The Houston Astros have some new toys to play with

The Astros have some new faces in the dugout. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Every year the MLB trade deadline comes up, and every year there are buyers and sellers making deals. Some of these deals are minor moves to shore up some deficiencies, some are blockbuster trades that can shift the hierarchy. There are always deals where you scratch your head and wonder what the heck were they thinking. Then there are the ones that make immediate sense for the most obvious reasons.

The Astros had a need to add some hitting, as well as some bullpen help. Enter Trey Mancini, Christian Vazquez, and Will Smith (not THAT Will Smith). Mancini (30) comes from the Orioles franchise. He can DH, play first base, and has some experience playing the outfield. Vazquez (31) came from the Red Sox and is a catcher by trade. Smith (33) was sent here from the Braves and is a left-handed relief pitcher. At 30, 31, and 33, the Astros definitely didn't get any younger. However, they made those few moves to improve their team's chances at winning another title...without crippling their farm system.

Their farm system has taken some hits over the years due to trades made to keep the team competitive while on this current run, as well as the penalties from the sign stealing scandal. While it's been able to produce some top-notch talent keeping the big league team afloat, the Astros' minor leagues isn't highly ranked amongst the league's best. MLB.com ranked them 29th out of all 30 teams coming into this season. Keeping prospects gives them a better chance for future success. Here's what I think of the guys they traded for:

Mancini: He's a career .270 hitter with decent pop (about a 20 HR per year guy) and ability to play a couple different positions. He's a free agent at the end of this season, so he could be a rental. I see Mancini as insurance in case Yordan Alvarez, Michael Brantley, or Yuli Gurriel go down or need a breather since he can DH, play first, or play some outfield. Heard a person on radio say he's a very streaky hitter who's either red-hot or ice-cold. I'm interested in seeing if his streakiness is tied to being on one of the worst teams in baseball and if that trend ends

Vazquez: As a career .262 hitter, his average is 50 plus points higher than Martin Maldonado. Vazquez was brought in to be a backup catcher and late game replacement for Maldonado. The amount of times Machete has come through in the clutch as a defensive catcher is great, but his place in the lineup is as automatic of an out as the Astros have in their lineup. Vazquez is here to provide Machete insurance when the 8 or 9 hole is up in the order and they need to advance the runner.

Smith: Ryan Pressly has been the team's best reliever. Outside of him, the rest of the bullpen has been hit or miss. Another thing about the bullpen, and staff as a whole, is that Framber Valdez is the only lefty on the roster! Smith now brings a lefty to the pen which is something I feel all teams need. He hasn't been very good this season, but the Astros have been known to fix broken pitchers. Sure, Brent Strom ain't walkin through that door, but the guys he left behind are doing a great job. This season's 4.38 ERA is almost a full run higher than his 3.61 career average.

Overall, they didn't give up anything too significant. To those whining about losing Jose Siri, shut up! He's a J.A.G. if I've ever seen one. Outfielders with personality who hit around/below the Mendoza Line are a dime a dozen. Jake Odorizzi can be just as up and down as Smith. A move to the bullpen would've benefitted the team, but not Odorizzi. He didn't have a place in the starting rotation because of the depth there, and it was time to move on. The team helped shore up a couple small holes they had without mortgaging their future. Other teams are out here paying a ransom for guys who are and aren't worth it to their title hopes. The Astros helped their chances increase a bit. Keeping that window open a little further this season means the club is still all-in, and that's all fans want and care about.

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