Astros make a trade

The Astros have finally pulled the trigger on their first major move of the offseason. This afternoon the club officially announced the consummation of a trade with the Colorado Rockies.

Outfielder Brandon Barnes and RHP Jordan Lyles will be heading to The Mile High City. In exchange, the Astros receive outfielder Dexter Fowler and a player to be named later.

 

Barnes was a great guy and he will be missed. But he wasn’t the long term solution in centerfield and the Astros get an upgrade at that position with Fowler.

Lyles had an up-and-down career with the Astros — mostly down. Still only 23 years of age, he leaves Houston with a 14-29 record and a 5.35 ERA. Hopefully things work out for him in Colorado, but pitching at altitude brings a new set of challenges into play.

Fowler likely slides into the leadoff spot on an Astros team that desperately needs a table-setter. The centerfielder has excellent speed but isn’t exactly an elite base stealer. A switch-hitter, Fowler’s lefty-righty splits don’t show a major discrepancy. He has, however, benefited by playing his home games at altitude. (.298/.395/.485 career at home and .241/.333/.361 on the road)

Dexter Fowler (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

It will be interesting to see how Fowler fares away from the friendly confines of Coors Field. Those career road numbers are nothing to get too excited about. As the biggest name in the trade, this isn’t exactly a blockbuster. Fowler, who turns 28 in March, will make $7.35 million in 2014 and is arbitration eligible in 2015.

Another key component to the trade could be the PTBNL. That player is likely to be an individual that was drafted in 2013 and is not yet eligible to be announced as part of a deal.

I’m a little surprised to see the Astros part ways with Lyles. Although he has struggled at the big league level, he is still young and full of potential. But the former first round pick had plenty of opportunities in Houston — unfortunately, he disappointed more often than not.

Topics: Brandon Barnes, Dexter Fowler, Houston Astros, Jordan Lyles

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  • Joshua Nathanael Stallings

    The guy is one year older than Appel. I hope I’m wrong but this is already reminding me of the Jennings trade with Col.

    • astrosince1975

      I’m not sure I understand what you are saying. Are you saying that everyone involved in this trade will be out of baseball within 3 years?

      • Joshua Nathanael Stallings

        No I’m saying giving someone who has considerable trade value for a guy who has peaked with a below average bat (or arm).

        At rate, next year when this guy is batting 250-260 halfway through the year and has 6HR for a heft 7M a year…… we’ll see how excited everyone is.

        • astrosince1975

          I too am not as excited about Fowler as most. One thing that I do like is his line drive rate. He is in the top ten in the majors among batters with at least 1,500 plate appearances since 2010. We need a leadoff hitter and a veteran presence. He qualifies as both, so I am okay with the trade. And, remember, we also get a PTBNL.

          As for Lyles and his value — I don’t think it was as high as you suggest. There are plenty of young guys that throw harder and have better numbers. The time was right to cut ties with him. Waiting for his value to go up would have been an exercise in futility.

          • † ⚾ Mundo ⚾ †

            I am not crazy about this deal either. Granted, Lyles may never reach his potential but at least there was hope for improvement. Far as I can tell, Fowler is what he is which isn’t much. Stole 40+ bases his 2nd year in the minors then has virtually shut down his running game so I’m struggling to see how he offers “speed”. He certainly does not offer power, despite having the strikeout numbers of a slugger. Not only are his numbers inflated by Coors Field, as evidenced by the dramatic home/road splits, he also has a career .348 BABIP! What happens to his BA/OBP when that regresses to the mean?? I also read where his GM questioned his dedication (too lazy to play hurt. swing bat, or steal a base perhaps??). Seems like you could get nearly the same production from a cheap FA for far less $ and would not have to give up a current prospect.

            Trading Barnes for a PTBNL is great because he too is what he is, but Lyles for Fowler looks to me to be something that will make Luhnow look really dumb in a few years. I hope I am wrong.

          • astrosince1975

            I’m not a big fan of BABIP. Often a high BABIP can be the product of a high line drive percentage, as is the case with Fowler. I’ll take a line drive hitter over a GB or FB hitter every time. As for his strikeouts, I don’t think his numbers are that bad — especially if you take his walk rate into consideration.

            As for his stolen base numbers, some theorize that playing in Colorado has made them look worse than they actually are. Playing there and hitting in front of guys like Tulo, CarGo, and Helton may have cut down on his SB attempts. He has consistently hit a lot of triples and his fist-to-third numbers are also good. Still, his SB success rate is not very good. I wouldn’t count on a high number of steals from him but I do think his speed will play well on the bases and on defense.

          • † ⚾ Mundo ⚾ †

            I’m not a fan of excusing strikeouts with a high walk total.

            High walks + low strikeouts = good plate discipline/strike zone judgment.

            High walks + low strikeouts = a guy who is taking too many good pitches early in the count, which results in a lower batting average and slugging percentage and at the end of the day is just not a very good hitter.

            That’s what gripes me about Grossman and Carter – if they feasted on more good pitches early in the count they could become pretty good hitters, but their approach stinks. This new age idea of “seeing pitches” for the sake of seeing pitches is ludicrous. A hit is better than a walk. Does hitting the ball guarantee you a hit? No, but not any more than taking pitches guarantee you a walk.

            If, as you say, Fowlers BABIP is a result of line drives then that is encouraging, and all the more reason he needs to cut down on the strikeouts which should increase his BA, OBP, and overall contributions to his team.

          • astrosince1975

            Can’t disagree with that. I prefer guys who put the ball in play. Sometimes even a poorly hit ball results in a hit. Reaching base via the strikeout is possible, but rare.

          • † ⚾ Mundo ⚾ †

            Not only that but even an out in play can advance/score runners. Plus you never know when a fielder will botch the ball and reach on an error. Strikeouts are an unproductive out, except in the extremely rare case that you mentioned.

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