In a desperate attempt to make themselves relevant, the Houston Astros have traded minor league pitcher Chad Reineke to San Diego for Padres starting pitcher Randy Wolf. Wolf's current record for San Diego is 6-10 with a 4.74 ERA. Of further note is that he's 5-4 in San Diego with a 3.17 ERA in spacious Petco Park, but that he's 1-9 with a 6.63 ERA on the road. Of even further note is that Wolf is 1-3 in July with a 7.48 ERA, having given up 18 earned runs in 21.2 innings.
True, the Astros appear to have not given up much for Wolf. And since he's only under contract for the rest of this season, the team loses nothing if he continues to lose. What's surprising about this trade is that Wolf was seen in some quarters as a player who would be sought by teams in the playoff hunt that were desperate for pitching -- see, Yankees -- but instead the Padres traded him to Houston for nothing. Which to me indicates that either GM Ed Wade pulled off a big steal, or he just got taken to the cleaners, once again.
This also seems to indicate that the Astros believe they still have a chance to make the playoffs, and that like last year, instead of trying to sell off pieces with the hopes of making the Astros better in the future, the Astros are going to continue to hold onto the likes of Darin Erstad, Mark Loretta and Carlos Lee. Unless, of course, the Astros acquired Wolf in the hopes of packaging him in a deal for prospects from another team.
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But it appears that trading season with the Astros is open, and I can't help but wonder if Gerry Hunsicker's holding on Wade's other line, just trying to see what he can steal this year. -- John Royal