It was not very surprising to hear the reports that the Astros had traded Carlos Lee (you can read mlb.com’s article regarding the trade by clicking here), but the fact that he landed in Miami is somewhat shocking. Maybe if the trade had happened a few weeks earlier, but at this point I’m not sure how much sense this makes. Let’s take a look:
The Marlins Perspective:
Granted, their production at first base has been pitiful this season but how much of an upgrade is this really? Let’s take a look at Lee’s numbers compared to the man he’s going to replace in Gaby Sanchez:
- Carlos Lee – .287, 5 HR, 29 RBI, 24 R and 0 SB over 258 AB
- Gaby Sanchez – .202, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 12 R and 1 SB over 183 AB
Yes, Sanchez has been awful and has once again been banished to Triple-A. That said, Lee plays in a significantly better hitter’s park and has seen his power decrease every season since 2006.
Granted, supporters will point to a 25.3% line drive rate, which would be a career high. The chances of him maintaining that type of mark appear slim, considering his track record, and the .292 BABIP is along the lines of his career mark.
Before we say the low RBI total is thanks to a poor lineup around him, J.D. Martinez (who has been a major disappointment) has managed to pick up 48 RBI. The biggest difference is that Lee has spent all of his time hitting third or fourth, while Martinez has not. The low R scored number has become commonplace for Lee, who is just extremely slow. Sure, a better lineup might help, but I wouldn’t go expecting 100 R score suddenly.
The bottom line is that while the Marlins could catch lightning in a bottle with Lee, it’s hard to imagine him really producing.
The Astros Perspective:
They picked up a pair of decent prospect in 3B Matt Dominguez and SP Rob Rasmussen, both of whom have the potential to impact the Major League team. Prior to the season Baseball America ranked Dominguez as the team’s fourth best prospect while Rasmussen came in at seventh.
Dominguez is a player we have long been waiting for, though the bat has never quite lived up to the defense. In the Pacific Coast League this season he’s hitting .234 with 7 HR and 46 RBI in 286 AB. Last season at Triple-A he hit .258 with 12 HR in 325 AB. He will likely get more time in the minors and operate as insurance for Chris Johnson.
Rasmussen, who was the Marlins’ second round pick in 2010, has gone 4-7 with a 3.90 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 75 K over 87.2 IP in his second go around at High-A ball. Getting his control in order is the top priority, as he has posted a 3.70 BB/9 this season. A LHP, there has been talk that he could ultimately operate as a relief pitcher. According to Baseball America he has a four pitch arsenal, with “a 90-93 mph fastball, a slider, a curveball and a changeup”. They also said that, “Rasmussen’s 84-87 mph slider is his best secondary pitch, though he still needs to improve the angle on it. He gets nice two-plane break on his upper-70s curve.”
The move also opens up full-time AB at first base for Brett Wallace, who you would expect to be recalled. At Triple-A this season he has hit .295 with 13 HR and 46 RBI. While we’ve seen him struggle with the Astros before, he still has potential and it is time to find out exactly what they have. In the deepest of formats he will be worth grabbing to see what he could do.