The Astros have been looking for starting pitching all year, with several of their top pitching prospects dealing with setbacks or injuries, and Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley slated to become free agents after the season. Greinke, 35, has been one of the top starting pitchers in baseball for most of his career, and has a 2.87 ERA and a 3.15 FIP in 141 IP this year for the D-Backs. His contract was seen as the biggest potential hurdle to a deal, as he is owed $34.5 million for the 2019 season, and $35 million in both 2020 and 2021.
Greinke is at an age where pitchers can fall off precipitously, and we need to see what the dollars and prospects involved are — that said, this appears to be a very risky move by the Astros that offers them a ton of upside if Greinke can maintain his success.
UPDATE — Houston is sending Seth Beer, Josh Rojas, Corbin Martin and J.B. Bukauskas to Arizona for Greinke and cash, per Joel Sherman. Per Fangraphs, Martin is the Astros’ #3 prospect (though he’s done until mid-2020 due to Tommy John surgery), Bukauskas is the Astros’ #4 prospect, and Beer is the Astros’ #11 prospect.
UPDATE II — The Astros also acquired Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini from the Toronto Blue Jays for outfielder Derek Fisher. Sanchez, a 27 year old righthanded starting pitcher, is something of a reclamation project, as he has a 6.07 ERA and a 5.04 FIP in 112.2 IP over 23 starts this year. Since leading the American League in ERA in 2016, Sanchez put up a 5.32 ERA and a 5.02 FIP in 253.2 IP. He has a year of control left after this year.
Biagini, 29, is a righthanded reliever who has put up a 3.86 ERA and a 4.45 FIP for the Jays, and gives the Astros some additional bullpen depth.
In parting with Fisher, the Astros are moving on with a former first round pick (who the Rangers drafted, and were unable to sign, in 2011) who was lauded for his power potential, but who has failed to hit in the major leagues. While Fisher has played some center field, he’s seen as primarily a corner outfielder going forward. The 25 year old has a .286/.401/.522 slash line for Round Rock this year.
UPDATE III — The D-Backs are reportedly picking up $24 million of the remaining obligation due to Greinke.