Following a 107-loss season in 2012, the Houston Astros continued to rebuild in an effort to turn the team’s lack of success in 2011 and 2012 around. Winning just a combined 111 games over those two seasons – while dropping 213 contest over that span – was certainly something the Astros organization wasn’t pleased with. One player that was thought to be the leader of the Astros future during their monumental rebuilding project was shortstop Jed Lowrie.
Lowrie had come off an injury-riddled 2012 season in which he only play 97 games for Houston. He slashed .244/.331/.438 along with 16 homers and 42 RBI in his 340 plate appearances during Houston’s last season in the National League. He was a solid player and a leader that the Astros could have definitely used to build their team around.
However, on February 4th, 2013 the Astros traded him and right-handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for first baseman/designated hitter Chris Carter, right-handed pitcher Brad Peacock and catcher Max Stassi.
Carter had an acceptable season in 2013. He may have led the majors in strikeouts (212), but he also led the Astros in homers (29) and RBI (82). If Carter improves his plate discipline in 2014, he’ll potentially be one of the most feared hitters in the Astros’ lineup.
Brad Peacock is a pitcher that can certainly improve on his 2013 campaign. With a FIP just under 5.00, Peacock’s future will hinge on his 2014 output. He can improve his game immensely, as he showed flashes of a solid major league starter last season. It’s all about putting his stuff together – which is something Peacock is more than capable of doing.
Max Stassi may have only had eight plate appearances in 2013, but he has a very high ceiling as a catcher for Houston. With Jason Castro as arguably the Astros best player, don’t expect Stassi to get much playing time at catcher in 2014. His time will come, though, and when it does he’ll capitalize on it. He showed he really wanted to be in the majors in his short three game stint, and when he gets another crack at playing time I expect him to be solid.
Carter, Peacock and Stassi will all be key contributors to the Astros future success – all thanks to Jed Lowrie being a cheap trade piece. A $2.4 million salary for a guy who slashed .290/.344/.446 while hitting 15 homers and drove in 75 RBI is a great pickup for any team. However, the Astros gave up those potential contributions from Lowrie for three younger and cheaper players who will help the Astros out more in the long run.
If all goes well in Carter’s, Peacock’s and Stassi’s careers with the Astros then expect Houston to reap the benefit of dealing Lowrie for years to come.