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With Diaz trade, Astros get a cheaper version of Marwin Gonzalez

Aledmys Diaz was an important pickup for the Astros. Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

At first glance when you see the Astros trading a prospect for a shortstop, Astros fans start wondering what is wrong with Carlos Correa and what is going on with thier team? Is his back or thumb so bad that he may need surgery? Are they thinking of trading him so that Alex Bregman can take over? Thankfully neither of those things are behind this savy baseball move orchestrated by GM Jeff Luhnow. The fact of the matter is, Marwin Gonzalez is probably going to get a big offer from another team and the Astros are not going to match it. With that in mind, the team went out and found his replacement and when I say he is the spitting image of Marwin, I'm actually not kidding.

Aledmys Diaz is a 28-year-old shortstop by trade, but he can play third base, second base and he can play the outfield as well. Sound like anyone else you know and have grown to love? Aside from not yet trying his hand at first base, Diaz is a mirror image of Marwin. He is younger, has similar stats and is going to be far cheaper than Gonzalez, who is in the process of talking to teams and waiting for proposals in free agency. Diaz is 6'1" and 195 pounds, while Gonzales is thw same height and 10 pounds heavier. The similarities don't end there if you start comparing offensive stats over the past season as Diaz average was .263 while Marwin was at .247. The Blue Jays infielder had two more home runs, 13 fewer RBI's and a whole spread sheet full of offensive and defensive ratings and statistics that fluctuate giving each player slight advantages. Take a look at this side by side comparrison of the two players done by Devan Fink, Baseball writer for SB Nation's Beyond the Box Score:

The biggest key is that Diaz only made $2 million dollars last year and is under team control. Jeff Luhnow told a pool of reporters that Diaz "...Has got some versatility, got some power and can do a lot of things.  He went on to say, "It seems like it's an opportunity for us to improve our team. He can play short, he can play second, he can play a little bit of left, can play third. This is a guy about as versatile as any of the other guys on our roster. He's a good hitter, and we think he can be better. He's still coming into his prime." In other words, welcome to H-town, Marwin Jr.

It's a foregone conclusion that barring some incredible hometown discount, Marwin is going to break the bank and hit the jackpot in free agency and no Astros fan should begrudge him for cashing in. It's better to have had him and reaped the benfits of his outstanding play for your team than to never have had him at all. From his everyday availability and versatility to his propensity to come up big in the biggest moments, Marwin is and was a pro's pro for manager A.J. Hinch and the Astros. Who will ever forget his home run in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the World Series off Kenley Jansen that tied the game and change the complexion of the entire series? He was a key reason the team brought home Houston's first ever World Series title. For that alone he should be an Astros hero for life, regardless if he ever puts on a Houston uniform again and if he doesn't, at least there is hope that the team may have his replacement ready to go in 2019. 

 

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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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