Astros History: August Trades

August is here and that means trading has become a bit more difficult and a little more complicated. To trade players teams will have to put their players through waivers. Below I've attempted to clarify that process.

Waiver process:

  • Any player a team wishes to trade that is on the 40-man roster must be passed through waivers.
  • If a player makes it through the process with out being claimed, he is now eligible to be traded to any team. (MLB Trade Rumors has a list of players who have cleared waivers)
  • Only players who have passed through waivers or those players not on the 40-man roster can be used in a trade.
  • If a deal can not be made the team that put the player on waivers has two options. Pull the player back or let the claiming take ownership of the player and his remaining contract. (The Chicago White Sox claiming Alex Rios from the Toronto Blue Jays and the 60 million remaining on his contract last year is an example of this)
  • If a team puts a player on waivers for a second time, they do not have the option to pull that player back.

Claiming

  • Once a team makes a claim on a player they have two days to strike a deal with that players team
  • Claiming order is dependent upon the teams record and league.
  • The team with the worse record gets priority.
  • Teams in the same league get priority over those who are in the other league.

Strategy

  • Teams will put a majority if not all of their players on waivers to gauge interest.
  • Teams will claim players to block them from going to another team. This usually happens between competing teams.
  • Claiming players to keep them away from another team has its risks. If a team claims a player attempting to block him from going to another team, they may end up with that player. (Example: If a team claims Carlos Lee attempting to keep him away from a team needing a DH, the Astros could allow that team to just take Carlos and his entire contract)
  • For a player to be eligible for the playoffs he has to be on the teams roster by August 31st at midnight eastern time.

Jeff Bagwell is a player who was acquired in notoriously lopsided August trade. Last year even Ivan Rodriguez was traded to the Rangers in August for two low level minor league players. Trades still do happen they just become a bit more difficult to get done and are less flashy. 

It appears most August trades happen towards the end August, at least in the Astros case this is true. Eighteen of the Astros August trades happened after the 15th of August. Nine trades happened on or before the 15th of August. In baseball we get the pleasure of two deadlines, and things should be heating up very soon here.

Below I have compiled all August trades in Astros history with the help of Astros Daily. I’m not going to lie, it’s long (2800+ words) and some of the trades are not all that exciting. My feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t make it all the way through.

For statistics I used OPS+ for position players and ERA+ for pitchers. OPS+ is OPS that is adjusted for the players park. ERA+ is ERA adjusted for a players park.

EDIT: Clack in the comment section below was so kind to clarify ERA+. The same applies for OPS+.

ERA+ is an index for ERA adjusted for ballpark and other effects (like above or below average scoring seasons). 100=league average ERA. Above 100 is above-average and below 100 is below average.

Aug 11 1962 - paid cash to Baltimore Orioles for Johnny Temple (IF)

General Manger: Paul Richards

The first August trade made by the Astros in franchise history. They bought a 34 year old second basemen who In a 100 games in 1963 posted an OPS+ of 98. He was released October 1st in 1963. He then signed with Cincinnati whom he had played with for 8 seasons to begin his career. He played 6 games for Cincinnati and was released on June 20th 1964 and never played baseball again. He returned to Houston to become the sports anchor for KHOU-TV.

Aug 18 1964 - sent George Brunet (P) to Los Angeles Angels for cash

General Manger: Paul Richards

A 29 year old pitcher who appears to of switched between relieving and starting through out his major league career. In 324 games he started 213 of those. Brunet had interesting case where he was acquired by Houston from Milwaukee for Ben Johnson in May of 1962. In July 1963 was purchase by Baltimore, then in May 1964 Houston purchased him back. Then later in 1964 he was sent to the Los Angeles Angeles in Aug. For the Angels he posted an ERA+ of 102.

Aug 8 1969 - paid cash to St Louis Cardinals for Ron Willis (P). Willis was returned to St Louis Cardinals on Oct 15.

General Manager: Spec Richardson

A 25-year old reliever at the time. Only pitched 2.1 innings for Houston, allowing 3 hits, no runs while striking out 2. That same year he was sent back to St. Louis. He didn’t pitch in the major leagues past 1970.

