On August 31, Jeff Luhnow and the Astros made their final trade of the 2012 season when they traded recently acquired OF Ben Francisco to the Tampa Bay Rays for the oh-so popular, player to be named later. On September 20, the player to be named later was announced as LHP Theron Geith. This trade marked the fourth team Francisco had been a member of in the past nine months.
At the time of the trade, Francisco was hitting .244 with 2 homers and 5 RBI in 144 plate appearances and after the trade to Tampa Bay, he hit .228 with 2 homers and 8 RBI in 63 plate appearances. He finished with a season line of a .240 AVG, 4 homers and 15 RBI. Francisco, as you remember, came over as part of the huge ten player deal with Toronto. So essentially, the Astros received Asher Wojciechowski, Joseph Musgrove, Francisco Cordero (who was later released), David Rollins, Carlos Perez, Kevin Comer and now Theron Geith for J.A. Happ, David Carpenter and Brandon Lyon. Not a bad swap.
Theron Geith was traded to the Astros after the 2012 minor league season had come to a close. He was a 39th round pick of the Rays out of the University of Lousiana-Lafayette in the 2011 MLB Draft. He played for the Class High A Charlotte Snow Crabs this season posting a 2.98 ERA in 31 relief appearances. In 54.1 innings of work over the course of the 2012 season, he allowed 48 hits with 49 strikeouts, 11 walks and two saves. Geith has been used primarily as a lefty in the bullpen and will likely replace that same spot in the Class AA Corpus Christi Hooks bullpen that will be vacated when Kevin Chapman is promoted to AAA Oklahoma City for the 2013 minor league season.
Its tough to assign a winner to this trade as Francisco was in the last year of his deal, didn’t play very well anywhere during the 2012 season, including Tampa, and didn’t help Tampa get into the playoffs. Geith on the other hand did not pitch in the Astros organization this year and could very well end up as organizational depth. He has pitched well in his brief minor league career and could also end up as a hidden gem. This marks yet another good trade for Jeff Lihnow where he continues to improve the farm system while getting younger.