Houston Astros: How the Stros can improve at third base in 2016

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Trade third base options

Sep 25, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins third baseman Martin Prado (14) is unable to field a hit down the third base line during the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

These are a little difficult to nail down because you don’t always know who is actually available. I’ll rely on a couple of guys that had some rumors swirling around them at the trade deadline this year but ended up not being dealt — Todd Frazier and Martin Prado.

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Let’s see if this line for Frazier seems familiar: 35 HR, 44 BB, 137 K, .255 BA, .309 OBP. Sounds about like what the Astros already have, right? So why would they trade prospects for a 29-year-old who is basically providing what they already have, is slated to make $7.5 million next year and is only controlled through 2016 before becoming arbitration eligible? Pass.

Prado is a pretty interesting option. He’s 32 years old and scheduled to make $11 million next year ($3 million of which is paid by the Yankees), and is only controlled for the one year before becoming an unrestricted free agent. He also doesn’t provide the kind of power you’d typically want from a third baseman (9 home runs last year, and his career high is 15). However, he does provide nice contact hitting, which the Astros are in desperate need of. He’s a reliable .280+ hitter who struck out 68 times last year against 37 walks.

He’s pricey for what he provides, especially at his age, but he does provide something that the Astros could use. I’m not in love with him, but he’s worth a peek to see if the Astros can get him for the right price (think something like the Michael Bourn trade but where the Astros rob their trade partner).

That said, the Astros have a lot of talent coming down the pipe and no trade options that anyone could really love. Barring some highway robbery of the Marlins where the Astros also don’t take much of a budget hit and don’t give up any really viable prospects, we probably need to move on to the free agent options.

Next: Free agent third base options

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