Houston Astros: 3 thoughts on the team’s heist of the 2019 trade deadline

Houston Astros general manger Jeff Luhnow (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Astros general manger Jeff Luhnow (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Houston Astros
A Houston Astros scuffle (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Thought #1: An all-out ‘brawl’ for help

Two-plus days before

Ironically, the Mets made the first big move when they traded for Marcus Stroman. It was an odd transaction because people expected him to either go to a contending team like the Astros, Yankees, or Dodgers. But the Mets?

It was strange because they were in conversations to potentially move Syndergaard or Wheeler. Yet, an explanation was that they were looking into the future of the organization. So in essence, the Mets got Stroman for a few years after 2019 as they plan on building in the NL East.

Later, two major events in the baseball world occurred that took the world by storm and more. First was Bauer’s throw to center as he was going to be pulled. Make no mistake, in my opinion, that was the best throw of his career.

But it did leave questions as to whether or not his trade value would be impacted by that. Houston had been a potential target for him despite his previous comments and the “tension” between him, Alex Bregman, and Gerrit Cole.

But the Indians would ultimately make the trade with the Cincinnati Reds to send Bauer as part of a three-team deal along with San Diego. In return, they would get Yasiel Puig, a former Dodger player who decided to end his Reds’ tenure by engaging in round two of him vs. the Pirates.

Already, two teams that appeared to be out of the title picture had picked up two major names. This put a lot of pressure on the Astros to try and make a big acquisition. There had been reports that the Astros did engage with the Giants on Bumgarner. Yet, the ideal guy for them was predicted to be Wheeler. He wouldn’t be the dominant pitcher like Verlander and Cole, but at least he would keep the Astros’ rotation stable.

Yet, there was a major incentive that could’ve derailed Houston’s chances of getting any of the big names: their claim to Kyle Tucker.

The Kyle Tucker dilemma

Jeff Luhnow had said that Tucker was untouchable. This was basically saying for teams we’re not giving up on our prospect. To me, this logic gives me two theories:  1) The Astros plan to move Yordan Alvarez to first base when Yuli Gurriel is no longer a member of the squad so that they could bring in Tucker to the outfield. 2)  Tucker could potentially be another star for the Astros squad even though he’s already had appearances with the club.

Tucker has been tearing up the ball recently. He doesn’t have a sexy batting average hitting .260, but it’s his 27 homers that are jaw-dropping. He also does have 73 RBI and a .905 OPS percentage. So you can kind of see why Luhnow believes in his star.

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Over the past few years, Luhnow has made significant trades in getting big named or impactful players without really giving up too much. With Justin Verlander, they gave up Franklin Perez (#3 Astros prospect), Daz Cameron (#9 Astros prospect), and Jake Rogers (#11 Astros prospect). For Ryan Pressly, the Astros sent Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino. Of course, with Gerrit Cole, Joe Musgrove, Colin Moran, Michael Feliz and Jason Martin all packed their bags to Pittsburgh.

To achieve this without giving up your best talent is remarkable. But at some point, the question on if they can keep this up comes into play. Surely, there had to come a time to give up a core group of prospects in return for an impactful player.

Trade deadline

Earlier in the day, the Astros decided to send Tony Kemp to the Cubs in return for former catcher Martin Maldonado. While we’re going to miss a hug from Kemp, bringing Maldonado back was a good move for us because we were getting an upgrade in the catcher spot.

With Robinson Chirinos getting time off whenever Maldonado catches, position number two is secured. This left Max Stassi’s status with the team in question. While it’s okay to have three catchers on the squad, Stassi hasn’t been living up to the expectations put upon him. So his time with the team was winding down. Only a trade to the Angels would end his tenure in Houston.

Much of the deadline passed with hardly any action aside from the Nationals making moves for three relievers. The Braves added a closer in Shane Greene while the Dodgers made a surprising pickup at third base given the injuries down there. Yet, the talk of the big-name pitchers being acquired was at a stalemate. The Yankees appeared interested in Robbie Ray, but soon, the talks stalled.

Meanwhile, the Astros were trying to hold off offers from the Yankees and Rays for Wheeler. There was one source that said the Astros were close to getting a deal done for Wheeler. But alas, nothing came about and when the clock struck 3 p.m. central, the deadline was done. But that still didn’t mean the trades were over.

What happened next would shock us?