Astro History: The Deadline Deal

This trading deadline is driving me nuts even more so than last year when I though Tejada, Valverde and Hawkins all should of been dealt. Twitter is a little more prevalent this year which has contributed to this insanity, refreshing every 5 seconds or when you see you’ve got new tweets to display. I decided to keep my sanity to go back in time and check out the Astros history of deadline deals. For criteria I didn’t use just the 31 July date but included anything that happened between the 28th of July and the 31st. Before diving in I would like to make mention that I got all transaction information from Astro Daily and used Baseball Reference for all stats, with a little google sprinkled in here and there for general information.

* I've left the links in for the Astro Daily webpages on certain players names as they'll provide you with some more information.

Jul 29 1970 - sent Joe Pepitone(IF) to Chicago Cubs for cash
General Manager: Spec Richardson

Joe Pepitone OF/1B, who was 29 at the time of the trade and had been an all-star with the New York Yankees, had an OPS+ of 105 after being traded to the Cubs in 56 games. The following year he had a OPS+ of 122 but that was the last year over 100 OPS+ and was out of Major League Baseball after the 1973 season.

Jul 29 1972 - sent Jack Hiatt(C) to California Angels for cash
General Manager: Spec Richardson

Jack Hiatt a catcher, first baseman, and pinch hitter played for Angels, Giants, Expos, and Cubs as well as the Astros as a part time player. He played in 22 games for the Angels dialing up a 133 OPS+. The next year he was released by the Angels on March 27th of 1973, he was 29 at the time and never played baseball again. He however later moved into minor league development for the Giants whom he had spent a majority of his playing time with. He currently serves in an advisory role with the Giants.

Jul 31 1973 - sent Jesus Alou(OF) to Oakland Athletics for cash
General Manager: Spec Richardson

The Brother of Felipe and Matty Alou was 31 at the time of the trade and was a backup outfielder at this point in his career. He played in 36 games for the Athletics with a 96 OPS+ and won a World Series ring. He played for two more seasons after 1973 with Oakland, winning another World Series ring and them signed with the New York Mets for the 1975 season. He was out of baseball for the 1976 and 1977 seasons, returning to the Astros for the 1977 and 1978 season.

Jul 29 1987 - traded Mel Stottlemyre Jr.(P) to Kansas City Royals for Buddy Biancalana(IF)
General Manager:
Dick Wagner

Stottlemyre was a minor leaguer, that had been selected by the Astros 3rd in the 1st round of the 1985 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Royals in 1990 appearing in 13 games and starting 2 of them, and that was it. He finished with 31.1 IP and an ERA+ of 80. Biancalana besides having a fun name to type out, was a backup second baseman and shortstop who in 18 games for the Astros posted a -66 OPS+, yes that’s a negative sixty six Oh Pee Ssss plus. I checked his fielding stats and yikes in 16 games at short stop had an .889 fielding percentage and 3 errors. He only played 3 games and second base and seemed to be slightly better there, but only slightly. Biancalana never played major league level again after the 1987 season.

Jul 31 1991 - traded Jim Clancy(P) to Atlanta Braves for Matt Turner(P) and Earl Sanders(P). Hou received Sanders on Nov 15 1991
General Manager:
Bill Wood

Jim Clancy was a 35 year old reliever who had an ERA+ of 126 (career 99 ERA+) in 30 games, after joining the Braves he posted an ERA+ of 69 in 24 games. Matt Turner was a 25 year old minor league reliever who in 1992 at AAA Tucson posted a 3.51 ERA in 63 games. with a SO/BB ratio of 2.10. He was granted free agency on October 16, 1992 and signed with the Florida Marlins. He made his big league debut in 1993 for Florida posting a 148 ERA+ in 55 games. Earl Sanders was a 27 year old minor league pitcher who appeared in 4 games with AA Jackson starting 2 of them posting a 4.50 ERA and a SO/BB ratio of 1.00 in 1992. That was his final season in minor league baseball.

Jul 31 1994 - traded Tom Edens(P) to Philadelphia Phillies for Milt Thompson(OF)
General Manager: Bob Watson

Tom Edens was a 33 year old relief pitcher with an ERA+ of 89 in 50 innings pitched, he only pitched in 4 innings for the Phillies and was released in November. Milt Thompson was a 35 year old backup outfielder who posted and OPS+ of 97 in 9 games for the Astros. He played 92 games for the Astros the next season posting a 72 OPS+.

Jul 28 1995 - traded Ross Powell(P) to Pittsburgh Pirates for a PTBNL
General Manager: Bob Watson

Ross Powell was a relief pitcher who ha appeared in 15 games, 9 innings, for the Astros and had a ERA+ of 37. He joined the Pirates and did better with a 84 ERA+ in 20.2 innings, but for the life of me I can’t find who the PTBNL was. Since we don’t know it was probably insignfic.... wait a minute Gerry Hunsicker became GM of the Astros in November of 1995. Maybe he was the PTBNL! Ya I’ll go with that.

