The Houston Astros are currently playing too well to be considered sellers just yet, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, despite the signs of life the Astros have shown early this season and the fact that they are currently five games back in the National League Central, Rosenthal believes the club will become one of major’s biggest sellers come deadline time. Veteran players that figure to attract trade attention include; Wandy Rodriguez, Carlos Lee, Brett Myers and Brandon Lyon.
Rosenthal spoke with Houston’s new general manager, Jeff Luhnow, who said the team’s objective is “to aggregate as much talent as possible, as quickly as possible”. Luhnow continued, saying that if the Astros have pieces that “are in demand by other clubs” and they are able to “get enough future value for them to make up for the short-term loss”, a trade will be considered.
Luhnow expects demand for his players to peak this summer, but for the time being he is not actively shopping the Astros veterans.
For their part, the veterans are producing. Wandy Rodriguez is sporting a 2.14 ERA and 1.079 WHIP. Brett Myers is a tick better at 1.04 ERA, and the former starter is seven for seven in save opportunities. Carlos Lee (.725 OPS) and Brandon Lyon (2.61) have been less spectacular but by no means disappointing so far this season.
The Astros were expected to be active sellers this winter, but they only ended up moving former closer Mark Melancon. One of the road blocks faced by Houston is the prohibitive salaries of their current crop of veterans. The fact that players such as Rodriguez, Lee, Lyon and Myers are on the wrong side of 30 and still command the money they do complicates trade talks.
Rodriguez is guaranteed $25.5 million between this year and next. Myers is set to make $14 million or $21 million depending on if his 2013 option is picked up or not. Lee is currently making $18.5 million and has a trade clause that allows him to block a deal to 14 clubs. Lyon is set to receive $5.5 million this season.
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