Should the Houston Astros Target Drew Smyly?
Anyone who was watching the AL Cy Young announcement show on the MLB Network saw them go to Dallas Keuchel following winning the award. Apparently, if you have a beard, you will have an entourage. James Harden has the Kardashian clan, and Keuchel has Drew Smyly and some other guy hanging with him during his AL Cy Young announcement.
After the two members of his entourage had settled down after jumping up for joy, Keuchel introduced them both. I can’t remember who the other guy was, but when he introduced Smyly, he added some commentary to the situation. Keuchel said that he and Smyly were college teammates/roommates for the University of Arkansas. He said that Smyly will win a Cy Young Award in the future, and he will do his best to get Smyly to join him in Houston. Smyly is currently with the Tampa Bay Rays under team control through the 2018 season.
When I first heard Kuechel say that, my mind started churning about how Smyly would fit in the Astros rotation. Now that possible Astros target Jordan Zimmermann is off the board after signing with the Detroit Tigers earlier today, could the Astros turn to a trade to bring in a number three pitcher like Smyly?
Smyly is 24-15 with a 3.24 ERA while striking out 385 strikeouts in 395 innings during his four-year career. He only made 12 starts in 2015 due to injuries. In 2013, Smyly was used out of the bullpen with the Tigers but was moved back into the rotation in 2014. He was drafted in the second round of the 2010 MLB Draft a year after Keuchel was drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 draft. Could he and Keuchel become teammates again, it would take a trade to make that become a reality?
What would it take to get the left-handed Smyly on the Astros team for the 2016 season? Maybe not as much as other pitchers who could trade targets because he has an arbitration number of $4 and battled shoulder issues in 2015. This comes from Marc Topkin‘s quote, “LHP Drew Smyly, with an arbitration number of around $4 million and shoulder issues, would seem the most likely candidate.” Topkin also wrote that he knows the Astros are interested in Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee, but feels like the Rays will hold onto them for another year because of low salary.
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Many Astros fans feel like Mark Appel probably will get traded sometime this offseason, with the three years of control for Smyly, the Astros might be willing to include Appel in a deal. It might take Appel and an outfield prospect plus a low-level prospect to get the Rays to bite. Should the Astros be able to get him on the team, he would pair up with Kuechel as one of the top left-handed duos in the league should he stay healthy. It wouldn’t hurt for him to work under the supervision of Brett Strom as well.
Why add a guy like Smyly to the Astros rotation that is already overcrowded with Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers Jr, and Mike Fiers who should be locks for the first four spots in the rotation? The guys competing for the fifth spot in the rotation is Appel, Vincent Velasquez, Scott Feldman, Dan Straily, and Michael Feliz. Adding a veteran to the rotation takes some pressure off of McCullers and should increase the innings pitched by the rotation and decrease the dependence on the bullpen.
Put some of the power arms like Velasquez and Appel in the bullpen, the Astros could have a deep rotation and bullpen with a few shrewd moves by Jeff Luhnow. With the Winter Meetings approaching, there should be some movement soon.