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….
…and this …..
….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?
- There is no do-over this time. The waiver deadline is as gone as Tyler White as an option for the Astros.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?