Subtraction by addition, the Houston Astros trade deadline moves
Trade-deadline winners and losers. There’s never any shortage of columns and television segments about who won and who lost at the deadline. The truth is, we can’t really assess the winner or loser of a trade for at least three or four years after the deal as we wait to see how the young players exchanged pan out.
What we can do in the short term is evaluate how contenders who added immediate impact players fared with their acquisitions. And for some of the those contenders, it hasn’t been pretty. While they certainly aren’t the only team that’s seen new players struggle, the Astros seem to be more negatively impacted than any other contender.
I loved what Houston did near the deadline this year. The Astros knew it was time to add, and the moves they made on paper looked shrewd. Unfortunately, things haven’t panned out with those acquisitions. Here are the numbers through Sept. 15:
Scott Kazmir was the first new arrival for the Astros on July 23. The Astros were 54-43 at the time, one game behind the Angels in the West. Since the addition of Kazmir, the Astros have gone 23-25 and currently sit a hair behind the first-place Rangers.
At the time, the Mets backing out of the Carlos Gomez trade seemed to be their loss and the Astros’ gain. Gomez struggled early in Houston but started swinging the bat better before suffering an intercostal strain. Gomez has missed three games and should be back soon, but he’s absent at a critical time for the Astros.
It’s certainly not too late in Houston, and a division title remains a possiblity. But so is missing the playoffs entirely as the surprising Minnesota Twins sit just behind the Astros for the second wild card. With just 17 games to go, stronger contributions from the newly-acquired players would help a lot.