Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Roster Moves

The Astros announced today that they had acquired RHP John Ely from the Dodgers in exchange for LHP Rob Rasmussen. I didn't post about this move earlier partly because I wasn't sure how I felt about it and also because of that whole pesky day job thing getting in the way.

From what I had seen and read about Rasmussen since he came to the Astros in the Carlos Lee trade in July of this year, I liked him. A lot of it boils down to his pitching performance for the Hooks in a playoff game back in September against Frisco. I watched the game on the computer and there was a moment when he stepped off the mound, took a deep breath, cleared his head and then calmly extricated himself from a difficult situation. He showed great focus and maturity. That moment, along with the things that I had heard and read about him, made me want to see more of Rasmussen in 2013.

And what I saw about Ely didn't really wow me, other than his 2012 minor league stats which were quite good by any measure. But seeing as his limited time in the majors hadn't translated into much success yet and seeing as he is three years older than Rasmussen, I confess to being a little conflicted.

So I reached out to John Manuel of Baseball America to see what he thought of the deal. I wanted to get an outsider's impression on it. According to Manuel, "I like Rasmussen probably more than most. But Ely won the pitching triple crown in the PCL; that's pretty tough. I think he's a good place-holder, and Rasmussen is probably just a reliever on a championship team, or a back-of-the-rotation starter. I like Rasmussen; I had him 19 on my list for the Handbook. But Ely is a nice sleeper pickup, for me." He also pointed me to this Baseball America article from this past summer.

So there you have it. I'm feeling a bit more comfortable about the trade and Rasmussen is over the moon happy to be playing for the team he grew up watching.

Since Rasmussen wasn't on the 40-man roster, a corresponding move was necessary in order to make room for Ely. OF Che-Hsuan Lin who had been picked up off waivers from the White Sox earlier this off-season was designated for assignment. In other news, RHP Mickey Storey was again claimed off waivers from Houston, this time by the Blue Jays. In addition, although it has been widely rumored that the Astros are signing the free agent righty Jose Veras, the deal has not been finalized. Once it is (presuming it is), another 40-man roster move will need to be made.

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