I've been remiss in getting an article up on this for the last couple days. Check back, because I will update as events unfold.
Last weekend, we were asked to participate in a Mock Winter Meetings exercise hosted by our SB Nation sister site, Royals Review. I was lucky enough to jump on last minute to serve as the Co-GM of the Houston Astros with Royals Review contributor KCTiger. KCTiger and I have been swinging deals and signing free agents for the last couple days. Next week, we will collaborate on an article talking about our experience as Astros "GM" for the week.
For now, I'll list the moves we've made so you can discuss them. I will explain our goals and reasoning behind the moves in the next post. We operated under a budget of about $35 million, not including the $5 million owed to Wandy Rodriguez.
Boy, did KCTiger and I love this trade, and our acumen was validated by the immediate outrage of Royals fans on the message boards. There was a lot of early action on Norris, and we were able to use that to maximize our return.
Francoeur's inclusion in the Royals deal was at the insistence of the Royals. The Cubs trade was a salary dump. As a bonus, we added a guy whose last name is "Jokisch."
We struck early when Jurrjens was non-tendered, and it's a good thing we did. The pitching market went nuts shortly thereafter. We saw deals like Brandon McCarthy for 4 years $55 million, and Zack Greinke signing for 6 years, $175 million. We liked the risk that Jurrjens would bounce back to be the almost 2-WAR pitcher he was in 2011.
And we have our DH. There are mixed opinions on Raburn, but we liked his price, positional flexibility (OF, 1B, 2B, 3B, DH), and we truly believe he's closer to the guy who hit .280/.340/.475 in 2010 than the guy who only hit .171 last season. With the budget so tight, we feel like this was a strong catch.
This is another trade I love. Lopez' value is at its peak, and F-Rod is one year away from arbitration. The inclusion of F-Rod allowed the return to be two of the Phillies' top 10 prospects. Valle was the prize here - he is the #7 prospect catcher in all of MLB according to MLB.com. He immediately is the top catching prospect in the Astros' system, and has a ceiling as high or higher than Jason Castro's. Walding is a powerful young 3B who has a major league future.
Our biggest priority was a rotation anchor, and we landed one. Marcum is actually a very reasonable cost for this sim, though he has injury worries. We felt the injury thing overblown, as he has averaged 173 innings per season since missing all of 2009. Marcum hasn't posted an ERA over 4.00 since 2007 (4.13).
The deals will continue through the end of the week. What do Astros fans think of these moves so far?