Jun 24, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcherJohnny Cueto
(47) gestures as he enters the dugout before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
I suppose I could try to convince you that trading for Johnny Cueto is a great idea, but what fun would that be? Instead, let’s argue the case against trading for the Reds’ right-hander.
Clearly, the Houston Astros are in the market for a front-line starter. The club enters Friday with a record of 47 – 34 on the season. That’s good enough for a five-game lead over the Anaheim Angels (you can only be from one place Angels) and six games over the Texas Rangers of Arlington. I would say that those numbers are a pretty good indicator that the current team is well configured. It’s a far cry from the 2014 Astros who finished 22 games under .500.
Call to the Pen
Still, if the Astros are going to be considered real contenders for a World Series run, they’ll have to be able to trot out at least three better than average starters. We know Dallas Keuchel has solidified himself as a bonafide ace and that Lance McCullers appears to be the real deal, but that’s not quite enough to take into a playoff series. I’m not counting on Collin McHugh or Scott Feldman or Vincent Velasquez or anyone else the Houston organization currently possesses to round out that top 3. So, the Astros are looking for another top flight arm that can help them make the push this year.
Everyone acknowledges that Cole Hamels would be the perfect fit for the Astros if Houston were able to acquire him at the deadline. He is an ace, he is locked up for another four years, and he has World Series MVP experience that he could bring to the young clubhouse. The problem is that the Phillies will likely ask for the moon, and Astros GM Jeff Luhnow may balk at the price.