Could the Houston Astros strike a deal with the Dbacks?
It is no secret that the Houston Astros have had problems at shortstop. A team that has lost over 400 games in four years has had a lot of holes everywhere. With Carlos Correa the tentative long-term solution, the team desperately needs to acquire a short-term player. The Diamondbacks have a couple players the Astros should look into.
And it appears the Astros have several players the Dbacks might be seeking. The General Manager of the Diamondbacks, Dave Stewart, recently stated “if we’re going to get something back for (Gregorius/Owings), it’s going to be young, controllable pitching.”
Last week the Astros traded away a promising starting pitcher, Nick Tropeano, in exchange for a backup catcher from the Angels. This trade signals the Astros willingness to part ways with young, unproven talent. Even if the pitcher has won awards in the system. I digress..
The point is that the Astros deployed many pitchers during the 2014 season. Assuming that Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel are untouchable, there are still a few players the Astros could deal. This group includes Brett Oberholtzer and Jake Buchanan who have had some major league service time. There are also guys like Asher Wojciechowski and Luis Cruz who have been on the 40-man roster for a while without a major league call-up.
Stewart included Chris Owings in his statement. However, Owings is viewed as a valuable young talent for the Dbacks and is not likely to be moved. I think that acquiring Nick Ahmed could make the most sense. Ahmed struggled in his first taste of the big leagues. A slash line of .200/.233/.271 with just home run in a small sample of 74 at-bats. Nick is a product of the University of Connecticut and will be 25 years old by Opening Day 2015.
Didi Gregorius is another option. He’s nearing the 1,000 at-bat threshold with declining statistics through parts of three seasons. To be fair, his first promotion to the major leagues lasted for just 21 plate appearances. Gregorius is a career .243 batter with an on-base percentage of .313.
Maybe this is pure speculation and there is not really a fit past the surface. The Dbacks want young pitching; the Astros need a replacement shortstop. But perhaps an X-factor is present as George Springer and Nick Ahmed were former teammates at college. Could they be teammates again in Houston?