Wednesday, July 31, 2019


The Astros blew up the Trade Deadline after the 3pm Deadline acquiring Cal Stevenson, Joe Biagini, Aaron Sanchez, and - holy crap - Zack Greinke. And that's after re-acquiring Martin Maldonado earlier in the day.

The Return

Martin Maldonado. 

You know Machete.

Joe Biagini

Looks like a Strom Special.

Biagini - a 29-year old reliever - won't be a free agent until 2023. In 50IP in 2019, he has allowed 50H/21ER, 50K:17BB, 3.78 ERA / 3.80 xFIP. He has an 81% LOB rate this season, AND his HR/9 rate has declined from 2018 to 2019.

Aaron Sanchez

Sanchez - a 27-year old righty starter - has had some, uh, issues this year, but he looks like another project for the analytics team and Strom. Sanchez is 3-14 with a 6.07 ERA belied by a 5.04 FIP and a 5.09 xFIP. In 112.1IP he has allowed 131H/76ER, with 99K:59BB. The Astros have likely seen something fixable in all of that. He won't be a free agent until 2021.

Sanchez also has three options remaining, so maybe the Astros don't bring him up immediately and instead send him to Triple-A.

Cal Stevenson

Stevenson - a 22-year old lefty-hitting outfielder - is hitting .298/.388/.393 in High-A. He was the Blue Jays' 10th Round pick in 2018, so this is just his second professional season, and his first full pro season, in baseball.

Rainier Rivas

The Astros get 18-year old Rainier Rivas from the Angels for Max Stassi, made expendable by the arrival of Martin Maldonado. Rivas was hitting .400/.512/.543 in the DSL and has come to the States in the Arizona League, where he's hitting .260/.309/.440. He's an 18-year old 6'3" 220lb lefty-hitting outfielder. That's crazy.

Raider Uceta

Uceta is the other piece in the Stassi trade. Also 18, also a lefty, Uceta has spent all of 2019 in the Arizona League, where he's hitting .278/.341/.373

Zack Greinke

Just a future Hall of Famer. Some initial thoughts on this one...

Greinke will be 36 in October, but that hasn't stopped him from putting in a career year in a career full of career years. In 141IP in 2019, Greinke has allowed 115H/45ER, 128K:18BB, 2.84 ERA / 0.94 WHIP (which leads the National League). He has a 7.11 K:BB ratio. And he's about to get deployed by the Astros' coaching staff. He's a thoughtful fella, likes analytics, so pitching under Hinch and Strom and with Verlander and Cole is probably going to work out pretty well.

The Astros are taking on $53m of the $80.5m remaining on Greinke's contract. Doing so probably precluded Arizona insisting on Kyle Tucker and/or Forrest Whitley. It gives the Astros easily the best Top 3 in all of baseball, which will of course carry over to October. This is insane.

This move also adds an immediate placeholder for Gerrit Cole's spot in the rotation after this season, when Cole is eligible for free agency. Remember that Lance McCullers, Jr. comes back in 2020, as well. So the Astros will waltz into 2020 with Verlander-Greinke-McCullers and then some Wade Miley-type guy who we don't even think about and then we look up and see he has a 2.98 ERA and then possibly Forrest Whitley, the #1 pitching prospect in baseball, who will spend September learning from Verlander, Cole, and Greinke, and then Spring Training, as well. There is no reason to be upset about this trade.

The Send-Off

The Astros are losing the following.

To Toronto: Derek Fisher. That's it. Seriously. I looked. I looked for a long time.

To Arizona: J.B. Bukauskas, Seth Beer, Corbin Martin, and Josh Rojas. If you read this blog, I don't have to give you the breakdown of who the Astros sent to Arizona, but I will try to give you a reason to not be all that broken up.

Bukauskas: He's not Forrest Whitley. The 1st Round pick in the 2017 Draft, Bukauskas has had a rough go of it. He has walked 54 batters in 85.2IP at Corpus and has a 5.25 ERA / 1.58 WHIP. At Double-A, where he is admittedly a couple of years younger than his competition.

Martin: He's not Forrest Whitley. Promising pitcher, had Tommy John surgery, and won't pitch until 2021.

Rojas: He's not Kyle Tucker. Utility guy who was really putting it together at Round Rock. Can play 2B/3B/LF and did so hitting .310/.402/.586 at Triple-A. He's 25, but was also a 26th Round pick in 2017. The Astros have Aledmys Diaz.

Beer: He's not Kyle Tucker. 1st Round pick in 2018. He's also nine months older than Yordan Alvarez.

The Astros County Summary

Are you kidding? The Astros remade the bullpen and added Zack F. Greinke and didn't lose Kyle Tucker or Forrest Whitley.