Astros get Vallejo as part of Pudge deal
Infield prospect could compete for job next spring
HOUSTON -- The Astros acquired Minor League infielder Jose Vallejo from the Texas Rangers on Thursday.Vallejo is one of potentially two players to be named in the trade for 14-time All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez, made on Tuesday. The Astros had acquired right-handed pitcher Matt Nevarez from Texas, and could still potentially add another player in the transaction if the Rangers make the playoffs. "We think being able to add two young prospects, particularly Vallejo, who some of our people think can come into Spring Training next year and compete for a job, gives us a satisfactory package," general manager Ed Wade said. The 22-year-old Vallejo will be assigned to Triple-A Round Rock and report on Saturday. He was an invite to the Rangers' Spring Training and spent most of the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City. The switch-hitter batted .233 with two home runs and 28 RBIs in 84 games at Oklahoma City after beginning the 2009 season at Double-A Frisco, where he hit .289 with 10 RBIs in 20 games. The Rangers named Vallejo the organization's Minor League Defender of the Year in 2008, a season in which he was a midseason California League All-Star and named the league's best defensive second baseman by Baseball America. "He's got excellent range and an excellent throwing arm," Wade said. "He's a very good runner and stole 40-plus bases in 2007 and 2008, although he hasn't been running as much this year. We think he profiles as an everyday second-base prospect or possibly a super-utility guy, because we think he has the versatility to go play other positions." The Astros aren't sure if Vallejo would be one of the players the team would bring up to the big leagues when the roster expands in September. "We'll talk about it," Wade said. "With September recalls, I'm a believer that if you're going to bring a guy up, he's going to have to have a role here and not just be a reward or a showcase -- so I would doubt it." Wade said the team could still receive another player to be named later, but that it would be a mid-level prospect and contingent on whether the Rangers make the postseason. If Texas doesn't make the playoffs the deal stands as complete.
Jason Grodsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.