Fantasy GM: Houston Astros

The Houston Astros are starting to rebuild, but there are some good pieces to build up their system.

We all know Roy Oswalt is on the market, with the Cardinals and Phillies in the lead. From an Astro’s standpoint, I think the Cardinals have more to offer. I’d move him with a little cash for 4 close to ready prospects: Lance Lynn, Allen Craig, Eduardo Sanchez, and Pete Kozma. Now, everyone is reporting that Shelby Miller will most like be involved, but there are a few reason why it might be better to take my deal.

First off, they have some good players locked up, so MLB ready players would help this team be competitive faster. Miller will be a great pitcher, but Lance Lynn will be an innings eater that will be ready by the start of next season. The Astros are basically conceding, so they could use him now to get him MLB experience.

Secondly, passing on Miller will probably get them an extra player, who I think would be former first round pick Kozma. While he’s been a disappointment, he’s still young. He’s at the point where a change of scenery could do him some good. Plus, he’d be a good candidate for second base. I’ll be a year plus before he’d be ready, but they can be patient with him.

Finally, Miller hasn’t been under contract for a year. If he were to be included in a deal, it would have to be as a player to be named later. Once a player is drafted, they can not be traded until they have been signed for 1 year. He signed right at the deadline last year, so he’s not able to be traded until August 15th. If I were the Astros, I wouldn’t want him to stick with an another organization for a month or so; the Cardinals almost certainly have a different philosophy on pitching than the Astros do. Plus, if he were to get hurt during that period, there isn’t a suitable replacement in the Cardinals system.

So, this deal would bring a mid-rotation starter, a future closer in Sanchez, a potential second baseman in Kozma, and the replacement for Lance Berkman at first in Allen Craig.

What? Berkman hasn’t been traded? He’s piece number 2 to move. The Astros will again have to eat some money, but there would be a market for the hitter. Either the Angels or Braves would be willing to trade for him if the Astros cover enough. I would imagine that the Angels would give up at least a mid-level guy or 2; maybe Trevor Bell and/or Jordan Walden. Bell could pitch for the Astros now.

So, with a current team of:
C – Jason Castro
1B – Allen Craig
2B – Jeff Keppinger
3B – Pedro Feliz
SS – Angel Sanchez
LF – Carlos Lee
CF – Michael Bourn
RF – Hunter Pence
Bench – Jason Bourgeois, Chris Johnson, Jason Michaels, Oswaldo Navarro, Humberto Quintero
SP – Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Bud Norris, Wesley Wright, Lance Lynn, Heath Bell
RP – Matt Lindstrom, Brandon Lyon, Tim Byrdak, Chris Sampson, Gustavo Chacin, Wilton Lopez

OK – that’s 25 men (I kept Sanchez and Kozma in the minors; I mentioned why for Kozma above, but Sanchez has a handful of Triple A innings, so I’d keep him there for a little longer). You’ll notice there are 6 starters; that because Brett Myers won’t be staying. The Mets have confirmed interest in the pitcher and I’d see if they were willing to move Brad Holt. Holt profiles as a reliever who is close to being ready. The Astros probably wouldn’t have to eat any money on this one.

I’d also see if anyone was interested in Pedro Feliz. I specifically check with the Padres, as they could use a little middle infield help. If they were willing to move Logan Forsythe, I’d jump on it. Forsythe will probably be a platoon third baseman, but he’ll give depth to a weak system. Another option could be the

Personally, I know that no one will touch the Carlos Lee contract, so I’d hang onto him until later in his contract. Brandon Lyon is in that same boat.

The final name I’d float out there is Matt Lindstrom; he’d be particularly intriguing because he’s not a free agent after the season. I think they could pull a decent prospect for the closer and it would open the job for Sanchez (who I’d then promote). The Reds are desparate for bullpen help (as seen by their recent signings of Russ Springer and Jason Isrignhausen), so they might be willing to give up a Todd Frazier. That could be a tall order though; they could conceivably get Travis Wood and/or Matt Maloney instead.

So the roster would then shift to…
C – Jason Castro
1B – Allen Craig
2B – Jeff Keppinger
3B – Chris Johnson
SS – Todd Fraizer
LF – Carlos Lee
CF – Michael Bourn
RF – Hunter Pence
Bench – Jason Bourgeois, Jason Michaels, Oswaldo Navarro, Humberto Quintero, Angel Sanchez
SP – Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, Wesley Wright, Lance Lynn, Heath Bell
RP – Eduardo Sanchez, Brandon Lyon, Tim Byrdak, Chris Sampson, Gustavo Chacin, Wilton Lopez, Jordan Walden

It’s a young team that will take some bumps. If the Reds send the 2 pitchers, Sanchez goes back to short, and Edwin Maysonet gets the call as a bench player.

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