On July 30, 2008, Ed Wade did one of the silliest things I've ever seen him do. He traded a Minor League infielder hitting .285/.356/.462 at A ball in a very weak farm system for 35 year old Major League reliever. At the time of the trade the Astros were 50-57. It appeared as if the Astros were going to miss the playoffs for the third year in a row and they eventually did, but not before they made things interesting.
Latroy Hawkins was that 35 year old reliever and at the time of the trade he had a 5.71 ERA in 41 innings with the Yankees. As it turned out Hawkins would become Mariano Rivera for the Astros in 89 games with Houston spread across eight months of two seasons. In 84.1 innings Hawks had a 1.71 ERA and a 244 ERA+ (Mariano territory).
Hawkins along with some other acquisitions, like Randy Wolf, would help the club finish 86-75, good for third in the division. Hawkins wasn't the only reason the Astros turned that around, he only pitched 21 innings in 2008, however he had a huge impact on the club, particularly later in the game, by allowing only one run in those innings.
Matt Cusick was the Minor League player given up in that deal; He's currently in Independent ball.
Well played Mr. Wade. Well played.