Houston Astros: 5 moves we wish were April Fools jokes

Joe Morgan of the Houston Astros (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Joe Morgan of the Houston Astros (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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Former Houston Astros Caminiti and Finley
Caminiti and Finley, formerly of the Houston Astros (Credit: Todd Warshaw /Allsport) /

3: Shipping Caminiti and Finley out for unproven products

Coming off of the strike-shortened 1994 season, the Houston Astros made a business decision to offload some bigger contracts to offset the money the team was spending on newly minted MVP, Jeff Bagwell.

Every team has to make business decisions from time to time and just cross their fingers it doesn’t burn them. Unfortunately, shipping off Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley in a massive 12 player trade burned and pretty bad at that.

The first year after the deal, 1995, wasn’t too bad. Caminiti and Finley both had good seasons and the young guys were figuring it out. However, 1996 rolled around and with it came the pain. Caminiti had his MVP season, launching 40 homers and driving in 130 runs to go with a .326 average. Finley also had his best season in ’96 with 30 home runs, 95 RBIs, and a .298 average.

The “gem return for the Houston Astros was Derek Bell. He was extremely up and down but had good seasons in 1995 and 1998. Besides that, he struggled and never fully maximized his potential or really helped mitigate the losses of Caminiti and Finley.

To make matters worse, the Astros finished the 1996 season only six games out of first place in the division which could have been aided by the monster seasons Caminiti and Finley had. Also, in 1998, the Padres knocked off the Astros in the playoffs and went on to the World Series. Things could have been worse as the return was decent, but the seasons Caminiti and Finley had after leaving Houston make this tough to swallow.