With the non-waiver trade deadline just a month away, here is a look at some trades available that could help the Astros into October.
There has been some talk flying around that the Astros may be asked to trade top prospect, Alex Bregman in a trade at the deadline. I believe that the best option for the club now would be to cling to Bregman for as long as possible. Yes, selling Bregman could bring a huge haul of talent in for the club and possibly help the Astros to a second straight playoff berth. But there are plenty of options out there that could do that very thing and not cost them their future.
Where do the Astros need help?
There are a couple of glaring imperfections in the Astros roster right now. At the top of that list is the outfield, specifically, center field. The Astros are currently in dead last in the majors in WAR at the center field position with a -0.8. The two biggest contributors to that number are Carlos Gomez (.219/.285/.327 with three HR and 16 RBI) and Jake Marisnick (.178/.236/.267 with one HR and six RBI).
If the Astros were to trade one of those two guys for an upgrade at the same position, Gomez should be the one to go. There was a pretty big price-tag attached to Gomez when the Astros traded Brett Phillips, Domingo Santana, Josh Hader and Adrian Houser to the Milwaukee Brewers for him and Mike Fiers at the trade deadline last year. Not to mention the $9 million the club is paying him to hit .219 this year.
Who could help the Astros?
The Astros could benefit from an upgrade in the outfield. Jay Bruce (.279/.328/.581 with 17 HR), Carlos Gonzalez (.317/.362/.561 with 16 HR), Kole Calhoun (.290/.362/.455 with 10 HR) and Josh Reddick (.322/.394/.466 with five HR) are all guys that could fill that void. The two best options out there are Kole Calhoun and Jay Bruce.
Calhoun is 28-years-old and is a very affordable option at $3.5 million. The 5’10” 205 lb. right fielder out of Arizona State University is still in the prime of his career and is having a career year at the plate in 2016. His batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS are all the highest of his young career and is under team control until 2020.
If the Astros were to acquire Calhoun, he would most likely be the team’s right fielder and George Springer would move over to center field. But Springer is definitely a capable enough defender to handle center field. There is definitely some pretty high upside in this player, and it would take a lot of good players for the Astros to make this trade happen, but it may be worth it.
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Like with Calhoun, a Bruce acquisition would likely also result in a switch to center field for Springer. A trade to Houston would result in a homecoming of sorts for the 29-year-old Beaumont, Texas native. The 6’3″ 225 lb. outfielder is also approaching career-best numbers at the plate for this 2016 campaign. Bruce, a two-time all-star team selection, and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, has a .909 OPS at the moment, which is the highest of his career. He is also on pace to hit 36 HR this season, with his previous season-best being 34.
Bruce is set to make $12.5 million this season with a $13 million team option for the 2017 season with a $1 million buyout available. He has a bit of a higher price-tag, but a lineup that looked something like the one below could be extremely dangerous and difficult to stop.
- George Springer – CF
- Marwin Gonzalez – 1B
- Jose Altuve – 2B
- Carlos Correa – SS
- Jay Bruce – RF
- Colby Rasmus – LF
- Evan Gattis – C
- A.J. Reed – DH
- Luis Valbuena – 3B
The best-case scenario for the Astros at the 2016 trade deadline would be to keep Bregman in the organization and upgrade the outfield.