HOUSTON -- The Astros spent nearly the entire first half of the season in first place with a roster that saw a steady influx of young players, including hotshot rookies Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers Jr. Adding some veterans to the mix prior to the Trade Deadline can only bolster Houston's chances in the second half.
Moments after Jason Castro's walk-off homer to polish off a three-game sweep of the Angels on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park with a 3-0 win, Astros players said they welcomed the latest move -- a trade with the Brewers that landed outfielder Carlos Gomez and right-hander Mike Fiers in exchange for four prospects.
"It's awesome to get somebody who can help us win," injured outfielder George Springer said. "Obviously, we want to go out and play the same way, and he's going to fit in well here. He'll help us win."
Gomez, 29, is a right-handed-hitting center fielder who was batting .262 with eight homers 43 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 74 games for the Brewers. He's a career .260 hitter with 99 homers 387 RBIs and 211 stolen bases 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.
"Moves are exciting this time of year," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Obviously it does affect the clubhouse and there's some tough decisions to make in the next few days. There's an energy about this team clearly, and I think that energy probably only got a little bit bigger, specifically when Gomez gets here. He's a pretty energetic guy."
Castro is quite familiar with Gomez from their days battling together in the National League Central division.
"He's a pretty dynamic player," Castro said. "He's one of those guys you hate playing against, because he can do so much damage on both sides of the ball. He's a really outstanding defender and another guy in the lineup that has all the tools."
In the last week, the Astros added pitcher Scott Kazmir, Gomez and Fiers via trade and welcomed back infielder Jed Lowrie from injury after missing more than three months. And with a two-game lead in the division, the Astros are in it for the long haul.
"Obviously, with the good start we had, the long-term goal was, 'Let's see how long we can keep this going and keep playing this type of baseball that we're capable of, and we'll see what happens,'" Castro said. "That's kind of what has transpired this year, and it's been a lot of fun to be a part of it."