The Astros trade for Angels prospect Trey Cabbage. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.
Coming off a huge free agent signing of Josh Hader last week, we were wondering if the Astros were done making moves this offseason.
Astros GM Dana Brown recently said the team would have interest in adding another left-handed outfielder if the right situation presented itself.
“If we could somehow get a left-handed bat, preferably an outfielder with some speed, that type of package we’ll pounce on it.”
Apparently, opportunity knocked and the Astros answered. But not on the free agent market this time. The Astros traded for Angels IN/OF prospect Trey Cabbage on Wednesday in exchange for minor league pitching prospect Carlos Espinosa.
The Houston Astros have acquired IF/OF Trey Cabbage from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for RHP Carlos Espinosa.
— Houston Astros (@astros) January 31, 2024
Cabbage is an older prospect that will turn 27 in May. He made his major league debut with the Angels in 2023. Cabbage hit .208 over 53 at-bats last season.
And while that doesn't sound all that promising, it's his Triple A numbers from last year that likely caught the Astros attention. Cabbage had a 30-30 season over 107 games in Triple A. He finished with 30 homers, 32 stolen bases, and an OPS of .975.
His position flexibility is another plus, not only can he play the outfield, he also played 58 games at first base last season.
As you can see from the highlights below and his minor league stats, the power in undeniable.
So what did the Astros give up in the deal?
The 22-year-old Carlos Espinosa pitched in Low A ball last season, going 4-5 with a 4.29 ERA. He appeared in 15 games and was signed as an international free agent from Cuba in 2022.
Feb 22, 2024, 3:40 pm
The Astros have yet to make Bregman an offer, but Kyle Tucker said preliminary talks have begun with him. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.
Heading into spring training, Astros general manager said the team definitely was going to offer Alex Bregman a contract extension … they’re working on it.
Bregman’s agent Scott Boras said Bregman certainly would be open to discussing an extension with the Astros. For his part, Bregman said he spent the off-season working out like a beast and he’s getting ready for the best season of his career.
And so the waiting game began. Spring training is in full swing and each day the story-hungry media asks, so what’s up with the Astros contract offer for Bregman, who will be a free agent at season’s end if he doesn’t re-up with the Astros?
The media is waiting. Bregman is waiting. You know what Tom Petty said, waiting is the hardest part.
Let me tell you, Godot will show up before the Astros make a public contract offer to Bregman this spring. Public negotiations are a dance, and the Astros are willing to sit this one out.
The Astros kick off their spring training schedule on Saturday against the Washington Nationals in West Palm Beach. Bregman likely will take third base and face live enemy pitching without an extension offer in his pocket.
The Astros’ position is well known. They are loathe to offer long-term contracts, let’s say more than five years, for big money, let’s say $150 million. They’ve stuck to their guns several times in recent years.
Bregman’s position is assumed. Certainly if he does have the best year of his career, he’ll be looking for $200 million-plus over seven or eight years.
Irresistible object vs. immovable force. Lines have been drawn in the sand. Will either side blink?
It’s doubtful. Actually, both sides are in a no-win situation at this stage. If the Astros make it known that they’ve made Bregman an offer, one that’s not even close to his expected market value, the team will appear cheap, insincere and just going through the motions. Fans know this has become sort of the Astros thing.
If it gets out that Bregman turned down the offer, and agent Boras is determined for Bregman to hit free agency, Bregman could appear to be just another mercenary soldier putting salary over team loyalty. This is how you pay Houston back for all our love, Alex?
Of course, the best strategy for both sides would be for Bregman to start the season, see how things go, and get serious about an extension in a few months.
There’s one problem with that – the media isn’t letting this go. It's the unrelenting Topic No. 1 each day on Astros talk. And will continue to be. The team and Bregman may have patience about a contract extension, but those beat writers are tired of waiting.