Following a controversial trade deadline, where do the Astros go from here?
If I may concentrate on baseball as a whole for a moment, the trade deadline was definitely bonkers to watch. Seriously, Chris Archer was traded to the Pirates. THE PIRATES! Bryce Harper will remain in Washington D.C. for at least two-to-three months following a confusing back-and-forth from the Nationals. The Orioles continued to tear it down while the Dodgers and Yankees helped their cause. Somehow, the Brewers didn’t acquire a starting pitcher. Cole Hamels is now a Cub. I would mention something about the Mets, but I’ll be nice today.
With the Astros, well, everyone is already familiar with the controversial trade for Roberto Osuna on Monday. Simply put, any degree of domestic violence should NEVER be tolerated in society. It is an utterly despicable, inhumane act. To be clear though, we do not know many of the details that pertains to this particular case quite yet. But based on the circumstances that we do know, it’s definitely not a good look for baseball and the Astros. After all, one would reasonably assume that there was a strong reason with sufficient evidence to back up a 75-game suspension from Major League Baseball. Plenty of baseball people and fans are clearly upset with the trade, which they have the right to be. At the end of the day, I desire justice and healing for the victim, who should be the most important individual in this story. Baseball is a far, distant second when compared to incidents like this one.
Moving on to topics of significantly less importance, the Astros did relatively well in their other two trades leading up to the deadline. Acquiring Martin Maldonado from the Angels to shore up the catcher position was a solid move despite trading the left-handed Patrick Sandoval.
Maldonado won’t contribute much with the bat, which is evident in his .635 career OPS entering Wednesday. But he was perceived to be an improvement over Tim Federowicz behind the plate and with the bat. I’ll be curious to see how the Astros handle their catcher situation with Maldonado and Max Stassi once Brian McCann returns to the active roster.
Before the Astros acquired Osuna on Monday, general manager Jeff Luhnow did add another piece to the bullpen in Ryan Pressly on Friday. While Pressly does not carry the same face value as notable names like Zach Britton or Brad Hand, the age-29 right-hander is an excellent value grab for Houston. Over the course of 47 2/3 innings with the Twins, Pressly posted a 3.40 ERA and 2.95 FIP with a 33.2% strikeout rate. That’s a quality reliever. And have you seen his curveball?
The trade did cost the Astros two prospects held in good regard. At the same time, Houston is in the midst of chasing a spot in the postseason and the going rate for relievers, even in the recent market, wasn’t going to be cheap.
Going forward, the Osuna cloud will hang over the organization for quite some time. In terms of the other players, Jake Marisnick makes his return to the majors while Kyle Tucker is sent down to Fresno. It appears that the Astros may have dodged a big one with George Springer being listed as day-to-day following a shoulder injury on a dive attempt for a ball in the outfield Tuesday night. Carlos Correa is about to begin a rehab stint with Corpus Christi while Jose Altuve is getting some rest on the ten-day disabled list.
If Houston can recover from injuries, this team still has the potential to go far in the postseason. The next few months for the Astros will be something to watch on and off the field.