Astros: A Trip Down Bad Trade Lane
Bad trades happen all the time. Heck, the Astros are guilty of that transgression on multiple occasions.
In case you haven’t heard, the NBA’s Sacramento Kings just made arguably one of the worst trades in recent memory. Oh wait, this is a baseball blog devoted to the Astros, right?
Oh well. Lessons can be applied from one sport to another quite often.
Anyway, a bad trade is a bad trade. The goal of any trade is acquire “assets” that in theory should improve a team’s present or future standing. However, Sacramento failed to do either.
This reminds me of a certain Astros trade from earlier this decade. It involved Michael Bourn, who became a fan favorite in Houston.
I won’t bore you with the details surrounding the circumstances of Bourn’s departure. I assume at this point most of everyone who reads our material is familiar with the drastic Astros rebuild.
Simply put, the Astros traded their third-best player by WAR (2.7) in 2011 for a quartet of unproven players. Otherwise known as Jordan Schaefer, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens, and Juan Abreu.
At the time I remember that this trade felt a bit underwhelming return. And as I find old articles about the trade, like this one from ESPN.com, it just reenforces that notion.
The Astros honestly did not receive much in terms of production or wins from any of the four players. For example, Schaefer produced a negative 0.7 WAR in Houston. Oberholtzer was the outlier as he produced a 3.7 WAR in his time as an Astro, but that was over a span of three seasons. Abreu holds steady with a 0.0 WAR. However, Clemens and his negative 1.5 WAR in two seasons was something else to behold.
The general manager at the time, Ed Wade, did not do the Astros any favors with this trade. And I personally liked most of Wade’s moves in his time with Houston. This one just seems like a clear miss. Maybe that was his best offer though? Unfortunately there isn’t a way to know for sure without the man himself shedding some insight.
In defense of Wade though, it wasn’t like Bourn had a skill set that usually generates a significant return via trade. After all, he was a hitter who got by on an above average BABIP that season (.381 in 2011). Plenty of his value also lied in his speed and defense. Not to mention that he didn’t possess a long track record of success. Don’t forget that more and more teams were starting to become more analytical in their baseball operations.
So how does this relate to the NBA trade that I mentioned earlier?
Well, there isn’t much to relate it on other than that it was a bad trade. And bad trades can remind you of over bad trades, no matter the sport. Essentially both trades demonstrate how a valuable asset that surely could’ve fetched a more attractive offer in light of the deal of actually consummated. Of course, the average fan, like myself, is not privy to actual trade discussions.
Next: It's time for an Astros centered talk show on AM radio!
All we have left to go on are the results. And while Bourn should’ve generated a higher return, you can see why the Astros didn’t receive more for him. Unfortunately, this still remains one trade that should’ve netted much more in return. Oh well, there is no use in crying over spilt milk now.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs**