Jeff Luhnow was still hard at work the day before Thanksgiving, agreeing to two trades that freed up more options down the road.
Lowrie: Traded twice by Luhnow
(c) Associated Press
Outfielder L.J. Hoes is returning to Baltimore. Part of the Bud Norris trade in 2013, Hoes found himself squeezed out of the picture in Houston where he batted .240 over parts of three seasons. Released off the 40-man roster, Hoes was claimed by the Orioles and sold back to Baltimore.
The Astros also dealt utility infielder Jed Lowrie back to Oakland for AA reliever Brendan McCurry. Lowrie was originally acquired from Boston in one of Luhnow's first deals as general manager. He was sent to Oakland after one season for pitcher Brad Peacock, first baseman Chris Carter and catcher Max Stassi. Lowrie returned last winter after signing a three-year free agent deal.
Lowrie expressed disappointment that he was not staying in Houston but two events sealed his fate. First, Carlos Correa showed he had arrived to stay to occupy the shortstop position. Secondly, Colby Rasmus took the $15.8 million qualifying offer to return next year. Rasmus got approximately a $7 million raise so trading a veteran set to earn $7.5 million next year makes business sense.
Lowrie got off to a hot start last spring before tearing a ligament in his thumb and missing two months. When he returned, it was clear that he'd lost some strength in his hand. Lowrie finished the season with a .222 average and nine homers.
McCurry, a righthander, chalked up 27 saves between A and AA ball last season while posting a stingy 1.86 ERA. He struck out 82 batters in 63 innings.
The trade is good news for both Marwin Gonzalez and Luis Valbuena who stand to get the most time at third base as it now stands.
The Winter Meetings begin next week. More moves are expected then.
- Bob Hulsey