Astros reel in 2 prospects for Feldman, Fields

Houston lands RHP Chavez from Jays, IF/OF Alvarez from Dodgers

August 1st, 2016

HOUSTON -- The Astros pulled off a pair of deals prior to Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but not the kind that are going to impact the club down the stretch.
The Astros traded right-hander  to the Blue Jays in exchange for 18-year-old right-hander Guadalupe Chavez and dealt Minor League relief pitcher to the Dodgers in exchange for 19-year-old Cuban minor league infielder/outfielder Yordan Alvarez.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said he was involved in the conversations about almost every player who was moved as the Deadline approached, but said the cost was too high. Luhnow said prospects, and A.J. Reed were among those asked about a lot by other clubs, but the Astros weren't willing to part with top Minor League talent like they did a year ago.
"Those are the guys that everybody wanted and those are the guys that also are going to help us here in the next couple years," Luhnow said. "So we had a decision to make, and we decided to hold the guys that we have."
The Astros entered Monday with the best record in the Majors since May 23, which helped ease Luhnow's disappointment of not being able to make a deal. Still, the Astros lost 3 1/2 games in the American League West standings to the Rangers in the previous four days to fall six games back. The Rangers then went out and acquired outfielder Carlos Beltran and catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
"We have a really solid young core of players," Luhnow said. "They've been healthy all year. It's different if you lost a couple players early in the year to injury and you have to replace them. But these guys have been here all year. They've been playing well. We've been healthy.
"We just added Bregman. We're going to add [right-hander Joe] Musgrove today. We've got [Cuban infielder Yulieski] Gurriel coming. We've got ways to improve this team internally. The Trade Deadline is not the only way to improve the team, and oftentimes that can become the most costly way to improve the team, especially over the long haul."
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said his club is still well-positioned to contend.
"This time of year, there's always this anxiety over whether deals are going to be made or not made," he said. "The reality is we're going to go with the group that we have. If anything happens in August, it does, but we like our group."
The Astros made a pair of deals near the Deadline last year that haven't worked out, and Luhnow acknowledged they played into his thinking this year. Houston acquired starting pitcher Scott Kazmir last July, but he didn't pitch as well as they had hoped. On July 30 last year, they sent four players -- including their 2014 Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year -- to the Brewers for pitcher Mike Fiers and outfielder Carlos Gomez, who's been a disappointment.
"We've got reasons why we didn't make those big moves and we think those are the right reasons," Luhnow said. "You never know how things are going to play out. People always celebrate these moves on Trade Deadline day. The cost of these moves are felt next year, the year after, and they're not always tied back to the moves that you made.
"We're sort of keeping all of that in mind. We're not worried about a window shutting. We're just getting into our window. So we want to keep it open as long as possible and I think the moves we made today, or the lack of moves, are a reflection of that mindset."
Feldman became expendable after his role diminished to spot starter and long reliever, though he was pitching well. He signed a three-year, $30 million deal when the Astros were coming off a 111-loss season and was a mainstay in the rotation for two years. He was told he was traded in the Astros clubhouse and simply had to cross Minute Maid Park to join the Blue Jays, who are in Houston.
"I love having Scott on this team," Hinch said. "I appreciate everything he did last season until he got hurt and then this season in a variety of roles. He's been a consummate pro and somebody who's taken the ball every time I called upon him. He had great influence in our clubhouse. He's passed the torch to some other guys that have experience now. His time as an Astro was very successful."
Chavez was 4-1 with 1.69 ERA in six starts for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays. He had been ranked as the Blue Jays' No. 20 prospect by
Alvarez, 19, was signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent on June 15 out of Las Tunas, Cuba. The 6-foot-4, left-handed-hitting first baseman/outfielder last played for Las Tunas in Cuba's Serie Nacional in 2014, hitting .351 with 17 RBIs in 40 games as a 17-year-old. He has two years of professional experience in Cuba (2013-14).
"Alvarez is a player with exciting offensive upside," said Astros director of pro scouting Kevin Goldstein. "He has excellent power for a teenager, as well as a feel to hit. He has also demonstrated great athleticism for a player of his size."
Fields, 30, has spent most of his season at Triple-A Fresno, where he posted a 1-0 record with one save and a 1.65 ERA in 23 games. He made 15 appearances for the Astros this season before being optioned to Triple-A on May 12.