Less than a week after Carlos Lee invoked his no trade clause and rejected a deal to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Astros have found another trading partner for the 36 year old first baseman. Earlier today, the Astros finalized a deal to trade Lee to the Miami Marlins for minor leaguers, Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen. Reports have also said that the Astros are picking up the remaining balance on his contract for this year, which is roughly $9 million dollars. This trade puts an end to the five and a half year run that Lee had with the Astros. Lee was inked to a six year, $100 mil deal the day after Thanksgiving in 2006. Let’s take a look at the two players the Astros will be receiving from the Marlins in the trade after the jump.
Third baseman Matt Dominguez was the Marlins first round pick in 2007. Taken 12th overall out of Chatsworth High School outside of Los Angeles, Dominguez has a reputation as an excellent defensive player who has struggled at the plate since being promoted from A ball in 2008. He has only managed a meager .234 average thus far for AAA New Orleans, However, he does have seven home runs and 43 RBI thus far as well. He definitely has the potential to hit and hit for power, he just needs to rediscover his stroke. He was considered a top 100 prospect in MLB from 2009 – 2011. This tweet from Brian McTaggart, the Astros beat writer for MLB.com, was rather puzzling. Essentially, Luhnow is saying Dominguez will be a bench player and backup to Chris Johnson. I find that very hard to believe considering Dominguez is a far superior defensive third baseman than Johnson. We’ll see what happens with roster moves in the next few days.
Rob Rasmussen is a 23 year old southpaw. He was recently promoted to AA from Class A Jupiter after registering a cool 4-7 record with a 3.90 ERA in 16 starts. He was a second round pick of the Marlins out of UCLA in 2010. Among the pitches he has at his disposal is a very nice slider. Its not an out pitch yet but may very well be that soon enough. His curveball isn’t too shabby either. He profiles as a back of the rotation starter or possible left handed specialist out of the bullpen.
Last week when the deal with the Dodgers fell through, I didn’t think we would find a better package than what they were offering. I was wrong. This package is equivalent to the deal we had with the Dodgers (a straight up deal for AA pitcher Garrett Gould) and has the potential to be even better. It was time for the Astros and Carlos Lee to move on. I was very shocked when he rejected a trade to a first place team. This time, he did not have the option to do so as he was traded to a team that was not on his no trade clause. During his five and a half seasons with the Astros, Lee hit .286 with 133 home runs and 533 RBI. I will say this, I did not think that we would get anything of legitimate value for Lee and Luhnow did just that. I can’t wait to see what he can get for Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and maybe even Jed Lowrie (if the price is right).
All in all, I’m happy with this trade. Those who know me know that I’m not an anti-Carlos Lee fan. I was stoked when we signed him. I really believed that he and Lance Berkman would combine to form a formidable 3-4 due that would compare favorably with the Manny Ramirez – David Ortiz duo that Boston had at the time. The dreams I had never came to fruition and that wasn’t Lee’s fault. I’m happy he signed here six years ago and happy he donned an Astros uniform for that time period. Thanks for the memories, Carlos. I’ll never forget the “Los Cabellitos” fan club out in left center field. Good luck in Miami!