Astros Played the Trade Deadline Perfectly

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Aug 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Joe Musgrove (59) pitches agains the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. Toronto Blue Jays won 2 to 1. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Joe Musgrove (59) pitches agains the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. Toronto Blue Jays won 2 to 1. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /
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THE CARLOS BELTRAN CONUNDRUM

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At first, we needed to warm up to the Carlos Beltran rumors. For those who need a quick refresher:

The Astros acquired Beltran at the deadline in 2004. He finished the season two home runs shy from joining the 40-40 club and electrified the city of Houston with eight postseason home runs, a club record. After the Astros had fallen to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, Beltran, and the Astros expressed mutual interest in re-signing, but he ended up signing a monstrous deal with the New York Mets.

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The next year, Astros fans may recall, resulted in the club’s first World Series appearance, and seemingly every Astros fan wondered how that season would have ended if Beltran (who posted substantially lower numbers that year) patrolled left field instead of Chris Burke. You could write a college thesis on how Beltran signing with the Mets created an unprecedented domino effect that eventually led to the Luhnow-era Astros. (Believe me, I have.)

Needless to say, the idea of renting Carlos Beltran again 12 years later was not exactly the most tempting dish at the trade deadline cafeteria. But when you consider Rasmus and Marisnick’s slumps at the plate, Beltran’s 22 home runs and .304 average suddenly don’t sound so bad. Beltran’s veteran presence on the third-youngest team in baseball would be incalculably valuable, especially with his playoff experience and thirst for his first ring at 39-years-old.

Joke’s on everyone: after all of these years of going hoarse from booing Beltran at Astros games, restaurants, airports, and gas stations, he could be the anchor that brings the Astros their first championship. It would all come full circle. This suddenly doesn’t sound so bad.

GM Jon Daniels, however, also saw that fit and nabbed Beltran. And just like that, Astros folklore briefly re-accepted Beltran as the hero they needed, only to watch him flutter away out of their grasp to the worst possible destination.

But if you ask me (disclaimer: I am not and have never been a Major League Baseball general manager), the Rangers paid a steep price for a few months of Beltran. The Rangers selected Dillon Tate with the fourth pick overall in the 2015 draft. For those keeping score at home, that’s two spots behind Alex Bregman (more on him shortly) and one spot ahead of Kyle Tucker. And that’s not ALL the Rangers gave up, as they also shipped two interesting arms in Nick Green and Erik Swanson.

I suddenly don’t feel too badly about missing out on 39-year-old Beltran.

Next: Did We Really Need Lucroy?

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