— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 29, 2012
I can't say I didn't expect this:
1) Jeff Luhnow is about as unpredictable as they come
2) Chris Johnson has been hot lately
3) While Chris Johnson is only about league average offensively that's above average for third basemen
With the Astros Johnson has produced a 1.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) which would be considerably better if his defense improved. His -8 defensive runs saved (DRS) and his -6.6 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) have adversely impacted what he's done offensively in regards to WAR.
The other thing to make note of is that this might finally open up a spot for Brett Wallace to be promoted back to the Major Leagues.
More news, reaction and analysis to come.
In the dugout shortly after the trade was announced, Johnson had a classic line about this team.
"It's strange to say, because it seems like everyone is getting traded over here, but I was surprised," Johnson said. "When they called me out of the cage, I was in shock."
Johnson seemed okay with it, but obviously showed some emotion in leaving the organization he's called home for since 2006.
"It was pretty emotional in the room when I got called in," Johnson said. "I knew when they called me out of the cage that something had happened. We all knew that there were 26 guys here today, so there had to be a roster move. This is tough, this is all I've known since 2006 when I was drafted. I've called this place home, I moved here. It's tough, but that's the way the game is."
Two points besides the points Tim made.
1) Isn't it nice to see a Houston GM trade with multiple teams? So far, Luhnow has swung nine trades (eight completed with seven different teams. The only teams he's dealt with twice were Boston (Marwin's Rule 5 deal & Melancon) and the Marlins (Lee, Ruggiano).
2) This was not unexpected. The way things are going, I think Bud Norris may also get dealt. At least, he seems to be thinking about it leading up to the deadline. Maybe everyone does that on a selling team near July 31, but it sure seemed like he thinks something's coming.
If you thought the Astros offense was bad in the past month, try taking out the hottest hitter from the past couple of weeks. It could get much, much uglier.
A housekeeping point: Johnson's comment about 26 men in the clubhouse was because of the addition of Steve Pearce. But, the announcement came very, very late in the day. Even Astros PR people were commenting on how unusual it was.