Astros Acquire Zack Greinke

In a last-minute trade deadline stunner, the Astros announced that they’ve acquired right-hander Zack Greinke from the Diamondbacks in exchange for right-handers Corbin Martin and J.B. Bukauskas, first baseman Seth Beer and infielder Joshua Rojas.

Greinke is earning $31.5MM in 2019 and is still owed another $10.5MM of that salary between now and season’s end. He’s also under contract in both 2020 and 2021, with a $32MM salary owed to him in each season. Beyond that, he still has multiple payouts on his prorated signing bonus coming his way — $3MM in 2020 and 2021 — and receives a $2MM signing bonus by virtue of being traded. A third of his salary in 2019-21 is deferred and will be paid out in annual payment of $12.5MM from 2022-26, thus reducing at least some of the immediate financial implications for Houston. The Astros are reportedly “only” on the hook for about $53MM of the money that is still owed to Greinke.

Dating back to 2017, Greinke has racked up 551 innings of 3.12 ERA ball with 8.9 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9 and a ground-ball rate near 45 percent. He’s been particularly effective in 2019 despite the league-wide home run boom, spinning 141 frames of 2.87 ERA ball with a 0.89 HR/9 average that is actually his lowest since 2015. Greinke was shelled for seven runs in his first start of the season, but over his past 21 outings he has a 2.49 ERA and a 2.77 FIP, underscoring that even with his 36th birthday looming in October, he’s still a bona fide top-of-the-rotation pitcher.

Martin won’t be a factor until late 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he’s viewed as a potential midrotation arm with an above-average fastball and an above-average, potentially plus slider. He averaged 95.3 mph on his heater in his brief MLB time this season and posted a 3.13 ERA with nearly 11 punchouts per nine innings pitched in 37 1/3 Triple-A frames before undergoing surgery.

Bukauskas, 22,was the 15th overall pick in the 2017 draft and has spent the 2019 season in Double-A. While his 5.25 ERA isn’t particularly impressive, he’s averaged 10.3 K/9 with a solid 47.1 percent ground-ball rate against older, more advanced competition at that level.

Beer is the other big get for the Diamondbacks. Houston’s pick at No. 28 overall in 2018, Beer has ripped through Double-A pitching in 2019, hitting at a .299/.407/.543 clip with 16 home runs and nine doubles. He’s also walked at an 8.6 percent clip against a 20.7 percent strikeout rate.

Rojas is 25 years old and isn’t regarded as a top prospect, but he’s played all four infield slots and both outfield corners while tearing the cover off the ball in Double-A and Triple-A this season. He’s a potential near-term option for the D-backs who hit .322/.405/.561 in 195 Double-A plate appearances before graduating to Triple-A and raking at a comparable .310/.402/.586 clip. Rojas has a combined 20 home runs and 32 stolen bases this season.