NEW YORK (AP) — The Houston Astros acquired ace Zack Greinke on Wednesday, adding another All-Star to a formidable rotation that already included Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
The AL West leaders got Greinke in a startling trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks for four minor leaguers. It came right before the deadline to complete deals to have players eligible for the postseason.
“We are just really shocked and ecstatic,” Cole said before Houston played at Cleveland, adding, “I’m really proud to be an Astro right now.”
Cole said when the players learned of the deal there was “a lot of hooting and hollering at 4:07. We are ecstatic. We’re getting a Hall of Fame pitcher, a craftsman.”
Greinke pitched five innings earlier in the day at Yankee Stadium, giving up two runs to New York. He is 10-4 with a 2.90 ERA this season.
Greinke left the ballpark without commenting to reporters.
The Astros won the 2017 World Series and lost the 2018 ALCS to eventual champion Boston. They loaded up again with the 35-year-old Greinke, getting a six-time All-Star and the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner.
Greinke’s addition gives the Astros four starting pitchers with ERAs in the top 15 in the majors this year. Verlander is fifth with a 2.73 ERA, Greinke is ninth, Cole is 11th at 2.94 and Wade Miley ranks 14th at 3.06.
Verlander leads the AL in wins (14) and ERA, and Cole tops with the majors with 212 strikeouts.
Greinke has a $31.5 million salary this year as part of a $206.5 million, six-year contract. He is owed $32 million in both 2020 and 2021, and gets a $2 million bonus for being traded.
The Astros, who began the day with an eight-game division lead over Oakland, also acquired two other pitchers, getting starter Aaron Sanchez and reliever Joe Biagini from Toronto.
“Houston made some big deals. They’re really good. They were good before,” Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said.
For Greinke, the Diamondbacks got right-handers J.B. Bukauskas and Corbin Martin, outfielder Seth Beer and infielder Joshua Rojas.
For Biagini, Sanchez and minor league outfielder, the Blue Jays acquired outfielder Derek Fisher. The Astros also sent catcher Max Stassi to the Angels for minor league outfielders Rainier Rivas and Raider Uceta.
In 2017, Houston acquired Verlander from Detroit on Aug. 31, which was the last day for deals that season to make players eligible for the playoffs.
The Astros were in the market for another starter this year as the rotation behind their top three has performed inconsistently this season. Greinke provides a pronounced upgrade over the variety of pitchers they’ve cycled through to start behind their stars.
In a 16-year career with Kansas City, Milwaukee, the Angels, Dodgers and Diamondbacks, he’s gone 197-122.
The Diamondbacks added a pitcher for their rotation, getting Mike Leake from Seattle. He recently took a perfect game into the ninth inning, and was 9-8 with a 4.34 ERA.