Hey, Astros: Please Don't Make Terrible Trades

I think Clear Channel has John Lopez working way too many hours. I made the mistake of listening to him for a bit yesterday, and not only did he make the mistake of wishing that the Astros would trade for Toronto's Roy Halladay, he appeared to be upset that the team isn't putting forth the necessary effort to make the trade happen because, according to Lopez, this Astros team is in contention and with Halladay, the Astros become the team to beat.

There are, of course, a few fallacies with Lopez' logic.

The Toronto Blue Jays aren't going to want to trade Halladay for just anybody. They're looking to stock the team with young, inexpensive talent. They don't want Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada. They're going to want the likes of Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Bud Norris, Yorman Bazardo, and Jason Castro.

If the Astros make a trade like that, the team gets way too old, then there's the question of a possible outfield of Lee, Darin Erstad, and Jason Michaels. And that becomes a bad outfield with no range and the inability to score runs.

That means the team is not able to score as much, and the bad defense means more runs score. Which would negate the use of having Halladay on the staff. Because Halladay is supposed to put a team over the top, but he can't put a team over the top if the team dumps valuable and much needed talent to bring him onto the roster.

But Lopez wasn't finished. He then went on to say that the Astros can't bring up Bud Norris and Yorman Bazardo -- the team's best pitching prospects -- from Round Rock during the middle of the pennant chase because the pressure might prove to be too much. That leaves me to wonder just what Roy Oswalt's career would have been like were he not forced to join the rotation during the 2001 season when the Astros were fighting to make the playoffs. But at least now I know why his career has been so disappointing -- Oswalt just couldn't handle the pressure of 2001 and he's never been the same since.

And Lopez got mad when people called in and questioned the wisdom of the Astros following his advice, which is why I also can't help wondering how things were in the Clear Channel hallways yesterday since David Dalati and Tom Franklin came on after Lopez' show and stated for listeners just how stupid it would be to trade the team's future for Halladay.

If it were 1998, and if the Astros had a relatively young team like it did then, and if the Astros had a fully stocked farm system, like the Astros also had at the time, then trading guys like Pence and Norris for Halladay might make sense -- I still think the Randy Johnson trade was a great one that, while it cost the Astros some talent like Freddy Garcia and Carlos Guillien, didn't harm the team in the long run. But this isn't 1998. This team isn't young like the one in 1998, and the farm system isn't stocked with talent, like it was in 1998.

So while it's doubtful that trading for Halladay would help the Astros in 2009, it's without a doubt that it would harm the team in the long term. And at some point, the Astros have to focus on the long term. Now I know Lopez is just a sports-talk host struggling for ratings who Clear Channel has stuck with a really, really strange working schedule, but at some point, he really should let facts and reality become part of his discussions.

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