Is Miami Marlins’ Garrett Cooper the Solution at First Base for the Astros?

Is Miami Marlins’ Garrett Cooper the Solution at First Base for the Astros?

The only teams who have received less production out of the first base position than the Houston Astros are the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates. Those teams have combined for a record of 124-162.

To say that first base has been underwhelming for the Astros is an understatement. Their team WRC at the position is 78, that a full 11 points below the fifth-worst team in MLB, the Oakland Athletics.

Slashing .215/.265/.358, a trade for a first baseman is imminent with the deadline approaching. A variety of options exist on the market for the Astros, but one of the more under-the-radar players is the Miami Marlins’ Garrett Cooper.

With just a year and a half remaining on the 2022 All-Star’s contract before free agency, Cooper probably fall into the mid-tier price range.

Miami Marlins First Baseman Garrett Cooper

Miami Marlins First Baseman Garrett Cooper

On the season, he’s slashing .279/.347/.426. Those offensive numbers aren’t anything to gawk at, but one must remember that the Marlins play in one of the lower offensive environments in MLB in one of the lowest offensive years in modern MLB history.

Measuring him against other players, Cooper’s OPS is 118. That just about the same OPS as Michael Brantley in 2021 or Alex Bregman in 2020, both impressive players.

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Another skill Cooper brings to the table is solid defense. Right now the Astros sport one of the worst defensive first base positions in baseball. Yuli Gurriel is worse with a -5 OAA, fourth percentile league-wide.

Cooper meanwhile, is 63rd percentile, he has just 1 OAA, but the ability to play first competently is a highly undervalued talent at the Major League level.

Given this, Astros would have to part with some significant talent. The Marlins intent to compete in 2023, and they’d like Cooper to be a part of that team, but an offer may come along they can’t refuse.

The Astros are very strong at the minor league level at catcher, with Yainer Diaz waiting in the wings at Triple-A. The Marlins however, are saddled with Jacob Stallings, an elite defensive catcher whom they traded for in the offseason. 

He’s not a free agent for another two and a half years, but his .480 OPS is so dismal the Marlins would be willing to fish for another catcher immediately. Either of Yainer Diaz or Korey Lee would be a good starting point for a deal while a Colin Barber could finalize things.

Perhaps the price may cost even less than that should the Marlins situation regress as the deadline nears, but Barber and Diaz/Lee would almost certainly get the deal done and secure the Astros a well above average first baseman through 2023.

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  2. Astros Seek to End Road Swing Unblemished at Oakland
  3. Astros Sweep Mariners as Altuve, Peña Launch Back-to-Back Homers
  4. Astros’ McCullers to Make Rehab Appearance for Triple-A Sugar Land
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  6. Valdez Reaching New Heights with Increased Velocity
  7. Astros Reinstate Pressly, Option Mushinski to Triple-A
  8. Verlander Picks Up 20th Career Win Against Mariners as Astros Win Series
  9. Houston Astros Should Target Trey Mancini at Trade Deadline
  10. Overlooked Houston Astros’ Signee VanWey Fueled For Major League Chance

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