Signed to a $4.5 million contract in the offseason, Feliz produced a disastrous .221/.243/.311 line, and his usually great defense slipped to below-average as well. His play cost the Astros 1.4 games in the standings this year, according to WAR. Not good.
The Astros absolutely need to go young, and ridding themselves of Feliz is another step in that direction in what’s been a summer of discarding older players. The move makes Chris Johnson the unquestioned starter at third base, which he certainly deserves thanks to his .340/.367/.521 line. It’s worth noting that Johnson’s over-aggressive approach will likely catch up to him (see Francoeur, Jeff and Boesch, Brennan), but on youth alone, he’s the better player for Houston, and even if he falls way back to earth, he’ll likely be far better than Feliz. And if he isn’t, at least he isn’t being paid $4.5 million.
Carpenter, 25, is a converted catcher who throws 91-94 with his heater. Like many converted players, his offspeed stuff is pretty raw. He still has managed to whiff 8.25 batters per nine this year in High-A. He has good command and keeps the ball down.
Sometimes these converted guys wind up exploding onto the scene at some point. I wouldn’t go crazy projecting that for Carpenter, but he’s got some skills that could work out in the higher levels, and he’s still new to pitching, so he could make some real improvements.
That the Astros got anything for Feliz is a miracle. As for the Cardinals…I see the whole “Tony La Russa can revive veterans” argument, and maybe he can. But when you have Ruben Gotay in AAA, there’s no excuse to acquire an inferior player in Feliz (with the additional cost of having to send a C-grade prospect away for him) to man the hot corner in St. Louis. No excuse, and it speaks to a lack of creativity in the organization that they’d rather go with the worst of retreads than one of the best players in Triple-A. The Cardinals are a great organization, and the Astros are not, but Ed Wade fleeced John Mozeliak on this one.