HOUSTON -- It's no secret the Astros would like to add a starting pitcher and another left-handed reliever before the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline, though general manager Jeff Luhnow said recently there's no sense of urgency. Manager A.J. Hinch echoed those sentiments Sunday in the wake of a report by FanRag Sports that the Astros were one of the teams "pushing hard" for Padres starter Andrew Cashner.
Hinch was working in the Padres' front office when San Diego acquired Cashner from the Cubs after the 2011 season. The 6-foot-6 right-hander is 4-7 this year with a 4.79 ERA in 15 starts, so he would probably only be a marginal upgrade at best over anyone the Astros currently have in the rotation. He's allowed two earned runs in 11 2/3 innings in his last two starts after getting rocked for eight runs in 2 2/3 innings on July 8 at Dodger Stadium, so that could help his trade stock.
"Names are going to be bantered around in our sport," Hinch said. "As much as people fluctuate from team to team or somebody like me, who's been in different roles on different teams, there's always a connection to people in our business. I'm not going to comment on players specifically that are on other teams, but ... there's much ado about nothing for the most part until something happens."
The dilemma for the Astros is whether adding a middle-of-the-rotation starter would be worth it. Of course, Chris Sale of the White Sox and Chris Archer of the Rays could be had, as well, in trades, but they would come with a substantial pricetag of prospects. For that reason, the Astros might be more likely to acquire a reliever or do nothing.
"I have a lot of trust and faith in our team, so it's hard for me to really lobby for much of anything when I'm going to stand in front of our 25 guys and say we have the best on the field we can have," Hinch said. "I understand this time of year is always one that you want to upgrade in certain areas and I see areas we could play better and be better, but if the Trade Deadline ends with the group we have, I have a lot of faith in them. If there's a true upgrade that's an obvious upgrade that helps us be better, then I'm sure we'll explore it."
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.