Between those two options, I'd say it's starting pitching. I really don't see them trading for an outfielder considering there's already somewhat of a logjam there -- and that's before Yulieski Gurriel arrives. Alex Bregman, MLBPipeline.com's No. 1-ranked prospect, is also expected to get some time in the outfield, so it's getting crowded. The Astros would like to add a starting pitcher, but at what price? Any starter who might be a significant upgrade over what they have now might not be worth the prospects they'd have to give up to get him.
I think left-handed relief help is their most likely trade target at this point. Manager A.J. Hinch would prefer to have two relievers down the stretch, and Tony Sipp
-- the only lefty currently in the bullpen -- hasn't been as effective as he was last season. If you're looking for a name? Keep an eye on Will Smith
of the Brewers. Of course, any trade with them would be challenging, because Milwaukee general manager David Stearns -- who cut his teeth with the Astros -- knows Houston's system so well.
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It's so difficult to find quality catchers, especially those who can hit, and the Astros haven't gotten as much production offensively from Jason Castro
the past two years as they'd like. Evan Gattis
has provided a good punch offensively from that spot, but the Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy
would be a guy you could play every day and consider an upgrade. That being said, give me the starting pitcher, especially if he's going to be around for more years. Look around the league. Catching is primarily a defensive position, so if you have a solid staff and a great signal-caller, you're in a position to win.
OK, I'll bite. Let's consider the market for Lucroy
is pretty hot and the fact Stearns knows the Astros' system inside and out. So if you're the Astros, would you be willing to give up pitcher David Paulino
and outfielders Daz Cameron and Derek Fisher for Lucroy, who you would only have through 2017? That's three pretty promising prospects, but the Brewers still might want more, considering the interest in Lucroy.
Yes, I agree. Adding Bregman in late July and Gurriel -- the Cuban infielder signed a couple of weeks ago -- to the lineup has the possibility of giving Houston a pair of impact bats down the stretch. It's for that reason, I don't think we'll see the Astros trade for another bat, but I'm sure they'll explore what's out there. Bregman started 0-for-9 against some nasty pitching, but he doesn't look overmatched. I think he will hit. Gurriel has a strong track record and is 32 years old, so he's going to have to come to Houston and hit from the get-go, considering we're nearly into August. He's making a lot of money, and the Astros have some ground to make up.
I don't see either one having much value right now. They both make a lot of money and haven't performed well lately. Colby Rasmus
hit well at the start of the season, but Carlos Gomez
has been a disappointment in Houston. A young team would have no reason to trade for either, and a contending team likely wouldn't need them, especially if it has to give up some of its players to get them. They both could lose playing time as Bregman and Gurriel get settled in, but I don't see a trade market for them.