Astros: Could Luhnow get both Aroldis Chapman and Chris Davis?


Bold predictions for the Houston Astros includes two stars coming to H-Town

Before the Winter Meetings, baseball writers can’t really predict the exact moves, so they often try to look like a genius and say they called that move. We call it a bold prediction. Sometimes the writer pulls something out of the air, but often the writer does some research into it and knows the situation. ESPN decided to have its baseball writers make a bold prediction, and you can read all their bold predictions here. I wanted to focus on one piece of the article that specifically with the Houston Astros, and believe me, and it’s a bold move.

ESPN’s writer David Schoenfield predicted that the Astros would not only sign Chris Davis (five-years, $115 million) to play first base and will trade for Aroldis Chapman. If that is the main idea of Schoenfield prediction, he adds a side story that super prospect A.J. Reed will be traded for a young controllable starting pitcher. That ladies and gentleman is a bold statement. Knowing the Astros way of business, would this be even possible?

Let’s take a deeper look at this prediction and examine the validity of that statement.

The Astros sign Chris Davis

The Astros just recently parted with occasional starter at first base Chris Carter, who was due to make an estimated $5.6 million according to MLB Trade Rumors. The Astros had a cheaper version of Carter in Evan Gattis, so it was presumed that the Astros thought Carter was to make too much money for his stats. Jon Singleton could take control of first base for a while if he has a successful spring training, but most likely Tyler White and Matt Duffy will be in the mix.

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Reed is the currently the future at first base, but would become expendable if the Astros lock up Davis for five seasons. A season after hitting .196 with only 26 homers and 72 RBIs, Davis broke out again hitting .262 while scoring 100 runs off 47 homers and 117 RBI’s from Baseball-Reference. However, Davis had more strikeouts than Carter, but Davis had a better season overall.

Davis would bring the cleanup hitter the Astros lacked last year despite having the lineup full of sluggers. Davis does have several traits of most of the current Astros players, but he has that something that other players don’t have, the ability to consistently drive runners in more consistently. Adding those 50 ish homers to Crush City would be nice, but you would also be adding the $23 million contract per season. The Astros currently are on pace to have a payroll of $80 million following the release of Carter, if they were to add the $23 million to that it would put them over their desired $100 million payroll.

This would be without upgrading the bullpen and taking on the contract of the next player. The Astros would also have to surrender a first-round pick in 2016, which is against their mo.

Dealing for Aroldis Chapman

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Trading for Chapman might be harder than just signing Davis to a contract because the Astros would have to give up some of its precious minor league talents to get Chapman for one season. While many people are predicting that the Astros get Chapman, it would help Luhnow if he has a good feeling that he would be re-signable. Jerry Crasnick has reported that Jim Crane is a fan of Chapman, which could mean that he would be more willing to extend his contract.

However, Luhnow would have to deal with former boss Walt Jocketty; the two had a falling out in St. Louis over a difference of opinions. Chapman is considered one of the top closers in the game, but how much would Luhnow have to give for that talent. It might take a top ten prospect and two top 20 prospects to get a deal done, but the buzz appears to be leaning Astros. The reports are that the Reds are close to dealing Chapman via MLB Trade Rumors.

It’s not surprising that Schoenfield wrote that Chapman would be coming to Houston, I just think the Astros would be more willing to trade top talent for a guy who would be around longer, such as Ken Giles or Brad Boxberger.

Trade Reed for starter

If the Astros sign Davis, there is no need for a guy like Reed with Gattis playing designated hitter. Schoenfield said it would be a controllable young starter, the primary name that comes to my mind is Drew Smyly of the Rays. However, I don’t think Smyly would be worth giving up Reed. If the Astros trade for Chapman, Reed might have to be included in that trade.

Next: Houston Astros: Assessing the Catcher Situation

The Dodgers appear to be in on Chapman according to MLB Trade Rumors, so we will see if they will help us decide. These Winter Meetings could become exciting, but I doubt all three of these things will happen. If we add those two players, the Astros would be a force to be reckoned with in 2016.