'Stros, Rays did well in Huff trade 

July, 12, 2006
In their trade with the Devil Rays, the Astros got a bat, and while it's not the major power threat they have needed for about two years now, they did need a left-handed hitter for the middle of their lineup. And Aubrey Huff is about as good a fit as they were going to find this summer. Houston's stats versus right-handed pitchers this year -- .249 BA/.321 OBP/.394 SLG -- have accounted for nearly 80 percent of the team's at-bats.

Only Lance Berkman and Mike Lamb have been assets against righties, and assuming the Astros platoon Huff (who hasn't hit well against LHPs since 2004) with Jason Lane (hitting .196/.310/.351 against righties this year), that gives them one fewer hole in their lineup. The Astros managed to make this upgrade without trading away any of their top prospects, meaning they still have assets if they want to make a larger acquisition later this month, or -- probably the better strategy -- that they'll be in better shape once Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte are gone and they look to rebuild.

The Devil Rays didn't have much of a market for Huff; his trade value peaked after the 2004 season, but former GM Chuck LaMar continued to demand a premium price for Huff even as Huff's market value declined. Tampa Bay adds two depth prospects to its farm system, which is critical, since that's the type of prospect they failed to add through years of high-risk/high-ceiling drafting that left them with a few star-caliber prospects but an extremely thin system beyond that.