Astros GM James Click feels better about middle of bullpen after MLB trade deadline


(SportsRadio 610) -- Astros general manager James Click did not see too many weaknesses on his team as the trade deadline approached.

The Astros entered Friday night's series opener against the San Francisco Giants leading Major League Baseball in runs (562), hits (938), batting average (.267) and on-base percentage (.342).

The starting pitching had been solid, combining for the second lowest ERA (3.45) in the American League. The lone All-Star on the pitching staff is closer Ryan Pressly.

Houston also leads the Majors in fielding percentage (.989).

The only spot where the Astros were weak: the middle of the bullpen.

That's why they made a few moves to address the issue. They added Kendall Graveman from the Seattle Mariners and Yimi Garcia from the Miami Marlins -- both with success as closers to help bridge the gap between starters and Pressly.

Their final trade came at the expense of Houston's most dangerous baserunner and every day centerfielder Myles Straw, who was also popular in the locker room.

For Click, it was about weighing if the team could replicate Straw's production elsewhere, while addressing the weakness of their team, but not sacrificing the long term future.

Reserve outfielder Chas McCormick has been productive in limited action so far this season, which showed Click he could be ready for a larger role.

And in trading for Phil Maton, the Astros get a reliable strikeout artist to take the sixth, seventh, or eighth inning. Maton's strikeout ratio ranks sixth in the American League (13.28 strikeouts per 9 innings).

"We felt like the area that we needed to address was the middle of that bullpen," Click said Friday. "Certainly, there are guys we brought in because we think they can get big outs. But I think looking around the roster, that was the area that needed the most attention and also could get the most attention without sacrificing the long term goals of the franchise.

"We feel a lot better about our ability to bridge from the starting pitching back to Ryan Pressly. If our offense continues to perform at the level it has, if our starting pitching continues to perform at the level it has, I think we've put together a roster that should be very, very capable of competing for a World Series championship."