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Rockies trade Dexter Fowler to Astros for Jordan Lyles

Dec 3, 2013, 5:25 PM EST

Rich Dauer, Dexter Fowler, Pedro Alvarez AP

Trade rumors have been swirling around Dexter Fowler for a while now and the Rockies have sent the center fielder to the Astros in exchange for right-hander Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes.

Fowler is 27 years old with two seasons remaining before free agency and the Astros’ payroll is so low that the fact he’s getting expensive probably doesn’t matter to them. His lack of production away from Coors Field is a more important issue, because for his career Fowler has hit just .241 with a .694 OPS on the road compared to .298 with an .880 OPS in Colorado.

Lyles gives the Rockies a potential mid-rotation starter long term, although the former first-round pick struggled through age 22 with a 5.35 ERA in 377 innings. Barnes is little more than a backup outfielder and hit just .240 with a .635 OPS and horrible plate discipline in the first extended action of his career this year at age 27, but he gives the Rockies a possible center field fill-in if they decide not to shift Carlos Gonzalez from a corner spot.

  1. geoknows - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    The thought of Jordan Lyles in Coors Field ought to scare the beejeezus out of Rockies fans.

    • coryrox78 - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      As a Rockies fan it does. 3 years in the league and an ERA over 5 each time. Logically, he should come to Coors Field!

    • stex52 - Dec 4, 2013 at 8:23 AM

      Speaking as an Astros fan, I’d like to say thanks to Rockies management. Fowler’s numbers away from Coors are as good as Barnes’ total numbers. We will hope the short porch in left at Minute Maid will make Dexter a happy player. I love the thought of an outfielder with a >.700 OOPS. We haven’t had one of those in a while.

      Maybe you will luck out. Lyles is young; he might improve. But Barnes is pretty much WYSIWYG.

  2. mc1439 - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    He’s no doubt going to have like an 8+ ERA.

  3. sincitybonobo - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    There is a ton of ground to cover in Coors CF. Not sure why Fowler was so expendable for so little in return.

    • mondogarage - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      IMHO, he was expendable, in principle, because the Rox do have viable in-house replacements (Corey Dickerson and/or Charlie Blackmon). Blackmon, in particular, isn’t fazed by CF in Coors, though his upside is low-ish. Dickerson needs CF seasoning, but has a good skill set and appears to be a good hitter overall.

      What he was not expendable for was the complete waste the Rox got back in that trade.

  4. mondogarage - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Utterly terrible trade. As a first round draft choice, Jordan Lyles has been a relative bust, with crappy peripherals, and profiles as the reincarnation of Alex White.

    Brandon Barnes plays the same position as Fowler…except he hits worse than Fowler, has less power than Fowler, steals bases less than Fowler, gets on base MUCH worse than Fowler, and possibly fields less well than Fowler, and yet…he’s even older than Fowler. This was nothing more than a naked payroll dump.

    Don’t mistake me, I take little issue with actually making Fowler available in a trade. His home/road splits are bad, and Corey Dickerson can probably be a fully adequate replacement. But *this* trade, for this pathetic return, for a player who was a fan favorite and not a clubhouse issue (as Ubaldo apparently was his final season), evidences that it’s time for everyone above field level in Denver to go.

    After years of attending 12-15 games a year, no matter how good or bad the club’s been over that time, I refuse to any longer pay good money for crappy product intentionally put together as such by an ownership not interested in the quality of product (because they think the only product that matters is the in stadium “experience”), or by an incompetent front office.

    Because unless O’Dowd was ordered to make this move by ownership solely to cut costs, the only explanation is incompetence. And going out to spend the saved millions to sign Justin Moreau, who hasn’t had a good season since 2010, because of concussion issues that still come to the surface on occasion, is simply idiotic.

    I would have never thought it possible I could lose my Colorado Rockies fandom. I can assure you those who know me would think it impossible. But after 20 years, you are losing me. I can back a losing team…I cannot, and will not, abide a team that intentionally sets out to worsen their product for a few years to come, just to save a dollar and a cent.

    Call me back once the Loria-alikes have sold the team and/or hired a front office that can outpace the mental acuity of a twelve year old.

    • jernster21 - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      C’mon, they aren’t pocketing the savings, they’re building a party deck so all the “fans” can get wasted!!!! It’s about the only upside to watching the product on the field…till you wake up in the morning and check your bank account/wallet and realize you got raped not once, but twice.

    • JP - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      A.) No doubt the Rockies management is a laughing stock. We’ve long known that they need to clean house – but the Monforts are clueless. We didn’t need this deal to tell us that.

      B.) I think you are too sentimental about Fowler. His defense is solid, but he K’s way too often and is too streaky to fill the role the Rockies wanted him to fill. I think they can replace his bat fairly easily – so if they can get any production out of Lyles at all, he ought to be slightly better than the dumpster fires this team has been rolling through the #4 and #5 slots in the rotation the past couple years.

