2019 Fantasy Baseball: Houston Astros make three deals on Deadline Day
Occasionally I have to indulge myself. Unlike most of the brass here at The Fantasy Fix, I am a native of Houston. So, this article focuses on their moves the Astros made at the deadline. It’s hard to say whether these moves make them the favorite for the World Series, but they were definitely bold and they caused a ripple effect through their roster and their future.
Astros Reacquire Martin Maldonado
This is definitely indulgence. Maldonado hasn’t had any fantasy value at any point in his career. Even when he was the regular catcher in Kansas City earlier this year he was a shaky option even in AL only or two catcher leagues. Maldonado has always been known for his defense. 2018 was an up and down time for him in Houston. Fans bristled at all of the wild pitches and passed balls, but the pitchers supposedly loved pitching to him. Now the Astros have two veteran catchers to handle a revamped pitching staff.
The fallout here sees Max Stassi go in a deal to the Angels. That is three members of the bench that have been traded or designated for assignment in the last two weeks. Fan favorite Tony Kemp went to the Cubs in the Maldonado deal. It’s hard to believe, but Maldonado is an offensive upgrade over Stassi and he has the veteran chops to catch twice a week in lieu of the once a week Stassi was catching. That might preserve Robinson Chirinos through April.
Astros Acquire Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini
The Astros dealt Derek Fisher to the Blue Jays to get this pair of arms. Fisher famously scored the winning run in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series. Still, he couldn’t find a spot in the crowded outfield in Houston. Biagini makes perfect sense as the Astros need bullpen help with Ryan Pressly on the shelf. He is 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 49 innings. He has 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings and 3.1 BB per nine innings. He won’t be a brilliant reliever, but he could improve in Houston and could be another decent sixth or seventh inning option.
Aaron Sanchez seemed destined to lose 20 games this year. It has been an umitigated disaster for him as he has worked to a putrid 3-14 record and 6.07 ERA. It remains to be seen what role he will play in Houston. He won the ERA crown in 2016, so maybe they saw something they liked. The Astros are all about spin rates, so it is possible they are taking someone with potential and seeing if they can mold him into a decent fifth starter.
Astros Acquire Zack Greinke
The Astros sent a haul of prospects to the Dbacks in exchange for Greinke. Supposedly, the Astros will be on the hook for about two-thirds of his remaining 75 million in salary. His contract also comes with a ton of deferred money. Since I’m not an expert in contracts or in accounting I will not speculate as to how that affects the team down to the penny. However, it is likely that they will not be able to afford Gerrit Cole after the season. That makes the package of J.B. Bukauskas, Corbin Martin, Seth Beer, and Josh Rojas.
Coming into today, Greinke was 10-4 with a 2.87 ERA. He fits in well right behind Verlander and Cole in their rotation and gives them the best playoff rotation in baseball. Wade Miley becomes the best fourth starter in baseball as well. Clearly, when you add it all up you see that the Astros are definitely going for the whole thing. It remains to be seen if all of the moves will work out.