Before I talk about the Wandy Rodriguez trade, I just want to say that I have always been a fan of Wandy's. It always irked me that he never got the recognition that he deserved from the national sports media, from the previous front office and even from a lot of Astros fans. When Wandy was on, he was one of the best out there. I hate to see him go, but it is the best thing for the Astros team and, more importantly, it is the best thing for Wandy as he has had to deal with constant uncertainty for a couple of years now. I do hope that Wandy pitches for the Pirates on Saturday because I will be there and I will stand and I will cheer and I will thank him for his time as an Astro. Then I hope we beat him.
With that said, Wandy Rodriguez was dealt to the Pirates during last night's Astros game. My sister and I were at the game and she had her binoculars trained on the dugout as the rumors flew, watching Wandy. The second he left the dugout, we knew the trade was done. Then he came back to the dugout in a few minutes and started shaking hands and hugging players so there was no doubt.
What did the Astros receive in return? Three top 20 prospects from the Pirates organization! (Click on the player's name to see their current stats.)
OF Robbie Grossman - Grossman was ranked by Jonathan Mayo as #7 in the Pirates organization while Baseball America ranked him at #8 coming in to the season. The 22-year old switch hitter had a breakout season in 2011 with the Pirates Hi-A team, and excelled in the Arizona Fall League before suffering a broken hamate bone in his hand. According to Baseball America, he was the first minor leaguer to reach double digits in walks and runs since Nick Swisher did so in 2004. One thing he brings to the organization that is in short supply is his selectivity at the plate. He will report to Corpus Christi.
LHP Colton Cain - Cain was ranked by Mayo as #16, but BA ranked him higher at #13. Cain throws a low 90's fastball that touches the mid-90's and a curveball and changeup that are still works in progress but show much promise. He is described as fearless with a deceptive delivery and a frame built for durability. Baseball America projected him as a #3 or #4 starter coming in to the season. The 21-year old will also make a lateral move from the Pirates Hi-A team to the Astros Hi-A team in Lancaster.
LHP Rudy Owens - Baseball America ranked Owens as #16 in the Pirates organization going into the season while Jonathan Mayo has him at #12. Owens suffered from shoulder fatigue and reduced velocity in 2011 after being named as the Pirates minor league pitcher of the year in the two prior seasons. The 24-year old appears to be bouncing back this season. When he was at his most effective, he was throwing a 90-93 mph fastball with a "slurvy curveball" and a changeup that were still works in progress. He will report to AAA Oklahoma City.
With the infusion of new talent, there will be a lot of roster moves forthcoming as the existing rosters are full to bursting. I will try to keep a handle on the moves and post them as I have confirmed information.