The Houston Astros now have the most dangerous starting rotation in Major League Baseball. On Wednesday, they acquired Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks and Aaron Sanchez from the Toronto Blue Jays. They weren’t done. The Astros also acquired relief pitcher Joe Biagini from the Blue Jays and catcher Martin Maldonado from the Chicago Cubs.
In acquiring Sanchez, Greinke, Biagini and Maldonado, Houston did not have to give up much among players on their roster–only second baseman Tony Kemp and outfielder Derek Fisher, who were backup players anyways. The Astros become World Series contenders to World Series favourites.
Oh, and the Astros also received a prospect in the deal with the Blue Jays in acquiring outfield prospect Cal Stevenson. This is where Blue Jays fans have every right to be irate. Aren’t the Blue Jays expected to get younger and keep their prospects when making blockbuster deals with veterans?
There is no certainty yet that Sanchez will join the starting rotation. It has been a really tough season for the righthander, who leads the majors with 14 losses and has a miserable earned run average of 6.07. Houston will hope that Sanchez has his finger nail issues worked out. Early on in his career, Sanchez had a sizzling earned run average of 1.09 in 2014 and an American League best 3.00 earned run average in 2016 when he had an amazing record of 15 wins and two losses and represented Toronto in the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
In acquiring Greinke, the Astros gave up hitting prospects Seth Beer (outfielder and first baseman) and Josh Rojas (outfielder and infielder) and pitching prospects Corbin Martin and J.B. Bukauskas. A six-time all-star, Greinke is having a great season in Arizona. He has a record of 10-4 with an earned run average of 2.87, WHIP of 0.94 (which leads the National League), and 128 strikeouts compared two only 18 walks in 141 innings.
What makes the acquisition of Greinke remarkable is that Houston already has three outstanding starting pitchers in Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley. They clearly go into the postseason with the best starting pitching. Also at 562 runs scored, they have the fourth most runs in the American League.
Verlander meanwhile is currently pitching like he is the best pitcher in baseball. Last night in Cleveland, he was simply spectacular as he only gave up two hits in seven innings and had 13 strikeouts compared to zero walks in a 2-0 Houston win over the Indians.