Astros add Gomez, Fiers from Brewers
HOUSTON -- The Astros landed the right-handed bat and starting pitcher they coveted Thursday, striking a deal with the Brewers for outfielder Carlos Gomez and right-hander Mike Fiers in exchange for four prospects -- outfielders Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana, right-hander Adrian Houser and left-hander Josh Hader.
Gomez, 29, is a right-handed-hitting center fielder who was batting .262 with eight homers and 43 RBIs in 74 games for the Brewers. He's a career .260 hitter with 99 homers and 387 RBIs in a nine-year career with the Mets (2007), Twins ('08-09) and Brewers ('09-15).
Fiers, 30, is 5-9 with a 3.89 ERA in 21 starts this year. In 118 innings, he's allowed 117 hits with 121 strikeouts and 43 walks. In his career with the Brewers, he's 21-28 with a 3.66 ERA in 71 career games, including 56 starts.
Both players are expected to be in uniform Friday.
"When you have the opportunity to get traded to a team in first place and has a chance to go to the playoffs, you're always excited," Gomez said. "I can take a couple of days to get there, but I said, 'No, get me a flight soon, so I can get there so I can play and continue to help the team with the way they've been playing so far.'"
The Astros, who also acquired slot No. 76 in the 2015-16 international pool, have a full 40-man roster with the additions of Gomez and Fiers and subtraction of Santana. Corresponding 25-man roster moves will be announced later.
The Astros, who last week traded for starting pitcher Scott Kazmir, began play Thursday with a one-game lead in the American League West and are clearly committed to trying to reach the playoffs for the first time in a decade. They've also put a premium on winning the division and avoiding a Wild Card game.
"To be able to bring a player like Carlos Gomez into our organization in the prime of his career to complement a lot of great players we have out there right now means we're serious about doing some damage this year, and in the years to come," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said.
Gomez was a National League All-Star in 2013-14 and won an NL Gold Glove Award in 2013, finishing ninth in the NL MVP Award voting after hitting .284 with 24 homers and 73 RBIs. Gomez will start in a crowded outfield that already includes premier defenders in Jake Marisnick and George Springer, who's out for another month with a fractured wrist, as well as Preston Tucker and Colby Rasmus.
"He's an All-Star-caliber player," Luhnow said of Gomez. "This guy's exciting. I think everybody here is going to love him once they get to know him. He's got a lot of energy, he's still 29 years old, and has all the tools and abilities in the world, and has a great personality, really charming guy, and he's going to make a lot of fans happy here, both with his play on the field and what he does off the field."
Gomez was nearly traded on Wednesday to the Mets, who nixed the deal because of concerns about Gomez's hip. He spent two weeks on the disabled list in April with a strained right hamstring and has been dealing with a sore right hip since at least early May, when he skipped three straight games in an effort to quiet the issue.
Luhnow said the team was comfortable with Gomez's health, and Gomez said he's ready.
"The only thing I can tell you is I'm ready and I prepared myself to play another 50 years," he said. "I'm ready physically, mentally to come to Houston and give everything I have to so we can be something special."
Gomez is in the third year of a four-year, $28.3 million deal that's paying him $8 million this year and $9 million next year. Fiers is still pre-arbitration and won't hit free agency until 2020.
The trade came together, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said, after the Brewers agreed to include Fiers and the Astros agreed to include Phillips, who was No. 2 on Houston's most recent prospect list, and 39th in baseball.
"I mean, there's always a little doubt in your mind when you give up great players that are on their way up, but I feel good that we're doing everything that we can as a front office, and ownership is supporting us to help this team really maximize its potential immediately," Luhnow said.
With the addition of Fiers and Kazmir to the rotation, the Astros have a surplus of starters. Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh are tied for the league lead in wins (12), rookie Lance McCullers Jr. has been terrific and veteran Scott Feldman has eight quality starts in 12 outings.
"Obviously they have a good thing going there, and I'm just trying to fit in every way I can and just help the club however," Fiers said. "Just playing against them, you can see why they're in first place. Everyone just plays together, plays as a team, and does the little things to win ballgames -- pitching, hitting and great defense."