Which pitcher is most likely traded to the Houston Astros?

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Which pitcher is most likely traded to the Houston Astros?

September 6, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow before the game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. The Athletics defeated the Astros 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline approaching, Jeff Luhnow has been all over the media giving people updates to the Houston Astros plan for trades. He has said that they are looking for a pitcher who is a rental type pitcher who they may not necessarily be able to re-sign in the offseason. Over the offseason, Luhnow felt that if certain things happen in 2015, the could decide to go out and open their wallets to get the premium big money pitcher to lead the rotation. Now it appears that the Astros might use that money to address other needs, maybe a hitter?

Could it be that while Luhnow knows that he needs an ace pitcher this year, the team realizes that they already have an ace in Dallas Keuchel and a solid group of young arms in the rotation? The presence of Collin McHugh in the rotation and the emergence of Lance McCullers Jr. and Vincent Velasquez could lessen the need for a big-money acquisition. They would still need a fifth starter, but have several options in between Michael Feliz, Josh Hader, Mark Appel, and Scott Feldman. So the awesomeness of the bearded one potentially has cost a free-agent from being overpaid by the Astros.

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Luhnow has also mentioned that he is willing to take on a longer contract type pitcher as well, such as a Cole Hamels or Tyson Ross. In other words, we only want a rental pitcher but we are willing to take on a longer contract type of starter as well. The key to any deal for Luhnow and the Astros is the cost of a potential deal, and they will do what they feel is best for the present and the future.

With time running short, here are the top starting pitcher targets, in order from least likely to most likely to be traded to the Astros.

Next: 7th Pitcher Most Likely to be Traded to Houston