This seems like a good time to look back to August of 2017 and revisit the timely trade by the Astros for Justin Verlander.
The fans of the Houston Astros seem to be getting a little impatient this offseason, as they see some of the highly coveted starting pitchers going to other teams. All one needs to do is hop aboard the DeLorean Time Machine and take a ride “Back to the Future” to Aug. 31, 2017. A blockbuster trade is made, and Justin Verlander is now an Astro. All big moves to improve a team’s roster is not always accomplished during the offseason.
It’s late August and the postseason is nearing. Houston is comfortably in first place in the AL West division. But the injury bug has stricken the starting rotation of Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, Lance McCullers, and Collin McHugh. They are missing significant time on the mound and the durability of the starters for the postseason begins to come into question.
Enter the scene, five-time All-Star, Cy Young Award winner, and one-time MVP, Justin Verlander. All he did from there was win all five games he started that September, posted a 1.06 ERA, struck out 43 batters in 34 IP, and had a minuscule WHIP of 0.647.
He follows that act by securing two wins against the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS and going 2-0 in the ALCS against the Yankees, winning the Championship Series MVP. Verlander didn’t fare so well in the World Series. He got a no-decision in game two and lost game six, even though he only gave up two runs and struck out nine in six innings of that game. But that is a mind-boggling, combined record of 9-1 in regular and postseason work for the Astros in 2017.
One other thing to remember in that transaction. Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley were the Astros’ #1 and #2 prospects at the time. Houston gave up three minor league players for Verlander that year, and both of those prospects are still here. You don’t necessarily have to jeopardize your top future talent to acquire an elite player.
Verlander was a huge shot in the arm that season and played a big role in earning Houston’s first ever World Series title. It goes to show it’s never too late to bring in a player from outside and make a big difference. It’s way too early for fans to worry. There is still time left in the offseason and if that’s not accomplished, a summertime addition is always an option.