Aug 24 1969 - traded Dooley Womack (P) and Roric Harrison to Seattle Pilots for Jim Bouton (P)

General Manager: Spec Richardson

Yes, that Jim Bouton, the man who wrote the controversial book Ball Four. He posted a ERA+ of 87 for the Astros in 30.2 innings, striking out 32. The next year at age of 31 he posted and ERA+ of 72 in 73.1 innings. He retired midway through the season after being sent to the minors. He was out of baseball, until 1978 when he made a short comeback. At the age of 39 he pitched for Atlanta posting a 83 ERA+ in 5 starts as a September call up. Womack would go on to post an ERA+ of 149 with Seattle in 14.1 innings. He was then traded back to the Astros in October. That same offseason he was traded to Cincinnati, who then traded him to Oakland in August of 1970. He spent a majority of 1970 in Cincinnati’s minor league system but once in Oakland he pitched 3 innings and that was the end of his time in the majors. Harrison was a 22 year old minor leaguer at the time of the trade who went on to post a career ERA+ of 88 for four different teams.

Aug 30 1969 - traded Danny Walton (OF) and Sandy Valdespino (OF) to Seattle Pilots for Tommy Davis(OF)

General Manager: Spec Richardson

Six days after acquiring Bouton, Houston acquired 30 year old outfielder Tommy Davis who posted a 80 OPS+ in 24 games. He was sent to Oakland in June of 1970 after playing 57 games and posting an OPS+ of 91 for Houston.

Walton a 21 year old left fielder would go on to post an 82 OPS+ for Seattle in 23 games. In 1970 he played for Milwaukee and posted an OPS+ of 117 in 117 games. Valdespino while having a cool name to spell was 30 at the time of trade posted an OPS+ of 39 for Seattle in 20 games and spent the rest of his time mainly in the minors until the age of 33.

Aug 18 1973 - traded Tommie Agee (OF) to St Louis Cardinals for Dave Campbell (IF) and cash

General Manger: Spec Richardson

Campbell a 31 year old infielder at the time of the trade, posted an OPS+ of 84 in 9 games for Houston. In 1973 he had an OPS+ of -27 in 25 plate appearances, and was never seen in the majors again. He popped up in the Padres system in 1977, but only appeared in four games with one at bat.

A 30 year old outfielder at the time of the trade, Agee in 83 games for Houston had posted an OPS+ of 91. He went on to post a OPS+ of 75 for the Cardinals. He was traded by the Cardinals to the Dodgers in the off season and was released by the Dodgers before the 1974 season began.

Aug 15 1974 - traded Claude Osteen (P) to St Louis Cardinals for Dan Larson (P) and Ron Selak. Houston Astros received Larson on Oct 14.

General Manger: Spec Richardson

Dan Larson was a first round selection by the Cardinals in 1972. He showed up in the Astros rotation in 1976 and pitched two years with an ERA+ of 76. Ron Selak 19 at the time of the trade, was in the Astros minor league system until 1977. He ended up back in the Cardinals minor league system in 1978, which ended up being his final season.

Osteen, 34 at the time of the trade, finished the season with an 85 ERA+. He was released at the beginning of the 1975 season and was quickly picked up by the Chicago White Sox. He made 37 starts for the White Sox posting an ERA+ of 90 in what would be his final season.

Aug 31 1981 - traded Johnny Ray (IF), Randy Niemann and Kevin Houston (P) to Pittsburgh Pirates for Phil Garner(IF)

General Manager: Al Rosen

Good ol' Scrap Iron. In seven seasons with Houston would post an OPS+ of 103. Much later he would manage the Astros to their first playoff series win and first World Series appearance.

Ray, a 24-year old prospect at the time of the trade, posted an OPS+ of 78 in 31 games. Over 7 seasons with the Pirates he would post an OPS+ of 99. In 1983 and 1984 he led the National League in doubles with 38. Niemann was 25 year old pitcher at the time of the trade, posting an ERA+ of 61 for the Pirates in two years.

Aug 30 1982 - traded Don Sutton (P) to Milwaukee Brewers for Kevin Bass (OF), Frank DiPino (P), Mike Madden (P), and cash. Houston Astros received Bass, DiPino and Madden on Sep 3

General Manager: Al Rosen

Bass 23 at the time of the trade, posted an OPS+ of 111 in his ten years with Houston. DiPino 24 posted an ERA+ of 94 as relief pitcher in 5 years with Houston. His best year was in 1983 when he posted an ERA+ of 128. Madden 22 at the time of the trade pitched only 4 seasons with Houston, and that was the extent of his career. During that time he posted an ERA+ of 87 in 71 games 26 of those being starts.

Sutton had signed with Houston prior to the 1981 season. That year he posted an ERA+ of 126 and lead the National League in WHIP, 1.015. He played for Milwaukee for 3 seasons posting an ERA+ of 99.

Aug 10 1983 - traded Omar Moreno (OF) to New York Yankees for Jerry Mumphrey (OF)

General Manager: Al Rosen

Mumphrey 30, posted an OPS+ of 152 in 44 games with Houston. He played two more seasons with Houston posting an OPS+ of 112 during those two seasons.

Moreno a 30 year old centerfielder went on to post a 76 OPS+ in 48 games with the Yankees. In 3 season with the Yankees he posted an OPS+ of 78.

Aug 28 1984 - traded Ray Knight (IF) to New York Mets for Gerald Young (OF), Manny Lee (IF), and Mitch Cook (P)

General Manager: Al Rosen

Young a 19 year old prospect made his debut in 1987, posting a 106 OPS+ in 303 plate appearances. Over 6 season with Houston he posted an OPS+ of 83. Lee was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays via the Rule 5 draft in 1984. He spent eight years with Toronto posting a 84 OPS+. Mitch Cook never made it out of AA.

Knight 31, went on to play 3 seasons with the Mets posting a 97 OPS+.

Aug 15 1986 - traded Mark Knudson (P) and Don August (P) to Milwaukee Brewers for Danny Darwin (P). Milwaukee Brewers received Knudson on Aug 21.

General Manager: Dick Wagner

Darwin 30, at the time of the trade was a reliever and a starter. In 12 games, 8 of those being starts, he posted an ERA+ of 155. In 6 seasons with Houston he posted an ERA+ of 113.

Knudson played 6 seasons for Milwaukee posting an ERA+ of 91 as a starter and reliever. August didn’t make his debut with Milwaukee until 1988. In 440 innings he posted an ERA+ of 85.

Aug 31 1988 - traded Denny Walling (IF) to St Louis Cardinals for Bob Forsch (P)

General Manager: Bill Wood

Forsch 38 at the time of the trade, was well past his glory years and in 2 seasons with Houston posted an ERA+ of 61 in 43 games.

Walling had been in Houston for 13 years, during that time he posted an OPS+ of 112 as backup player. He probably could of been a full-time player, as he posted and OPS+ of 130 1986, playing in 130 games with 422 plate appearances. In his 13 years in Houston he had 281 walks and 267 strike outs. A good comparison would be Jeff Keppinger. At the time of the trade though he was in decline and posted only a 78 OPS+ in 3 season with St. Louis

Aug 18 1989 - traded Billy Hatcher (OF) to Pittsburgh Pirates for Glenn Wilson (OF)

General Manager: Bill Wood

Wilson, 30 a one time All-Star posted an OPS+ of 80 while with the Astros. He played 1990 with Houston posting an OPS+ of 83 in 118 games. He wasn’t seen again in baseball until 1993 when he played 10 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Hatcher, 28, went to Pittsburgh, posting an OPS+ of 68. He was then traded at the beginning of the 1990 season to Cincinnati.

Aug 30 1990 - traded Bill Doran (IF) to Cincinnati Reds for Terry McGriff (C), Butch Henry (P) and Keith Kaiser (P)

General Manager: Bill Wood

Terry McGriff the cousin of The Crime Dog, Fred McGriff, spent a lot of time in the minors. 26 at the time of the trade he played in 4 games for Houston in 1990 and spent all of 1991 in the minors before being granted free agency. Henry made his debut in 1992 with Houston at 23 he had an ERA+ of 83 in 28 starts. He was then drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 1992 expansion draft. Kaiser spent the 1991 season in the minors for Houston and that’s it.

Doran was having a career year in 1990 when he was traded at the age of 32. He went on to post an OPS+ of 171 in 17 games with Cincinnati. He played two more seasons with Cincinnati posting an OPS+ of 104.

Aug 30 1990 - traded Larry Andersen (P) to Boston Red Sox for Jeff Bagwell (IF)

General Manager: Bill Wood

This is the big one, enough has been said about this trade, so I’ll keep it short. Bagwell went on to become the face of a franchise while Andersen would help the Red Sox win the AL East division in 1990. Andersen pitched very well for the Red Sox posting a 341 ERA+ in 22 innings. He walked in the offseason though after the Red Sox were swept in the ALCS.

Bagwell in 15 years with Houston has a career OPS+ of 149, with a career high 213 OPS+ in 1994. That year he won the NL MVP in the strike shortened season.

Aug 10 1995 - traded Phil Nevin (IF) to Detroit Tigers for Mike Henneman (P). Detroit Tigers received Nevin on Aug 15.

General Manager: Bob Watson

Here’s your Andersen for Bagwell trade lite. Henneman 33, as a reliever posted an ERA+ of 132 over 21 innings for the Astros, then left in the offseason.

Nevin, the first pick of the 1992 by the Astros, went on to have one decent season out of three with Detroit, posting an OPS+ of 91. He really found a home though in San Diego. Starting in 1999, he spent seven season with the Padres posting an OPS+ of 129.

Aug 11 1995 - traded Rick Huisman (P) to Kansas City Royals for Pat Borders (C). Kansas City Royals received Huisman on Aug 17.

General Manager: Bob Watson

Borders played in 11 games and posted a negative OPS+, he was granted free agency in the offseason.

Huisman made his debut with the Royals in 1995. Made another appearance in the majors in 1996 then spent the rest of his time in the minors until 2001.

Aug 26 1996 - traded Kevin Gallaher (P) and Pedro Santana (IF) to Detroit Tigers for Gregg Olson (P). Detroit Tigers received Gallaher and Santana on Aug 27

General Manager: Gerry Hunsicker

Olson in 9.1 innings for Houston posted an ERA+ of 84 as a reliever. He was granted free agency in the offseason.

Gallaher never made it out of the minors and Santana only played in one game for Detroit in 2001.

Aug 15 1997 - traded Julien Tucker (P) to Chicago White Sox for Tony Pena (C)

General Manager: Gerry Hunsicker

Pena 40 at the time of the trade would go on to post an OPS+ of 69 in 22 plate appearances. He retired at the end of the season.

Tucker never made it out of minor leagues.

Aug 6 1998 - sent Pete Schourek (P) to Boston Red Sox for cash

General Manager: Gerry Hunsicker

Schourek signed with Houston in the offseason prior to 1998. He was 29 at the time of the trade, posting an ERA+ of 110 for the Red Sox in 10 games, 8 starts.

The cash went straight into Draytons pocket, or became a big fat steak thus ending up in his belly.

Aug 31 1999 - traded Joe Messman (P) to San Francisco Giants for Stan Javier (OF)

General Manager: Gerry Hunsicker

Javier played 20 games for Houston posting an OPS+ of 111. He was 35 at the time of the trade and left via free agency in the offseason.

Messman was a minor leaguer in the Giants system until 2001.

Aug 23 2000 - traded PTBNL to Pittsburgh Pirates for Eddie Zosky (IF)

General Manager: Gerry Hunsicker

Zosky had 4 plate appearances and stuck out once. That’s it.

Aug 22 2002 - traded Russ Rohlicek (P), Mike Nannini and Travis Anderson to Chicago Cubs for Tom Gordon (P). Chicago Cubs received Nannini and Anderson on Sep 11

General Manager: Gerry Hunsicker

Flash Gordon 34 at the time, posted an ERA+ of 133 in 19 innings for the Astros. In the offseason he left for the Chicago White Sox.

Rohlicek, Nannini, and Anderson never made it out of the minors.

Aug 31 2002 - acquired Mark Loretta (IF) from Milwaukee Brewers for cash, Wayne Franklin (P) and Keith Ginter (IF). Milwaukee Brewers received Franklin on Sep 3 and Ginter on Sep 5

General Manager: Gerry Hunsicker

Franklin 28, made 4 starts for Milwaukee in 2003 posting an ERA+ of 158. In 2004 he had an ERA+ of 78 in 194.2 innings, leading the NL in earned runs allowed with 119 and lead the league in HR’s allowed with 36. Ginter 26, posted an OPS+ of 99 and went on to play two more season with Milwaukee posting an OPS+ of 10.

Loretta 30, posted an OPS+ of 171 in 21 games for Houston in 2002. He left in the offseason via free agency, returning to Houston for the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

Aug 27 2004 - traded Adam Seuss (OF) to New York Mets for Dan Wheeler (P)

General Manager: Gerry Hunsicker

Wheeler was 26 when the Astros acquired him. During his four years with Houston he posted an ERA+ of 145, while holding down the setup role for Houston.

Seuss never made it out of the minors.

Aug 18, 2009 - Traded Ivan Rodriguez (C) to Texas Rangers for Jose Vallejo (IF) and Matt Nevarez (P)

General Manager: Ed Wade

Vallejo in the offseason after joining the Astros minor league system cut his hand, which eventually required surgery. He is now playing at AA Corpus Christi for the Astros with an OPS of .306. Nevarez is also currently playing for Corpus Christi, posting an ERA of 4.11 in 30.2 innings.

Rodriguez posted an OPS+ of 70 for Texas in 28 games. He then signed with the Washington Nationals in the offseason. 

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