Top trade options for the Astros


The trade season moved up to a higher gear with the trades of SS Manny Machado and RP Brad Hand in the last few days. While Machado is more of a concern if there will be an Astros’ World Series rematch with his new team, the Dodgers, Hand was a name that has been linked with the Astros a number of times over the last year. But that does not mean there are not other folks that Jeff Luhnow and the front office may be interested in chasing as the trade deadline approaches.

In the interest of full disclosure – the folks below were gleaned from a listing of the 75 most likely trade candidates by MLB Traderumors.

For this piece we will concentrate on the two positions that the Astros would likely have the most interest – catcher and relief pitching:

Catcher

  1. Wilson Ramos. The Rays catcher looked like a top candidate for a trade….until he suffered a hamstring injury, was put on the DL and will not return until after the non-Waiver (July 31) trade deadline. Even if he is healed by the waiver trade deadline (August 31) he is not likely to make it through waivers unclaimed and the Astros are at the very end of that line.
  2. J.T. Realmuto. A team interested in the 27-year-old Marlins catcher would owe him about $1 million for the rest of 2018 and then would “control” him through fairly pricey arbitration in 2019 and 2020. He has been a good catcher, who has stepped it up this season with a .310 BA/ .365 OBP/ .903 OPS slash 12 home runs and 45 RBIs and he is gunning down an impressive 43% of base stealers. If the Astros want him they may have to let go of a Kyle Tucker or a Forrest Whitley to get him in his prime.
  3. Devin Mesoraco. This Met backstop is a huge drop-off from Realmuto, but would cost a lot less to bring to the Astros. First, he is a rental as he turns into a free agent after the season. Second, he is still owed about $2-3 million by the Mets. Third, he was great for one season (2014) and has been mostly hurt or ineffective since then. This season he has put up a ho-hum slash of .225/.305/.693 with 8 home runs and 22 RBIs. The Astros would only be interested if the Mets sent money along or took a fringe prospect back and of course only if they think Brian McCann is not coming back.
  4. A.J. Ellis. He is a solid 37 y.o. veteran – with a good year hitting the ball (.284 BA /.392 OBP / .750 OPS) and little power – 1 HR in 109 ABs. He is also throwing out a good 31% of runners with the Padres. He would only make about $400 K the rest of the season and would be a rental as he turns back to FA. Would be a decent veteran backup to bring in for a low-end prospect.

