Last week, at the eleventh hour of the MLB trade deadline, the Houston Astros pulled off one of the most surprising deals ever. They added Zack Greinke to a rotation that already includes Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. It was the biggest move that happened that day, one that changed the odds for who the favorite is for the World Series.
It also helps matters that three other members of the Astros pitching staff threw a combined no-hitter against the Mariners last weekend. This results in even more reasons why the Astros are the odds on favorites for the World Series.
They bought a lot more than they needed to.
A third starter was always a necessity for the Astros – but now they also acquired Aaron Sanchez to help round out their rotation along with Joe Biagini, who was also part of that no-hitter. But there is a lot more to it than that.
First, the only player they gave up in the deals for Sanchez and Biagini was Derek Fisher, an outfielder who was never going to get playing time on a team that is very deep in that position. Then, they traded Tony Kemp in exchange for former Astro Martin Maldonado who is still one of the better defensive catchers in baseball to serve as a backup. That allowed them to ship Max Stassi to the Dodgers for prospects.
They needed starting rotation, bullpen and backup catching help and they got all of it in the span of a couple days.
They got better for the long-term while improving their team in the short-term.
Zack Greinke isn’t just one of the games best pitchers, he also remains under team control for two more seasons. Albeit, it does come at a $34.5 million salary for this season and a $35 million payroll salary for 2020 and 2021 but Arizona is going to pay off $21.4 million for this season and $10.3 million for the next two seasons.
Acquiring another starting pitcher was always going to be necessary for the Astros. Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley are going to be free agents this offseason and at least one of them is probably going to bolt this offseason. As for this season, the rotation consists of five pitchers with a track record in the postseason which is going to help come October.
The Astros now have the best rotation in baseball
Let’s be blunt here, no one has a better rotation currently than the Houston Astros. The front three of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke alone is probably the best pitching trio we’ve seen in quite some time. Whether or not this is the rotation for seasons to come remains yet to be seen but for this season, this rotation is the best in baseball. This is not even getting into a tremendous year from Wade Miley or the potential of Aaron Sanchez reverting back to his 2016 form. It is an exciting time to be a Houston Astros fan.