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Is Astros Fire Sale Underway?

By BRIEN STRAW, SportsRadio 610
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(credit: BOB LEVEY/Getty Images)

(credit: BOB LEVEY/Getty Images)

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With the July 31 trade deadline approaching, Astros General Manager Ed Wade shipped second-baseman Jeff Keppinger to the San Francisco Giants for two minor league pitching prospects.  From the Giants perspective, they were in need of help with infielders Freddy Sanchez and Miguel Tejada on the disabled list.

In return for Keppinger – who was batting .307 this season with the ability to play 2B, 3B and Shortstop, the Astros received Jason Stoffel and Henry Sosa. While both pitchers were considered “Top 20” prospects by the Giants prior to the 2010 season, coming into 2011, neither were listed on any Giants “Top 20” lists.

The 22 year old Stoffel was the Giants’ fourth-round selection in the 2009 amateur draft after becoming the all-time saves leader for the Arizona Wildcats in his college career. As a pitcher for the Richmond Flying Squirrels of the Eastern Coast League [Double-A], Stoffel is 1-2 with a 3.98 ERA, 1.58 WHIP and 13 saves in 32 appearances. The book on Stoffel is that when he gains control of his low 90’s fastball, he could develop into a solid major league relief pitcher.

Sosa is a 6’1” 26 year old right-handed reliever that started the season in Triple-A with the Giants’ Fresno Grizzlies compiling a  3-1 record despite his 10.41 ERA and 2.40 WHIP. Since being demoted to Double-A Richmond, Sosa has posted a 5-2 record with a 2.68 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 40 1/3 innings. Sosa was  once considered San Francisco’s top prospect when he participated in the “Futures Game” in 2007, but his control problems and inability to notch strikeouts have most scouts rating him as little more than a journeyman.

Considering Ed Wade was able to acquire a potential solid bullpen contributor for a journeyman utility infielder having a career year, I guess you could say the Astros got the better of this deal. However, it’s not likely we’ll look back on this trade in three to four years and claim this was the transaction that led to a World Series, or even playoff appearance.

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