The Houston Astros essentially stood pat at the trade deadline, making just one minor deal to acquire left-hander Francisco Liriano to their bullpen. The lack of activity beyond that, which many thought would include adding a front line starting pitcher such as Yu Darvish or Justin Verlander, caught a lot of people by surprise.
According to veteran outfielder Josh Reddick, the shock and disappointment extended into Houston’s clubhouse. In an interview with MLB Network Radio on Thursday, Reddick described Astros players as “down in the dumps” after the team whiffed on making a larger deal.
Here are the key quotes, courtesy of Hardball Talk:
“I think deep down everybody in that clubhouse knew we were going to make some moves to make us a really great team to a team that put us over the edge, especially with all the moves you see moving around the league.”
“It’s nothing against our guys, we are a great team, but any time you can make your team better you feel like should have the opportunity to do that and take full advantage. I think deep down, we all were, I don’t know if you want to say disappointed or upset, I guess we were just kind of down in the dumps because we feel like we had a pretty good shot at getting somebody to help this team get over that hump to where we needed to be.”
Reddick’s comments echo those made by Astros ace Dallas Keuchel, who said “disappointment is a little bit of an understatement” just 24 hours after Houston’s ineffective deadline.
The frustration is understandable. After all, this is an Astros franchise that has spent much of the past decade rebuilding and restocking the organization to position themselves as World Series contenders. Now that they’re here, it was more than reasonable to expect at least one big addition that would have helped to cement their position.
The frustration is palpable too, and it may be reflective of the team’s recent poor play. The Astros were swept by the last-place White Sox in Chicago this week and just lost the series opener to the Texas Rangers. They still hold the American League’s best record at 71-44, but they’ve lost eight of their last 11 overall and seem to have lost their way.
Rough stretches are bound to happen during the season. With Carlos Correa still out injured, George Springer just returning from a DL stint this week and Keuchel still working out the kinks from his early-season injury, it makes sense that Houston would be hitting that rough patch right now. But you can’t discount the mental side either. They’re playing — and in Reddick’s case talking — like a team that’s had the wind knocked of its sails.
With all of this in mind, it’s important to note that help could still come in the form of a waiver trade. Verlander, for example, cleared trade waivers last week, making him eligible to be traded to any team. Perhaps Reddick’s subtle motive is to push general manager Jeff Luhnow into exploring such a deal.
Or maybe the Astros really are this impacted by the lack of a major trade and haven’t figured out how to deal with it. If that’s the case, it’s going to be to on them to look in the mirror and come to the realization they’ve made it this far as is, and are more than capable of winning it all with the players they currently have.
Nobody’s going to feel sorry for the Astros given their talent level, that much is for sure. And they’re wasting energy feeling sorry for themselves. Fortunately, they have plenty of time to figure it all out. But the sooner they put the trade deadline behind them and lose that as a crutch, the better off they’ll be.
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