The Astros finally made a trade, but it is not the one that fans have been pushing for. Instead of trading for J.T. Realmuto or Robbie Ray, they traded J.D. Davis and Cody Bohanek for three minor leaguers. Bohanek was still beginning his minor league career, but Davis is major league ready. He can play any of the corner positions in the infield or outfield and had no place to play for the Astros.
Davis was a depth option for the Astros, but the rise of Tyler White in 2018 blocked his path. Also, the Astros traded for Aledmys Diaz and are seeking a possible DH option this offseason. The plan could be that they are trying to free up Yuli Gurriel to take on the semi-Marwin Gonzalez super-utility role. Davis was not known for his defense at third base, but he can hit.
No surprise here.
Astros fans would tell you that he is not a great hitter by his career .194 batting average in 165 at-bats. Because of the playoff contender status the past two seasons, the Astros couldn’t be patient and wait for him to start hitting. He is a former top prospect after being drafted in the third round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He is still just 26-years-old, but he was due a change of scenery. It wasn’t going to happen in Houston.
While Jeff Luhnow is trying to build a winner, he also recognizes that Davis is due a shot to play somewhere. Luhnow also knows that he needs to continue to stock up the minor league system to absorb future trades. The players the Astros acquired were not for the 2019 season, but further down the road. Only one of the players acquired were in the Mets top 30 players, but that player could be a steal.
According to Keith Law, acquiring Luis Santana was a “shrewd” move by Luhnow. He is only 19 years old, but you can imagine that Luhnow has had his eye on him during the international signing period. This could be another example of Luhnow finding a hidden gem in the lower levels of the minor league levels. We will delve into the players they got in return more later. Aftereffects
After effects of the trade.
This opens a spot on the 40-man roster as well and could signal the Astros moving on from certain players. Davis was not the only one stuck in Triple-A limbo, A.J. Reed and Derek Fisher also for the bill. Yordan Alvarez is about to surpass A.J. Reed and Myles Straw has already leapfrogged Derek Fisher. These are two players with value to other teams, it just hasn’t worked out with the Astros.
Of those two players, Reed and Fisher, look for the Astros to try to hold onto Fisher. They may have to include him in a trade soon, but he is the guy who scored the winning run in Game 5 of the World Series. Reed has raw power but has yet to be able to demonstrate it in the big leagues. To be fair, the Astros haven’t given him much of a chance to hit his way out of the slump. While Reed won’t say it in public, he has to be frustrated with not even getting a September call-up. He needs a change of scenery more than anyone else.
As the offseason slowly ticks by, you have to imagine that Luhnow is seeking a similar deal for Reed and/or Fisher. Unless the Astros have to trade a player like Tony Kemp, Kyle Tucker, or Jake Marisnick, there is no room for Fisher. After the Davis trade, they have now opened another spot on the 40-man roster, which sits at 38 now. They can now address two of their remaining needs or keep an open roster spot in case another Will Harris or Collin McHugh like waiver claim happens.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***