Bleacher Report’s wild Astros prediction senses Houston struck gold in offseason trade

Did the Astros fleece their division rival?

Los Angeles Angels first baseman Trey Cabbage
Los Angeles Angels first baseman Trey Cabbage / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The Houston Astros did something this offseason that most teams avoid -- they made a trade within their own division. The Astros swung a deal with the Los Angeles Angels earlier this winter when they sent right-hander Carlos Espinosa to Anaheim. In exchange, the Astros received left-handed hitting slugger Trey Cabbage.

This trade didn't really move the needle. After all, Cabbage has been a career-minor league player since being drafted by the Minnesota Twins back in 2015. The 26-year-old finally made it to The Show last season and appeared in 22 games for the Halos while hitting just .208/.232/.321 with a 46.4% strikeout rate.

But Bleacher Report believes that the Astros my have found a diamond in the rough. In their evaluation of Every Team's 5-Year Plan at First Base, Bleacher Report foresees Cabbage as the future first baseman for the Astros.

Bleacher Report predicts Houston struck gold in offseason trade for Trey Cabbage

Heading into the 2024 season, the Astros are likely to deploy Jose Abreu as the team's starting first baseman. The longtime Chicago White Sox slugger was signed to a three-year deal last offseason, but his first year in H-Town left a lot to be desired.

Abreu, who's now 37 years old, hit .237/.296/.383. Abreu won the AL MVP during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season while slugging .617. However, over the past three seasons, that number is sitting at just .438. Abreu's 87 OPS+ in 2023 was the lowest of his career and the only time he hasn't hit triple-digits in that category.

But maybe Houston's offseason trade with LA has brought Abreu's heir apparent into the clubhouse. While Cabbage's cup of coffee with the Angels last season didn't offer much hope, his minor-league stint at Triple-A last season offered some eye-popping numbers.

Cabbage played 107 games for the Salt Lake Bees in 2023 and hit .306/.379/.596 with 58 extra-base hits including 30 home runs. Cabbage does have a lot of swing-and-miss in his game, as evidenced by his 30% strikeout rate, but that type of power is hard to ignore. Cabbage also racked up 32 stolen bases at Triple-A last season.

If Bleacher Report's prediction is correct, Astros fans will have yet another blunder to hold over the head of their division rival. Not only have the Angels not won a playoff series with perennial MVPs Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani on the roster, but the Halos may have gifted the Astros their first baseman of the future.