Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Astros Trade Deadline History

There is a lot being written about the Astros transactions at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline (or lack thereof). The consensus being that the Astros are losers. I am not going to argue for or against the Astros trade deadline. Instead I'd like to take a look back at previous deadlines. I want to see how the Astros finished the season and what happened to the players involved in deadline deals.

I decided 20 years was a sufficient amount of time to look back (plus it allowed me to cover the Randy Johnson deal). I also decided to include all deals made in July not just those near the end of the month (there's not a lot of deadline deals made by the Astros).


July 4

Astros acquire Scott Makarewicz and Jay Powell from the Florida Marlins, for Ramon Castro on July 4. 

Makarewicz was a career minor leaguer drafted by the Astros in the 6th round of the 1989 MLB draft. After seven seasons in the Houston system, he spent two in Detroit's system, and then half a year in Florida's system. 1998 was his final season of professional ball.

Powell posted a 2.38 ERA in 34 innings for the Astros. His 11.57 ERA in three postseason was not as good. He pitched for the Astros until 2001 when he was traded to the Colorado Rockies for Ron Villone. 

Castro was mostly a part-time player. He spent 13 years in the big leagues total. He posted a 91 OPS+ in 1603 plate appearances. 

July 31

Astros acquire Randy Johnson from the Seattle Mariners for Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen, and John Halama (player to be named later). 

Johnson, I think everyone knows what happened here. He went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA in 11 starts for the Astros leading up to the postseason. He was just as good in the postseason with a 1.93 ERA in the two games he pitched. The Astros were bounced from the playoffs (thanks Powell!) in the first round, thanks to the San Diego Padres. Johnson would sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the offseason. 

Garcia, 15 years in the big leagues. Two-time All Star. 156 wins and 108 losses with a 4.15 ERA in 2264 innings. He won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox in 2005 against the Houston Astros (Woo!).

Guillen, 14 years in the big leagues. Three-time All Star. 111 OPS+ in 5277 plate appearances. 

Halama, 9 years in the big leagues. 56 wins and 48 losses with a 4.65 ERA in 911 innings.

The Astros finished the season 102-60. For 98.1 innings of Randy Johnson the Astros gave up three quality major leaguers. 


The Astros made no trades in July. They finished the season 97-65 and lost to the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the playoffs.


July 31

Acquired Pedro Astacio from the Colorado Rockies for Scott Elarton. 

Astacio posted a 3.14 ERA in four starts for the Astros. He did not pitch in the postseason. He was signed as a free agent by the Mets in the offseason.

Elarton posted a 6.64 ERA in four starts for the Rockies. He did not pitch in 202 due to injury. He never was able to replicate the early success he had in his career. 

Acquired Mike Williams from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Tony McKnight.

Williams, 4.03 ERA in 22.1 relief innings for the Astros. He had a 9.00 ERA in one postseason inning.

McKnight started 12 games for the Pirates and posted a 5.19 ERA. He never pitched in the big leagues again.



Did not make any July deals. They did trade for Carlos Beltran on June 24, 2004, giving up Octavio Dotel and John Buck. Dotel would go on to be an effective reliever for several teams. His last season in baseball was 2013. Buck was called up by the Royals. He played 11 years and posted a 86 OPS+ in 2009 plate appearances.

Beltran would help the Astros make the playoffs as a wild card team. He had one of the most magical postseasons in MLB history. Then signed with the Mets in the offseason (oh the pain).


Nothing. If I remember correctly Tim Purpura was lambasted for not making a move. The team went to their one and only World Series and lost. If only the could have traded for Freddy Garcia!


July 12, 2006

Acquired Aubrey Huff from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Mitch Talbot and Ben Zobrist.

Huff posted a 107 OPS+ in 68 games for the Astros to finish the season. The team missed the playoffs.

Talbot posted a 5.30 ERA in 232.2 innings.

Zobrist (this one hurts) has played 12 years in the big leagues (still going). He's played every position on the baseball field except catcher. He's a three-time All Star. He has a 115 OPS+ in 5950 plate appearances. He recently won the World Series. (ARGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!)

Not only did the Astros not make the playoffs, they also gave up a way better player than Aubrey Huff.


Make a move and you can improve the team. That doesn't guarantee you'll get out of the first round, though. Don't make a move and get to the World Series. That also doesn't guarantee you'll win it all. Teams aren't made at the July 31 non-waiver deadline. They're built over time. The offseason probably has more of an impact. Which is a great idea for a future post.