Astros History

Astros: Revisiting 1994 Ken Caminiti trade with Padres

Houston Astros player Derek Bell (L) congratulates teammate Ken Caminiti after Caminiti hit a home run in the second inning of their second Division Series playoff game with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia 06 October 1999. AFP PHOTO/STEVE SCHAEFER (Photo by STEVE SCHAEFER / AFP) (Photo credit should read STEVE SCHAEFER/AFP via Getty Images)
Houston Astros player Derek Bell (L) congratulates teammate Ken Caminiti after Caminiti hit a home run in the second inning of their second Division Series playoff game with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia 06 October 1999. AFP PHOTO/STEVE SCHAEFER (Photo by STEVE SCHAEFER / AFP) (Photo credit should read STEVE SCHAEFER/AFP via Getty Images) /
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30 May 1998: Derek Bell #14 of the Houston Astros stretches during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Astros 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /Allsport
30 May 1998: Derek Bell #14 of the Houston Astros stretches during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Astros 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /Allsport /

What the Astros Got

Bell had just turned 26 and hit .311 for the Padres in 1994. He would be a solid everyday outfielder for the Astros for the next five seasons, getting MVP consideration in 1995 when he hit .334 with 27 steals. He drove in 113 runs in 1996 and had arguably his best season in 1998 with a .314 average, 41 doubles, 22 homers and 108 RBIs.

In his Houston tenure, he totaled a .284/.341/.430 line with 153 doubles, 74 homers and 102 stolen bases. His last season showed a sharp decline at age 30, so the team traded him to the Mets along with Mike Hampton.

Brocail gave the Astros a pair of slightly below-average seasons in 1995 and 1996 before being included in a nine-player trade with the Tigers. He returned to Houston for the final two years of his career and eventually served as the team’s pitching coach.

Gutierrez was the team’s replacement for Cedeno. He was 24 at the time and coming off a .240/.321/.305 season for the Padres. In five seasons, the light-hitting infielder compiled a .266/.337/.340 line with just seven home runs. He hit 21 homers over the following two seasons after leaving the Astrodome.

This Pedro Martinez was obviously not the same as the Hall-of-Famer and Red Sox legend. This one was a 26-year-old left-hander who’d compiled a 2.73 ERA in the Padres bullpen over the previous two seasons. He struggled with walks, though, and that caught up to him quickly as he posted a 7.40 ERA before the Astros traded him back to the Padres the following year.

Plantier spent only a short time in Houston as the Astros traded him back to the Padres in July 1995. He hit .250/.349/.456 in 22 games. The club’s return for him was Rich Loiselle, who never pitched for the team, and Jeff Tabaka, who pitched to a 2.22 ERA in 24 appearances with the Astros in 1995 before posting a 6.64 ERA in 1996 and being let go.

Interestingly, Loiselle was traded to the Pirates in July 1996 in exchange for 40-year-old pitcher Danny Darwin, who struggled to a 5.95 ERA after the trade. Darwin pitched for the Astros previously from 1986-1990 and even led the league in ERA in 1990. But the version of Darwin they got in 1996 wasn’t the same.

Shipley was about to turn 32 and had hit .333 in 81 games in 1994 for the Padres. He played only one season in Houston before hitting free agency, putting up a .263/.291/.345 line with only 12 extra-base hits in 92 games.

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