July 31 - The Arizona Diamondbacks may soon need to open a team store in Ashburn.
At today’s Major League Baseball trade deadline, Arizona acquired Stone Bridge graduate J.B. Bukauskas in a deal that sent six-time All-Star pitcher Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros. Bukauskas could eventually join a Diamondbacks rotation that already boasts Taylor Clarke, a graduate of Broad Run.
“I’m very excited,” Bukauskas wrote via text message. “Mixed emotions with everything going on but very excited for the new opportunity and very thankful for the opportunity the Astros have given me.”
Bukauskas, 22, was dealt along with three other prospects - first baseman Seth Beer, right-hander Corbin Martin and infielder Josh Rojas - in exchange for Greinke, who was 10-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 22 starts with Arizona. Beer, Bukauskas and Martin were all ranked among the Astros’ top five prospects by MLBPipeline.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported earlier today that the Diamondbacks are also sending $24 million to the Astros to help cover the $77 million remaining on Greinke’s 6-year, $206.5 million contract that runs through the 2021 season.
The 15th overall pick out of the University of North Carolina in 2017, Bukauskas was 2-4 with a 5.25 ERA and 98 strikeouts with 54 walks in 85.2 innings at Double-A Corpus Christi this season. The right-hander was 4-2 with a 2.14 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 59 innings over five stops in Houston’s farm system in his first full professional campaign last year.
Bukauskas was The Washington Post’s All-Met Player of the Year in 2014 at Stone Bridge and had a prolific three-year career at UNC, where he finished fifth all-time with 296 strikeouts. He pitched with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in the summer of 2016, then was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Pitcher of the Year and was a consensus first-team All-American after going 9-1 with a 2.53 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 92.2 innings the following spring.
In Arizona, Bukauskas could one day join a rotation that includes Clarke, who is 4-3 with a 5.53 ERA in 57 innings since being called up in late April. Clarke, 26, has posted his best outings in his past two starts, striking out seven and allowing two runs over six innings in a 5-2 win over Baltimore on July 24 and fanning six while surrendering one unearned run in 5.1 innings in a 4-2 win at the New York Yankees last night.
Today’s trade continues a recent trend of Northern Virginia natives being swapped at the deadline.
In 2016, Brandon Guyer (Herndon) was traded from Tampa Bay to Cleveland, who he helped reach the World Series and push the Chicago Cubs to a Game 7 before falling. In 2017, Ryan McBroom (Courtland) was dealt by Toronto to the Yankees in exchange for Rob Refsnyder. And last year, Justin Bour (Westfield) was traded by Miami to Philadelphia and Bobby Wahl (West Springfield) from Oakland to the New York Mets in a separate deal that sent closer Jeurys Familia to the A’s.
Photo of J.B. Bukauskas by Bill Mitchell