Will the Houston Astros be Buying at the Deadline?
Will the Houston Astros trade for a pitcher before the trade deadline? The Astros are on pace to win another World Series and with the Oakland Athletics eight games behind, Houston is a near lock to win the American League West. The one weakness the Astros have shown is its starting rotation. After Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Wade Miley, there is a huge disparity in talent. With Jose Urquidy posting a 5.54 ERA this year, the team is in need of a starting arm that they can trust when the post season starts up.
What They Have to Offer
The Astros have two top prospects that teams may be interested in trading for before the deadline. Houston has a potential future starter in Forrest Whitley. He was drafted in the first round of the 2016 MLB draft. He’s been struggling as of late in the Minor League system. His ERA has traveled north of 12.00, where he was put on the injured list back in May for shoulder fatigue.
The second prospect they have is Kyle Tucker. He’s an outfielder that currently plays on the Round Rock Express. He was drafted 5th overall in 2015. He is sporting a .261 batting average with 25 home runs this year.
The only other piece that they can possibly trade at the moment would be trading short stop Carlos Correa to a team in need. After signing Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve to big, long-term contracts and George Springer up for renewal, the Astros aren’t too inclined to extend Correa at this time, if ever. The past two seasons have seen a decline in his productivity and ability to stay healthy. Correa has been on the 60-day injured list after suffering a broken rib earlier in the season. His return should bolster an already dangerous line-up, should he return to form.
Pitchers Left on the Board
The team has been in trade rumors with big named arms like, Noah Syndergaard, Mike Minor, Madison Bumgarner, and Marcus Stroman. With the San Francisco Giants heating up in the later part of the season, Madison Bumgarner is more than likely off the market. Which leaves some great options at the pitching position, should Houston choose to buy before the July 31st deadline.
Noah Syndergaard has not had the best year so far which helps lower his price tag on the trade block. He’s posted an ERA of 4.33 in his 20 starts this year. With the New York Mets (47-55) 12.5 games back behind the Atlanta Braves, it may be the time to trade him for some much needed help in their offensive lineup or the bullpen for next season.
The Astros could use a pitcher like Syndergaard with his fastball being as fast as it is. But the Mets have been in trade talks with the San Diego Padres for a better part of a year. It is more than likely that he will be going there instead of Houston.
Mike Minor has been a solid arm for the Texas Rangers. At 31 years of age, he’s striking out an average of 6.5 batters per game, while positing an ERA of 3.00. Minor has been an All-Star and could add some veteran experience to the starting rotation. Limiting hitters going long or getting on base will be pivotal for the Astros in the post season. Minor is also a pitcher that could be plugged into any lineup and boost the team’s effectiveness in games.
The Rangers have Minor under contract until the 2020 season. With his reasonable salary, $9.5 million, and the new retractable roof being installed for next season, the Rangers may be reluctant to deal out a reliable pitcher like Minor, unless they were able to replace him with fresh young talent to compete in the near future.
Marcus Stroman had a rough start to the season. He posted an ERA of 4.31 and 4.04 in May and June respectively. Since then, he has brought that ERA down to 2.96 on the year. He also has the second highest ground ball rate this year in the major leagues.
The Toronto Blue Jays have control over Stroman through the 2020 season. If teams want Stroman, they will need to pay a higher price for him. The Blue Jays need help both in pitching and on offense as well. They play in a tough division, and will require plenty of power to compete with the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and the New York Yankees.
What will They Do?
This trade season has seen many top named organizations seeking help with pitching. Organizations such as the Atlanta Braves, Milwuakee Brewers, Houston Astros, New York Yankees, and the Boston Red Sox have driven the demand for pitchers to an all-time high. With pitchers like Madison Bumgarner and Trevor Bauer no longer in the trade rumors, it has left a disparity of quality pitchers for an already barren market. Houston has shown no interest in trading off any of their prospects to any team to help the playoff push. Couple a lack of interest in selling their top prospects with the fact that Carlos Correa hasn’t played in two months; it is not likely the Astros can put together a quality offer for any top pitcher on the trade block this year.
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