Rental players aren’t helping Houston Astros much in the playoffs
The Houston Astros traded for half-season rental players in Christian Vazquez, Trey Mancini and Will Smith. So far they have not contributed to the winning effort.
At the trade deadline, even if your team is in first place and running away with their division or even the league’s best record, you make moves with an eye towards the postseason.
What players will help you beat the best teams that you’ll be facing when October hits.
So far the return on investment for the Astros has been dismal.
Smith didn’t even make the Astros ALDS roster despite the Mariners having a bevy of left-handed bats and switch hitters. It obviously didn’t matter given how well the bullpen performed without him and the Astros traded someone who wouldn’t have been on their roster anyhow in Jake Odorizzi but it still would be nice to have one lefty the team could trust.
Smith could rejoin the team in the ALCS since it will be a longer series and the Astros will need more arms if that’s the case so he still has a chance to make an impact this October.
Vazquez has been used as a backup catcher to Martin Maldonado since being traded as it seems the pitchers feel more comfortable with Maldonado behind the plate. As a result it feels as though Vazquez hasn’t had a chance to get into his usual rhythm offensively and was especially rough in game three of the ALDS going hitless in five at-bats with three strikeouts.
So long as he’s a backup catcher it’s not the end of the world but it certainly would be nice if he did what the Astros expected him to do when they traded for him which is provide a late game offensive upgrade over Maldonado without losing too much defense.
Most disappointing has to be Mancini who was supposed to lengthen the Astros lineup. Unfortunately his play has been so bad the Astros gave him only two starts at designated hitter in the ALDS and struggled so much the team chose to pinch hit Aledmys Diaz in his stead for the ninth inning of game three rather than giving Mancini another at-bat in the scoreless battle.
That’s not exactly the confidence you want in someone you brought in specifically for an offensive upgrade.
The Astros were able to make it through the American League Division Series without contributions from those three.
If they win the World Series without their three trade acquisitions producing it will be an impressive feat that the team was good enough to win the World Series at the end of July. A very rare thing especially considering the huge additions other teams made such as Luis Castillo for Seattle and Juan Soto alongside Josh Bell for San Diego.