Houston Astros: Let’s Trade Colby Rasmus


What? No team specified? No frontline starting pitcher targeted? What is this blasphemy?!

That’s right, with Part 6 of our “Let’s Trade with ___” series, I’m taking the wait-and-see approach (also known as the easy way out). I’d love to tell you I know exactly who the Houston Astros should go after to bolster their rotation. However, something tells me that whatever Lord Luhnow decides to do, it’s going to hinge on one Colby Ryan Rasmus.

When Luhnow went out and signed Rasmus to a one-year deal (with no player or team options) this offseason, I raised my eyebrows immediately. At this point in the rebuilding process (or at the point I believed the Astros stood in January), it seemed a bit out of character to me to sign a guy for just one year. After all, with one-year deals, a team loses the guarantee of being able to flip that player for a bundle of younger talent in the ensuing offseason.

Long story short, it felt like a “win now” move. Interestingly enough, at 30-17 and on top of the AL West by a fairly wide margin, that’s exactly what the Astros are doing. So the man formerly known as #LoseNow has some choices to make.

The Astros are stacked in the outfield. Preston Tucker has proven to be a valuable (and clutch) Major League hitter thus far. Even if he starts to struggle, there are a few outfielders in Fresno who has the potential to fill his shoes (i.e. Domingo Santana, Robbie Grossman). I don’t think I need to tell you how much Jake Marisnick and George Springer have contributed this season. With his one-year deal, Rasmus is the odd man out here.

Feb 26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s how I see it: as the Trade Deadline draws nearer, there will be teams in contention looking for outfield help. It’s a safe assumption that at some point this year, an outfielder will give max effort on a particular play and hurt themselves. This injury would leave a contending team with a gaping defensive (and perhaps offensive) hole. We can also safely assume that some outfielder’s offensive underachieving will draw the ire of his team, and force them to look for outside help. These things are probably happening as we speak.

It doesn’t even have to be a centerfielder — Rasmus has proven this season that he can play all three positions. But mark my words: the calls will come, and when they do, Luhnow will look to flip him for starting pitching.

I can’t predict who will be injured, but I can offer one measly guess as to whose outfielders’ underachieving may have reached a boiling point by July: the New York Yankees. Chris Young and Carlos Beltran (boo) have both struggled mightily thus far, and Jacoby Ellsbury is dealing with injuries (did I not just call that?).

Although Rasmus wouldn’t offer much of a reprise with his low average and high strikeouts, the Yanks might be willing to take a flyer on his defense and power numbers. This idea isn’t the flashy blockbuster we’re all hoping for the Astros! But the return could be a quietly reliable starting arm with some upside, like Alvin High School (yes, Nolan Ryan’s Alvin HS) product Nathan Eovaldi. His numbers aren’t the flashiest, but he’s only 25, and pitching coach Brent Strom has proven to be the Young Pitcher Whisperer (see Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh) since coming to Houston.

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Let’s recap:

  • Rasmus’ contract sets him up to be dealt mid-year
  • Teams often look for outfielders at the deadline for various reasons
  • When these teams come a’knockin’, Luhnow will ask about pitching
  • Rasmus gives another team some pop and defensive versatility, and the Astros get a starter to solidify the middle of their rotation

It’s not a sexy move, that much is certain. But something keeps telling me this isn’t the year the Astros make that huge splash. The team’s historically hot start is commendable and honestly, pretty awesome. But I think if Luhnow is going to go out and get an ace, he’s going to do it in the offseason, assuring that that pitcher will be in Houston for the long haul.

But hey, they don’t call them my “two cents” because they’re worth much.

Part 1: Let’s trade with the A’s

Part 2: Let’s trade with the Phillies

Part 3:  Let’s Trade with the Reds

Part 4: Let’s Trade with the Reds Part 2

Part 5: Let’s Trade with the Brewers

Part 7: Let’s Trade with the White Sox

Part 8: Let’s Make no Trades

Let me know what you think the Astros should do with Colby Rasmus below, and check out our other trade suggestions for Jeff Luhnow here:

Next: Keeping Up with Carlos Correa Interview

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