Previously on The Tricks of the Trade, Jared speculated on what Houston could get for Bud Norris. Today the speculation moves on to the club's current shortstop. All rankings are those presented by MLB.com.
by Jared Webb @webberoo11
Jeff Lunhow continues to say that Lowrie won't be dealt unless the FO is overwhelmed. The truth of the matter is that Ol' Jed is the Astros' most valuable trade piece. The biggest key to him being dealt is his health. Assuming Lowrie stays healthy and continues his performance of last season, he could hit in the .250-.265 area and power 20 HR. He also offers the ability to play anywhere in the IF. All of these factors combined together with a healthy season could get Houston a trade haul only a little less than the Hunter Pence deal brought to the organization.
Detroit- Drew Smyly, LHP 23 yrs old/ Brennan Boesch, OF 27 yrs old
Drew Smyly is the type of LHP that the Astros need. He has average stuff that plays up due to plus command. His FB runs in the 90-92 range, and he controls it well. Detroit really doesn't have a ton of young talent to deal, but they have been rumored to listen on Smyly. Even though he was injured last year, Smyly is a guy that could step into the back of the Astros' rotation and stay there. Editor's Note: Smyly and Dallas Keuchel were teammates at the University of Arkansas.
Brennan Boesch offers the Astros a RF/LF option due to a playable arm and the fact that he runs well for a big guy. He still has good power that could translate to 20 HR a year in Houston. Last year was a somewhat down year for Boesch, but I still feel he could hit in the .250-.260 range and provide 12-20 HR yearly with a decent .320 OBP and low .400 SLG.
(Only 2 players involved in the speculated Detroit trade due to the value of young MLB-ready players being dealt)
Los Angeles Dodgers-Zach Lee, RHP 21 yrs old (Ranked #1)/Alex Castellanos, OF 26 yrs old (Ranked #11)/Tim Federowicz, C 25 yrs old (Ranked #12)
Zach Lee is a young athletic pitcher who can ramp his FB up to 98 mph. His numbers haven't been overwhelming, but he is still a really good bet based on his stuff and control. In 2010/2011 he was ranked with the Best Control in the Dodgers' system by BA. He is also a very good athlete who still has a lot of projection.
Alex Castellanos is blocked in L.A. and could compete for a spot in RF for Houston. He has good contact skills and even shows that he could have some power. He improved his strikeout numbers in 2012, and seems to have benefited from the hitters environment in Albuquerque.
Tim Federowicz is a good defensive catcher who has shown a little upside as a hitter. He profiles more as a glove-first, backup catcher. I could easily see him and Castro being a really good duo behind the plate for the foreseeable future. I really hate his mustache, though.
Pittsburgh-Jeff Locke, LHP 24 yrs old/Andrew Oliver, LHP 25 yrs old(Ranked #11)/Tony Sanchez, C 24 yrs old(Ranked #15)
Jeff Locke has a similar profile to Smyly with less upside. He works from 88-92 and commands his FB around the strike zone. He isn't going to wow fans, but he will get the job done. When the Astros dealt Wandy I was hoping Locke's name would be involved. Jeff still has the upside of #3 or #4 starter. Locke has already made his MLB debut for the Pirates.
Andrew Oliver is a power lefty who sits in the mid 90's. His command isn't all the way there, but he could walk into the Houston bullpen today. He still has the ability to be a starter, but control will be the key.
Tony Sanchez is another defense first catcher. He won't hit for power, but he has a chance to hit for average. I still think Castro would be the starter, but Sanchez could eventually offer a good secondary catcher. Tony will start the season in AAA for the Pirates.
Speculation-Staying healthy will dictate whether Lowrie will get dealt. If he makes it to the deadline healthy and hitting, I think he will be traded. I focused more on MLB ready players for Lowrie, but he could get bigger hauls if the Astros are willing to take players further away from the big leagues.
Next time: What Could Luhnow Get For... Wright, Pena, and Veras?
c2013 Jared Webb. Used with permission.