As Parkes covered in his Trade Deadline wrap, the Houston Astros get a mixed grade for their trade deadline haul. A distant last in the National League Central, the Astros parted with starting centerfielder Michael Bourn and starting right fielder Hunter Pence, receiving a bevy of prospects and minor leaguers for their trouble.
Some of the youngster now under Ed Wade’s employ may well become impact players, with Jarrett Cosart chief among them. Others are just filler for a team that, on the surface, is pretty much filled with filler. They surely made their team better and more cost-effective for the future.
In the present, however, they made a bad team much, much worse.
The Astros and their pathetic .330 winning percentagewere already on a 100 loss pace before this weekend’s moves. The Astros started out badly and only got worse, losing more games in June and July than April and May. And then they traded their two best players in Pence and Bourn. Let the good times roll!
On top of trading their leadoff and number three hitters, the Astros sent starting first baseman Brett Wallace to the minors yesterday. Wallace, the BABIP poster boy extraordinaire, went from being one of baseball’s hottest hitters in April to a below replacement first baseman on a last place team. The Astros also demoted starting third baseman Chris Johnson, he of the porous defense and desperately below-average offense.
With the oft-injured Jason Bourgeois taking over in the middle of the lineup and guys that aren’t Wallace and Johnson on the infield corners, the Astros aren’t going to be much worse. The Astros figure to play Carlos Lee at first base for the duration of the season to give a player like J.D. Martinez the opportunity to play every day. The ‘Stros promoted Jimmy Paredes from Double-A to take over at third base, which would be fine if Paredes didn’t own a .266/.296/.414 slash line at that level. Whatever! Hardly blue chip prospects but, hey, it’s the Astros!
Could the Astros lose 110 games? Yes, yes they could. Could they lose 120 games? Sadly, they won’t sink that low. Finishing the season 6-47 requires ineptitude the likes of which even Ed Wade’s Astros cannot muster, despite 22 games remaining versus the Cardinals, Giants, Pirates, and Brewers. This team isn’t bad enough to be famously bad, which says a lot. They’re just run-of-the-mill terrible, which suits them just fine.