Last Thursday on Climbing Tal’s Hill the writers wrote about who the Astros could trade Dexter Fowler to. I suggested the trade of Fowler to the Chicago Cubs for C.J.Edwards, even though the more realistic trade would probably involve Luis Valbuena. The Fowler trade to the Cubs got most of the votes for best trade partner.
Well reports Monday afternoon have the Astros indeed making a trade with Dexter Fowler to the Cubs for major league players.
Here is what we know so far.
Astros get…Dan Straily
If Dan Straily is indeed part of the deal for Dexter Fowler, let’s hope that he is not the only part of the deal. Straily is a former top prospect that came up with the Oakland Athletics in 2012, but broke out in his first full season in 2013. He went 10-8/ 3.96 ERA/125 SO. He struggled a bit in 2014 between Oakland and Chicago, going 1-3/ 5.32 ERA/ 47 SO. His role on the 2015 Astros will be in competition for the 5th starter with Asher Wojciechowski, Jake Buchanan, Alex White, and Mark Appel. This gives us an arm we can plug into the rotation who could have a rebound year in 2015. If he does not succed, the Astros will have other options at AAA ready in case they are needed. Straily could be a good buy low pitcher for the Astros. Astros Also get…Luis Valbuena
As I hinted at in my article, the second piece going to the Astros appears to be Luis Valbuena. He is a veteran third baseman who was soon to lose his starting job to über prospect Kris Bryant for the Cubs. What are we getting in Valbuena? We’re getting a left-handed third baseman with some pop who can fill in until Colin Moran is ready to play third base. He is a seven-year veteran who will probably take over third base from Matt Dominguez. In 2014 with the Cubs he hit 0.249/ 16 HR/ 51 RBI with 113 strikeouts.
There may be a spring training competition between Dominguez and Valbuena at third base, but both may be short-term solutions to cover third base until Moran comes up. Remember that Dexter Fowler would not have been offered a contract extension, so they got two short-term players for one player in his walk year.
What does this Mean for Current Astros
With Dexter Fowler gone, George Springer will become the Astros center fielder, with Jake Masrisnick moving over to right field. While Fowler was a better hitter than fielder, Springer should get to more balls in center with his speed and energy. This gives us a better overall defense in the outfield, even with Evan Gattis roaming left field. Jake Marisnick and George Springer are above average outfielders, while Evan Gattis will probably be below average.
The battle for the 5th spot in rotation will not be as epic as I thought it might be, and this trade also makes my last two posts null and void. Moran will not be at third base in 2015 and Appel will not start in the rotation.
What is batting order and Rotation as of Right now?
2b Jose Altuve
ss- Jed Lowrie
cf- George Springer
dh – Chris Carter
lf- Evan Gattis
3b – Luis Valbuena
c – Jason Castro
1b- Jon Singleton
rf – Jake Marisnick
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While all of this will probably be determined later in spring training by manager A.J. Hinch, above is a possible look at your opening day lineup for the Astros. While much discussion could be had as to who hits where, that will be worked out in the future. With a team full of high-strikeout players, losing a player like Dexter Fowler does hurt in terms of his on-base percentage. The Astros are plugging in two big holes in 2015 at third base and the 5th spot in the rotation.
What about the relationship between Astros young star George Springer and his mentor Dexter Fowler? Springer stayed with the Fowler’s at the time of his promotion to the big leagues, and then got his own place in the complex that Fowler lived in. They developed a strong friendship through the year. Here is a quote from Fowler concerning Springer.
I’m sure the writers at Climbing Tal’s Hill will be spending the next few weeks breaking down the Fowler trade and implications.
What are your thoughts of the trade?