A wild day of trades in Major League Baseball keeps on coming, and this time, the Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros were able to hook up on a deal.
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) December 3, 2013
The “headliner” of this move is, unquestionably, Dexter Fowler moving away from the mile-high city. The 27-year-old outfielder has posted three straight seasons with a 2+ fWAR with the Rockies, and with his tools, he is considered to be a very valuable asset. In 2013, Fowler hit at a .263/.369/.407 slash line with 12 home runs in only 492 plate appearances, and he added 19 steals to illustrate his power-speed combo. The most encouraging part about Fowler (other than raw ability) is his patience at the plate, and his career walk rate of 12.3% is among the best in the league at his position.
Going the other way is a decent package from Houston. Jordan Lyles has had a rough go of it in 3 MLB seasons with the Astros, posting a 5.35 career ERA, but the peripherals say he’s better than that (4.23 xFIP) and at just 23 years old, there is room for the former top prospect to grow. Barnes is probably a career backup who is possibly not even an MLB player (career .282 OBP), and the big piece of the deal on Colorado’s side has to be Lyles.
This is clearly a case of Colorado attempting to gain value from Fowler before he hits free agency after the 2015 campaign, but I’m not sure they got enough. The ceiling on Lyles is probably just a mid-rotation starter, and if Fowler can put his skills together with consistent health, this will be a heist for the up-and-coming Astros.