With the way the Astros have handled themselves over the past few seasons, not too many people predicted today’s breaking news.
The Astros were rumored to be looking for another reliever, but not too many people saw Roberto Osuna coming to Houston. On May 8th, Osuna was arrested for domestic violence and served a 75-game suspension that will end August 4th. Osuna was not paid during his absence and had started his comeback by pitching in the Blue Jays farm system.
I was talking to someone earlier today when everyone was discussing how the Blue Jays have tried to trade Osuna for weeks now, according to Bob Nightengale. We discussed if this would make sense for the team, but would it become a PR nightmare? We both kind of wrote it off because we didn’t think they would make that move. Not to mention any future punishment (criminal charges) that could be in his future.
That’s not a total Stros move, right?
The Astros did some investigation into this possibility, as shown by the Jeff Luhnow’s statement after the trade. According to the statement, the team made it clear that behavior won’t continue here and there are some good role models on the team to help him. Still, one has to wonder how he will be welcomed in his first appearance at home or on the road?
The Astros were interested in Osuna last year, so it’s not a surprise that they wanted him as a pitcher. Before being suspended this year, Osuna had nine saves in 15 games with a 2.93 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings. In his four MLB seasons, Osuna averages 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings. He has 104 career saves and is under team control through the 2020 season. Despite the off the field issues, the Blue Jays weren’t going to trade him for nothing.
What did the Astros give up and was it too much?
On the past three Talking Stros, my cohost Brandon kept on suggesting that Ken Giles had some trade value. He was still a power and controllable arm that had burned all his bridges with the Astros. We are talking about a pitcher who punched himself in the face and cussed out the manager after being removed from the game. He had all the talent in the world, but he needed a change of scenery.
Giles was the headliner of the trade going back to the Blue Jays, according to Ken Rosenthal. He can immediately jump back into action once they work with him. Some may think that an even swap would have been fair, but two more players were added to the deal.
According to Rosenthal, the once former top prospect has dealt with injuries and suspensions himself. After testing positive for PED’s, Paulino missed 80-games and dropped to #23 on the Astros top prospect list by MLB Pipeline. He has yet to pitch this year in the minors and has a 2-1 record in nine MLB games with a 6.25 ERA while striking out 36 hitters in 36 innings via Baseball-Reference.
While Paulino was a valuable depth piece, the suspension cost him a shot to stick with the Astros. Jim Callis was at one time really high on Paulino, almost ranking him ahead of Francis Martes. Both players have had a rough time getting their big league careers started. Paulino is not a big loss and would make the trade more equal if that was it.
Also part of the deal was Perez, who was the Astros tenth best prospect according to MLB Pipeline. The 22-year-old pitcher had a plus arm, striking out 101 batters in 89 1/3 innings this year in the minors. He struggled with command at times but could have been a valuable arm in 2019 and beyond.
Giles had no future in Houston and Paulino was not in the immediate plans, but adding Perez makes this deal a head-scratcher. According to Jon Morosi, the Blue Jays decided early in the process that they didn’t want Osuna to pitch for them again. This was the best trade that they could get. According to Ken Rosenthal, Osuna will be able to pitch in the playoffs despite the suspension.
Many people are scratching their heads with this move. What type of message are the Astros sending to their fans? We are willing to look past you past indiscretions if you can pitch well. As far as him disrupting the clubhouse, not sure how this will pan out. Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers both had choice words for former prospect Danry Vasquez after his domestic abuse incident. Carlos Correa and Osuna once had words after Osuna stared him down to end the game via Matt Young.
This may be a good baseball move, but fans are not happy. With all the baggage that comes along with Osuna, the Astros must feel that his performance will outweigh the bad stuff. Not sure how I feel about it, domestic violence is never the right thing to do. I am more interested in how the rest of the Houston fan base will react. It may not take long, Jose Altuve, Correa, and Osuna could be in uniform this Sunday.