Astros send J.D. Davis to Mets in exchange for prospects

Finally, and I mean finally, the Astros made the blockbuster trade that we fans have been waiting for all off-season. After weeks and even sometimes days of wearying news of superstar basketball players and unsurprisingly disappointing football teams, the Astros have finally reclaimed the front page of the Houston sports landscape.

On Sunday, Jan 6, both teams announced that the Astros have traded corner infielder J.D. Davisand minor leaguer Cody Bohanek to the New York Mets. In return, Houston received three minor leaguers – second baseman Luis Santana, outfielder Ross Adolph, and catcher Scott Manea.

Finally, our long national nightmare is over! It is officially Hot Stove season again!

All joking aside, this trade makes sense for the Astros in that Davis, aged 25, is more than ready for a larger role in the major leagues, but had been permanently blocked by a bevy of superstars and wily veterans.

The Astros’ corner infield options abound, with Alex Bregman entrenched at third base, Yuli Gurriel at first, Tyler White at DH/1B and possible occasional 3B, and the recently-acquired Aledmys Diaz to play all infield positions. In addition, the Astros boast former Top 100 prospect A.J. Reed at AAA who is also 25 and is in the same boat as Davis, plus Top 50 1B/LF prospect Yordan Alvarez.

Given that, it made sense for the Astros to move Davis and receive some younger players in return.

Davis was one of the most outstanding batters in the Pacific Coast League last season, batting .342/.406/.583 with 17 home runs in 85 games. His major league career kicked off in 2017 and has sputtered with irregular playing time. He has hit .194/.260/.321 in 67 games over the past two seasons with the Astros. Davis is a stereotypical high-strikeout, good-power corner infielder who plays indifferent (ok, bad) defense at third base, but not so bad that playing him at the position would be a mortal sin.

In New York, Davis is still behind Todd Frazier on the third base depth chart, but may have a chance to win the first base job during the season, with 23 year old Dominic Smith also failing to establish himself as a strong major league batter over the last two seasons. At worst, Davis has a clear backup role available to him with the Mets, although his defensive limitations and the National League’s lack of a Designated Hitter make him less than ideal.

Davis has been long lauded by fans for his power potential, and now has the opportunity to make his mark in the major leagues.

The other player going to New York is minor league infielder Cody Bohanek, who the Astros drafted in the 30th round of the 2017 draft. Bohanek reached triple A last season, but overall has struggled to hit in professional ball, totaling a batting line of .225/.334/.306 spread from Rookie Ball through AAA. His path to the majors seems murky but he could develop into a utility player for a second-division team.

For the projects coming to Houston, the headliner is perhaps Santana. Santana, a second baseman, was signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. in two and a half seasons at Rookie Ball, he batted .329/.426/.465 with 7 home runs and 24 stolen bases in 140 games.

He made his states-side debut in 2018, and adjusted well, batting .348/.446/.471 in the Appy League. Santana, still only 19 years old, draws inevitable comparisons with Jose Altuve, being an undersized (5’8” listed) second baseman.

Adolph was a twelfth-round pick by the Mets in the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of Toledo. The Mets immediately sent him to Low-A where he had no trouble making mincemeat of pro ball, batting .276/.348/.509 with 7 homers and 14 stolen bases in only 61 games. He played all three outfield positions, including 27 games in center field.

Manea, 23, is a catcher drafted by the Mariners in round 40 of the 2014 draft. At A-ball last season, he batted .261/.368/.432 with 12 home runs in 100 games. The Astros, no doubt, hope that he can develop into an effective major league backup type with enough pop to instill some respect in batters.

Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle provided some insight on the trade: