He came from Arizona, but for people who buy Houston Astros tickets, he might as well have come from heaven above.
The bang-up trade that brings Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks could wind up being one of the great trades in Major League Baseball history, much less the history of the Astros.
For now, it puts the Astros ahead of the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and everyone else when you consider prospects for winning the 2019 World Series.
And why not? Greinke, a former Cy Young winner who is 10-4 with a 2.90 ERA in 23 starts this season, joins a rotation that includes Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. That’s a trio that will be a force come post season.
How Astros Got Greinke
Did Greinke come at a cost? Of course. The Astros sent some of their top prospects to the D-backs, including right-handed pitchers Corbin Martin and J.B. Bukauskas, first baseman Seth Beer and infielder Josh Rojas.
Plus, the Astros inherit $53 million of Greinke’s remaining contract. It is clear that the Astros ownership and general manager Jeff Luhnow were willing to go all in to bring a World Series trophy back to Houston.
The trade was a stunner. Greinke was sort of an afterthought when experts were assessing the trade-deadline possibilities for the Astros as late as a week ago. The Diamondbacks were – and still are – playing around .500 and in the wild card hunt. And Greinke was a little too pricey.
But other teams, including Arizona’s NL West Division rivals in San Francisco, went on runs in recent weeks to dim the D-backs postseason hopes. And the Astros proposals frankly became more and more tempting. It helps build Arizona’s future with solid prospects and salary space to work with.
Still, the agreement was not settled until literally minutes before the trade deadline. And kudos to Luhnow and company for making it happen.
Other Astros Trades
As it turns out, Luhnow was a busy man leading up to the deadline. The Astros also got pitchers Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini and minor league outfielder Cal Stevenson from Toronto, for outfielder Derek Fisher.
They worked with the Chicago Cubs to get catcher Martin Maldonado in exchange for Tony Kemp. And they sent catcher Max Stassi to the Los Angeles Angels for minor league outfielders Rainier Rivas and Raider Uceta.
Whew! That’s a lot of wheelin’ and dealin’.
But 2019 will go down as the year of the Greinke trade, particularly if the Astros return to the World Series.