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Astros trade Myles Straw to Indians for RHP Phil Maton

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Rockets34Legend, Jul 30, 2021.

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  1. raining threes

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    Maton has promise and the catcher has a chance to be a stud.

    This trade means they either 1. had another deal in the works that fell through. 2. And, or believed in Meyers and Chaz as much as Click did Straw.

    Either way, it's a real gutsy move. I think Maton has the ability to be above avg this yr and I really like Diaz.
     
  2. astros123

    astros123 Member

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    This trade is going bite us in the ass mark my words. Defense defense
     
  3. AznH-TownFan

    AznH-TownFan Member

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    Meyers is a very good defensively. Chas not bad either. If you’re thinking about the error by Tucker tonite, Straw wouldn’t be out there playing tonite if he was on the team. He wouldn’t be starting against any NL teams on the road. Now I like to maybe see a defensive replacement late in the game with the lead. Something Chas and Meyers can handle.
     
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  4. raining threes

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    Tucker should've caught the ball.

    San Fran is one of the toughest places to play the outfield or for infielders to catch popups because of the wind.
     
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  5. HTXSportsAddict

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    Maton is interesting. Last year he had a 2.68 xERA, 2.22 fip, 3.05 xFIP, 2.73 SIERA, and 13.29 strikeouts per nine. This year he has a 3.61 xERA, 3.13 fip, 3.56 xFIP, 3.13 SIERA, and 13.28 strikeouts per nine. ZIPS projections have him with a mid 3 era the next couple of seasons. On the downside, he's gone from 2.49 walks per nine last year to 4.35 this year and from 0.42 homers per nine last season to 0.87.



     
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  6. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    Fifteen interesting MLB players who may get their chance thanks to recent trades
    https://theathletic.com/2739074/202...may-get-their-chance-thanks-to-recent-trades/

    13. Chas McCormick, OF, Houston Astros

    The power is supported by Statcast, as he’s got a plus barrel rate. He’ll probably strike out less in the future, given his minor-league track record and projections. He might steal a bag or two and hit .240 with league-average power. You might be worried McCormick will go right back into a wrong-side platoon, as a throws-left, bats-right guy, but new call-up Jake Meyers is also throws-left, bats-right so here we are. A decent center fielder on an elite team with a younger, more exciting player behind him. … Wait, we should’ve profiled Meyers, shouldn’t we? One foot in front of the other. Watch Meyers to see if he even gets into games before jumping.
     
  7. marks0223

    marks0223 Astros STILL 2017 Champions
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  8. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    In their surprise trade of Myles Straw, the Astros make a big bet on Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers
    https://theathletic.com/2743016/202...-a-big-bet-on-chas-mccormick-and-jake-meyers/

    SAN FRANCISCO — For the first time in his year and a half as the Astros general manager, James Click on Friday made the type of unorthodox, bold trade that his former team, the Tampa Bay Rays, has a reputation for making.

    Myles Straw, the starting center fielder on a first-place team, is gone after producing 1.5 bWAR and 2.0 fWAR in 98 games. Phil Maton, a reliever who had an average ERA for a mediocre Indians team, is on the roster in his place.

    The full trade: Straw for Maton and minor-league catcher Yainer Diaz, a 22-year-old who’s in Low A. Straw, 26, is still in his pre-arbitration years. He has four more seasons after this one before free agency. Maton, 28, has two more arbitration years left after this one, setting him up to be a free agent after the 2023 season.

    If the deal has you scratching your head, you’re far from alone. By making this surprising move, the Astros are basically making a bet on Chas McCormick and Triple-A call-up Jake Meyers combining to replicate the value Straw and McCormick provided. And in Maton, their hope is that they bought low on a spin-rate darling they might be able to help improve.

    “We felt like we still needed one more weapon out there in the bullpen to really solidify things out there,” Click said. “I felt personally that Chas McCormick had certainly done everything to earn a lot more playing time. I think he’s been exceptionally effective in the role he’s had so far and we have a lot of confidence in him to step up and continue to contribute in an everyday role. Jake Meyers, we feel like can bring a lot of athleticism to the team. We feel like he can really help us out and kind of cover a lot of the same things that Myles Straw did.

    “But at the same time, it’s incredibly difficult to trade a player like Myles Straw. The skill set that he brings, his ability to change the game on defense and on the bases, it was a difficult decision to make. But this was about the ability to bring in a player like Maton and what we can do for us in the bullpen and also our confidence in Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers to continue the production that we’ve seen in center field.”

