I hadn't been paying all that much attention to the Cincinnati Reds lately, but recently I was looking over their roster when I came across this guy. You remember him, right? Sure ya do. He used to be a Houston Astro until we traded him for Jeff Keppinger.
At the time, I think most of us didn't like the trade very much. We thought it was quite a bit to give up for a infielder who would just be a platoon guy. It was a move that was emblematic of a franchise that had no minor league depth and didn't seem to care about the few high level prospects that it did have.
Fast forward to today and the make up of the organization looks quite a bit different than in April. Starting with the minor leagues, our top pitching prospect has had a stellar season in AAA, and has actually been promoted to the majors! Yes, this is still the Astros we're talking about here.
Jason Castro, Chia Jen Lo, Jonathan Gaston and the quintet of Lexington starters have all proved their worth. The Astros have a chance to move out of the cellar of minor league rankings.
As for Keppinger, he has been exactly the player the Astros thought they were getting, and then some. He doesn't strike out that much, has displayed good patience at the dish and has been an above average defender at second base. The sample size for his time in Houston is much smaller than his 2008 stats with Cincinnati, but fortunately, the Astros have been able to use him more effectively with Geoff Blum or as a replacement for Kaz Matsui.
Drew Sutton is younger, and maybe the Reds will be creative in using him in the future. That's the risk teams take when trading for a veteran player. With all the question marks heading into 2009, I don't think the Astros could afford to enter the season with another one. Remember, despite Sutton's success in AAA this season, he had risen only to AA in the Astros' system.
This trade has made a big difference for the Astros this season, and I think it's fair to put this one under the "win" column for Ed Wade.