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Astros Trade Deadline Targets

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With the impending MLB Trade Deadline a mere two weeks away, the Houston Astros will be looking to make some moves and be very active before the July 30 deadline. The Astros are currently sitting in first place in the American League West. Still, for the Astros to make a deep run into October, they will need to address the bullpen and possibly the rotation if they want to make a run at a second World Series title.

Possible Trade Candidates

Craig Kimbrel – Closer, Chicago Cubs

This comes as no surprise if you’re an Astros fan. There has been lots of talk over the last couple of weeks about the possibility of Craig Kimbrel coming to the Astros via trade. Since coming over to the Cubs in 2018, Kimbrel has been up and down regarding his constancy on the mound but has since turned things around in 2021. Kimbrel’s slash line this season has him ranked fourth in the league with 21 saves, a .53 ERA in 33.2 innings pitched. To land Kimbrel, the Astros will have to give up some talent in return.

The Astros need bullpen help, and Kimbrel can definitely help in this regard. The Astros have Ryan Pressly as their current closer, and he (Pressly) has done exceptionally well this season, so adding Kimbrel will only make the back end of the bullpen more solid. With two closers, this will give manager Dusty Baker more options to close out the game. Using Kimbrel and Pressly in back-to-back games would be something fun to watch.

Kyle Gibson – Starting Pitcher, Texas Rangers

This is probably one target that may not be on the Astros radar, but it is worth mentioning. Kyle Gibson has been stellar this season in his three appearances against the Astros. In his (Gibson) last three starts against the Astros, Gibson has kept the Astros hitters at bay with a .215 team batting average, a 1.86 ERA, and has a 4.79 K/9 rate, all against an Astros offense that is known to put up runs.

If the Astros were to trade for Gibson, there would have to be some reshuffling in the rotation and the 40-man roster. The Astros would not have to give up any top prospects for Gibson, but it would certainly mean the end of the Jake Odorizzi experiment. Since coming to the Astros, Odorizzi has a 3-5 record, with a 4.09 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 12 appearances this season.

Max Scherzer – Starting Pitcher, Washington Nationals

If the Astros were somehow able to land a trade for Max Scherzer without giving up top prospects in return, it would mean owner Jim Crane is serious about wanting to go over the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) and bring another World Series championship to Houston.

There will be some roadblocks to land Scherzer. The first is Scherzer falls under the 10/5 rule. The 10/5 rule is where a player has played 10 seasons in the big leagues and has also played five straight seasons with one club. This rule gives a player the option to veto any trade that a player is offered.

The second roadblock is that Scherzer is looking for an extension before agreeing to a trade. For the Astros to trade for Scherzer, they will have to have a contract extension ready before Scherzer signs with the team. This may be something the Astros may not want to consider just based on Scherzer’s age.

The third and final roadblock is the fact that the Nationals may not want to trade Scherzer. As it currently sits, the Nationals are only six games out of first place in the National League East. There is still a lot of baseball left this season, and most of the games left for the Nationals are division opponents. The Nationals are not a team that has been known to throw in the towel too early. If we all recall 2019, the Nationals were 19-31 in May only to turn it around in the second half of the season to win the World Series.

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Jeff "Rip" Griffin is a current MLB writer covering the Houston Astros. Rip is also the host of The Rip Griffin Show on Apple Podcasts. Rip holds a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology, focusing in Sports Management from the University of Houston - Victoria.