    Straw, who was popular in the Astros’ clubhouse, struggled early in the season but improved significantly both defensively and in his on-base percentage (.339 in 370 plate appearances). He doesn’t hit for power, but his bat-to-ball skills, plate discipline and speed made him useful out of the Nos. 8 or 9 spots in a loaded lineup. Those skills plus great defense can be massive in a playoff series.

    McCormick, 26, is plenty fast, too, and he hits for power. He came into the season having a lot more experience as a corner outfielder than as a center fielder. But the Astros must’ve seen enough in his 13 games (10 starts) in center as the backup to Straw to be comfortable with him manning the position a lot more regularly.

    “I feel pretty comfortable in center field now,” McCormick said. “They’ve given me some opportunities out there. I’m looking forward to sticking in center field. Obviously, I’ll be working more on it. But I’m starting to feel comfortable just like I did at the corners.”

    McCormick, who had a 114 OPS+ in his part-time role, had trade value, too, so the deal could be interpreted as the Astros projecting him to have more future value than Straw. Meyers, who broke out offensively in Triple A this season, was blocked for as long as both Straw and McCormick were on the active roster.

    “Between (McCormick and Meyers), I expect that we’ll be able to cover most of the playing time,” Click said. “But we might be open to getting creative and sliding other guys in there if need be.”

    The creative scenario is to play speedy right fielder Kyle Tucker in center, as manager Dusty Baker did on Friday in an NL ballpark and behind sinkerballer Framber Valdez. Tucker played center in high school and in the minors — he was moved off the position in Triple A — but before Friday his major-league experience at the position was limited to one inning in 2018.

    However, Baker said Friday’s alignment, which had Yordan Alvarez in left and Michael Brantley out of position in right, was designed only to keep both Alvarez and Brantley’s bats in the lineup in a game played with NL rules. Baker said he planned to do it even before Straw was traded. It’s not expected to be a regular configuration.

    “Tucker’s such a good right fielder that I don’t think that we want to mess with a good thing,” Click said. “I think this falls under ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.'”

    That same phrase could be applied as an argument against the trade. The Astros were one of the best teams in baseball with Straw as their starting center fielder. A defense of the deal could be that the Astros might’ve sold high on Straw and bought low on Maton, who plays a position of greater need for a team that has McCormick.

    Maton is an upside play compared to the Astros’ previous bullpen acquisitions this week of Kendall Graveman and Yimi García. The ex-Padre and now-ex Indian, whose $975,000 salary in 2021 allowed the Astros to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold, is a bit more of a project than García, whose pitch usage is expected to be altered, and a lot less of a known commodity than Graveman.

    Maton was an average performer for the Indians this season with a 4.57 ERA in 41 1/3 innings across 38 appearances, though his 3.13 FIP and .356 batting average against on balls in play suggest he experienced some bad luck. He generates a lot of swings-and-misses with his four-pitch mix; he throws a fastball that averages 91 mph but plays harder, a curveball, a slider and a cutter.

    The trade also couldn’t have been made if the Astros weren’t high on Meyers, who batted .343/.408/.598 in 304 plate appearances in Triple A. The 25-year-old has always been a strong and technically sound defender in center, having learned the fundamentals in his formative years first from his father, Paul, an All-American outfielder at Nebraska who reached Triple A with the Giants in the late 1980s, and later from his college coach at Nebraska, former major leaguer Darin Erstad.

    But it wasn’t until this season that Meyers showed this type of power. His improved exit velocities suggest it’s not a fluke, either. His swing is a lot simpler than when he was drafted in the 13th round in 2017, and he’s learned to hit the ball hard more consistently. He has cited his time at the alternate training site last summer as pivotal to his development. He had only just reached Double A toward the end of the 2019 season, and while there had only a .570 OPS. The Astros exposed him to the Rule 5 Draft in December and he went unselected, which in retrospect could be viewed as a calculated gamble by the team or just plain luck. Either way, Meyers garnered virtually no prospect buzz coming into the season.

