Top 10 Astros’ trades since 2015

The 2015 season was the beginning of the Astros on the field Renaissance as it ended a four year period where they had averaged a 58-104 record. In fact, if you take out the very bad 70-92 2014 season, you would have had a putrid 3 seasons where they averaged 54 wins and 108 losses. So, looking back at the wild card 2015 season, the above-average 2016 season and the 100+ wins of 2017 thru 2019, what were the top ten trades of that scalawag Jeff Luhnow during this period?

  1. Justin Verlander. (8-31-17 from the Tigers for Jake Rogers, Daz Cameron and Franklin Perez) No surprise here as this was the most impactful trade in Astros history, paving the way to a World Series win, a WS appearance and a deep playoff run in his 2+ seasons with the team. Oh, and the Tigers threw in OF Juan Ramirez on top of JV. Oh and for the cherry on top of the sundae, Verlander signed a 2-year extension.
  2. Gerrit Cole. (1-13-18 from the Pirates for Colin Moran, Joe Musgrove, Jason Martin and Michael Feliz) Cole was magnificent in his two seasons with the Astros earning the first contract for a pitcher for over $300 million in the history of the game. No, the Astros did not win a World Series with him, but if A.J. Hinch had brought him out of the bullpen in Game 7…….
  3. Yordan Alvarez.(8-1-16 from the Dodgers for Josh Fields) This could be the new generation’s Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen trade. Alvarez came in from Cuba, tore up the minors and then in 2019 tore up the majors while earning the AL Rookie of the Year award with a transcendent half-season of epic hitting.
  4. Zack Greinke (7-31-19 from the D’Backs for Corbin Martin, J.B. Bukauskas, Seth Beer and Josh Rojas) Lost in the shadow of the Cy Young battle between Verlander and Cole, Greinke came in with a very good two months of pitching for the Astros going 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA. This was critical as Wade Miley went south down the stretch. Greinke also pitched well in the postseason, including his excellent start in Game 7 of the World Series.
  5. Brian McCann (11-17-16 from the Yankees for Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman) Perhaps his statistics were not as gaudy as in his younger years, But especially in 2017, he gave the Astros very solid numbers that combined with Evan Gattis gave the team one of the most potent catching tandems in the majors. It was also apparent that he was the on-field leader and a calming influence on the pitching staff during the WS run.
  6. Ryan Pressly. (7-27-18 from the Twins for Gilberto Celestino and Jorge Alcala) Pressly has been nails since coming over from the Twins, including setting a major league record of 40 consecutive scoreless appearances spanning 2018 and 2019. The knee injury he suffered in 2019 affected his performance down the stretch, but when healthy he has been one of the most impactful relievers for the Astros since the days of Brad Lidge and Billy Wagner.
  7. Roberto Osuna. (7-30-18 from the Blue Jays for Ken Giles, David Paulino and Hector Perez) This was a “new starts” trade for both Osuna and Giles as Osuna was coming off of a suspension for domestic abuse and Giles had melted down with his manager A.J. Hinch. Osuna while not perfect has been darned good and has 50 saves in his season plus two months with the team along with a very good 2.46 ERA. His postseason performance, especially in 2018 – much shakier.
  8. Evan Gattis. (1-14-15 with James Hoyt from the Braves for Mike Foltynewicz, Andrew Thurman and Rio Ruiz) Between regular and post-season Gattis hit 97 HRs for the Astros over the 4 seasons he played for the club, but probably none bigger than the one he hit in the 7th game of the 2017 ALCS against the Yanks to give the Astros the lead they never surrendered.
  9. Ken Giles. (1-12-15 traded with Jonathan Arauz from the Phillies for Mark Appel, Vince Velasquez, Brett Oberholtzer, Harold Arauz and Tom Eshelman) Giles had a lot of ups and downs in his 2-1/2 seasons with the club. His 61 saves were solid, but by the time he was traded he was no longer someone the team felt they could rely on. His best season was the 2017 WS season, but his 34 save, 2.30 ERA regular season morphed into an 11.74 ERA nightmare in the playoffs.
  10. Aledmys Diaz. (11-17-18 traded from the Blue Jays for Trent Thornton). Diaz would probably be higher on this list if he had played more than 69 games for the Astros in 2019. After a very difficult start both at bat and in the field, he settled down and became a very solid contributor during the first half of the season (.271 BA/.823 OPS) and committing only 3 errors in the field while playing all four infield positions plus left field. Again missing time due to injury derailed a very good season for Diaz.

