Amid trading frenzy, Astros content with ripples instead of splashes

Fibo Quantum

LOS ANGELES — Jeff Luhnow spoiled Astros fans with some splurges. He hoarded prospects like many of his forward-thinking front-office brethren but broke away from the trend during two trade deadlines. Acquiring Justin Verlander at the stroke of midnight in September 2017 propelled the team to a World Series. Zack Greinke left Game 7 of the 2019 World Series eight outs away from securing another.

The two deals seem to dominate discourse surrounding Luhnow’s trade deadline actions. His 2015 deal for Mike Fiers and Carlos Gomez aged terribly for too many reasons to list. He stood pat in 2016 and during the now-defunct, non-waiver deadline in 2017. The deal for Verlander arrived after Dallas Keuchel delivered pointed comments about Luhnow’s inaction in July.

Luhnow’s more shrewd deals sailed under the radar. Ryan Pressly was not a household name when Houston acquired him in 2018. Luhnow’s deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers for little-known minor leaguer Yordan Alvarez could go down as among the most lopsided in franchise history

Juxtaposing the Astros’ recent track record alongside the blockbuster-filled 2021 trade deadline draws the ire of some. Second-year general manager James Click upgraded his team’s most glaring weakness with layers of depth but did it without the stunners his predecessor or some of his direct competitors produced. Superstars changed teams throughout the deadline. None are coming to Houston, but many could soon face the Astros.

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