There are varying degrees of grades regarding the Astros’ roster shuffling and juggling over the winter. Most fans are happy to finally see some active movement to significantly upgrade the major league roster. The question, however, is more about the type of improvement.
Some fans would like to see more upgrades to the rotation. Others believe a dominant closer would move the team into the playoff contender realm. Still others believe a corner infielder is needed. So, while Jeff Luhnow suggests there won’t be any more major moves before the season, here are some suggestions for a few trades that would help to crystallize the roster through trade.
- Kyle Smith (or another young pitcher), Domingo Santana and a lower-level prospect to Boston for 3B Garin Cecchini. Cecchini is nearly MLB-ready, but he’s blocked by the newly acquired Pablo Sandoval.Cecchini isaLuhnow-style,highOBP left-handed hitter. He might need a little more seasoning at AAA, but would be in Houston be the end of May or early June.
- Brett Oberholtzer, Tony Kemp, Domingo Santana and another lower-level player for Cole Hamels, $30 million andaPTBNL. Philadelphia would either pay for the $6 million 2019 buyout or add $12 million for that season if it vests.
- Cash or player return can see-saw if you want to play with it. Higher cash included, lower player return, or vice versa.
- Kemp, Jon Singleton and lower-level pitcher to Philadelphia for Jonathan Papelbon and $5 million.
- 2016 option would become guaranteed for Papelbon if he is traded.
- Or Houston could simply do a straight-up Chris Carter for Papelbon and $5 million, though Philadelphia is more likely to want prospects in return.
- Here’s another thought: Kemp, Singleton, two lower-level prospects to Philadelphia for Jonathan Papelbon, Ryan Howard and $15 million.
- Astros could also request the Phillies buyout the 2017 option ($10 million).
- Carter to Colorado for Carlos Gonzalez. Yes, a little risky, but CarGo is a Gold Glove OF. This trade upgrades the OF and provides the Astros other pieces to use in trade if necessary. Evan Gattis could slide into the DH role (or to first base if Singleton is either moved or sent to Fresno). Since the Rockies want to unload Gonzalez’ contract, Houston could conceivably ask for $$ in the deal as well.
These are only speculative. All the players (at least on the opposition) are known to be on the block and Houston could clearly plug them in easily. Granted, the names could change on the Astros’ side depending on specific players targeted by Philadelphia, Boston or Colorado, but these aren’t totally unreasonable.