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Astros Trade Rumors IV

MLB Trade Rumors plays off a recent Houston Chronicle article where Tim Purpura says that the Astros aren’t looking for a rental player to help them for just this year to talk about what the Astros have available. He mentions and dismisses rumors about a trade for Oswalt, which makes sense to me. The two big names, as I’ve mentioned before are Lidge and Jennings. He doesn’t mention the rest of the bullpen or other guys that seem like they might have some value (Lamb or Loretta).

MLB Trade Rumors: State of the Astros

Astros GM Tim Purpura has finally admitted that the Astros should not be making player acquisitions with this year in mind.  A huge veteran firesale makes perfect sense right now.

MLB Trade Rumors: Let’s Talk Astros Fire Sale

Then there’s Jason Jennings, earning $5.5MM this year. The Rockies clearly got the better end of that trade, but it was a “win now” move by Tim Purpura. Jennings needs to prove his health over the next couple of weeks, and then he’ll become the Astros’ best trading chip. He’s dealt with shoulder and elbow tendinitis this year, but Jennings is a bulldog. Could Purpura pry away an Andy LaRoche for him? Maybe not, as Ned Colletti wouldn’t want to get burned by an injury again so quickly. Not sure what the Phillies would spare, and the Astros don’t really have a spot for Mariner right field prospect Wladimir Balentien. But this is a situation to monitor.

Today there were two different sites that released their rankings of the top prospects in baseball. What’s notable is how few prospects the Astros have on these lists and also the relative dearth of good infield or catcher prospects. Of the 3B, which is one of our positions of greatest need, most of the teams with highly rated prospects are ones who are not likely to be interested in what the Astros have to offer.  He mentions LaRoche as a possible 3B prospect. Here’s a blurb on him from Rotoworld.

Fantasy Baseball – Rotoworld: Midseason Top 150 Propsects

17. Andy LaRoche – 3B Dodgers – DOB: 09/13/83 – ETA: April 2008
Previous rankings: mid-2005 #17, 2006 #26, mid-2006 #17, 2007 #13

.273/.367/.441, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 19/24 K/BB, 2 SB for Triple-A Las Vegas
.211/.436/.263, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 5/15 K/BB, 1 SB in 38 AB for Los Angeles (NL)

LaRoche has had a rather turbulent year. Given a chance to unseat Wilson Betemit in spring training, he suddenly became ridiculously error-prone and also faltered offensively. The defense got better in the minors, but the offense didn’t. Still, Betemit’s poor showing got LaRoche to the majors on May 6 and he suddenly became the new Eddie Yost, walking 15 times in 38 at-bats. The Dodgers, though, didn’t appreciate the OBP and decided to go with Tony Abreu instead. Since returning to Triple-A on June 1, LaRoche has raised his OPS from 676 to 808. However, he did miss time with soreness in his left shoulder, which he originally hurt last year. It might be that the shoulder is responsible for the decline in his power numbers. He hasn’t resembled a future 30-homer guy lately, though he still might have that kind of potential down the road. Fortunately, he could be a solid regular while hitting 15-20 homers per year. He should be ready for the job next season.

That’s not exactly thrilling, but if we could get him for Jennings I’d do that deal in a heartbeat.


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