The Houston Astros, 2017 World Series champions, got their start in the early ’60s when an ownership group from Houston was awarded a franchise in the National League. First known as the Houston Colt .45s (becoming the Astros in 1965), the club took a little while to reach the .500 mark (1969). From there, they steadily gained a loyal fan base and began making appearances in the postseason in the ’80s. The team went to the World Series in 2005 but finally won their first championship in 2017 after beating the Dodgers 4-3.
Like all major league baseball teams, trades are a part of the biz for the Houston Astros. Some players come, and some players go, but there are those who make a big impact on a team’s effort to win it all. As we go into a new MLB season, let’s take a look at some of the trades that have shaped the team.
Trading in the Leagues
The Houston Astros were originally a National League team, but they now play in the American League West division. This division was created in 1969, but Houston wasn’t a part of it until 2013 when there were big changes in MLB: The leagues were realigned, settling on 15 teams per league, and one additional wild-card playoff team (per league) was added.
Over their history, the Astros have had 462 total trades with other teams. Within the AL West (which, again, they weren’t a part of until 2013), they’ve had 50 transactions. Looking at totals in the two leagues, though, they’ve traded more frequently in the NL (263) than with the AL (199).
As with most teams looking at postseason contention, there are big trades that are often made near the end of summer as the season winds down. The 2017 Astros were definitely busy, trying to plug in a few big-name players to help them bring home their first Commissioner’s Trophy. Justin Verlander was one such big name. They snagged the veteran hurler in a trade with the Detroit Tigers, as they had to contend with catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey that sent the team’s series against the Rangers to a new locale.
Astros Trade Count
Looking over the MLB team by team, there is a few that stand out as regular trade partners. At the top of the list lies the St. Louis Cardinals with 37 trades. The Astros were in their division (the NL Central) from 1994 until 2012, so it looks like they traded within their division quite often when they were in the National League. The second most common trade partner has been the Atlanta Braves with 26 – another NL team but in a different division. The third most frequent trade partner has been the Philadelphia Phillies – again, an NL team but in a different division.
In addition to trade-deadline deals that helped the Astros win their first World Series, there have been other significant trades throughout the team’s history. Jeff Bagwell is one of the biggest in Astros history. In 1990, the Red Sox traded Bagwell, then a minor leaguer, to Houston for a relief pitcher named Larry Andersen. Andersen departed Boston just a month later, eventually signing with the Padres, but Bagwell played in Houston for 15 years, had a 0.297 batting average and a 0.408 on-base percentage, was the 1994 MVP, played in the 2005 World Series, and eventually found his way into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
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