Astros Bolster Depth at Trade Deadline

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The Houston Astros entered the 2022 MLB trade deadline with an all-around strong team with few weak spots. After a busy trade deadline, the Astros addressed their weaknesses and made themselves that much deeper. Here is a recap of the big moves Houston made and how it impacts the team moving forward.

Astros Acquire Mancini as Part of Three-Team Deal

The first move the Astros made on August 1st was the acquisition of 1B/OF Trey Mancini in a three-team deal with the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays. In this trade, Houston received Mancini and a minor league right-handed pitcher Jayden Murray. The Orioles received minor league RHPs Seth Johnson and Chayce McDermott. The Rays received outfielder Jose Siri.

With the acquisition of Mancini, the Astros have the ability to give certain players some rest as we get deeper into the season. Mancini is primarily a first baseman but is capable of playing both corner outfield spots. With Michael Brantley’s shoulder injury that leaves him without a clear timetable for a return, Mancini potentially could go back and forth between left and DH with Yordan Alvarez. Houston can also give Yuli Gurriel some more days off and slot Mancini into that spot.

Overall on the season, Mancini is slashing .268/.346/.403 with ten home runs. With the short porch in left at Minute Maid Park, many believe the former Oriole will slug a bit more. On top of getting a good player, the Astros are getting a guy who beat stage three colon cancer and was AL Comeback Player of the Year in 2021. Mancini was a fan favorite in Baltimore and is known as a great guy in the clubhouse.

Astros Acquire Vazquez From Red Sox

The Astros bolstered their catching depth in a big way with the acquisition of catcher Christian Vazquez from the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox received minor leaguers Enmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu in return.

Offensively, the catcher position has been a weak spot for the Astros most of the season. While Martin Maldonado had an .852 OPS in July, it still only raised his season OPS to .575. At the plate, Vazquez is a clear upgrade. The former Red Sox backstop enters Wednesday with a .757 OPS. Maldonado has however, handled the pitching staff wonderfully, so it will be interesting to see how the playing time is split.

Astros Swap Smith and Odorizzi With Braves

The last move the Astros made boasted their bullpen depth. The move sacrificed some of their starting pitching depth, and gave them the left-handed reliever that they needed. The Astros and the Atlanta Braves swapped veterans with Jake Odorizzi going to Atlanta in exchange for Will Smith.

Smith has experience as a setup guy as well as a closer, but with the Astros he will continue to pitch in the setup role. Houston did not have a reliable lefty option in the bullpen, so Smith will be that guy. In 41 appearances this season, Smith has a 4.38 ERA with five saves. Command has been a bit of an issue, as the veteran is walking batters at a rate of 5.1 per nine innings. However, he is striking out batters at a rate of 10 per nine innings. Smith has excelled in his postseason career. During the Braves’ 2021 World Series run, he pitched 11 scoreless innings and saved six games.

At the trade deadline, the Astros addressed nearly every possible need that they had. They entered the deadline as one of the deepest teams in baseball and left even deeper. The goal for the 2022 season was already a World Series championship. With these additions, that goal is more in focus.

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Players Mentioned:

Trey Mancini, Jayden Murray, Seth Johnson, Chayce McDermott, Jose Siri, Michael Brantley, Yordan Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel, Christian Vazquez, Enmanuel Valdez, Wilyer Abreu, Martin Maldonado, Jake Odorizzi, Will Smith