The Astros spent Saturday morning finalizing a trade to shore up the club’s utility role.
The Astros have acquired the versatile infielder Aledmys Diaz from the Toronto Blue Jays for right the handed pitching prospect Trent Thornton. This move appears to be the front office solution for the departure of utility player Marwin Gonzalez. Diaz has played the shortstop position primarily but also has played at third, and a few spells at second and in the outfield.
Trent Thornton was one of the players that the Astros would have been required to add to their 40 man roster or risk being drafted by another team, per the Rule 5 Draft. Thornton was drafted by the Astros in the fifth round in 2015. He spent the last two years with the Fresno Grizzlies, Houston’s AAA affiliate.
In 2018 the right-hander started 22 games for the Grizzlies and finished with a record of 9-8. He compiled 122 strikeouts in 118 innings pitched and ended the season with an ERA of 4.42. He pitched in nine games as a reliever in this years Arizona Fall League. Trent had a 4.02 ERA, struck out 20 batters in 15.2 innings and recorded one hold. According to MLB Pipeline, Trent Thornton was the Astros’ #24 prospect.
Aledmys Diaz was traded to Toronto from the St. Louis Cardinals before the 2018 season. He played in 130 games for the Blue Jays, 95 of those at shortstop and the remainder at second base with one start as their DH. Last season the 28-year-old batted .263 with 18 HRs and 26 doubles. His defensive numbers aren’t quite as respective as his offense. He ranks below average in most fielding categories and still has not achieved a positive rating for defensive runs saved.
Diaz will be an economical option as Gonzalez’s replacement. He earned $2 million in last year’s contract and won’t be eligible for salary arbitration until after the 2019 season, at the earliest. The addition of Diaz in the infield should allow the Astros to utilize the flexibility of Yuli Gurriel better.