TRADE ALERT

Astros make huge splash trading for Zack Greinke

Composite photo by Brandon Strange

The Astros have made a trade for Zack Greinke of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Astros get Greinke while sending prospects Seth Beer, Josh Rojas, Corbin Martin, and J.B. Bukauskas to the Diamondbacks in return. The Astros get a third ace to their rotation and do so without giving up the coveted prospects of Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley.


Greinke is 10-4 in 2019 with a 2.87 ERA and 128 strikeouts. While his strikeout numbers don't come close to those of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, he is still a reliable arm that can go deep into games and get outs. He also sits second in the league in WHIP, currently at 0.94 which is second to only Houston's own Verlander.

Greinke has a great resume; he is a seven-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove winner, and 2009 Cy Young winner in the National League. He currently sits 31st on the all-time strikeout leaderboard with 2,563 in his career. Zack also has plenty of experience in the postseason, starting in eleven games over five playoffs dating back to 2011. He has not, however, had great success in those starts, posting a 3-4 record and 4.03 ERA accumulatively.

His best start in the postseason came in 2014 with the Dodgers when he went seven shutout innings against the Cardinals in an NLDS win. This season, his best start was arguably the July 5th game at home against the Rockies where he went seven innings without allowing a run while striking out nine.

Greinke is far from a rental, he will be under team control through the end of the 2021 season, marrying him with the Astros for the same amount of time as Justin Verlander, should they keep him through his current contract.

The acquisition of Greinke is a strong move for Houston, who is vying to not only improve their chances to win in 2019 but in the coming years.

*Update:

The Astros also acquired Blue Jays pitchers Joe Biagini and Aaron Sanchez in exchange for Derek Fisher. Earlier Wednesday, Houston traded OF Tony Kemp to the Cubs for catcher Martin Maldonado.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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