      C.) In theory, this frees up the $$ to go get a more competent bat like Morneau… So again, I don’t love the move, but I can see how it might benefit the roster construction of this team.

      • geoknows - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:20 PM

        I don’t buy on the notion of Morneau being a “more competent bat” – not any more.

      • mondogarage - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:21 PM

        I’m not too sentimental about Fowler. As I said, I wasn’t objecting to the idea of trading him, but to the trade itself.

        As for his K’s, even *with* the K’s, he gets on base between .360-.380 every year, which is perfectly acceptable for a leadoff hitter, and many of his K’s are of the 5-7 pitch variety.

        I think you’re too sentimental about Justin Morneau, who hasn’t had anything resembling a decent season since 2010. I’m certainly not going to blame Morneau for having suffered the effects of his concussion, but that doesn’t alter the fact that he still suffers from post concussion symptoms on occasion. Morneau was a great player, seems a great human being, but is likely to never be the player he was prior to 2011 ever again, for any sustained period of time. So no, he is not a “more competent” bat than Fowler in 2014.

        And Lyles is not likely to be any better than the dumpster fires the #4-5 spots have been…in fact, he’s likely to be fit in perfectly with those. A cursory look at his peripherals reveals he is too hittable, doesn’t miss enough bats, and gives up the longball. All of those play really really well in Coors Field, don’t they?

      • JP - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:50 PM

        I didn’t mean to imply that Morneau is a better hitter than Fowler… But I do think the team can much more easily replace Fowler’s production on the open market than they could have addressed their pitching needs.

        Perhaps Lyles will be another dumpster fire – but I’d prefer this to the status quo.

        Given how much mediocre pitching has been overvalued this offseason, I just don’t know if there was much more to be had out there. That said, there is nothing to suggest that this front office is capable of extracting proper value… So I understand why everyone is skeptical – myself included.

      • mondogarage - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:56 PM

        Perhaps so, but in this trade, they did not address their pitching needs at all, which is sorta the point. Lyles has been, in relative terms, a dumpster fire already in Houston. He does not project to be any better at all.

        In fact, Jordan Lyles has even been a worse pitcher away from Minute Maid than he has been at home, which surprised me. So there’s no reason to believe he’ll be any better a road pitcher for the Rockies.

        There is no way whatsoever to frame this as a good trade for the Rockies on any baseball level, because it is simply not. The team could have signed any number of non-tendered pitchers who could pitch at a Jordan Lyles-level.

  5. coryrox78 - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    I hope Dexter does well in Houston. As for the Rockies, a .240 hitter with poor plate discipline is not exactly the power outfield bat that was supposed to be on the shopping list. Also, another worthlesss pitcher that will be creamed at Coors and pretty much everywhere it sounds like. Well played ownership! Should I make it to a game next season, I will most likely be in the 25 million dollar party deck trying to forget Colorado has a baseball team.

  6. thebadguyswon - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Someone drug test Dan O’Dowd and Dave Dombrowski pronto!!

  7. steelers88 - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    What a TERRIBLE trade for the Rockies! This makes no sense at all. Why would you trade one of your franchise players for no one! This would be like if the Pirates traded Andrew McCutchen for nobody.

  8. schlom - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Very interesting that Jordan Lyles has more trade value than Doug Fister does.

  9. yahmule - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    The Rockies have never actually cared about contending. They never will. Those seasons when Gonzo and Tulo stay relatively healthy and they get a couple career years from other guys, they’re in the mix. That’s good enough for management. People are going to still come out to the park because Colorado summers are too beautiful not to enjoy out at the ballpark once in a while.

  10. sincitybonobo - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    The Rockies won 45 games at Coors last year and 29 on the road.

    Their road ERA was ranked 25th in MLB. Quality Free Agent pitchers are highly unlikely to sign with this team.

    Fixing the road ERA can only be done by drafting and developing pitching within the organization. Perhaps they could occasionally steal a starting pitcher prospect for some established big league talent. This was not the case today.

    • mondogarage - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      Jordan Lyles has actaully been a worse pitcher away from Minute Maid than he has been at home, according to his peripherals.

  11. phillysports1 - Dec 3, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Might as well sign Beltran . Bat in the two hole in front of cargo and tulo ? Pshhhh !!!!

  12. maximusprime107 - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    And once again the Rockies organization shows it has no idea what it’s doing! What an awful trade

  13. timpaz - Dec 4, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    Just proves Rockies are a franchise more worried about money than winning, need new GM and owners.

  14. socialsnit - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that 2014 is not one of the 2 of every 5 years that the Rockies believe that they should go to the playoffs.

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