Houston Astros: Former N.L. Central rivals pushing for A.L. Pennant


It’s funny how the world of professional sports gives players the opportunity to become teammates with guys they have been rivals with for the majority of their playing career.

In case you missed it, the Houston Astros acquired four players from the N.L. Central this season. Before the 2015 campaign began, they were approached by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer who were looking to add a key veteran to their young outfield which resulted in Dexter Fowler jumping ship to the North Side of Chicago.

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In exchange, veteran infielder, Luis Valbuena, and pitcher Dan Straily made their way to Texas. Valbuena has eclipsed a handful of offensive categories since joining the Astros – the same numbers he boosted shortly after he joined the Cubs several years ago.

After a disappointing debut with the new club, the Astros announced yesterday on Twitter that they have designated Straily for assignment in order to make room for right-hander Asher Wojciechowski who was recalled from Triple-A Fresno. (Update: Straily has been optioned to Fresno.)

Now, with outfielder Carlos Gomez and right-hander Mike Fiers coming from the last-place Milwaukee Brewers for Domingo Santana, Brett Phillips, Josh Hader, and Adrian Houser – it’s been somewhat of a rocky transition for Fiers early on.

In his Astros debut, Fiers ended up working out of the bullpen when Lance McCullers failed to get out of the first inning of the ballgame while visiting the Texas Rangers. The 30-year-old veteran was tagged for six earned runs on seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts across five innings of long relief this past Monday.

Meanwhile, Gomez launched his 100th career home run in the 4-3 loss to the Rangers on Thursday. In eight games, the 29-year-old outfielder has recorded eight hits, two doubles, one long ball while driving in four RBI with a batting line of .296/.321/.481 to increase his 2015 season total.

His power wasn’t unleashed until the 2012 campaign where he hit a career-high 19/51 HR/RBI before his breakout season just a year later. Despite missing some of the early part of the season due to an injury, Gomez will still become a valuable piece to this Astros roster like he was with the Brewers.

He’s coming off a year in which he racked up 163 hits with a career-best 34 doubles, 95 runs, 47 walks while slashing .284/.356/.477. There’s still a ton of potential there, just like his former rival turned teammate, Valbuena.

Next: Astros Minors: The rise of Bregman with the JetHawks