Originally written on MLB Buzz  |  Last updated 7/29/12
Houston-astros-louis
Third base is a position of scarcity in the major leagues. The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired a decent one on Sunday, and they’ve got another coming at Double A. Chris Johnson, obtained from the Houston Astros for minor-league outfielders Marc Krauss and Bobby Borchering, has a 105 OPS-plus in 368 plate appearances this season, with 100 considered league average. The D-backs will control Johnson, 27, through 2017, and he isn’t even eligible for arbitration until ’14. Davidson, currently at Double A, should be ready by ’14, it not sooner. At that point, the D-Backs can choose, or perhaps move Johnson or Davidson to a different position (both also have played first base). The trade also could produce another benefit for the D-Backs, giving them the infield depth to trade shortstop Stephen Drew, possibly to the Oakland Athletics. Drew is batting just .213 with a .566 OPS since coming off the disabled list, but his line-drive rate is more than 40 percent, indicating that he is hitting into poor luck. The Athletics, who tried to acquire Hanley Ramirez and later Marco Scutaro before each was traded, also are looking at the Toronto Blue Jays’ Yunel Escobar and other options. As for the Astros’ return from the Diamondbacks, well, one scout described Krauss and Borchering as “non-athletic . . . lacking positions . . . maybe not even extras (reserves).” The Astros, though, are moving to the American League next season, and perhaps they see both players as potential DHs. Borchering was the 16th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Krauss the 64th. -Ken Rosenthal
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