Reviewing the Chris Johnson Trade
On July 29, just two days before the non waiver trade deadline, Jeff Luhnow sent 3B Chris Johnson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 3B/OF Bobby Borchering and OF Marc Krauss. The move came as a surprise to some, but to others, it represented more of Luhnow’s plan of re-stocking the farm system. We’ll take a look at the players involved in the trade and see how they did after the jump.
Having just traded their own 3B Ryan Roberts, to the Tampa Bay Rays days earlier, 3B immediately became a priority for the Diamondbacks. Enter the Astros and Chris Johnson. At the time, Arizona still had playoff aspirations and were challenging in the NL West. Down the stretch, Chris Johnson held his own and batted a cool .286 with 7 home runs and 35 RBI. That gave him a .281 AVG with 15 HR’s and 76 RBI for the season. Johnson still has a few years left on his deal and should remain the Diamondbacks starting 3B for at least next year, but one of their top prospects, Matt Davidson (a 1st round pick in the 2009 MLB Draft) will be beating on the door very soon.
Coming back to the Astros was yet another former first round pick in Bobby Borchering. Drafted out of high school with the 16th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, Borchering has a tremendous power bat and a not so great fielding ability. Essentially, he’s the anti Matt Dominguez. Borchering has hit for a lot of power thus far in the minors but has also struck out a lot. The Diamondbacks moved him from 3B to the OF due to his poor fielding. Upon being acquired by the Astros, he was moved back to 3B to continue working on his defensive abilities at the hot corner. He was assigned to AA Corpus Christi and hit 4 HR’s with 18 RBI but struggled AVG wise as he hit only a meager .189. He finished the season with a .236 AVG with 24 HR’s and 86 RBI. He also struck out 159 times. He will likely repeat the AA level to begin the 2013 season.
OF Marc Krauss was the other acquisition in the deal. A second round pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, Krauss is also known for his power bat. Upon being traded to the Astros organization, he too was assigned to AA Corpus Christi. In just 7 games with the Hooks, he hit a ridiculous .414 AVG with 5 HR’s and 16 RBI. He was promoted to AAA Oklahoma City, where he struggled and will likely begin the 2013 season. For the season, Krauss hit .271 with 20 HR’s and 79 RBI. He could be one to watch to get to the big leagues with the Astros at some point this season.
This was a definite win-win trade for both the Astros and Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks needed an upgrade at 3B and certainly got one in Johnson. He may not last much longer in the desert though as Davidson isn’t far off but they did not give up any of their top prospects to acquire Johnson. On the Astros side, they added two big bats to the organization. Both profile as DH types, which the Astros will need as they transition over to the AL West.
One thing all of the trades the Astros made during the course of this season have in common, is that no Astro traded made the playoffs with the team they were traded to this season. However, both Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, both traded by the Astros during the 2011 season, did.