Astros plan to be involved in trade market

Astros plan to be involved in trade market

OAKLAND -- Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Monday "there's a good chance" he will be able to make a trade prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but said there's no urgency to do so. Luhnow didn't say what the Astros are targeting, but starting pitching and left-handed relief pitching are their biggest needs.

What Luhnow has to weigh over the next couple of weeks is whether there's an arm on the market that would be an upgrade over what they have now, and at what price? Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers and Doug Fister are entrenched in the rotation, and Mike Fiers has pitched better of late.

"We're having discussions with several teams about the players that may be available and talking about some of our players that would be required in return," Luhnow said. "Those are happening. There's no real sense of urgency on our part necessarily, but as teams pick up the pace, we're certainly going to be involved in the conversations."

Luhnow said when it comes to acquiring starting pitching, the target would be a pitcher who's healthy and pitching well and would fit into a possible playoff rotation.

"That's the bar we're using," he said. "And then if you clear that bar, you have to give something up to get a pitcher like that, so we'll think about it. We've done it before and we'll be prepared to do it again."

Tony Sipp has been the Astros' only left-handed reliever all season, but he hasn't been as effective this year as he was last year. The Astros last year traded for lefty Oliver Perez after the non-waiver deadline and would like a second lefty option. Andrew Miller or Will Smith could be potential targets.

"There might be some of those opportunities available," Luhnow said. "Our 'pen has been so good this year I don't feel there's necessarily a sense of urgency, but you think about the type of left-handed hitters we may face in the playoffs, having an extra left-handed arm that we have confidence in and experience in those situations is something we could benefit from."

• Luhnow said Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel, who was signed Saturday, is scheduled to report to the team's facility in Kissimmee, Fla., on Wednesday and will continue to work out until his work visa is obtained. That could take a couple of weeks, but he can't play in games until it's obtained.

• When asked when top prospect Alex Bregman could join the Astros, Luhnow said: "Suffice it to say, there are multiple players on that Triple-A roster that, if we had an opening, would be up if they can help our club, and Bregman is among those. He's worked himself in that situation more quickly than most players."

Bregman has played only shortstop so far at Triple-A Fresno after working some at third base at Double-A Corpus Christi, and Luhnow said he would play at other positions soon.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.