For the Houston Astros, the trade deadline has come and gone. The dust has finally settled, which means it is time to hand out the final report card to see if the Astros either did enough or not enough at the trade deadline to land them in the Postseason for the fifth consecutive season.
Astros New Bullpen Report Card
All season long, much of the talk amongst Astros fans has been whether or not the team will address the needs of the bullpen. At times this season, the bullpen has been tremendous and won ballgames, but it has also blown its fair share as well. As it currently sits, the Astros, with the new player additions, have a bullpen that ranks eighth in the league with a 3.90 ERA in 190 innings pitched. The bullpen with the best ERA to date would be the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 3.76 ERA.
Suppose the Astros have any intention in wanting to get back to the World Series. In that case, they would have to address the issue significantly after the team jumped out to a seven-run lead against the Seattle Mariners back on July 26th, only to lose the game with a final score of 11-8.
After the devastating loss, the Astros went out the next day, made a trade with the Mariners, and acquired RHP Kendall Graveman (4-0, 0.79 ERA) and RHP Rafael Montero (5-3, 7.05 ERA). In a move that left many Mariners fans stunned, the Astros were able to land one of the best closers on the trade market without giving up to much in return at the time. Report Card: A-.
With the signing of Graveman and Montero, the Astros were not done adding more pieces to their bullpen. The next day, the Astros went out and made a trade with the Miami Marlins for RHP Yimi Garcia (3-7, 3.62 ERA). A one-for-one trade sent OF Bryan De La Cruz from Triple-A Sugar Land to the Marlins in exchange for Garcia. The move has worked out well for De La Cruz as he was immediately called up to the show. It is still to be determined, but Garica is a pitcher that tends to get many ground ball outs, which will play into the Astros hands down the road. Report Card: B
With the trade deadline getting closer, the Astros had yet to make that big splash that all of baseball had been waiting for. With Craig Kimbrel and Max Scherzer still out there, and both had been linked to the Astros in some capacity, it was almost certain that one of those two were would be coming to Houston, but the Astros had different plans. The Astros acquired RHP Phil Maton (2-0, 4.57 ERA) and minor league catcher Yainer Diaz from the Cleveland Indians for CF Myles Straw.
In a stunning turn of events, the Astros completely missed the mark with this trade. Straw, the starting CF for the Astros, batted .262, with 34 RBIs and 17 stolen bases for the Astros this season. The Astros had already bolstered their bullpen with additions of Graveman, Montero, and Garcia, but to trade away your starting center fielder to get another bullpen arm and a catching prospect made zero sense. The scouting report on Maton is that he has a good curveball with lots of spins and a lively fastball. The only issue is that Maton has trouble with location and not knowing where the ball will go. This can be worked out over time, but you need to have your best every day when the playoffs are on the line. Report Card: D.
The Astros did need to upgrade their bullpen, and that is exactly what they did. With the starting pitching still a question mark, it would have been nice if the Astros added another starting pitcher into the mix to help eat up some innings. The Astros are still the favorites to win the American League West and possibly the pennant; it is just a matter of if this pitching staff can get it together when it counts the most. For the most part, the Astros did do enough to get them into the postseason in October. Now, they have to win! Final Report Grade: B-
Come join the discussion made by the fans at the Overtime Heroics forums! A place for all sports fans!
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images