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If the Detroit Tigers Sell, Will the Houston Astros Land Price or Cespedes?

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According to USA TODAY Sports, the Detroit Tigers will likely be sellers at the approaching July 31 trade deadline. The Tigers are in a down year and may be calling it in as they hover in mediocrity at 46-46. Miguel Cabrera is on the DL, and Justin Verlander‘s struggles are well-documented this season, so the Tigers may be looking to regroup for the 2016 season by trading a few guys with expiring contracts.

The two guys they are most likely to deal? David Price and Yoenis Cespedes. Both players are signed through the end of 2015 and could help a potential playoff team down the stretch.

Dave Dombrowski, Tigers president and general manager, did not give a concrete answer regarding the team’s status as a seller. However, he did hint at such a reality when he told USA TODAY Sports the following:

"“At this point, our focus is trying to win right now. We’re trying to do everything we can to qualify for the playoffs. Things can turn dramatically over a 10-game period. But you have to play well, at some point, on a consistent basis. We’re at a point where we have to do what’s best in our heart for the franchise.” – Dave Dombroski."

There’s a critical statement in that quote. He did not say that they’re going out at the deadline to improve the big-league club. Dombrowski stated that he has to do what is best for the franchise – a phrase often used when referring to the long-term success of a team.

I’m going to skip all of the speculation and assume they are definitely selling and take a look at the possibility of the Astros landing one of these players. Jim Crane is reportedly willing to increase the Astros’ $72 million payroll (second-lowest in the league) if there is a deal in place to help the club at the trade deadline.

A Case for David Price

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Evan Drellich reported that Dallas Keuchel made a pitch to David Price over the All-Star Break about joining the Houston Astros in the offseason. Should the Astros take a shot at renting him for two months before he hits the open market?

David Price would arguably give the Astros the strongest rotation in the AL. Both Price and Keuchel are capable of absolutely taking over a game and changing the tone of a series.

  • Through his first 19 starts, David Price has a 2.32 ERA, 127 strikeouts, and a 1.114 WHIP over 132 innings.
  • Dallas Keuchel through 20 starts has a 2.12 ERA, 127 strikeouts, and a .970 WHIP over 144.1 innings.

When the Tigers made a three-way trade at the deadline last season, they didn’t lose as much as a pitcher like Price would normally command. Could the Astros be so lucky? It’s unlikely, but the Astros organization has so much talent, particularly in the outfield, that dealing one of those guys and a young arm would be worth it.

Cespedes in a crowded outfield

Yoenis Cespedes is the other piece that the Astros may take a look at.

  • In 91 games, Cespedes is hitting .292/.317/.487 with 13 home runs, 52 RBIs, and is tied for the league lead with 27 doubles.
  • For comparison, in 71 games George Springer is hitting .264/.365/.457  with 13 home runs, 29 RBIs, and 14 doubles.

Cespedes could soften the offensive loss of George Springer if he suffers any setbacks, but he cannot replace his speed, ability to get on base and defensive prowess. Aside from his ridiculous arm strength, Cespedes can be a liability in the outfield. The Astros have a loaded outfield when George Springer, Jake Marisnick, Colby Rasmus, and Preston Tucker are available, so the Cespedes trade may not be as logical as adding a starting pitcher.

If the price is right, though, the Astros may pick up the right-handed bat of Cespedes without losing a significant amount of young talent.

Price’s effect on trade market

Even if the Astros don’t land Price, there is still a ripple effect if he lands with another team. Price’s presence on the market alone hurts the trading stock of Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels, and so on. The Astros may pass on Price and focus in on a second-tier starter, especially if there is a lower asking price. Of course, the Tigers could win seven in a row over the next ten days, yank the two guys off the trade market and become buyers at the deadline with Miguel Cabrera returning. That’s how fickle baseball is.

Would you like to see Yoenis Cespedes or David Price in an Astros uniform down the stretch?

Next: Houston Astros Rumors: Do the Stros need Justin Upton?

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