Astros 2019: What if the big trade doesn’t happen?


This is the kind of post that can blow up in one’s face. It is a big deal if the Astros do not complete a trade before the trade deadline and worthy of a quick discussion. However, by the time this discussion is posted or shortly after, Jeff Luhnow could complete 1, 2 or 10 trades and make this look foolish.

But let’s face it the man who wrote this….

https://chipalatta.com/2019/04/18/meet-the-astros-new-ace-collin-mchugh/

…and this …..

https://chipalatta.com/2013/09/02/dan-on-the-problem-at-second-base-the-altuve-conundrum/

….is not worried about looking any more foolish than he already has.

The key question here is, what happens if the trade deadline comes and goes and Jeff Luhnow and staff do not complete a significant trade for starting rotation and/or bullpen assistance?

Can’t happen you say? Hey, remember 2017 when the trade deadline came and went and the Astros had not picked up the big rotation piece that the fans and Dallas Keuchel (among others) thought they needed. Luckily that season there was a do-over with the waiver deadline a month later and it was lucky that Justin Verlander did not stop and take a restroom break in the late night discussions or the clock might have run out on the eventual trade and on the Astros World Championship chances.

What circumstances could lead to the Astros not making a big trade before the trade deadline?

  1. There is no do-over this time. The waiver deadline is as gone as Tyler White as an option for the Astros.
  2. The trade season seems to be compressing to a very few days. It feels like the sellers are waiting it out for the very last minute to make a decision and this could lead to buyers getting caught out in the cold if someone else raises the bid for their choice or choices at the last second. (Think e-bay auctions)
  3. Some teams that were thought to be sellers, like the Giants may sit this out since they are still quite alive in the Wild Card races. This means that if Madison Bumgarner is not available as a prime trade candidate there may be more people chasing Marcus Stroman or Matthew Boyd.
  4. Who the other teams want from the Astros and how they are valued could scuttle this. If the Astros draw a line in the sand on not trading Kyle Tucker and/or Forrest Whitley a major trade might not happen.
  5. Perhaps the Astros don’t see this as desperate a need as in 2017….

On that last point, remember that in 2017 the Astros only had one true ace and that was Dallas Keuchel. Charlie Morton had pitched well, but had no previous years you could fall back on for surety and missed a chunk of June injured. Keuchel missed most of June and July injured. Lance McCullers had pitched very well, but there were concerns about how many innings he should go lest he risk a major Tommy John injury (that occurred in 2018). Collin McHugh was injured most of the season and did not debut until very late July. Even with the problems at the end of the rotation this season, the Astros are very strong in the top three with Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley. They may see picking up a 4th strong starter as a good thing, but they do have two aces in their hand, and may believe they can easily get to the playoffs with what they have and then can have a four man rotation of the top three plus Peacock or Urquidy or some tandem version with McHugh thrown into it.

Bottom line, most fans believe the Astros absolutely should use some of their prospect gold to pick up another strong starter. Will this happen or will the Yankees, Twins and others outbid them for the top arms?

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104 comments on “Astros 2019: What if the big trade doesn’t happen?

  1. I’m not really concerned. If we are healthy and hot at the same time, we’ll play with any club. Our 1 and 2 are as good as any. Our lineup is the most athletic in MLB. If Peacock, Pressly and James are well, it’s a heck of a pen. We need to close out the division early enough to rest key components. And at the end of the day, it’s a bit of a crap shoot in any short series. We need to get the breaks we got in 2017 that we did not get in 2018.

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  2. Astros, Brewers and Yankees are in talks for Robbie Ray. I saw him pitch a couple of weeks ago……I was quite impressed. Not gonna get too high on the prospect of getting him…..I got let down BIG time about Marcus Stroman.z

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  3. Jake Rogers, the catcher who went to Detroit in the Verlander trade got the call up to the big team.
    She hit well at AA and so so at AAA but the Tigers had anemic offense out of their catchers this year so the young man gets his shot.

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  4. Looking at the standings, the three hottest teams in the last ten games are the Astros at 8-2, the Cards at 7-3 and the Indians at 7-3.
    The Astros and Yanks are tied at .5 a game behind the Dodgers for MLB’s best record.
    The Angels loss to the Tigers really hurt their wild card chances last night.
    Dodgers 1B Joc Peterson got pulled from the game last night for not even running halfway to first on a groundout. The Dodgers got beat 9-1 by the Rockies.

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  5. If Wheeler is the guy it is an interesting choice.
    – He’s a pure rental – only signed through the end of the year
    – Trade rumors talks about him costing $6 million – however that is his one year contract – he will only make $2 million between now and the end of the year
    – He is striking out almost 10 a game which aligns with the team goals and walks about 2.5 per game
    – Like everybody in baseball it seems he is allowing almost twice as many HRs per game as last season
    – After an excellent 2018 (12-7, 3.31 ERA) – he has been pretty mediocre this season (7-6, 4.72 ERA)
    – So, have the Astros spotted something with him that they think can “spin” up his results between now and the end of the season?
    – Again – he does not have to be an ace – just needs to be a solid #4

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    • And your comment is indicative of why you are the boss.
      Wheeler is certainly their kind of pitcher.
      For him, they don’t have to give up one of their top prospects.
      With what the Astros already have they can work with him both physically(he just came back from a slight injury) and with his pitch selection, without him having the pressure on him to be a TOR guy right away.
      Their organization offers him not only stability, but a chance at a ring.
      A trade eliminates the QO from his free agency, so he can relax, knowing he will get big money come the offseason.
      Maybe the Astros have a chance to resign him if he falls in love with winning.
      I think the Mets might like a pitcher in the Astros organization more than they liked the two pitchers they gave up for Stroman.

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      • Maybe. Maybe Javier? His numbers are great. Maybe Bielak, who has been really good in a league that destroys pitchers.

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  6. Changing the subject for a moment. Just checked out Keuchels stats. He’s getting paid a lot of money for less than half a season of being pretty much the same pitcher he was last year. Makes me appreciate Miley more and more. If we get Wheeler, I think the plan will be to get him locked up for a couple of years anyway. I sure like the 2018 version of him.

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    • I’ve looked at DK’s stat’s too as a bunch of my friends are Braves fans. It’ll be interesting to see what happens after the season ends. He’s more like a # 3 at best or a #4. So much for that 22MM/yr contract. Gives me even more confidence in our brain trust with the exception of Charlie.

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  7. MLB news now have the Stros in on Bauer, ‘engaged’ on Bum still but two GM’s predicting they will land Wheeler almost certainly. Of course nothing is certain. Who has the best peripherals of the three Dan, OP, anybody?

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