INF Ronald Torreyes traded to Toronto for cash. Less than 6 months after being protected in the Rule 5 instead of Delino DeShields, Torreyes was sent to the Dodgers a month later, who he would appear in 8 games for in 2015. In a three week span early in 2016 he was traded to the Yankees, waived, picked up by the Angels, waived, and picked back up by the Yankees. He's currently in a major league bench role for the Yankees.

5/19/15 - LHP Chris Lee traded to Baltimore for other considerations. Lee has pitched respectfully for Baltimore, mostly at AA where he currently continues to play.

7/23/15 - RHP Daniel Mengdon and C Jacob Nottingham traded to Oakland for LHP Scott Kazmir. Mengdon had a tough time after the trade in 2015, but is doing well so far at AA for Oakland. Nottingham continued to hit well in 2015 after the trade. He was traded to Milwaukee after the season and has had a tough start to 2016 in AA. Kazmir pitched well his first few starts in Houston but faltered down the stretch. He signed with the Dodgers for 2016 and continues to falter.

7/30/15 - RHP Adrian Houser, LHP Josh Hader, OF Domingo Santana, and OF Brett Phillips traded to Milwaukee for OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Mike Fiers, and cash. Houser made his major league debut in 2015 and is currently back at AA for the Brewers. Hader had a strong finish to 2015 at AA, where he continues to work. Santana performed adequately for Milwaukee in 2015 and is the Brewers starting right fielder this year. Phillips has continued his strong play at AA, where it is presumed he still laughs weird. Gomez played through some non-sexy injuries down the stretch, which presumably hurt his performance, and has dabbed his way to a poor start as Houston's starting center fielder in 2016. Mike Fiers threw about 422 pitches in his no-hitter last year as he pitched well enough during the Astros playoff run. In 2016 he is currently leading MLB in both K/BB ratio and HR allowed.

8/8/15 - LHP Junior Garcia traded to Arizona for LHP Oliver Perez. Garcia mostly pitched in Rookie ball in 2015 and started 2016 at Single-A. Perez got hit hard and often in Houston and signed with Washington after the season.

11/19/15 - SS Jonathan Villar traded to Milwaukee for RHP Cy Sneed. Villar is the Brewers starting SS this season and, so far, looks kinda like what we hoped a couple years ago that he could have been, though he was generally a streaky player to begin with. Sneed started 2016 at AA and has done quite well in his two appearances so far.

11/25/15 - OF L.J. Hoes traded to Baltimore for cash. Hoes nearly made the Orioles roster out of spring training, but is currently back at AAA. Cash was presumably spent on replacing Sig's old dot matrix printer.

11/25/15 - IF Jed Lowrie traded to Oakland for RHP Brendan McCurry. Ah yes, the annual White Elephant Jed Lowrie exchange. Lowrie is playing a roughly league average second base for the Athletics. There were whispers McCurry was a darkhorse for the bullpen this year, but it may have just been a certain former beat writer's stomach never quite getting used to Texas barbecue, because McCurry started the year at AA and has looked pretty good so far.

12/2/15 - C Hank Conger traded to Tampa Bay for cash. I already talked about this. Moving on.

12/12/15 - LHP Brett Oberholtzer, RHP Harold Arauz, RHP Mark Appel, RHP Vincent Velasquez, RHP Tom Eshelman, and I think like 6 or 7 other pitchers traded to Philadelphia for RHP Ken Giles and SS Jonathan Arauz. Oberholtzer had worn out his welcome in Houston and is quickly doing the same out of the bullpen for Philadelphia. 5 HR in 3 games, woof. Harold Arauz has turned in a couple good starts at Single-A in 2016. Appel has started the season strong at AAA with a 0.77 ERA after 2 starts. Because of course he did. Velasquez is looking like a BIG loss so far. While it's only been 3 starts, the Phillies have to be extremely happy with this deal so far. Velasquez alone has the talent to make this a win for them, even if the other four pitchers flame out. Eshelman has also started strong at High-A. Giles doubled his career HR allowed in his just his first four games for Houston, but has turned in three consecutive scoreless, though not uneventful, appearances. Bear in mind, though, that his season totals only amount to the equivalent of one bad start so far. He's had a couple similar stretches in his career, as most relievers do from time to time. Fulfilling the Law of Conservation of Arauzes, Jonathan will presumably start the year with one of the short season affiliates.

3/28/16 - RHP Dan Straily traded to San Diego for C Erik Kratz. I already talked about Straily, stop asking. Geez! Kratz is presumably holding onto the backup catcher duties until Stassi is healthy. So far he's 0 for 2016 but gave us an eye rolling laugh when he fell down during introductions one game earlier this year.

Overall I'd say most of these deals are of the "meh" variety. I understand why the big deals with Oakland and Milwaukee were made last July, even if they didn't turn out the way we all hoped. The Giles deal felt like an overpay when it happened and early indications seem to bear that out. Even if Giles settles into the dominate reliever we need him to be, that deal could sting for the next few years.

Ok, I'm done.