Third baseman Chris Johnson is the latest Astros player to be sent packing by Jeff Luhnow. CJ is headed to the Diamondbacks in exchange for a pair of minor league outfielders, Bobby Borchering and Marc Krauss. Johnson had an up-and-down career in Houston, but a recent hot streak made him an attractive commodity for the D-Backs.
Of all the players traded this month, CJ is the one guy that I will truly miss. Although he will probably never be a superstar, I think Johnson has the potential to be a dependable bat for years to come. His defense is pretty shaky but Johnson could have been an option for the Astros as a DH in the 2013 season and beyond. I would like to wish CJ the best of luck in Arizona.
Johnson’s departure opens up an opportunity for the newly acquired and versatile Steve Pearce. The former Pirate has taken CJ’s spot on the roster and is starting at first base this afternoon. Pearce can also play both corner outfield positions and has made a handful of appearances at the hot corner. Pearce, 29, is a right-handed hitter who has a .235/.304/.375 slash line in 604 big league plate appearances. Pearce had some nice power numbers in the minors and played in 28 games for the Orioles this season before being claimed by the Astros.
Bobby Borchering is a 21 year-old prospect who was drafted by Arizona in the first round of the 2009 draft. Originally a third baseman, Borchering struggled with the glove and was moved to the outfield. Recently promoted to AA, Borchering has been a doubles machine at A-ball and could develop into a power hitter. At 6′ 3″ and 200 pounds Borchering has the potential to beef up and turn some of those doubles into homeruns.
Marc Krauss was the Diamondbacks second round pick in 2009 out of Ohio University. He is 24 years old, hits left-handed, and is currently in his second season at the AA level. Strikeouts have been a problem early in his career but repeating AA has drastically improved his K/BB ratio. Krauss is a leftfielder and has shown some pop in the minors. I would like to see what he can do at AAA, because at age 24 his AA stats should be taken with a grain of salt.
Overall it looks like the Astros didn’t do too badly on this trade. The Orioles were also reported to be bidding on Johnson which probably drove up the price the D-Backs ultimately paid.