Houston Astros bolster bullpen, get Seattle Mariners' Kendall Graveman in four-player trade

SEATTLE -- The Houston Astros have acquired Kendall Graveman, right-hander for the Seattle Mariners, in an unusual intra-division trade on Tuesday. This was as the teams were getting ready to face each other.Graveman, Rafael Montero and infielder Abraham Toro will be joining the AL West-leading Astros. Joe Smith will return to Seattle.Graveman, who was in tears, said that he was shocked at the trade and assumed that he would stick with the Mariners, who had won four straight against divisional rivals in gritty fashion.Graveman stated, "I didn’t see it coming. But there’s always that percent of, ‘This game’s a business.'" Graveman stood in front the Astros’ dugout. "I am being truthful and sincere. The way I feel is that [we] are] nine games over.500 on that side, and were playing pretty good baseball while I was there. This takes away the last five days honestly. We'll see if they rebound.This move will strengthen a Houston bullpen, which has struggled at times this season and has an ERA of above 4.James Click, the Astros general manager, stated that they are constantly looking for ways to improve every aspect of their roster. This one is primarily focused on the bullpen. We won't take any chances when it comes time to try to be in the running for the World Series.Graveman is 4-0 this year with a 0.82 ERA, 10 saves and a total of 30 appearances. Although he missed almost a month because of COVID-19 protocols in May, June and June, he has been dominating on the mound. Graveman has never allowed an earned run in any of his 12 previous appearances.It seems odd that Seattle would give up its most powerful reliever and fail to fill a need. The Mariners are just one game behind Oakland in AL wild-card races -- the Astros lead by five games.Graveman stated that his former teammates were shocked by the news and there was confusion among fans, players and observers about Jerry Dipoto, the Mariners general manager.In his post-trade conference news conference, Dipoto asked the first question: What makes this trade worthwhile for the Mariners?Dipoto stated that although it doesn't stand alone, the context is part of an ongoing story over the next few days as the trade deadline approaches.He said, "What's next could be as soon as tonight or tomorrow because it is our intention to be active."Dusty Baker, Houston manager, said that Ryan Pressly is his closest friend for the moment but that he will not hesitate to turn to Graveman.Baker stated, "In modern times, it seems that most teams trade to win the deal. But this is a trade which is going to benefit both."After being acquired from Texas in the offseason, Montero was designated by the Mariners for assignment last week. After not pitching in the 2020 season, Smith's career-worst 7.48 ERA has been recorded in 27 games for Houston.Toro discovered the trade during his round in the batting box.Toro stated, "And I just walked over here,"Then, he walked into the batting box to continue his warm-ups in a new uniform.Toro is now in his third season. He has played primarily at third base where veteran Kyle Seager is firmly established. Toro also has played first base, and has one game at the second base position this season. This is a position the Mariners might consider upgrading before the deadline.Toro is hitting.211 this season with six homers, 20 RBIs and 35 runs in 35 games.Toro stated that the Astros won't be able to stop them from being hungry after Seattle's come-from-behind victory on Monday, 11-8. "They were losing 7-0, and they came back. These guys are hungry.