WHEELING AND DEALING
Here’s how Astros GM officially put MLB on notice
With the MLB trade deadline ticking toward 3 p.m. Friday, the Astros already have bolstered their bullpen with the acquisitions of Kendall Graveman from the Mariners and Yimi Garcia from the Marlins. Just as important, the Astros gave up very little in exchange. We liked Abraham Toro, but he was expendable and possibly destined to Sugar Land with the return of Alex Bregman and Aledmys Diaz.
So far it looks like Astros G.M. James Click's speed dial is stuck on "M." Is there anybody that Click can steal from the Mets roster? Click has indicated that the Astros aren't done dealing.
Think … Monday night, Graveman is the winning pitcher against the Astros. Tuesday afternoon, he's wearing an Astros uniform. And Mariners players are furious with management for trading Graveman to the team they're chasing for a post-season spot, where the Mariners haven't been in two decades. It's one thing to grab one of your rival's best pitchers, it's a whole other thing to rock your rival's clubhouse in the process. James Click, you sorcerer.
It says something that Graveman and Garcia, closers for their previous teams, will be set-up relievers for the Astros. This is what serious World Series contenders do, use the trade deadline to patch up holes for the stretch run. If Graveman and Garcia deliver, they'll turn the Astros pen, their black hole this season, into a team strength.
Isn't it fun that the Astros will take chances and do what's necessary to win, even if it means crossing the MLB's luxury tax threshold? Hey, it's not like our other two major sports teams are giving us much to cheer about. Is it possible for a city to fire an NFL owner?
With the trade deadline looming, and the Astros' No. 1 need addressed, fans have turned into Oliver from the Broadway play:
"Please sir, I want some more."
Though the Astros are sitting with a 6-game lead over the A's in the American League West, and the lineup is scoring runs like a video game set on "easy," there is room to get stronger. There's a fire sale on bullpen closers, including Cubs super reliever Craig Kimbrel. Also on the market: Tanner Scott (Orioles), Daniel Bard (Rockies), Richard Rodriguez (Pirates), and Ian Kennedy (Rangers).
The Astros are cruising in first place. Driver James Click is making a fuel stop and filling up with premium.
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