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Tale of Three Trades: How the Astros acquired Scrubb, Taylor, and let JD Davis go (ouch!)

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Back in 2019, the Astros got two of their current best relievers via trades with the Mets and the Dodgers.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Astros are going through a rough patch of injuries and absences, there are lots of new players around thanks to new opportunities and voids to fill. So far, at least until Saturday, 10 men have made their debut this year for Houston (nine pitchers).

Some of those 10 have been lights out for manager Dusty Baker thus far, including righty Andre Scrubb and lefty Blake Taylor. Looking back, they were acquired via trades by former GM Jeff Luhnow. Below, we’re revisiting those transactions and, additionally, a painful one —especially because of these circumstances—.

1. The Astros acquire RHP Andre Scrubb

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Houston Astros Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After hitting the jackpot in 2016 when they got Yordan Álvarez from the Dodgers in exchange for Josh Fields, they made another trade with Los Ángeles. On July 25, 2019, the Astros acquired Scrubb for first baseman Tyler White.

White never panned out for the Dodgers, though he didn’t have plenty of chances. In 12 games last year, he hit for a .045/.192/.045 slash line with no extra-base hits across 26 appearances. He was DFA’d last February and signed to play in the Korean Baseball Organization in July.

On the other hand, Scrubb has been one of the firemen used by the Astros this year in the bullpen, after losing veterans such as Héctor Rondón, Will Harris, and Collin McHugh to free agency besides placing Joe Biagini, Chris Devenski, and Roberto Osuna on the injured list.

Scrubb has fired 7 23 innings with four hits allowed and seven strikeouts. He has managed to complete five scoreless appearances despite giving up seven walks (three of them came in his first outing). The North Carolina native only has two pitches: a cutter that averages 93.2 MPH and his strikeout delivery, a 79.9 MPH curve.

2. The Astros acquire LHP Blake Taylor

On December 5, 2019, we were sad to see old good friend Jake Marisnick go to the Mets for minor leaguers OF Kennedy Corona and LHP Blake Taylor. But at the same time he’s played in just five games for New York (four plate appearances), Taylor has been amazing for the Astros.

Taylor, who will turn 25 on August 17, has thrown 8 23 frames with five hits and no runs allowed. He has a 3/10 BB/K ratio and has accepted only two extra-base hits (two doubles).

Like Scrubb, Taylor relies on two pitches: a 93.7 MPH four-seam fastball and an 85.3 MPH slider, but he induces soft contact (86.1 MPH exit velocity) and groundballs at a high rate (50.0 GB %).

3. The Astros sent OF/3B JD Davis to the Mets (geez...)

MLB: Miami Marlins at New York Mets Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Before pulling off the two aforementioned trades, there was one that ended up being painful as heck. On January 6, 2019, they traded JD Davis and Cody Bohanek to the Mets for minors players Ross Adolph, Scott Manea, and Luis Santana.

Davis immediately became a great hitter and a vital piece of the Mets’ puzzle. In 154 games between 2019 and 2020 (through Saturday), he’s slashed .309/.371/.527 along with 23 doubles, 25 home runs, 68 runs batted in, and 72 scored runs. The best of all is that Davis will be under team control until 2024.

Neither Adolph, Manea, nor Santana have impressed in their first year as members of the Astros. Even though they’re all still pretty young, Davis trade will be a painful topic for every Astros fan around, especially because Luhnow preferred White over Davis. We’ll always ask ourselves what would have happened had the Astros given more chances to JD, but what’s done is done, right?