In the late hours on Wednesday night, a trade sending Carlos Gomez to the New York Mets fell through due to some questions about a hip injury that Gomez sustained earlier this season. On Thursday evening, the Houston Astros saw a chance to bolster the outfield and add another piece to their pitching staff by trading prospects for Gomez and Milwaukee Brewers teammate Mike Fiers.
After the trade had been made official, Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow spoke to the media about Gomez. “He’ll be plugged right in,” Luhnow said. “He’s an All-Star-caliber player. He’s got a lot of energy and has all the tools and abilities in the world.”
Gomez, 29, was hitting .262 with 20 doubles, eight homers, and 43 RBIs for the Brewers this season. Luhnow made it clear earlier on in the trade season that they wanted to find players who were under team control, and this trade accomplishes that with Fiers having a little under two seasons of MLB service time, and Gomez being under contract through the end of the 2016 season.
When asked about the importance of team control in this particular deal, Luhnow said, “We got Kazmir, who is going to be a free agent; we felt like our next move needed to be somebody that had some time here. We’ve got a lot of control on those players. That was part of the equation for sure.”
On a conference call with Houston media, Gomez spoke about the whirlwind of the last 24 hours. “Yesterday was a crazy night. Then I came in today for work and I got told again that I got traded to the Houston Astros. I had time to say hi to my teammates and prepare everything to be [in Houston] tomorrow to help the Houston Astros win.”
Much of the speculation about the trade going downhill between the Mets and Brewers was due to an injury that Gomez sustained earlier in the season. Gomez briefly addressed that during the call. “I don’t know about that report. The only thing I can tell you is that I’m ready physically and mentally to come to Houston and give everything that I have so that we can do something special.”
Fiers, also 29, has made 21 starts for Milwaukee this season and comes to Houston with a 5-9 record, 3.89 ERA, and 121 strikeouts in 118 innings. On his new arm, Luhnow gave no specifics as to how he’d be used but did say that he would come in and contribute right away. “We obviously have a full rotation, but he can fit right into that some way or another.”
Fiers echoed that sentiment to the media, saying that he hasn’t “talked to the team yet. Obviously they’ve got a good thing going there I’m just trying to fit in and do what I can.”
When asked if the trade caught him off-guard, Fiers admitted it did, but that it is important to focus on playing for the team you’re on at the moment.
“This is my first time going to another team,” Fiers said, “so it is definitely different for me. It’s normal to talk about people getting traded around this time of year. You try not to think about it because you’re trying to focus on your job and focus on the team you’re on at the moment, but when it came up I was definitely surprised but I’m excited at the same time. It’s exciting for me.”
The Astros had to send four prospects to the Brewers, including prized outfielder Brett Phillips, but Luhnow stressed that the team felt very good about the moves they have made to help the franchise win now. Joining Phillips in the trade were outfielder Domingo Santana, LHP Josh Hader, and RHP Adrian Houser. Both of the new acquisitions should be in Houston for the first game of the Arizona series starting on Friday evening.