Astros: Revisiting 1996 Brad Ausmus trade with Tigers

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PHILADELPHIA – SEPTEMBER 28: Relief pitcher Doug Brocail #26 of the Houston Astros throws a pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies on September 28, 2009 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

What the Astros Gave Up

Brocail came to Houston along with Derek Bell and others in the big Dec. 1994 trade that saw a group including Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley head to San Diego. He’d spent two unspectacular seasons in the Astros bullpen prior to the trade but turned in three excellent seasons for the Tigers immediately thereafter.

Brocail would have a three-season absence from the majors thanks to injuries, but he returned to the Astros for the final two seasons of his playing career. He also served as the club’s pitching coach for a time and currently serves as the Orioles pitching coach.

The 25-year-old Hunter was coming off his first season as a full-time regular. He hit .276/.297/.363 with 35 stolen bases as the Astros everyday center fielder. He led the majors with 74 steals in 1997 for the Tigers, but hit only .261/.317/.342 for Detroit in two-plus seasons. He bounced around between several teams before ending his career as a reserve with the Astros in 2002 and 2003.

Jones had established himself as a solid, if unspectacular, reliever. Aged 28 at the time of the trade, he’d posted 39 saves and a 3.27 ERA in four seasons for the Astros. He went on to save 235 games in eight seasons with the Tigers in two separate stints. All told, he finished with 319 saves and a career 3.97 ERA.

Orlando Miller was the Astros’ everyday shortstop in 1996, hitting .256/.291/.417 with 15 homers in his age-25 season. He hit only .234/.289/.369 for the Tigers in 1997 and never played in the majors again, spending the next three seasons in the minors before leaving the game.

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