All Aces: Astros get Zack Greinke in trade with Diamondbacks

By Cory McCord - Digital News Editor, AP Author
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Aaron Sanchez, Zack Greinke and Joe Biagini were acquired by the Astros at the 2019 trade deadline.

HOUSTON - The Houston Astros did not let the trade deadline pass without making some waves.

According to multiple media reports, Houston traded for Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Greinke adds another All-Star to a formidable rotation that already included Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

According to media reports, the Astros traded first baseman and outfielder Seth Beer, pitcher J.B. Bukauskas, pitcher Corbin Martin and infielder Josh Rojas for Greinke.

Beer, Bukauskas, Martin and Rojas were ranked as the third-, fourth-, fifth- and 22nd-ranked prospects in the Astros' system, according to MLB Pipeline.

This season, Greinke, 35, has pitched to a 2.90 ERA and a 10-4 record. He has recorded 135 strikeouts in 146 innings.

Contract situation

Arizona agreed to send Houston $24 million to offset much of the $74,161,290 Greinke is owed in salary plus $2 million to cover the assignment bonus he gets for being traded. The Diamondbacks pay the Astros $2 million on Nov. 1 for the assignment bonus and pay Houston $3,333,333 on Oct. 15 plus $10,333,333 each on July 1 in 2020 and 2021.

Greinke's $206.5 million, six-year contract includes a $31.5 million salary for this year -- which has $10,161,290 remaining -- plus $32 million in each of the next two seasons. His deal defers $10.5 million in 2019 salary and $11 million in each of the next two years, and Houston assumes responsibility for the deferred money being accrued starting Thursday.

What the Astros said

"We are just really shocked and ecstatic," Cole said before Houston played at Cleveland, adding, "I'm really proud to be an Astro right now."

Cole said when the players learned of the deal there was "a lot of hooting and hollering at 4:07. We are ecstatic. We're getting a Hall of Fame pitcher, a craftsman."

Before the team confirmed the deal, Astros manager A.J. Hinch didn't want to show too much excitement while knowing he was getting one of baseball's most consistent pitchers.

"I know he's an Astro," Hinch said. "I know he's really good. I don't know him personally, but I'm going to get to know him. We acquired him because of how good he is. Certainly, we expect him to be a big part of our push to win the division and keep winning into October. He's an incredible pitcher."

There was a palpable buzz in Houston's clubhouse. Cole credited owner Jim Crane, general manager Jeff Luhnow and the front office staff for their hard work in making the trade happen.

"What a pickup," Cole said. "They nailed it. They did a magnificent job."

In a 16-year career with Kansas City, Milwaukee, the Angels, Dodgers and Diamondbacks, Greinke's gone 197-122.

Greinke worked Wednesday

Greinke pitched five innings earlier in the day at Yankee Stadium, giving up two runs to New York.

The 35-year-old Greinke left the ballpark without commenting to reporters. The trade was officially announced after 5:30 p.m., following Arizona's 7-5 loss.

Astros' stacked rotation

Greinke's addition gives the Astros four starting pitchers with ERAs in the top 15 in the majors this year. Verlander is fifth with a 2.73 ERA, Greinke is ninth, Cole is 11th at 2.94 and Wade Miley ranks 14th at 3.06.

Verlander leads the AL in wins (14) and ERA, and Cole tops with the majors with 212 strikeouts.

Another trade

According to reports, Houston also traded outfielder Derek Fisher for pitchers Sanchez and Biagini.

Fisher will be forever remembered in Astros lore for scoring the game-winning run in Game 5 of the World Series on Alex Bregman's 10th-inning single.

Sanchez, 27, is 3-14 this season with a 6.07 ERA over 23 starts. He has 99 strikeouts in 112.2 innings pitched.

"One opportunity that I get to do is to go down to Houston and learn from guys like Justin Verlander, like Gerrit Cole, who's had an unbelievable year. Like Zack Greinke who's won a couple of Cy Youngs himself. The opportunity to play playoff baseball and a chance to win a ring," Sanchez said. "This is why you play the game. To be able to have that opportunity again, I'm thrilled."

Biagini, a 29-year-old righty, was 3-1 with one save and a 3.78 ERA in 50 games.

"You go and look at their roster and they're all... these guys are really good. It's a fun feeling to think that a team like that with such good players would want someone like me to contribute," Biagini said. "And, so I was wondering if I was going to get traded if it would be a team in the U.S. It turned out to be. That was cool. But, I do really enjoy Toronto, and playing for a whole country was really cool, and I hope that I contributed positively."

The Astros also acquired 22-year-old outfielder Cal Stevenson from the Blue Jays, according to reports. Stevenson was selected in the 10th round of the 2018 MLB draft.

More deals

"Houston made some big deals. They're really good. They were good before," Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said.

Earlier Wednesday, the team announced the acquisition of catcher Martín Maldonado from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for infielder/outfielder Tony Kemp.

The Astros also sent catcher Max Stassi to the Angels for minor league outfielders Rainier Rivas and Raider Uceta.

Familiar formula

In 2017, Houston acquired Verlander from Detroit on Aug. 31, which was the last day for deals that season to make players eligible for the playoffs.

The Astros were in the market for another starter this year as the rotation behind their top three has performed inconsistently this season. Greinke provides a pronounced upgrade over the variety of pitchers they've cycled through to start behind their stars.

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