Throughout the Houston Astros' storied franchise history, there have been a handful of players that were used as trade bait and went on to become stars for their new clubs.
Unfortunately, this is part of the game general managers must play. A trade is always going to be a massive leap of faith, sometimes they work out and sometimes they don't.
Even a team like the Astros is not immune to such a thing. Over the years, there have been quite a few players the club let go of too soon and paid the price for it by watching them succeed elsewhere.
Let's check out 3 players the Astros gave up on too soon.
No. 3: OF Kenny Lofton
This one is especially tough, as Lofton went on to have a Hall of Fame-caliber career. His successes were instantaneous after being traded to Cleveland, becoming a speed demon on the bases and in the outfield for the remainder of what turned out to be 17-year career for him.
In 1991, the Astros traded Lofton to Cleveland since Steve Finley was already occupying the club's center field position on a daily basis. In exchange, the Astros landed catcher Eddie Taubenesee and pitcher Willie Blair. At the time of the deal, Lofton told the media that he didn't know why the Astros gave up on him, "but I'm glad they did. One man's trash is another man's treasure."
In 1992. he stole 66 bases and posted an OPS+ of 107, finishing second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. In six of the next seven seasons, he made the All-Star team and remained a threat to hit double-digit home run totals, steal at least 50 bases and consistently post OPS+ totals above 100. He went on to be a star while neither Taubenesee or Blair amounted to anything in Houston.