Matching the Houston Astros With Their Most Likely MLB Trade Deadline Targets
By Dan Israeli
The Houston Astros are one of a handful of MLB teams that have some very intriguing leverage heading into the trade deadline. While they are a World Series contender with frontline talent across the board, they also have a loaded farm system, making them a prime candidate for a big trade.
The Astros, despite having a rotation led by Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, lack depth behind their top two starters and are most likely to go after a starting pitcher.
Here are five starting pitchers the Astros could target as the July 31 MLB Trade Deadline approaches.
5. Jon Gray, SP, Colorado Rockies
Jon Gray's name is a recent addition to the rumor mill, and he could be a perfect fit for the Astros. The Rockies aren't guaranteed to be sellers, and rarely are, but if they do decide to shop a guy like Gray, there should be no shortage of teams looking to pry him away from Coors. Gray has a 4.11 ERA on the season, but he could be a solid addition to the Astros' rotation.
4. Robbie Ray, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Another player who has been whispered in trade rumors, Robbie Ray is a talented arm that has failed to truly put it all together in Arizona. The lefty makes sense and would give Houston quite the imposing strikeout trio along with Verlander and Cole. Arizona is second in the NL West, albeit 14 games behind the division-leading Dodgers. How serious they are about the Wild Card race will determine whether the Diamondbacks truly entertain trading guys like Ray.
3. Noah Syndergaard, SP, New York Mets
Again, team context is important regarding the availability of Mets' starter Noah Syndergaard. While they've been rumored to trade both Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler, it would likely take a very attractive trade package to lure either pitcher away from New York. The Mets are unlikely to sign Syndergaard to a long contract, so the arbitration-eligible starter may welcome a move, especially to a contender like the Astros. After a rocky start to the season, Thor has rebounded nicely and has a 1.93 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in two post-break starts.
2. Matthew Boyd, SP, Detroit Tigers
As the Tigers are clearly out of contention this season, they are likely to be sellers. Matthew Boyd had a hot start to the season, and while his ERA continues to inflate, his underlying stats (namely strikeout-to-walk ratio) remain impressive. The Astros have been heavily rumored as a landing spot for Boyd, and may be the front runners if Detroit is interested in a guy like outfielder prospect Kyle Tucker, should Houston make him available.
1. Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants
Everyone has assumed the Giants would be sellers at the deadline, but a recent hot streak may pump the breaks on that notion. Still, the team has its work cut out for it, as far a grabbing a Wild Card spot, and likely lacks the talent to go all the way in October. Madison Bumgarner, the former World Series MVP and three-time champion, has been one of the most heavily rumored trade targets for the Astros. If San Francisco does decide to sell, there's a good chance we'll see MadBum competing for ring number four, just in a different uniform.
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