It is so strange how the fortunes of sports teams can change so completely in the matter of a few days or weeks.
After many struggles and injuries along the way, the Astros offense is becoming one of the best in baseball, reminding folks of their championship team. In 2017, they led all of baseball in almost everything. They were first in the majors with 5.53 runs/game, .282 BA, .346 OBP, .478 SLG and .823 OPS. They were first with 1581 hits, 346 doubles and a “shameful” second in HRs with 238, while striking out 1087 times, the least in the majors.
We’ve all been there in our lives. Some big deadline or event hovers over us (project completion, wedding, vacation, etc.) and once we get past that we naturally relax a bit and slowly get back into our normal gear. But does that apply to a major league team facing and racing past the trade deadline?
It feels like a season ago, but a couple months ago at the end of May, the Astros were in a bit of a pickle. They had just placed SS Carlos Correa on the IL where he joined fellow starters and All Stars Jose Altuve and George Springer on the list. Oh, and super-sub Aledmys Diaz was on the list already as was backup catcher Max Stassi and starting pitcher Collin McHugh. They had struggled and would continue to struggle with that 5th spot in the rotation and things got dicier when the team had to put 4th starter on the IL at the end of June.
The folks here at Chipalatta, both writers and readers, have been around the block a few times, some of us in horse-drawn carriages. We know that no World Series is ever won just because a team has made all the right moves along the way. We know that the Astros going out and trading for pitcher Zack Greinke (along with bringing back catcher Martin Maldonado and grabbing pitchers Joe Biagini and Aaron Sanchez) did not clinch a victory parade when they picked up the best pitcher to change teams at the deadline.
This is the kind of post that can blow up in one’s face. It is a big deal if the Astros do not complete a trade before the trade deadline and worthy of a quick discussion. However, by the time this discussion is posted or shortly after, Jeff Luhnow could complete 1, 2 or 10 trades and make this look foolish.