SPORTS

Houston Astros complete 10-player transaction with Toronto Blue Jays

07/20/2012 11:19 EDT | Updated 09/19/2012 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - General manager Alex Anthopoulos gave his battered pitching corps a little relief Friday.

The Toronto Blue Jays acquired pitchers J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter in a 10-player deal with the Houston Astros. They also recalled outfielder Travis Snider from triple-A Las Vegas.

Toronto sent pitcher Francisco Cordero and outfielder Ben Francisco along with four minor-league players — right-handers Joe Musgrove and Asher Wojciechowski, left-hander David Rollins and catcher Carlos Perez — and a player to be named later to Houston.

"This was a depth deal," Anthopoulos said during a conference call. "I think it looks like a greater deal because of the quantity of players but at the end of the day we gave up some guys in 'A' ball that we think have a chance to be all right and we got some much-needed depth that can help us for the current year and going forward.

"I don't think I'm saying anything crazy by acknowledging that these are not our top prospects and I don't think anyone would've expected us to include those guys. We need some depth going forward for the current year and beyond that . . . with the guys that are up here, our depth has really been attacked.''

Left-hander Happ and Lyon, a right-hander, are expected to join the Blue Jays on Saturday and both will throw out of the bullpen. However, Anthopoulos said Happ could find himself in the starting rotation if a current member struggles or is hurt.

Carpenter, a 27-year-old right-hander, will report to triple-A Las Vegas.

It has already been a bizarre year for Toronto's pitching rotation with starters Henderson Alvarez, Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison all hurt. But the Blue Jays' injury woes haven't been limited to its pitching as slugger Jose Bautista (wrist) and third baseman Brett Lawrie (calf) are also among the club's walking wounded.

The addition of Happ and Carpenter does offer Toronto some security as Happ is under club control through 2014 while Carpenter is signed through 2017. Lyon is slated to become a free agent at the end of the season.

"We like Happ's ability to strike guys out," Anthopoulos said. "Obviously a guy like Brandon Lyon is having a solid year. He has been hurt in the past but Cordero obviously hasn't pitched as well as he's certainly capable of and we think swapping out Lyon with Cordero will help our bullpen for the current year.

"A guy like David Carpenter is someone we liked at the end of last year. I know he hasn't been up with the Astros very long and was sent back down but he's a guy with pretty good arm strength and has some upside.''

Happ, 29, is in his sixth major league season and has a 7-9 record and 4.83 earned-run average in 18 starts this year. The six-foot-six, 195-pound left-hander has a 32-33 career record and 4.16 ERA with Philadelphia (2007-10) and Houston (2010-12).

Lyon, 32, is 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA in 37 relief appearances. The right-hander is returning to Toronto after breaking into the majors with the club in 2001-02 but only appeared in 15 games last year due to tendinitis in his right biceps.

Carpenter is in his second major league season having posted an 0-2 record and 6.07 ERA in 30 relief appearances.

Snider, 24, hit .335 with 13 homers and 56 RBIs in 56 games with Las Vegas. He is scheduled to be in uniform for Friday night's game in Boston.

"We may have given him a few more games (at Las Vegas) because it looked like he was starting to get hot," Anthopoulos said of Snider. "But with the trade being done it was obviously the time to make the move now.''

To make room on the 40-man roster, right-hander Robert Coello was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

Anthopoulos couldn't say whether he'll make another deal before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"I really have no idea,'' he said frankly. "We don't have this expectation that we have to make a move.

"All we continue to do at all times is try to make the team better whenever we can. We continue to be active year-round and whenever we can make a trade to get better we will.''

Cordero, 37, was 3-5 with two saves in 41 appearances for Toronto this season. He has 329 career saves, second among active players behind Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees (608).

In 794 career relief appearances, Cordero has a 3.28 ERA and registered 40 or more saves three times in his career.

"I just don't think he could ever get on track here, we couldn't get him on track," Anthopoulos said of Cordero. "I think he'll perform a lot better for the Astros with a fresh start.

"The one thing is this guy was an unbelievable teammate, he's a pro. You can't help but admire the way he went about it day in and day out. Even with just the struggles he had this year, the way he carried himself the way he handled himself he definitely was one of the most respected guys in our clubhouse so from that standpoint you're sad to lose that element that he brought.''

Francisco hit .244 in 23 games for the Blue Jays this season and has .259 career average with 45 homers in 483 career games with Cleveland, Philadelphia and Toronto.

"This is a very good deal for us," Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow told The Associated Press. "Once again, we are adding depth to our minor-league system with quality young players.

"We really feel this will help us moving forward and are extremely excited about the players we've added to our organization."

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