The first trade of 2011 for the Houston Astros happened right before their win over the Washington Nationals last night. Jeff Keppinger was the first to go as he was shipped out to the West Coast and is now a member of the San Francisco Giants. This is how the trade breaks down:
San Francisco Giants Receive:
2B Jeff Keppinger– He has only played 43 games this season as he started the year on the DL with a foot injury but ever since coming back was one of the more consistent hitters for the Astros. He has a .307 batting average with nine doubles, four home runs and 20 RBI to date and will be a nice addition to the Giants who have been weak at second baseman this season. Freddy Sanchez has been on the DL since June 10th and his replacement, former Astro Bill Hall, has joined him on that list as well.
Houston Astros Receive:
RHP Henry Sosa– The 25 year old righty had a strong 2009 at the Double A level but has regressed a bit over the past two seasons. He currently has an ERA of 5.51 between Double A and Triple A but has an 8-3 record. He has struggled a bit with his control this season walking 17 in 23.1 innings in Triple A. He has flashed some talent at times and I think was worth a flyer for the Astros to see if he can regain his 2009 form and if it will translate to the majors.
RHP Jason Stoffel– He is a right handed relief pitcher who is still young, at only 22 years of age. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 Draft. He has spent the majority of time in the minors in the closer role, collecting 38 saves over the past two seasons. I think he is still a year or two away but has some potential to be a quality bullpen arm for the Astros.
I don’t know if either team really won in this trade but I think one clear cut winner has to be minor league prospect Jose Altuve. The 21 year old prospect has been tearing up the minor leagues and even had a good showing earlier this month at the Futures game during the All-Star break. He measures in at only 5’7″ but the kid can play. He has a batting average of .389 with 59 RBI and 24 stolen bases through 87 games between Class A+ and Class AA. The Astros are running the risk of bringing him up to quickly but with the bit I have seen him play, I think he will excel.
Some may say that the Astros didn’t get enough in return for Keppinger but I think this was a fair trade. Kepp is 31 years old, is a career .280 hitter who has been in the league for almost seven years and last year became a starter for the first time. I think he is a super utility type player and has value but I don’t know how much more value he would have brought in than what Wade got.