In 2019, MLB teams will be facing a single trade deadline at the end of July. The waiver trade deadline at the end of August is gone, so if a team wants to make their version of a Justin Verlander championship building trade, they better have their ducks in a row by 4 PM eastern time on July 31.
Based on the current roster and performance it is likely that the Astros will be kicking the tires on Starting and Relief Pitching headed into the deadline. They have struggled to fill the 5th spot in the rotation (maybe Framber Valdez fills it, maybe not) and are relying on two guys in the #3 and #4 spots that did not pitch many innings (145 total) in 2018. They also have a bullpen that may be Jello soft (Chris Devenski / Cionel Perez) in some of their lower spots and where they may need a little help with the back end of Will Harris, Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna, which is not as rock solid as it once was.
It is early. Lots of things can change between now and the end of July. But here is a look at prospective starters and relievers based on a top 50 list from mlbtraderumors.com. It features mostly players from teams that are floundering and likely to be looking to throw in the towel before the deadline. (And the Reds are not as floundering as much as they were last weekend).
|Name||Team||Age||2019 $$ To Go *||Future||2019 W-L||2019 IP||2019 ERA||2019 WHIP|
|Madison Bumgarner – LH||Giants||29||$4 MM||$0||3-6||93||3.87||1.172|
|Marcus Stroman – RH||Blue Jays||28||$2.5 MM||1 Yr Arb||4-8||87.2||3.18||1.312|
|Matt Boyd – LH||Tigers||28||$900 K||3 Yr Arb||5-5||88.2||3.35||1.083|
|Tanner Roark – RH||Reds||32||$3.3 MM||$0||4-6||74.1||3.63||1.386|
|Jordan Lyles – RH||Pirates||28||$700 K||$0||5-3||64.1||3.64||1.228|
|Andrew Cashner – RH||Orioles||32||$3.2 MM||Note 1||6-3||76.1||4.48||1.336|
|Mike Leake – RH||Mariners||31||$3.5 MM||$11 MM Note 2||6-6||95.2||4.14||1.223|
|Danny Duffy – LH||Royals||30||$5.1 MM||2 Yrs $31 MM||3-3||54.1||4.64||1.399|
|Jeff Samardzija – RH||Giants||34||$6.6 MM||1 Yr $19.8||3-6||72.2||3.96||1.280|
|Zack Wheeler – RH||Mets||29||$2 MM||$0||5-5||94.2||4.94||1.331|
|Trevor Bauer – RH||Indians||28||$13 MM||1 Yr Arb||5-6||108.1||3.41||1.117|
|Name||Team||Age||2019 $$ To Go *||Future||2019 W-L / SV||2019 IP||2019 ERA||2019 WHIP|
|Will Smith – LH||Giants||29||$1.4 MM||$0||1-0 19 SV||29.2||2.12||0.809|
|Kirby Yates – RH||Padres||32||$1 MM||1 yr ARB||0-2 26 SV||32||1.13||0.813|
|Tony Watson – LH||Giants||34||$1.2 MM||Note 3||2-0 0 SV||28.2||2.83||1.116|
|Jake Diekman – LH||Royals||32||$800 K||Note 4||0-4 0 SV||30||4.50||1.200|
|Sam Dyson – RH||Giants||30||$5 MM||1 Yr Arb||2-0 1 SV||33||2.45||0.939|
|Alex Colombe – RH||White Sox||30||$2.5 MM||1 Yr Arb||2-1 15 SV||28.1||2.22||0.671|
|Shane Greene – RH||Tigers||30||$1.4 MM||1 Yr Arb||0-2 21 SV||29||0.93||0.862|
|Mychal Givens – RH||Orioles||29||$700 K||2 Yr Arb||0-4 6 SV||29||5.28||1.379|
|Ian Kennedy – RH||Royals||34||$5.5 MM||$16.5 MM||0-2 8 SV||29||3.72||1.310|
|Mark Melancon – RH||Giants||34||$3.6 MM||$14 MM||3-1 0 SV||29.1||3.38||1.466|
|Craig Stammens – RH||Padres||35||$800 K||$0||5-3 2 SV||36.2||3.93||1.145|
|Francisco Liriano – LH||Pirates||35||$600 K||$0||1-1 0 SV||33.2||2.14||1.188|
|David Hernandez – RH||Reds||34||$800 K||$0||1-3 1 SV||32||4.50||1.250|
|Felipe Vazquez – LH||Pirates||27||$1.5 MM||Note 5||1-0 16 SV||29.2||2.12||1.180|
|Raisel Iglesias – RH||Reds||29||$1.9 MM||3 Yr $24 MM||1-6 3 SV||31||2.90||1.387|
