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Astros Trade For Huff

The trade of Aubrey Huff to the Astros gives clues as to what the market for Craig Wilson will be like. Like Wilson, Huff is a slugger who isn't regarded as a great defender. Both players are free agents after the season ends. Over the past two years, Huff has been slightly worse than Wilson at the plate.

In return for Huff, the Devil Rays got 25 year-old shortstop Ben Zobrist and 22-year-old starter Mitch Talbot. Both were playing for Class AA Corpus Christi, where Zobrist was hitting .327/.434/.473 and Talbot had a 3.39 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 90.1 innings.

Zobrist is old for his level, but he was drafted in 2004, so he's been moving relatively quickly, and his stat line this year is pretty much the same one he has had at every stop. It's not a batting-average-driven fluke, though it is obviously unlikely he will be able to keep his average that high in the majors. I had trouble finding out much about him, but he seems like kind of a Freddy Sanchez-lite type of hitter. He might turn out to be helpful, but he'll probably have to move to second base or some other position first, since his defense isn't great.

Talbot was a second-round pick in the 2002 draft. He was disappointing in Class A+ last year, but obviously, he has been pretty good this year in an age-appropriate league. He doesn't have excellent stuff and so will probably be a reliever in the majors, but again, he could be helpful. Then again, I probably would have said the same about Matt Peterson.

These guys aren't terrible, but neither appears to have much of a chance of becoming a star. If Littlefield insists on major-league-ready talent, he's going to get even less in return than the Rays did.