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.
— Houston Astros (@astros) December 3, 2013
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)
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.