A few days after not being able to convince first baseman Carlos Lee to accept a trade to the Dodgers, the Astros have succeeded in dealing him…to the Miami Marlins, who have had a gaping hole at first base this year partially filled by Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison. Sanchez and Morrison just weren't hitting at all this year for the Marlins, and a move was necessary…but the 36 year-old Lee isn't a long-term solution, and this move happened just so the Marlins could possibly make a playoff run this year. In return for Lee, the Astros receive former first round pick Matt Dominguez, a third baseman, and lefty starter Rob Rasmussen, a second round pick in 2010.
For the Astros, this move was made just to get Lee off of their roster, and nothing more. He had a .748 OPS this year, but wasn't hitting for any power whatsoever at first base. Houston's got Brett Wallace killing the ball in AAA and a brief stint in the majors, but those great numbers are fuled by sky-high BABIPs. But on the other hand, Houston should be playing him in the majors at first instead of Lee, who is going to do nothing for this team when it comes to rebuilding. Even if Houston is picking up most of Lee's remaining contract, they had to get rid of him.
Now, the prospects going to Houston in trade. Dominguez is the one you've heard of, as the #12 pick in the 2007 draft by the Marlins. Even though he won't be 23 until the end of August, one problem has plagued him throughout his minor league career: he can't hit. As a corner infielder, he's never hit 20 homers in a year, he's hit higher than .252 just once in his career, and he's had an OBP above .333 just once in his career. He also cannot run at all, stealing just one base over his carer. The one positive about Dominguez: his defense at third base is really, really good. But with Hanley Ramirez at third base for the foreseeable future, Dominguez had no part in Miami's long-term plans. The thing about Dominguez…I'm not sure if he's better than Houston's current starter at third, Chris Johnson. Johnson is roughly league average for Houston, but he's also never had a full year in the majors. He strikes out a lot and has decent pop, but is a putrid defender. Whatever. I don't think either player is a long-term answer, but it's not as if Dominguez is going to change the landscape of the position in Houston, like Jed Lowrie has at short.
The other player heading to Houston is Rob Rasmussen, a 23 year-old starter who's spent his entire year for high-A Jupiter. The best word to describe him seems to be….crafty. Last year with Jupiter, he struck out 118 and walked 71 in 148 1/3 innings, and this year at the same level, he has struck out 75 and walked 36 in 87 2/3. It is what it is. He's still young, but he's not overly impressive. He'd probably rank among the back-end of top ten pitching prospects in the organization…maybe lower.
Despite me trashing the two prospects Houston got back in the deal, I like it better for them than I do for Miami. Lee will help the Marlins…by maybe a win? Lee also has just a .665 OPS away from Minute Maid Park, and going to Marlins Park isn't going to help him out at all. But hey, good for Jeff Luhnow for getting SOMETHING back for Lee.
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