Astros trade Marisnick to Mets for 2 prospects

Houston gets southpaw Taylor, outfielder Corona for veteran

December 5th, 2019

HOUSTON – The Astros addressed their surplus in the outfield Thursday by dealing veteran to the Mets in exchange for a pair of Minor Leaguers, a move that likely frees up to assume Marisnick’s role of a backup outfielder who brings plus defense and speed.

The Astros acquired 24-year-old left-handed pitcher Blake Taylor and 19-year-old outfielder Kenedy Corona from the Mets, with Taylor seemingly set to complete for a spot in the bullpen next year.

Straw, who’s appeared in 65 games with the Astros since his Major League debut in 2018, will be paid near the league minimum salary, so the Astros save money by jettisoning Marisnick, who was projected to make $3 million in his final year of arbitration, according to MLB Trade Rumors. Marisnick was one of eight arbitration-eligible players tendered contracts by the Astros earlier this week.

“We really like Jake and he’s been such an integral part of all of our success,” Astros president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “He’s played an important role on our team, but when you look at the number of outfield options we have next year, we do have a lot of options.”

The Astros will enter 2020 with All-Star George Springer set to start in center and Michael Brantley in left in the final year of both of their contracts. Veteran Josh Reddick has been the starter in right field the past three years, but there’s a belief the Astros will try to trade him and some of the $13 million he’s owed in the final year of his contract prior to 2020, as well.

While the Marisnick trade gives a clear shot for the speedy Straw, a trade of Reddick would open the door for to take over as the everyday right fielder. Straw hit .269 and stole eight bases in nine tries in 56 games with the Astros last season, starting eight games in center, three in left and one in right.

“Myles has a chance to be an everyday center fielder, so I’m not just going to say he’s going to be a defensive replacement or late-inning guy,” Luhnow said. “But obviously, Jake had a decent number of at-bats on our team the last few years and some playoff starts. Somebody is going to get his at-bats. Whether it’s shared between Tucker and Reddick or Straw, I don’t know. We’ll let AJ [Hinch] sort that out. There’s more at-bats to go around and more defensive innings to go around at this point, and Straw certainly has demonstrated he can play in the big leagues, as has Tucker.”

Taylor figures to compete for a spot in the Astros’ bullpen, which has been short on left-handed options. He had 10 saves and a 2.16 ERA with 24 walks and 74 strikeouts in 40 combined relief outings across three levels last season, topping out at Triple-A. He was added to the Mets’ 40-man roster on Nov. 4.

“We’re interested in taking a look at him,” Luhnow said. “We really like his stuff. He’s certainly going to be evaluated thoroughly during Spring Training. Whether or not he makes our club this year remains to be seen, but he’s a guy we expect to be pitching in the big leagues the next couple of years.”

Corona completed his first professional season in 2019, batting .301 with 14 doubles, four triples, five homers, 19 stolen bases and an .868 OPS in 63 combined games between short-season Brooklyn, the Gulf Coast League and Dominican Summer League.

Marisnick, acquired in a trade with the Marlins in 2014, was a key player on the Astros’ American League West title teams the last three seasons, though a thumb injury cost him a shot to be on the playoff roster in 2017, when the Astros won the World Series. A gifted defensive player, he hit .233 with 10 homers, 34 RBIs and a .700 OPS last season.

“These are guys that I’ll talk to the rest of my life,” said Marisnick, who hit .232 with 53 homers, 173 RBIs and 65 steals during his six seasons in Houston. “I made some good relationships, and it sucks to say goodbye, but at same time, I look forward to going to New York and playing with those guys.”