I'm not sure if the Astros are ever going to stop trading this summer. Today, they've dealt third baseman Chris Johnson to the Diamondbacks (who just traded their third baseman, Ryan Roberts, to Tampa Bay) in exchange for prospects Bobby Borchering and Marc Krauss. The news was first reported by Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
Johnson is a guy who has just never been able to put it all together and reach star potential for Houston. In 304 career games, the 27-year old has just a .735 OPS with only 26 homers and nine stolen bases. His career walk rate is under 5%, and his career strikeout rate is a hair under 25%. He is a career -38 DRS at third base, and has a career -31.1 UZR at the position. I'm not sure if he'll be *any* sort of an upgrade for the Diamondbacks over Roberts, who they kicked to the curb after a stellar 2011 season. Johnson was a fourth round pick in the 2006 draft by the Astros.
Meanwhile, the package heading back to Houston in the deal is way better than what you'd expect for a guy like Johnson. Borchering was the 16th overall pick by the Diamondbacks in the 2009 draft, and the 21-year old was the tenth ranked prospect in Arizona's system coming into the year. In 81 games at high-A Visalia this year, he had an .874 OPS with 18 homers, but he did strike out 96 times, a huge problem. Since being promoted to AA Mobile, Borchering has just ten hits in 77 at bats, striking out 27 times while walking just three times and homering only twice. His power is prodigious, but the strikeouts indicate a massive hole in his swing. Krauss was the 16th ranked prospect in Arizona's system coming into the year, and at Mobile, the 24-year old has a .924 OPS and is a spitting image for a three true outcomes player: 15 homers, 73 walks, and 91 strikeouts in 104 games. He was a second round pick in the 2009 draft…the same one Borchering was selected in.
All in all, good move for the Astros adding some minor league hitting depth to their collection of pitching depth acquired in all of their trades this summer. Assuming Borchering and Krauss join Robbie Grossman (acquired in the Wandy Rodriguez trade) in AA Corpus Christi, that's going to be a pretty fun team to watch over the season's final month or so. As for the Diamondbacks…I can't justify what the hell they're doing in picking up someone like Johnson. He's not really an upgrade over Roberts at all, and I'd rather have the Tatman, personally.
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