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villarreal-dealt-to-astros | November | 2007 Articles

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Villarreal Dealt to Astros

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Minor trade to report today as Frank Wren sent right-handed reliever Oscar Villarreal to Houston in exchange for 25-year old outfielder Josh Anderson. Villarreal, 27, has had some success as the long-man out of the pen since being acquired from Arizona. He is however a very replaceable part, especially with the acquisition of Jair Jurrjens, who could possibly pitch out of the Atlanta pen. This trade really came down to money. Villarreal is arbitration-eligible and stands to see his salary jump to over $1 million from the $925,000 he made this past season. As Frank Wren said in his recent chat, there will be eight pitchers for five spots in the rotation, assuming Tom Glavine signs with Atlanta. The three odd men out would all be candidates (I assume he is referring to Hampton, James, Bennett, Jurrjens, and Reyes as the five competing for the last two spots) as well a guy like Blaine Boyer or Lance Cormier, who could toss their name into the mix with a strong showing during Spring Training. Anderson was a fourth-round pick in 2003 out of Eastern Kentucky. He bats left-handed with a solid, athletic build at 6'2" 195 lbs as well as blazing speed and very good defense. He hit .273/.325/.341 in 513 at bats with triple-A Round Rock and had a very strong September call-up, posting a line of .358/.413/.403 in 67 at bats with the Astros. He does strike out a decent amount but it isn't over-the-top, however his lack of walks doesn't bode well for him. He should be capable of a reasonable average for utility outfielder and combined with the speed and defense, I'd consider his chances pretty high to start the year with the Braves. This to me is a pretty bit signal that the same thing will happen to Willie Harris as Villarreal. Anderson looks poised to take over Harris' spot at a lower cost.
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