The Houston Astros have completed the first of what is sure to many deals before the trade deadline, sending utility infielder Jeff Keppinger to the reigning champion San Francisco Giants in exchange for two minor-league pitchers.
The deal makes sense for both teams, and the fire sale seems to have gotten off on the right foot. Keppinger provides the Giants with a quality utility infielder they need since second baseman, Freddy Sanchez, has battled injuries most of the season, his backup Emmanuel Burriss is batting .214 for the year and current starting shortstop Brandon Crawford is hitting a dismal .201. While Keppinger doesn’t carry a big stick, he’s hitting above .300 with 20 RBI in just over 40 games this year, almost always provides quality at bats and more often than not puts the ball in play. Despite his injury issues, Keppinger was arguably the most consistent player for the Astros over the last two seasons, and this trade seems more of a reward to him, allowing him to finish the season playing on a team that will compete for a championship.
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For the Astros, the push toward the future continues. Both pitching prospects Houston is receiving in the deal are 25-years old or younger, and have excelled at the Giants’ double-A club this season. Since starting pitching has been a glaring weakness for the Astros, basically since the championship run in 2005 where are rotation had names like Oswalt, Clemens, and Pettite leading the way, it was mandatory that we begin to reload with young pitching talent. Hopefully, these prospects will join Jordan Lyles in the next couple of seasons to anchor the starting rotation for years to come.
This trade also has one other plus: Fans will get to watch 5′-7″ second baseman Jose Altuve, the Astros’ representative in the Futures Game this year, get some time at second base. The pocket-sized infielder has hit close to .400 this year between the Astros’ single-A and double-A clubs.