Monday, August 1, 2016

Astros trade Feldman, Fields, promote Musgrove

So the Trade Deadline passed with not a whole lot to report, actually, as far as the Astros go. Let's get to the moves that the Astros did make:

Traded Scott Feldman to Toronto 

The Astros sent Scott Feldman over to the Visitors' Clubhouse in exchange for 18-year old 6'2" 150b RHP Guadalupe Chavez.

First, Feldman was one of the Extras. He got bumped to the bullpen and had pitched well, but with the glut of pitching prospects on the rise, he was expendable. And since he's a free agent at the end of the year, the Astros were okay with letting him go.

Chavez, at 6'2" 150lbs, could certainly use a glass of milk and will fill out as he gets older. Listed by as Toronto's 20th-ranked prospect, he can get a fastball up to 93 and has an "above-average" changeup and "good pitchability for his experience level (according to the linked BA article) from 2014.

For the GCL Blue Jays this year, he has thrown 32IP, 29H/6ER, 26K:4BB with a 1.69 ERA. He's actually hit more batters (six) than he has walked (four).

Traded Josh Fields to the Dodgers 

The Astros traded Fresno reliever Josh Fields to Los Angeles for 6'4" 190lb 19-year old Cuban infielder Yordan Alvarez. He bats left, throws right, and hasn't played in the US yet. Baseball-Reference lists his Cuban stats from 2013-14 (Age 16 and 17 seasons), where he hit .279/.342/.327. Again, he was very young. Still is, I suppose.

This Baseball America article has a scouting report gleaned from a handful of plate appearances. But the Dodgers only signed him six weeks ago.

The biggest immediate impact of this deal is that the removal of Fields clears up a spot on the 40-man roster, which had been full. The 40-Man now sits at 38 Men with Feldman and Fields riding off into the sunset. It's like the Astros are just trying to dismantle that legendary 2014 team.

Promoted Joe Musgrove

Musgrove was already in Houston pending the arrival of Lil' Fister, so now this saves them the prohibitive cost of a plane ticket back to Fresno. And Feldman's trade clears a spot on the 25-Man roster, so Fister can go paternitying whenever the water breaks.

Musgrove is the first in what will hopefully be a wave of pitching talent to come up. Brady Rodgers and James Hoyt, I'm looking at you. What Musgrove's role will be is up in the air. If he's replacing Feldman, he can join Devenski in long relief, but that seems silly.

Saturday's start aside, Fiers has been relatively mediocre. Capable of giving you some decent innings mixed with absolute disaster. In his last five starts he's thrown 26.1IP, 27H/13ER, 21K:9BB. That includes starts on either side of the All-Star Break in which he threw a total of 7IP, 10H/10ER, 9K:5BB.


I'm still working through it. The Astros decided to stand pat. The Rangers didn't, and that's where I think the problem lies. The Rangers will come to town on Friday with Carlos Beltran and Jonathan Lucroy. The Astros will very much be the same. I'm also trying not to fall in the hypocrisy of blasting the Astros for how poorly the Kazmir/Gomez/Fiers trades worked out and then blasting them for not taking the same risk. We can't have it both ways. We very much want it both ways.

Word could very well trickle out that the Brewers and Yankees wanted a king's ransom for both guys. The Rangers paid it, and that's the decision the Astros have to live with. The Astros aren't apparently going to acquire someone simply so the Rangers won't acquire that someone. But the Rangers did give up some talent to acquire a 39-year old rental and a 30-year old catcher. Lucroy is very good.

Today hurts for the Astros. The Rangers decided to try to win this year. The Astros are going to stick to whatever plan they have in effect. But let's be clear that Arlington is a place players want to play. Cole Hamels chose Dallas over Houston. Lucroy seemingly engineered his trade to the Ramgers because, once he vetoed that Indians deal, it seemed inevitable that the Rangers would land him. Can the same be said about Houston?

Maybe the Rangers will get Astros'd and Beltran will seemingly forget how to play the game of baseball and it will backfire. Maybe Lucroy will struggle in the AL. Probably not, but who knows? The Rangers were just more short-term aggressive than the Astros, and - like most trades - time will tell if it will pay off for the Astros.