|Brad Hand – LH||Indians||29||$7 M||Note 6||3-2 20 SV||30.2||0.88||0.750|
|Caleb Smith – LH – Starter||Marlins||27||$200 K||3 Yrs Arb||3-4||66||3.41||1.015|
|Ken Giles – RH – Reliever||Blue Jays||28||$2.1 MM||1 Yr Arb||1-1 11 SV||25||1.08||1.040|
|Alex Wood – LH – Starter||Reds||28||$3.2 MM||$0||——||—–||—–||—–|
* $$ owed for 2019 based on trade near the Jul 31st deadline
Note 1 – Team has $10 MM option for 2020 (FA after that) – $10 MM becomes automatic with 340 IP between 2018 and 2019
Note 2 – Mutual Option for 2021 (both team and player have to agree) of $18 MM or $5 MM buyout
Note 3 – Player Option of $2.5 MM for 2020 or Watson can choose free agency
Note 4 – Mutual Option for 2020 (both team and player have to agree) of $5.75 MM or $500 K buyout
Note 5 – 2 yrs / $13.5 MM plus two more years of $10 MM each team option
Note 6 – 1 Yr / $7.5 MM plus one more year of $10 MM team option
It is an intriguing list of pitchers from rentals to those offering multiple seasons of control. Of course going into this, it is OK to admit that many times this Front Office blind sides those of us, who think they know something. Is there someone who has the super spin rate, but may need a tweak or two on grip or on pitch selection? Is there someone flying under the radar or someone who has been a lot better lately than earlier in the season? Is there someone they think has the right makeup to go from games that are fairly meaningless to games that mean the world?
Here are some thoughts / guesses:
Best Big Name Rentals – Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith – OK, maybe Will Smith only has a big name in a Fresh Prince/MIB kind of way, but Madbum has pitched solidly (ignore the W-L) and Will Smith has been nails so far. Giants will be wanting pretty big packages for rentals and the Astros may kick the tires and move on.
Best Big Name with Control Beyond This Season – Marcus Stroman and Brad Hand – Stroman has pitched well with little support, while Hand has pitched like a left handed Ryan Pressly to this point. They both likely cost big prospect(s) – but the Astros have some prospect capital to at least chase these guys.
Best Under the Radar Astro Reunion Rentals – Jordan Lyles and Francisco Liriano – They both come cheap salary-wise and being rentals, should not cost that much in prospects. But will this Front Office do any do-overs not named Jed Lowrie or Felipe Paulino?
Best How Will the Clubhouse Handle This Guy – Trevor Bauer, who famously opined that the Astro pitchers might be putting more than muscle into their pitches.
Astro Kind of Moves – How about Detroit’s Matt Boyd or the Reds’ Alex Wood (who has not thrown a pitch this season)? Boyd has pitched very well and has a lot of control with 3 arb years. Wood has been injured this season, but was brilliant in the Dodgers 2017 season that died at the hands of the Astros. The Astros took on Roberto Osuna after he sat out a big chunk of 2018 (very different reason), maybe they would take a shot on Wood with a small pitching sample before the deadline.
The bottom line is the Astros have quite a bit available to trade between top prospects and guys who have had small samples at the major league level or who are blocked. It is not hard to see them making a run at some of the available pitchers on this list.
Who would you like to see come here?
Who would you not like to see come here?
What would you give up?