Astros send Quintero, Bourgeois to Royals
The Astros have traded catcher Humberto Quintero and center fielder Jason Bourgeois to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Minor League lefthander Kevin Chapman and a player to be named later.
Both players hugged teammates and said their goodbyes as they left the facility following Tuesday’s game. Bourgeois was scheduled to start Tuesday against the Cardinals but was scratched just before first pitch. Quintero was supposed to play in the second half of the game, but he wound up not playing.
“It was a great opportunity to get my first full season in and now somebody wants me,” Bourgeois said. “I’ll always have place in my heart for Houston. I grew up there, so I think that says a lot.”
The 24-year-old Chapman, who was selected by KC in the fourth round of the 2010 June Draft out of the University of Florida, was one of the top strikeout pitchers in the Texas League while at Northwest Arkansas in 2011. In 25 relief appearances, he tallied 50 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings pitched while totaling three saves.
Chapman began the 2011 season at Class A Wilmington where he struck out 40 batters in just 22 1/3 innings in 15 appearances with seven saves. His combined stats for 2011 were a 1-4 mark with a 4.94 ERA in 40 appearances with 10 saves and 90 strikeouts in 62 innings.
“Jason and Humberto were a big part of this team last year and both will be missed,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement. “They are quality players and well-liked in Houston. This deal gives us an opportunity to add prospect depth and we are excited about both players coming our way.”
Bourgeois, a 30-year-old Houston native, appeared in 93 games last year for the Astros, hitting .294 with 16 RBIs and 31 stolen bases. He was considered one of the favorites for the backup outfielder role, but the Astros added depth in that department in the offseason by bringing in Travis Buck, Jack Cust and Fernando Martinez, among others.
“It’s bittersweet,” Bourgeois said. “You always want to have a uniform on. I’m going to another organization and I’m glad somebody wants me.”
Bourgeois is a career .262 hitter with 46 stolen bases in 192 career Major League games with the White Sox and Astros, who claimed him off waivers in 2009.
Quintero, 32, is a hard-nosed backup catcher who has been with the club since 2005, the second-longest tenure on the team outside of Wandy Rodriguez. The strong-armed Quintero has spent parts of nine seasons in the big leagues and last year started 73 games at catcher when Jason Castro was lost for the season.
“I got my house and everything in Houston and I’m going to miss everybody here,” Quintero said. “Baseball is baseball and I’m going to go someplace else I get more opportunity to play.”
With Castro missing all of last year following knee surgery and undergoing foot surgery in December, the Astros signed Chris Snyder off the free agent market to add some depth at catcher. Castro is completely healthy
Quintero was bothered by a bulging disk in his back early in the spring, but the Royals had been scouting him for days as they search for a replacement for the injured Sal Perez. Quintero is a career .234 hitter with 15 homers and 94 RBIs in 379 career games.