The Astros acquired right-hander Matt Nevarez and two players to be named from the Texas Rangers for Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star.
Nevarez is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound flamethrower who, despite a few setbacks due to injuries over the course of his Minor League career, has struck out 126 batters in 107 1/3 career innings at the Minor League level. The 22-year-old owns a 2.83 ERA and nine saves with 50 strikeouts in 34 relief appearances for Class A Hickory.
The Astros aren't looking as the move as the first sign of surrender, but rather a good opportunity to stockpile some talent for the future.
"This was an unusual deal," Astros owner Drayton McLane said. "If we were interested in changing the total texture of the team, we would have done it before the Trade Deadline ended in July. I think [the players] will understand that if we were trying to change this team, we would have done that back in July."
With Rodriguez departed, the Astros will turn to Humberto Quintero and Chris Coste behind the plate.
"I think we can climb back into things," general manager Ed Wade said. "We made a trade for a veteran catcher on our club that we felt could provide us with some prospects coming back and at the same point felt we had the coverage from the standpoint of Quintero and Coste and some of the guys down in the Minor League system to cover us."
Since moving to within one game of the NL Central lead on June 22, Houston has gone 8-15.
"We started sliding a little bit, and we couldn't stop it at all," infielder Geoff Blum said. "It's frustrating, but in the same sense I don't think many people expected us to even be that close to begin with."
Still, the team hasn't given up hope on making a final run this season. The Astros have been known for remarkable runs to the postseason in years past.
"We're going to miss Pudge, but we've got to keep going," outfielder Hunter Pence said. "I'm not giving up. Crazy things can happen. You never know. Maybe some of the other teams can go into a funk, and we can get hot. Crazier things have happened and we have the talent to do it."