Astros History

Astros: Looking at the best, worst trades of past decade

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 08: Carlos Gomez #30 of the Houston Astros reacts to striking out against the Minnesota Twins during the fifth inning of the game on August 8, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Astros 3-1. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 08: Carlos Gomez #30 of the Houston Astros reacts to striking out against the Minnesota Twins during the fifth inning of the game on August 8, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Astros 3-1. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 27: Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros celebrates as he hits a two-run home run against the Washington Nationals during the second inning in Game Five of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on October 27, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 27: Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros celebrates as he hits a two-run home run against the Washington Nationals during the second inning in Game Five of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on October 27, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Best Trade: Astros trade Josh Fields to the Dodgers for Yordan Alvarez (Aug. 1, 2016)

Luhnow has made some good moves, but this one could end up as the best trade in the history of the franchise — even better than the Jeff Bagwell trade. When the Astros shipped reliever Larry Andersen to the Red Sox in 1990, he was in the midst of his second straight sub-2.00 ERA season. Bagwell, meanwhile, had been a fourth-round draft pick but came up as a third baseman and was blocked by Wade Boggs in Boston.

Fields would not be confused with Andersen, as he posted a career 4.53 ERA with the Astros and had an ERA of 6.89 for the season at the time of the trade. Alvarez was largely an unknown, signed as an international free agent just a month and a half before being traded to Houston.

But of course Alvarez rose to top prospect status and parlayed that into being the unanimous pick for Rookie of the Year. If he’s able to rack up a shelf full of trophies and launch bombs all over Minute Maid Park for the next several years, he could make this the best trade in club history.

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Interestingly, the trade also helped the Astros in their 2017 World Series championship. Fields appeared in one game for the Dodgers and got torched, facing three batters in the 10th inning of Game 2 and allowing a pair of solo homers and a double.

Honorable Mentions

The Astros acquiring Justin Verlander on Aug. 31, 2017 is one of the most important trades in club history. We all know how well he’s done, helping the team to a championship and winning a Cy Young Award. The prospects they gave up haven’t particularly shined. Daz Cameron hit just .214 at Triple-A this season while Franklin Perez only pitched in two games due to injury. Catcher Jake Rogers made his big league debut this year but hit just .125.

In July 2018, the Astros sent a pair of minor leaguers to the Twins for Ryan Pressly. Pressly has been dominant since the trade, posting a 1.85 ERA in 81 regular season appearances. Pitcher Jorge Alcala struggled in the minors this year but made a brief major league debut. Outfielder Gilberto Celestino spent the year in A-ball.

Then there’s Luhnow’s first trade as the team’s GM, when he acquired Marwin Gonzalez from the Red Sox in exchange for Marco Duarte. Gonzalez went on to become an integral part of the team’s success for several seasons, including getting some MVP consideration in 2017. Duarte is now 33 and has yet to reach the majors, posting a career 5.15 ERA across parts of nine seasons at Triple-A.

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the Gerrit Cole trade, which we recently reexamined in detail. Even though Cole is now a Yankee, that’s a trade the Astros would certainly make again.

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