The Houston Astros sent shortstop Jonathan Villar to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Cy Sneed, the team announced.
Along with the trade, the Astros released left-handed pitcher Luis Cruz and outfielder Robbie Grossman.
Originally, Villar was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 from La Vega, Dominican Republic. On July 29, 2010, Villar, along with outfielder Anthony Gose and left-hander J.A. Happ, was traded from the Phillies to the Astros for Roy Oswalt and cash. Now, Villar has made the move to Milwaukee.
The 24-year-old has been in the Major League for the past three seasons, accumulating 198 games. Over his time, Villar has slashed .236/.300/.353 with 10 home runs, 46 RBI and 42 stolen bases.
In the 2015 season, Villar hit a career-high .284 batting average with a pair of home runs and 11 RBI, while adding seven stolen bases.
All in all, Villar adds depth to the infield for the Astros. Starting shortstop Jean Segura could be on the move this offseason and shortstop prospect Orlando Arica is not read for the Major League level. Until a move is made, Villar will play in a backup shortstop role with the ability to fill in at other spots inside the diamond.
As for the man going the other way, Sneed was Milwaukee's 3rd round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. The starting pitcher has tossed for Rookie-A Helena, Single-A Wisconsin and High-A Brevard County over his two career years in professional baseball.
Over two seasons, Sneed posted a 6-13 record with a 3.30 ERA in 37 games - 30 starts - in 177.1 innings of work on the mound. He is not a top prospect, but still has some potential Major League Baseball value in the future.
Grossman struggled with a .143 batting average in the Big Leagues over 54 plate appearances. Meanwhile, the 26-year-old did not look much better for Triple-A Fresno, which sparked his release. The good news is that there should be a team willing to offer him a minor-league contract.
Cruz, like Grossman, struggled in 2015, but never was able to fashion his stuff at the Major League level. The 25-year-old posted a 4.27 ERA, 1.47 WHIP over 116 innings for the Triple-A team. He probably will not get a chance to find the Big Leagues in 2016.