There can be and will likely be arguments along the way about how much the Astros gave up in prospect capital to obtain these 10 players. But these trades were a big part of 5 seasons that brought 4 playoff runs, 2 WS appearances and a championship. Most fans would vote to roll these dice again. So where do you stand on these trades? Would you put them in a different order? Would there be any trades you would like to rescind?

27 comments on “Top 10 Astros’ trades since 2015

  1. I’m sure we all have different criteria for how we evaluate these. I’d say the Astros easily won 1-3, and 5-6 on your list. I have a hard time putting number 4 (Greinke) so high simply because the Astros would have won the division without him and his playoff outings were not amazing. A lot of the blame likely rests on how Hinch handled the pitching changes in those games though. I do think Greinke is going to be an above average starter for the remainder of his contract, but his salary commitment drags this down in my opinion (see below).

    After that, 7-9 were awful. I’m sure Osuna has some fans, but even if you are impressed by his stats it was a distraction at the time and last October snowballed out of control. At number 10, Diaz was good last year. I’d still rather have Thornton in house, but they didn’t have a spot for him anyhow.

    Ultimately, the Astros couldn’t re-sign Gerrit Cole and we should have known where he was heading even before game 7 was played. However, the acquisitions of Greinke and Osuna worked against this as well. In a normal offseason I’d rather have had the $34M committed to them to go after free agents. With the revelation of a toxic culture inside the front office and sheer hubris using their cheating scheme it’s obvious they weren’t going to bring talented players to town…so I guess those contracts work out in Houston’s favor.

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    • I think the biggest reason they went and got Greinke was that they knew they would never keep Cole, not because of the annual payout, but because they were not going to lock him in for enough years to keep his interest. They saw Greinke as building a bridge across with Verlander to a time when the younger pitchers would be hitting the rotation. Lord knows how that part will work out.
      I understand that Osuna was a distraction at the time of the trade, but what happened in October was not his fault – it was Taubman’s and a front office that had a bad attitude towards the press and apparently a storage unit full of bad ethics they were trying to conceal

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  2. I think at #10 I would say the trade of Dexter Fowler to the Cubs for Luis Valbuena and Dan Straily on 01/19/2015. Although we messed up when we traded Straily to the Padres for Erik Kratz on 03/28/2016… maybe that will be the subject of the next post.

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  3. Normally I don’t like to correct people – well OK I do like it. But as a son of a son of a son of a Confederate there were three terms that can be used constantly. 1. A “scalawag” was a Southerner who assisted the North during Reconstruction. 2. A “carpetbagger” was a Northerner who came down South during Reconstruction. 3. A “reprobate” was anyone that you didn’t like or they could just be of low moral character. Due to his birth in a foreign country and not being from Texas (a few other Southern state MIGHT qualify), you can refer to him as “carpetbagger” or “reprobate” but not as a “scalawag.” This is NOT a minor point.

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  4. No one should argue about 1 and 2. On 3, the jury is still out but Alvarez acquisition has to be higher than anything past 7 on just one year of performance. 4 may need to be lower if this is Greinke’s final year with no games played. For me, 5 needs to be Osuna. Mainly because we got rid of Giles and ended up with anything. McCann and Pressly are about correct, but over time Pressly may move up. Diaz may move up, but Gattis and Giles never will, in my opinion. It is so hard to measure trades after just a year or two. And does Brady Aiken for Bregman count as a trade?

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  5. Well forgive this Yankee whose family moved to the South 100 years after the Civil War. I learn something every day.

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  6. A little over an hour before Mock Draft on Prospects Live (YouTube channel).

    I’m pretty well set on 5-7 names, in order;

    Kyle Nicolas (surging up)
    Bobby Miller (probably won’t be available at #72)
    Cole Henry, RHSP, LSU (Bregman would have a pulse on signability)
    Dax Fulton #17 ranked pitcher Vandy commit (LHSP)
    RJ Dabovich, Closer Ariz. State
    Cam Brown, Flower Mound HS 6’3″ TCU commit

    Harold Coll, SS (tradeability)

    If all these are gone, I’d look at the two from Dallas Baptist; Carraway and Lange. For the next two rounds Round 3, and 4, most all prospects available are 40 Future Value (I’s stay with pitching).

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  7. We had a choice of that list of Dabovich, or Cam Brown.

    I took the Starter, Brown, over the Closer.
    That’s two Brown’s now in two years. Cam, and Hunter.

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