Jul 31 1998 - traded John Halama(P), Freddy Garcia(P), and Carlos Guillen(IF) to Seattle Mariners for Randy Johnson(P). Sea-A received Halama on Oct 1.
General Manager:
Gerry Hunsicker

This is the big one, the Astros received Randy "Big Unit" Johnson (i think I just figured out why he was given unit as a nickname, I bet his teammates had something to do with it). He Pitched 11 games for the Astros in 1998 and had a 10 - 1 record, and an ERA+ of 3..2..9. Three two nine. Amazing! no not Randy Johnson the fact that Astros were knocked out of the first round of the post season. Johnson allowed 3 ER in both his post season starts, and lost both games, but we’re not here to rehash post season loses. Seattle in return received Freddy Garcia who pitched six years for them with a 115 ERA+, Carlos Guillen who had an OPS+ of 92 (really took of in Detriot), and John Halama who posted a 103 ERA+ in 130 games (81 games started).

Jul 31 2000 - traded Doug Henry(P) to San Francisco Giants for Scott Linebrink(P)
General Manager:
Gerry Hunsicker

Doug Henry joined the Giants and in 25.1 innings pitched posted a 174 ERA+. Played one more season for the Kansas City Royals in 2001 and then was out of major league baseball. Scott Linebrink 23 at the time of the trade pitched for Houston for 4 years posting an ERA+ of 91 in 76.1 innings pitched.

Jul 31 2001 - traded Scott Elarton(P) and Garett Gentry(C) to Colorado Rockies for Pedro Astacio(P). Col received Gentry on Sep 27.
General Manager:
Gerry Hunsicker

I’ve decided from this article forward to dub Hunsicker "deadline Gerry". Scott Elarton had an ERA+ of 125 and 129 in 1998 and 1999 in 70 games and 17 starts. It was all down hill from there as he posted an ERA+ of 103 in 2000, the year he won 17 games. Then an ERA+ of 65 for Houston in 23 starts in 2001 before being traded where in 4 games he posted an ERA+ of 81. Garrett Gentry (link, link) can not be found by Baseball Reference and appears to of fallen off the face of the earth. Nevermind it’s Garett not Garrett, It’s amazing what you find with the correct name. He actually looked like a decent prospect with an OPS of .943 in his final minor league season with the Astros. He had an injury and missed 2002 but came back in 2003 and posted a .919 OPS at Colorado’s A level. He was sent down to A- where he posted a 1.171 and then announced his retirement in 2004. Very curious case and might be something interesting to follow up (i’ve added a few links below discussing him). Pedro Astacio 32 at the time posted a 149 ERA+ in 4 starts for the Astros after the trade but was granted free agency in November. Good thing too because he posted a 83 ERA+ for the Mets in 2002 in 31 starts.

Jul 29 2003 - traded PTBNL or cash considerations to New York Yankees for Dan Miceli(P)
General Manager: Deadline Gerry Hunsicker

Dan Miceli a 32 year old relief pitcher posted a 138 ERA+ in two years and 107.2 innings for the Astros. Then signed with Colorado via free agency in May of 2005, where in the pre-humidor area of Coors Field he posted an ERA+ of 83 in 18.1 innings.

Jul 28, 2007 - Traded Dan Wheeler (P) to Tampa Bay Rays for Ty Wigginton (IF) and cash
General Manager: Tim "The man which we do not speak highly of" Purpura (I know I’m getting a little carried away with these nicknames)

I never liked this deal from the get go. Dan Wheeler from 2008 to 2010 has never posted a ERA+ lower than 136. Immediately after the trade though he posted an ERA+ of 79 in 25 IP for the Rays. Ty Wiggington played a season and a half with the Astros before not being offered arbitration December of 2008. In his time with the Astros he posted an OPS+ of 121 and interestingly he has never stuck with a team longer than 3 years.

Jul 30, 2008 - Traded minor leaguer Matt Cusick (IF) to New York Yankees for LaTroy Hawkins (P)
General Manager: Ed Wade

This was a pretty good heist for Ed Wade he was at A level when he was traded posting a .795 OPS. He made it to AAA this year but between AA-AAA he’s posted a .648 OPS. LaTroy Hawkins on the other hand went nuts and in 21 innings for the Astros in 2008 allowed 1 ER and posted a 999 ERA+. Followed up in 2009 with an ERA+ of 198, averaged over his time with Houston he had a ERA+ of 248, that my friends is Mariano Riveria level. One of the greatest mistakes I thought Ed Wade made was not trading this guy at the 2009 deadline for prospects. He walked this past off season for nothing, but I should give Wade credit for not resigning him. He’s got an ERA+ of 44 in 11.2 IP for the Brewers.