The Houston Astros shook up their roster in a major way Friday, trading pitchers Brandon Lyon, J.A. Happ and David Carpenter to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for reliever Francisco Cordero, outfielder Ben Francisco and five prospects.
This was no longer the dump of an expiring contract that Carlos Lee was or the trade of a player due to make big bucks like some of their trades in previous years' demolitions. This was trading big-league value in order to push the timeline even further back in a rebuild meant to help later this decade.
"We're talking about picking up five minor league players that we like, and we've got to give some value to get some value," general manager Jeff Luhnow said.
While Lyon's deal is up at the end of this season, that money is offset by the hit they're taking in acquiring Cordero's contract. Cordero will also take Lyon's number and his late-inning setup role in front of closer Brett Myers.
In Happ, the Astros were giving up a player in his first year of arbitration eligibility, while Carpenter only has one year of service time and is even younger baseball-wise. He converted to pitching in 2008.
The blockbuster deal is part of the process for Luhnow, who was tasked with rebuilding the farm system and is doing so at seemingly any cost to the major league roster.
"We're very excited about the prospects we're getting back and felt like this was a deal that we needed to do to further our mission in Houston, which is to develop the best young talent in baseball," Luhnow said.
None of the prospects acquired has played a game in Class AA yet. The list includes pitchers Asher Wojciechowski, David Rollins and Joe Musgrove and catcher Carlos Perez. There is also a player to be named that is expected to be announced by the end of August.
Wojciechowski, 23, was 7-3 with a 3.57 ERA in 18 starts for high Class A Dunedin.
Rollins, 22, had gone 6-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 18 starts for low Class A Lancaster.
Musgrove, 19, had appeared in just two games rookie-level Bluefield, allowing one run in eight innings. He was a supplemental first-round draft pick last year.
Perez, 21, was hitting .275 with a .358 on-base percentage, a .447 slugging percentage, five homers and 40 RBI in 71 games for Lancaster.