The Astros just acquired all star closer Jose Valverd from the D-Backs for Chris Burke, Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez. Valverd’s numbers look great if he can keep it up. Last season he posted a Major League leading 47 saves with a 2.66 ERA. Valverde, 28, also struck out 78 hitters in 64 1/3 innings while walking 26 and allowing 46 hits. The only real loss in this trade is Chad Qualls. Chris Burke’s future with the Astros was sealed when the club signed second baseman Kazuo Matsui. Gutierrez was a decent prospect but not a lock. Qualls, on the other hand, was one of the most consistent guys in the bullpen. I’m not sure if Qualls had the stuff of a modern closer but he was generally a dependable setup man.
Not 100% sure about this trade yet but it could turn out in our favor. Bottom line is that not every trade is going to work out but you’ve got to take some chances. I respect Ed Wade for this. Tim Purpura seemed too reluctant to pull the trigger on big risky moves and as a result the team suffered. I’m guessing his time spent as vice-president in charge of player development taught him to be very patient with players but the big leagues is not the same as rookie ball. The blind spot the Astros’ seemed to have regarding Jason Lane was laughable. On the other hand, Ed Wade has no personal relationship to these players and so far seems willing to take some calculated risks. I hope they pay off…but you’ve got to respect the effort. This is going to be a very different looking team from last year.