Carlos Lee is headed to South Beach. After mulling it over for several weeks, The 36 year-old All-Star has finally been shipped off to Miami. In exchange, the Astros receive 22 year-old Matt Dominguez and 23 year-old Rob Rasmussen. The final cornerstone of the Astros has been moved and the rebuilding mode is officially in overdrive. But how does each team fare when the dust settles?
Miami Marlins: Currently sitting in 4th place in the NL East, the baseball gods just have not been favoring Miami this year. They have been plagued by injuries and have lost one too many close games. All-Star 3B Hanley Ramirez is only batting .259. Jose Reyes cannot get on base (BA is .268 and OBP .341), but when he does he gets a steal (19 SB). 1B Gaby Sanchez does not appear to be ready for the majors. Josh Johnson cannot keep runs off the board. Heath Bell cannot seal the deal. While this young team has so much potential, nothing seems to be working out.
There are several bright spots though. Youngsters Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison both have potential to be 30+ HR hitters. Premium players like Johnson, Reyes, and Han-Ram have a proven track record to bounce back after the All-Star break. Utility backup Gregg Dobbs, and Austin native, Justin Ruggiano, have enormous promise. Moreover, with the addition of a solid veteran 1B, the Marlins can easily rebound and compete against the Mets and Nationals for a playoff spot in the NL (East or Wild Card)
Lee will be a solid contributor post-All Star break, and is already accustomed to the eccentricities of GM Ozzie Guillen.
Dominguez is the greater loss in the trade for Miami, seeing as they do not have a legitimate power-hitting backup if the injury-prone Ramirez gets hurt again. (Solano is a defensive replacement and a solid contact hitter, but not a power hitter). On the other hand, he was the perfect piece to have because of the rare talent Miami has at such a prime position; he was the ideal bargaining tool. Rasmussen has shown flashes of brilliance in the minors, but is not any immediate loss to a veteran pitching staff led by Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco.
Houston Astros: 13.5 games back from the top of the NL Central, the Astros are in no way making the playoffs this year. Almost immediately after their World Series birth in 05, they sank to the bottom of the league. Questionable trades, signings, and draft picks leave Houston fans upset and wondering if they will ever see the word Astros at the top of a division. After the firing of several poisonous executives, things do seem a little greener on the other side. Houston has some nice potential growing in the minors and they are little by little getting rid of the unnecessary fat contracts, they are known for giving. Carlos Lee was the final piece of that puzzle. The oldest player on the team has not been performing nearly to what he is capable of. Wandy Rodriguez and Brandon Lyon both have semi-large contracts, but Wandy can be a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher, and Lyon is will be a FA in 2013. In 2013, the Astros will be a truly brand new franchise. While no one is saying they will be making the playoffs until at least 2014/15, fans should be comforted to know that all of the waste has left the team.
Dominguez will be able to soon provide a nice replacement for Chris Johnson (who has been a good, but average 3B.) The 6″2 185 lb. 3B has potential to be a legitimate threat with 30 HR and .285+ BA. Brett Wallace, a 25 year-old 1B (converted from 3B) just recently acquired from Toronto, is the most likely replacement for Lee. He has a tremendous glove and a nice contact swing, but his biggest question mark is hitting for power.
Rasmussen, the lefty starting pitcher, will be sent to AA Corpus Christie. He has a nice fastball and a sharp sinker, and has the potential to make it has a high impact middle-of-the-rotation pitcher. His one issue is his command, and if he can figure that out, the Astros will see him in the majors in 2014.
Conclusion: Both teams get what they need out of the trade. Miami gets immediate help to compete in the rough-and-tumble NL East, and Houston gets two future impact players for their rebuilding process.
How do you think each team fared?