Relievers

  1. Jeurys Familia. The RHP was excellent for the Mets between 2014 and 2016 including 51 saves in 2016, but was used a ton (76,76 and 78 games).  He then had an injury-riddled 2017 with poor results. He is back strong in 2018 (2.88 ERA and 17 saves). He would cost a little under $3 million for the rest of 2018 and would be a rental as he goes into free agency. Would probably cost a couple good but not top end prospects.
  2. Zach Britton. The LHP was superb for the Orioles between 2014 and 2016 (120 total saves and ERAs of 1.65, 1.92 and 0.54) He missed a big chunk of 2017 with injury and then blew out his Achilles tendon in the off-season. His results in the 15 games since his return have been so-so. However, he has been scoreless in the last 7 games and seems to be getting back to his norm of being a ground ball machine. He would be a rental and would cost about $4 million between now and the end of the season. The Orioles showed they were a bit more interested in quantity than quality in their trade of Manny Machado for five, not top prospects. Maybe the Astros could package some younger prospects with a AAAA guy or two.
  3. Joakim Soria. The White Sox RH closer has been very good this season with a 2.75 ERA and 14 saves. His 11.3 K/9 IP is his best since 2009 and his 2.3 BB / 9 IP is also very good. He is 34 y.o. and is owed approx.. $3 million for the balance of 2018. He could be picked up on a $10 million option for 2019 or bought out for $1 million. He probably again would cost a couple good but not great prospects and maybe some AAAA talent.
  4. Raisel Iglesias. Since moving from he rotation to the bullpen for the Reds, the RHP has been very good for the last 2-1/2 seasons. This year he has a 2.36 ERA and 19 saves for a team that is rebuilding. He is 28 y.o. and is signed for reasonable dollars. He would cost about $1.4 million for the rest of 2018 and then $5.7 million for both 2019 and 2020. With this controllability, the Astros would probably have to go a bit higher in what prospects they offer, perhaps someone from their Top 5 and a couple of others.
  5. Felipe Vazquez. The Lefty closer for the Pirates is a step down in 2018 from his breakout 2017 season. His ERA is a decent 3.05 with 23 saves. His K’s are up to 12.4 K/ 9 IP, but his walks and hits are up as his WHIP has gone from an excellent 0.889 to a passable 1.282. He is only owed $1 million for the rest of 2018, but he is controlled for the next 3 seasons at $4.5, 5.75 and 7.75 million. Past that the team could pick him up in 2022 and 2023 for $10 million each or buy him out at a low cost. With this much control, even with a little less performance – he is going to be costly in prospects.
  6. Pick a controllable RH reliever –Kirby Yates of the Padres, Nate Jones of the White Sox, Kyle Barraclough of the Marlins, Shane Greene of the Tigers, Mychal Givens of the Orioles,  Keone Kela of the (spit!!) Rangers – They are all controllable through at least 2020 with Kela and Givens through 2021 mostly thru arbitration. They all have drawbacks. Yates is performing way above his career numbers plus he may be the reason the Padres gave up Brad Hand. Jones has a good ERA (2.55), but his walk rate at 5.1 BB/9 IP is scary. Greene has an elevated ERA (4.05) with 19 saves and good K and walk numbers, but his HR rate doubled this season. Givens has the worst ERA of the group (4.28) after a good 2017 with his hits and walks way up this season. Kela is maybe the most attractive of this group at 25 y.o. and arb eligible for 2019 thru 2021, but would the Rangers deal with the Astros. His ERA is decent (3.27) and he has 23 saves. None of these guys should cost the moon – but not all may be available.
  7. Other folks – Tyler Clippard, Seunghwan Oh, John Axford, Jake Petricka – all of the Blue Jays, Sergio Romo of the Rays, Brad Ziegler of the Marlins and Brad Brach of the Orioles, Jake Diekman of the Rangers, Jerry Blevins of the Mets and Luis Avilian of the White Sox. All of them could be a help to a bullpen, but none would seem to be the back-end bullpen help that the Astros likely need.

Of course, there could be some other choice out there or the front office might say their back of the bullpen help for the playoffs is named Charlie Morton or Lance McCullers Jr. or in a real stretch, Forrest Whitley.

So – what are your thoughts?

Should the Astros pursue a catcher? Reliever?

Should they try to fill the reliever spot from within?

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142 comments on “Top trade options for the Astros

  1. ok i take out verlander here. he has his win and lets keep him from piling up too many innings. we have an off day monday and another thursday, so the bullpen wont get over worked either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My thought got cut off – Another good game – another series win – JV back on top – huge slam by Springer. Go for the sweep guys

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  2. Baltimore is trying to get worse by trading off their players. They are 40.5 games behind Boston and haven’t even played their 100th game yet. Their magic # to be eliminated is 23.
    Both JB Bukauskas and Corbin Martin pitched great for QC and CC last night and each got a win.
    Seattle was shut out 5-0 by the ChiSox and the Astros lead in the AL West is 6.0 games

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  3. Over at Climbing Tal’s Hill, Romo discusses a potential trade for Britton. His proposed trade is:

    Yordan Alvarez (#3 prospect)
    JD Davis (MLB ready)
    Framber Valdez (#15 prospect)
    Cionel Perez (#6 prospect) or David Paulino (# 8 prospect)

    for Zach Britton

    https://climbingtalshill.com/2018/07/20/astros-trade-thoughts-acquire-zach-britton-orioles/

    A 4 for 1 that includes two top 10 and one top 20, plus a MLB ready infielder with power potential, for a rental coming off of a serious injury is insane. I hope Lunhow does not share Romo’s opinion.

    This proposal gives more for Britton (rental) than was given in the Hand (controllable thru 2021)/ Cimber (controllable 5 years) AND Familia (rental) trades combined.

    This proposed package is rich and with just a little sweetener could land Realmuto.

    Just say NO!!

