The Astros have a history of pulling off some whopping deadline day deals, doing so on this day in both 1998 and 2019.
Freddy Garcia, Calrlos Guillen, Player To Be Named Later (Johhn Halama)
The Astros were on their way to a franchise record for wins in 1998 and looked like a real threat to win it all. This stunning deadline day deal only boosted the way people viewed their chances, adding the future Hall of Famer, Randy Johnson.
In his 11 starts down the stretch in the 1998 season after the trade, Johnson went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA, striking out a whopping 116 batters in his 84.1 innings on the mound with the Astros in the regular season. Of his 11 starts, 4 of them were complete game shut-outs. He threw less than seven innings in just one of his eleven starts, and he gave up two or less runs in every start but one. Seven of his eleven starts were double digit strikeout performances, his high would be 16 on the 28th of August, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Overall for that 1998 season, between the Mariners and Astros, the 34 year old lefty made 34 starts, 10 of them complete games, logging 244.1 innings of work, going 19-11 with a 3.28 ERA, striking out a Major League leading 324 batters.
The Astros would clinch their second straight NL Central title in 1998, posting a record of 102-60. They entered the NLDS as the favorites in their series against the San Diego Padres, but would fall in four games to the eventual NL Champions. Johnson would start games one and four of that series, taking the loss in each game. In game one he tossed eight innings of two run ball, while in game four he tossed six innings of two run ball, just one of those two runs allowed being credited to Johnson as an earned run. His run in Houston was over after that final loss to the Padres, signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a free agent later that winter.
Seth Beer, J.B. Bukauskas, Corbin Martin, Josh Rojas
As the baseball world watched in real-time, it appeared that the 2019 deadline was a dud overall, but a massive shock came out after the deadline had passed as the news trickled out that the Astros had agreed to a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks for their ace, Zack Greinke.
Pitching earlier that day in New York against the Yankees, most assumed that with him taking the mound that day, that meant he was not being dealt. That turned out to be wrong. The former Cy Young winner and six time All-Star landed in Houston as the third best starter on a staff that already had Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, making the Astros the clear favorite, to most, to win it all in 2019, something many already thought they would do before the deal.
The 35 year old Greinke was viewed by many, as a player that could not be moved, given that he was in year four of a six year, 206.5 million dollar deal, that included a limited no-trade clause. The Astros were one of the teams that the Diamondbacks did not have to get permission from Greinke in order to move him, once both sides agreed to the money being sent, the deal was able to get done. Arizona sent 5.33 million for Greinke as part of his remaining salary of the 2019 season, they were scheduled to pay 10.33 million of his 35 million due this season and another 10.33 million of his 35 million due to him 2021.
Selected to his sixth All-Star team in 2019 while with Arizona, Greinke made 23 starts for the D-Backs ahead of the trade in 2019, tossing 146 innings, posting a record of 10-4 and an ERA of 2.90. In his 10 starts with the Astros following the trade, Greinke went 8-1 on the mound with Houston, posting a 3.02 ERA in his 62.2 innings of work. Overall in 2019 he made 33 starts, working 208.2 innings on the mound, posting a record of 18-5 with a 2.93 ERA.
Greinke's overall numbers in the 2019 postseason did not look great for Houston, but he pitched better overall at times than the numbers show. He made five starts in the Astros run to the World Series, going 0-2, posting a 4.68 ERA in his 25 innings on the mound. He took the two losses in each of his first two postseason starts, one against the Rays in game three of the ALDS and the other in game one of ALCS against the Yankees. In the start against the Rays, he allowed six runs in just three and two-thirds innings of work. His loss against the Yankees in game one was a six inning outing where he allowed just three runs over six innings of work. The Astros would win his next two starts he made in that postseason. Starting game four of the ALCS in New York, Greinke worked through a lot of traffic, allowing just one run in his four and one-third innings thrown. He would start game three of the World Series in Washington D.C. against the Nationals, with the Astros trailing 2-0 in the series. Greinke would scatter hits and limit damage once again, but would only work four and two-thirds innings in the game, allowing just one run. He would get the ball in game seven of the series at Minute Maid Park and it looked like he was on his way to the game of his life in the final game of the season. Tossing six shut-out innings, he would wobble in the seventh, getting just one out in the inning, exiting the game, eventually being credited with giving up two runs. The Astros would fall in game seven, scoring just two runs in the game.