Devil Rays Wheeler dealers? 

July, 29, 2007
There are always a few head-scratchers in the July trade market; the Pirates' acquisition of Shawn Chacon last year was a great example. We now have our first head-scratcher of this year's market, since I have zero idea what Houston was thinking when they gave Dan Wheeler to Tampa Bay for Ty Wigginton.

Wigginton is a terrible defensive third baseman who doesn't get on base, isn't young (he turns 30 in October) and will end this year with over four years of service, making him a free agent after 2009. He's another good example of a guy plucked off the scrap heap who provided some unexpected value, but he's a below-average hitter because of his career-long aversion to the walk. He has a .330 OBP since the start of the 2006 season. In other words, the Astros just traded one year of Wheeler, a good reliever with experience as a closer, for two years of Wigginton, a player without a position and who has mediocre offensive skills. Sure, this winter's free-agent third base market is top-heavy (Mike Lowell and potentially Alex Rodriguez) but otherwise very shallow. And Wigginton represents an upgrade over the 2007 edition of Morgan Ensberg. But he's much worse than the 2006 and 2005 editions of Ensberg, and the cost to acquire Wigginton was the lost opportunity to deal Wheeler for a younger and potentially better player. It's a short-term move, and not a particularly good one, for a team that needs to look more long-term.