    “We missed an entire season last year in player development, so he may have been a guy who last year would’ve broken out like this and shown the tools to contribute at the major-league level, and by this time maybe the prospect mavens would’ve picked up on that,” Click said. “But with the missing season, some of these guys have made leaps that we might just not be aware of because we didn’t have the games to observe. Jake is a guy who brings elite athleticism to the table and has continued to develop as a hitter. We’re looking forward to seeing him on both sides of the ball once he gets here.”

    Meyers will fall into the bench role McCormick had occupied and can also be a late-game defensive replacement in center, an alignment that would push McCormick to left. It’s not exactly a low-pressure situation for him to break into the majors, but the Astros believe he’s ready.

    As for McCormick, the Astros have long been higher on him than his lack of prospect attention might’ve suggested they should have been. He and Meyers are similar in that neither garnered much buzz ahead of their major-league debuts. Strangely, both hit righty and throw lefty, too.

    “I think I’ve played OK this year. I can definitely play better,” McCormick said. “They’re giving me a shot, an opportunity, so I can’t be more thankful for that. I’m excited to get more games under my belt, get some rhythm going. I’m well-rested, so I’m going to try to bring tons of energy each game. I’m going to try to be out there every single day.”
     
  9. Stephen66

    Stephen66 Member

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    Seems like trading Straw was a no-brainer.
     
  10. rockbox

    rockbox Contributing Member
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    Chaz has better numbers and his defense is about the same
    As much as sounds kind like a risky move from a traditional sense, it makes sense from a big picture sense.

    Worst case scenario is that we play Tucker in center and Diaz and Brantley at the corners. Also, if we make it to the world series, we will play Tucker at center and Alavarez and Brantley at the corners as we did last night in away games.

    So is Straw/Brantley/Tucker better than Tucker/ Brantley/Alvarez or Diaz? Keep in mind this is the worst case scenario. The best case Scenario is that Chaz continues his development or Meyers has an Alvarez type debut, Strom fixes Maton, and Diaz develops into a major league catcher. We will then anoint Click the best GM since Luhnow. I literally don't see how this could hurt us overall as much as we were emotionally attached to Straw.

    I think the Straw we saw is the best we will see from him. He will never hit a bunch of extra base hits or homeruns and he will get slower as he gets older. Click sold high on Straw.
     
    #190 rockbox, Jul 31, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
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  11. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast

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    It helps when you have GB heavy pitcher like Framber, which have been the only starts Alvarez gets in LF
     
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  12. rockbox

    rockbox Contributing Member
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    One thing we know is that Baker loves Alvarez, so he will want Alvarez in the lineup in NL parks.
     
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  13. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast

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    Definitely interesting to see what they do here on out. If they want Tucker in CF at any point, they better start getting him starts, but it didn't sound like Click was too enthused about it.

    I'm a huge proponent of defense up the middle - C/SS/CF - so I'm probably not the right person to ask about this :)
     
  14. Marshall Bryant

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    I had many an argument on other boards about the value of Jake Marisnick as a defender, even at the cost of some offense. Also the value of Adam Everett's elite defense. But it's a perspective some never get.

    I was reminded of the difference between good and spectacular looking defense (Everett v Jeter) as they noted Diaz is making great defensive plays at all positions look smooth and easy.
     
  15. astrosrule

    astrosrule Member

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    Jeter was so horrific on defense that it wouldn’t surprise me if Everett was more valuable some years
     
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  16. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast

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  17. DaChamp

    DaChamp Member

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    My buddy had an interesting theory about this trade. Said that the catcher Diaz they got from Cleveland was probably as important as getting Maton. This year or next year is probably Maldonado's last season, and as a Spanish speaker, he works well with all of the Spanish speaking pitchers we have on the team. I don't believe we have any other Spanish speaking catchers in the minors, having just traded Lorenzo Quintana to the Marlins. Buddy said Click is attempting to have options down the road for what is perceived to be a niche, but important characteristic: a catcher that can speak to the pitchers in their native language.
     
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  18. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast

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    Not an issue, and I'm sure Lee speaks enough baseball spanish to make it work.
     
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  19. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    It's a very Rays-esque trade.
     
  20. raining threes

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    They've got great defense at three of the four up the middle spots. It's not like Tucker didn't spend time in the minors playing CF and that he can play CF as well if not better than say Bryant. The real question is how well Alvarez, Brantley can play LF, CF. Hopefully these questions can be answered on the rest of this road trip.

    I'm also very intrigued by Meyers. Goldstein was really high on him.
     
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