CINCINNATI, OH: Humberto Quintero #55 of the Houston Astros reacts after missing the tag at home plate against Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
Tuesday, the Houston Astros traded veterans Humberto Quintero and Jason Bourgeois (not to be confused with Peter Bourjos, Michael Bourn, or Jason Bourne) to the Kansas City Royals for minor-league pitcher Kevin Chapman and a player to be named later.
Quintero is a 32-year-old defense-first catcher who ... okay, he's actually a defense-only catcher with a .258 career on-base percentage in more games than he's probably deserved. Over the last 10 seasons, only five players (all catchers) have sub-600 OPS's in at least 1,000 plate appearances, and Quintero is one of them.
Bourgeois is younger (30), not quite as terrible a hitter, and runs like a pronghorn antelope. He's somewhat comparable to Michael Bourn, actually -- who Bourgeois replaced in center field after Bourn was traded to the Braves last summer -- except without the on-base percentage. Which is sort of important, but Bourgeois has some usefulness to a club that's looking for a speedy fourth or fifth outfielder. Which apparently means the Royals, who do lack speed in their outfield.
For the Astros, this trade isn't about saving money; between them, Quintero and Bourgeois won't make even $1.5 million this season. Rather, it's about clearing away players with little value who certainly won't be around when the Astros are ready to start winning in (ideally) three or four years.
It's also about adding young talent. Kevin Chapman's a 24-year-old lefty who throws 94 and struck out 90 batters in 62 minor-league innings last season.
For the Royals, this trade is largely about adding a veteran catcher to hold the fort until young Salvador Perez returns from his knee injury sometime this summer. We can't really evaluate this deal until we see who else Houston gets from Kansas City. But considering the Royals just traded a young left-handed pitcher with a good arm and are getting two replacement-level players, it's hard to see how they come out looking good on this one.