On how the trade evolved: "I think as we approached the deadline our goal was always to add a controllable starting pitcher -- at least one starting pitcher to the mix to help this ballclub. We were fortunate to acquire Jarred Cosart. We were also able to aquire Kike Hernandez, the infield-outfielder and Triple A outfielder Austin Wates in the deal."
Did this come down to the wire? "There was a number of deals we were working on today. Some of them got legs. This one got legs. This was the only one that got legs. There were some others we came up a little short on. But in the end we were happy to add a starting pitcher to the fold."
What stood out about Cosart? "Just the ceiling and the power to the stuff. Kind of fits who we are. He's a one-plus (one-plus year of MLB experience), young starting pitcher. He's 24 years old. Three-plus pitches. And we think he'll fit in nicely with our existing inventory as someone we can grow with."
What about Hernandez? "Versatile piece. I think for Red and his staff it's very valuable to have a versatile piece. We know Kike played center field against us. He can play short. He can play second. He can play left. Versatile piece. And as we got into this knowing we were going to give up a lot in the deal we wanted to try to get something valuable to us in return."
Did you look at rentals? "We totally gave that consideration. You guys all read the rumors. We had been in on a lot of those discussions. But ultimately when you're talking about the cost to acquire those type of players we wanted something we could hold onto. For us and our situation, our market we wanted a piece we could move forward with that could help us in the near term and the long term."
How tough was it to get ride of Jake Marisnick and Colin Moran? "Like I told you, it's a tough market to shop in. We knew that going into the starting pitcher market that it was going to be costly, expensive and we definitely paid a lot to get these players. But we spoke to all our people -- Stan Meek, Albert Gonzalez -- they know it's their jobs to go out there and give us the ammunition to go out there and help this major league club and this organization and that's what we were able to do."
How much of it was about making the playoffs this year? "I think we've always said we're just trying to get better. We know believe in this club and this clubhouse and we believe in what they're capable of doing. Jarred Cosart will help us win more games and to be a better ballclub and hopefully that winds up with a playoff spot. "
Was it important to send a signal to the clubhouse? "I think we were just trying to make the best deal for us. As I told you yesterday if we had not made a deal I don't think we would have thought any less of the ballclub. Just meant it didn't work out. But we were very happy with the pieces we were able to add."
Was this trade something that developed over time? "This has been ongoing. There were probably other things we had been working on longer. This one was one we had been discussing and really as you get closer to the deadline it just intensifies. This one, as we got into it, we just had to make the pieces work. Ultimately we did and we were very happy with the return we were able to get."
What did you see from Cosart when he started against you Saturday? "Just power stuff. Fastball in the upper 90s. Power slider. I think he'll fit nicely into our rotation. Definitely in this ballpark. He's a one-plus, controllable starting pitcher that can grow with us."
You mentioned you gave up a lot... "[Trades are] all difficult and this one was definitely difficult because we gave up three pieces we really like. Moran, obviously our first round pick from last year. Jake Marisnick, a very dynamic outfielder who is growing into his ability. And then the young piece. Francis Martez is a very interesting Dominican arm. On top of that, the Comp pick. We did give a lot. But as we told you guys the starting pitching market is very expensive and we're very happy to have acquired Jarred Cosart."
Were there any other trades that came close? "There were some really cool ones that just didn't happen. You guys would have been pretty surprised had they happened. But they didn't. Nothing to talk about. It's always a fun time."
Any names outside of the ones mentioned by the media you were in on? "We were in on all of those guys. The only one that wasn't accurate was John Danks. I don't know where that came from."
Were you surprised by all the deals the Red Sox made? "I'm not because Boston was a seller. Everything they did made a lot of sense for what they were this year, acquiring pieces that will help them in the future. Given that fact, it made a lot of sense. If they're competitive, and they're winning, those trades probably don't happen."
Is Hernandez going to be your future second baseman? "I think we love the bat. He was leading the PCL in hitting before he got called up with Houston. We'd seen a lot of him through the Puerto Rican Winter League, and Triple-A and the big leagues. It's a very good bat. What you're seeing offensively is not a surprise by our evaluation. I know I had talked about the pitcher and the second baseman. But the focus was always the pitcher. Once you got into discussions with Houston, and they did have a second baseman that you liked. You wanted to try to steer things towards getting what you wanted, especially at the cost of the players that were being discussed. Hernandez is a 22-year-old zero (service time). We have full control over him. We love the offense and the versatility. So this is another piece that we can grow with, moving forward."
Does his defense need work? "No. He's a solid defender wherever you put him. We saw him make the play in center field, sure. But we've seen his defense and we're confident wherever he plays."
Was his speed intriguing? "It was more of the bat element that was more impressive for us. He's an average, to a tick above average runner. He's not a speed merchant by any stretch of the imagination. But this is an above average offensive player, in our estimation. That's what was attractive to us, as we got deeper into discussions with the Astros."
How did the trade develop? "It started with Cosart and as Marisnick and Moran came up in discussions. When you're talking about two huge pieces, at least in our estimation in Marisnick and Moran, we said let's really get some value back. We all recognize the cost of starting pitching, but you're talking about two, if not two, close-to-Major-League-ready bats in those two players. So we wanted to make sure we got value back. Hernandez and then Wates came into the discussion."
When did you begin targeting Cosart? "We had a laundry list of controllable starting pitchers we liked and he was right in the think of it. So we were obviously paying attention when he pitched against us. You know how deadline's work. It was important for us [to see him] because we got to see him first hand and how he competed and what our guys thought of him and facing him. We left that outing pleasantly encouraged with what he represented. It became a serious consideration for us after that fact."
How tough was it to trade the competitive balance pick? "It's a valuable piece. I said it when we traded for Bryan Morris. I've said, if it's not something that is helping us, it's something we're going to hold onto because it's the 34th or 35th overall pick in the Draft, and it has significant value. We saw what it turned into, Bryan Morris and Kevin Gregg for us this year. I think as you look at the starting pitcher market. There weren't a lot of starting pitchers moved. The starting pitchers that were moved, they came at a heavy, heavy, heavy price. I think you're seeing what it costs to acquire starting pitching."
How close did the trade come to the 4 p.m. deadline? "It might be the all-time closest for us. Conine was running around saying his was the closest back in '03. His was like 45 seconds before the deadline. This one was under that. You agree before the timing on the players and then you have to get the medical approved. So the doctors are working and you get the call and that's when it's good. We were under a minute and by the time I got the call by MLB it was close to say the least."
What can you say about Wates? "In giving up Jake we wanted to try to protect ourselves as bes we could with an above average defender which Wates is. A base stealer. And a player who might be a special for us in the long run just because of what he represents. He's a premium position base stealer. An defensive center fielder with base stealing ability. We're excited he was the third piece. They're all valuable to us in the deal. But to get Hernandez for a team like us with his versatility and then to replace Marisnick, our call-up."