Bullpen relief: Astros complete trade with Mariners

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Kendall Graveman throws against the Cleveland Indians in the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (Elaine Thompson, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The Houston Astros have made a trade to shore up their struggling bullpen.

The trade has the Astros shipping infielder Abraham Toro and relief pitcher Joe Smith to the Seattle Mariners for right-handed pitchers Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero.

Graveman, 30, has been one of baseball’s best relievers so far this season. In 30 games, he has only allowed a total of three earned runs in 33 innings pitched for a 0.82 ERA. His record is a flawless 4-0 with 10 saves, and he’s held opposing hitters to a .136 batting average, the lowest in the American League. Graveman also leads AL relievers by holding opposing hitters to the lowest OPS and leads all relievers in all of Major League Baseball with the lowest WHIP.

Montero, 30, has a 5-3 record with a 7.27 ERA over 43.1 innings in 40 games. He has also spent time with the Mets and Rangers before his time with the Mariners.

For the now-former Astros, Toro hit .211 this year with six home runs and 20 RBI in 35 games for Houston this season. The switch hitter has spent parts of the last three seasons with the Astros.

Smith, 37, overall has had a solid career, but this year has gone 1-1 with a 7.48 ERA in 27 games on the mound.

The bullpen has been a consistent source of struggle for the Astros this season, despite the team’s division-leading 61-40 record. The trade comes a day after Houston blew a 7-0 lead, losing 11-8 to the same Mariners team they ended up trading with.

About the Author:

Born in Canada but raised in Houston, Howard joined KPRC 2 in 2021 after five years at ESPN. Before that, Howard was a reporter on Houston Rockets and Houston Astros game broadcasts. Among the events that Howard has covered on site: the NBA bubble and the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions for both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. He's H-town proud!