Normally, the Houston Astros going out and trading for a depth piece a couple weeks before spring training wouldn't cause celebration amongst fans. However, the trade for Trey Cabbage that went down with the Angels on Wednesday isn't typical.
While the Astros did have to give up a pitching prospect with good swing-and-miss stuff in Carlos Espinosa, it's hard to argue with Cabbage's upside.
Cabbage's time in the big leagues hasn't gone all that well, though. The former Twins prospect played 22 games in the big leagues with the Angels last season and posted a pretty uninspiring .553 OPS and struck out in half of his plate appearances. Then again, what has Astros fans excited is that Cabbage posted a 30/30 season in the minor leagues last season while also boasting defensive versatility.
Astros fans are thrilled to have Trey Cabbage because of this HR highlight
Whenever any player has the physical ability and gaudy minor league numbers that Cabbage has, fans take notice. Some of the reactions were somewhat understated, but optimistic. Take, for example, this video of Cabbage's first (and so far, only) big league home run which was an absolute tank.
Others were more analytical in their approach. Another Astros account posted a video of Cabbage after the move and correctly noted he played in a home run-friendly league, so his power numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, there was still plenty of optimism to go around.
There were also no shortage of takes on how Houston fleeced the Angels and that Cabbage could end up being a big-time contributor for the Astros this season. That COULD happen, but it's probably best to temper expectations here.
It's absolutely true that Cabbage has the tools to do a lot of things well on a baseball field. He's strong, can run, and has plenty of defensive versatility. All points in his favor as are the gaudy numbers he has put up in the minor leagues the last couple years. However, he also has always struck out a lot throughout his minor league career and he got exposed in his first trip to the big leagues. There's a reason why the Angels designated him for assignment, as talented as he is.
The truth is that even with his flaws, Cabbage is a nice pickup for the Astros. He provides depth and insurance at multiple positions, has real upside at the plate, and has minor league options left in the event that Houston decides Jon Singleton isn't in their plans. Given what Houston gave up to get him, this was a no-brainer of a trade. Astros fans may just want to wait a bit before building a statue of him in front of Minute Maid Park.