Astros Trade For Lindstrom At Low Cost





The Astros' still-somewhat-thin farm system suffered another loss of four players at the Winter Meetings, but overall did not suffer too much in a trade and the Rule 5 draft.

The Astros gave up two distant prospects, righthander Robert Bono and shortstop Luis Bryan, in their deal to acquire Marlins righty reliever Matt Lindstrom for the back end of the big league bullpen.

In a farm system that lacks depth at many positions, Bono and Bryan's combination of age and position are also occupied by multiple other players, some widely considered to have more potential.

"We feel at these two positions giving up prospects, if we have to give up prospects we're doing from an area where we feel we have some strength," general manager Ed Wade said.

Bono, two days short of 21 when the trade was completed, was the control righty in the low Class A Lexington rotation that also featured righthanders Ross Seaton and Jordan Lyles. In 143 1/3 innings, the groundball specialist struck out just 66 while walking just 19 with his more projectable teammates putting up higher numbers in both categories.

Bryan became easier for the Astros to reconcile dealing because he was one of three players to put up big numbers at shortstop this year, and the future at the position is clearly Jiovanni Mier's to lose.

The 19-year-old Bryan hit .340/.345/.491 in 31 games in his first domestic season playing for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Astros but did not draw a walk in 111 plate appearances. His teammate one year younger, Enrique Hernandez, played most of the rest of the games at short (and 31 at second base) with a much more well-rounded repertoire and hit .295/.336/.396.

And of course, there's Mier, the first-round pick from the 2009 draft who did not disappoint, racking up the accolades and numbers at Rookie-level Greeneville.

"Our guys think that Bryan's going to be a really good big league player, but he's 19 and 'X' number of years from the big leagues," Wade said.

The Astros also took a couple hits, neither appearing serious, in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. They lost Nick Moresi, 25, who hit .223/.268/.406 as an outfielder for high Class A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi, and righthander Jose Duran, 24, who had a 8.06 ERA as a starter/reliever at Lancaster.

SPACE SHOTS

Drew Meyer, who spent last season as the starting second baseman at Corpus Christi, was listed by the Astros in their first group of non-roster invites for 2010 spring training. He'll be joined by righthanders Roy Corcoran, Casey Daigle, Gary Majewski and Ryan Sadowski, shortstop Oswaldo Navarro, first baseman Chris Shelton and outfielder Alex Romero.

As protection against their selection in the Rule 5 draft, the Astros added righthanders Evan Englebrook, Matt Nevarez and Henry Villar to the 40-man roster as well as righthander Jose Valdez, a minor league free agent acquisition.