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) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 4
Next
Houston Astros third baseman Ken Caminiti (R) is greeted by Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell after Caminiti hit a 2-run home run off Florida Marlins pitcher Ryan Dempster during 3rd inning action of their game 20 August1999 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO/Rhona WISE (Photo by RHONA WISE / AFP) (Photo by RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images)
Houston Astros third baseman Ken Caminiti (R) is greeted by Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell after Caminiti hit a 2-run home run off Florida Marlins pitcher Ryan Dempster during 3rd inning action of their game 20 August1999 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO/Rhona WISE (Photo by RHONA WISE / AFP) (Photo by RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images) /

The Overall Verdict

This one seems fairly one-sided with the benefit of hindsight. The Astros did get four solid seasons from Bell (plus one not-so-solid season) so it wasn’t a total loss. But what they got from everyone else they received was replacement level or below.

More from Climbing Tal's Hill

The Padres got four prime seasons from each of Caminiti and Finley, who were both better in San Diego than they had been in Houston. The rest of the players the Astros gave up didn’t do much, so really this swap boils down to Bell in exchange for Caminiti and Finley. Not exactly an even trade.

What it also did was help break up the nucleus of talent the Astros had accumulated. Caminiti was one of the franchise faces next to Craig Biggio, Bagwell and Darryl Kile. He made his first All-Star team as a member of the Astros and was close to his teammates, especially Biggio.

But then again, who knows how things would have turned out if the trade hadn’t been made. There’s no guarantee Caminiti would have won the MVP in ’96 or that the Astros would have been any better off.

But Caminiti probably would’ve had his name in the Astros Hall of Fame if he’d had his best years here. Finley might have even managed that, too, if he’d stayed long enough. The what-ifs are endless.

What we do know is the Padres made out much better in this deal than the Astros did.

facebooktwitterreddit