The Houston Astros have acquired outfielder Dexter Fowler and a player to be named later from the Houston Astros in exchange for outfielder Brandon Barnes and right-hander Jordan Lyles, according to a team announcement.
Fowler, who turns 28 in March, is the first significant addition for the Astros so far this winter. He has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the offseason, being linked to the Mariners and Royals before being dealt to Houston. He will become the Astros' starting center fielder, joining Jason Castro and Jose Altuve as the notable veterans on a roster filled with young, developing players.
In 119 games for the Rockies in 2013, he hit .263 with 12 HR, 42 RBI and 19 stolen bases. For his six-year major league career, he is a lifetime .270 hitter with 40 HR and 210 RBI.
Barnes, 27, hit .240 with 8 HR and 41 RBI in 136 games for the Astros last season, seeing time at all three outfield spots. He could compete for time in center field with Charlie Blackmon, or could serve as the Rockies' fourth outfielder if they opt to pursue a big-name center fielder like Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo. Carlos Gonzalez has already expressed a willingness to play center field for the Rockies, opening up opportunities for Barnes, Blackmon and Corey Dickerson.
Lyles, 23, was 7-9 with a 5.59 ERA in 25 starts for the Astros in 2013, his third season in the team's rotation. The former first round pick (38th overall in 2008) was once highly touted as a prospect, but has struggled to see success at the major league level. He could join the Rockies' rotation next season, or may shift to a bullpen role due to the team's crowded rotation.
At first glance, it seems as though the Astros got Fowler for a lesser package than many expected considering the high level of interest around him from teams throughout the league. Houston will likely try to add more veterans this season as they look to become contenders in 2014.