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  4. Things I wonder about:
    – Is somebody going to bail out the Yankees and relieve them of Sonny Gray’s contract? Why the hell would anybody reward the Yankees by doing this? All the east coast writers are trying to help NYY out by singing praises of Gray’s road stats and saying he is a perfect fit for a small market team.
    -Are the Astros the unmentioned team looking at Jose Iglesias? He’s a very good defensive SS who would be a rental. With everybody throwing names around, that scout’s affiliation being kept a secret sort of blends with secrets about another SS’s health.
    -The only reason I believe the Astros would trade one of their top 5 prospects is if they thought they weren’t good enough to repeat.
    – The better Dallas Keuchel looks, the less the Astros bullpen needs are. Come October, two starters will also be multi-inning relievers in that bullpen.
    – The AL’s only HR Derby participant is 0-7 with 2 Ks and 2 BBs since the derby.

    Liked by 3 people

    • My point by point response:

      I don’t see the Yanks being able to dump Gray without eating money or throwing in a kicker. I championed a trade for Gray last year. Nothing has ever been sweeter in my mouth than those words when I had to eat them!

      No problem with adding Iglesias if Correa is a question for the playoffs. I don’t think its the best option but I’d be OK with it.

      The Astros are the only team that does not have to make a trade, but I’d still deal a top 10 not named Whitley for Reamluto.

      Agreed.

      Bite your tongue and eat those words.

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  5. Here are my AL trade predictions:

    Yankees trade for a SP and depth – I look for Archer and Moose to be Yankees (Phillies beat them out on Hamels).
    Red Sox trade for BP and depth – I expect Britton and Whit Merrifield or Brian Dozier to be in Boston (I think Brewers will beat them out on Dozier).
    Seattle trades for SP and BP help – I expect Haap and Gyvens or Greene to wear M’s gear.
    A’s make one more move and pick up Diekman on the cheap from the Rangers.
    Indians make one more big push, this time for defense/ power and trade for Adam Jones

    And finally:

    Astros add Abreu and Soria in a deal with the White Sox.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Probably all wrong – but fun nonetheless.

        If Correa’s health is going to be a question down the stretch, I could realistically see the deal with the White Sox as being a possibility.

        I would still rather see all- in for Realmuto knowing that you will have CFM and LMJ out of the pen for the playoffs.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Astros trade with White Sox happens after a deal with the Marlin’s for Realmuto falls through. Jeter insists that Kate Upton be included to beef up his “rotation”. Verlander nixes the idea and the deal falls apart.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m reading my home tm Cubs going hard after Britton but they do not have the farm resources to make a hard push. Rather see Britton in an Astro uniform. O’s might try and get greedy with power house tms vying for Britton services I think. Which guy makes sense for us, Realmuto or Abreu if they go after either and what’s a reasonable price to pay for either?

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  7. Abreu and Realmuto are two very different targets.

    Abreu – aging veteran on the back- end of his career. Proven bat, but 2018 stats suggest he is in steep decline. Limited to 1B and is poor defensively. If he could produce at pre- 2018 levels would be catching lightning in a bottle. 1 year of arbitration in 2019, but doubt you would want to offer. I would not give more than a Fisher/ White/ Davis type player, a middling arm and maybe a low- level high floor/ high ceiling prospect.

    Realmuto – just reaching prime with steadily improving numbers. Best offensive catcher in the game. Above average defense and framing with ++ arm. Controllable fo 2 additional seasons. Has indicated willingness to extend. Addresses most concerning position on the team. A player to build on for now and the future. Will literally cost you the farm. Will probably require Stassi or Stubbs plus 3-4 top 30 prospects with 2 being top 10 and most likely one named wither Whitley or Tucker.

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  8. I don’t think they are auditioning him. He’s the youngest player on an AL MLB roster. I think that speaks to how highly they value him. I personally believe he will produce this year once the butterflies settle down.

    I would still include him in a deal for Realmuto if that’s what it took. I value catcher over LF and Realmuto is a “once in a generation” catcher. I don’t think the Astros share my views.

    As a note: I self- confessed that I wanted the Astros to deal for Sonny Gray last year so my judgement may not be that great!

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  9. George is hitting his way back it appears. They need to knock this lefty out to get to the bp, Heaney has tamed this lineup thus far

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