Would the Astros have to make a trade if the Rangers made a trade?
In 2015, the Houston Astros were riding high in the AL West in the latter parts of July. But, then the Texas Rangers made a deal that didn’t make sense at the time, but that move catapulted the Rangers into first place in the AL West when the playoffs started. The Rangers traded for Cole Hamels to be the ace of pitching staff and stabilize the rotation. I remember thinking, why did Hamels choose the Rangers over the Astros?
Apparently, Hamels made a good choice (barf) as the Rangers finished two games ahead of the Astros in 2015 and currently lead the Astros by 5.5 games in the AL West. While they still lead, the Rangers can now see the Astros in their rearview mirror. The Rangers recently held an 11 game lead over the Astros, but injuries and a hot Astros surge have cut into that lead. The two teams play nine more times this season.
The Rangers have a decent offensive that seems to excel when facing the Astros. There have been recent rumors that the Rangers would look at possibly acquiring Jonathan Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers to be their everyday catcher. If the Rangers had one weakness, it would be at catcher. Adding Lucroy would make them tough, but would also weaken the farm system. Recently, the Rangers had 18 scouts were watching the Rangers Class-A team.
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It is my belief that the Astros will stand pat during this trade deadline because they have done a great job stocking the team over the past few seasons to be able to upgrade from within. They might look at upgrading with a left-handed reliever as we have written about, but I don’t see a major deal.
Would the Astros feel the pressure to answer a potential trade with one of their own? If the Astros are committed to their mission statement, they will stick to the players they have within. However, if the Astros could acquire their Hamels, an ace pitcher, it could increase the Astros chances of overtaking the Rangers.
Listen to last week’s Talking Stros below.
The Rangers are struggling with injuries to their pitching staff and could use a starting pitcher. They are currently without Colby Lewis, Derek Holland, and Yu Darvish, so outside of Hamels and Martin Perez, they are weak right now. The problem for both teams, there are not any really great number one type pitchers on the market at the moment. Some would say Sonny Gray and Chris Archer are available, but I’m not sure their respective teams would trade either on of them despite the poor production in 2016.
Over the next 15 + days, the trade market might reveal hidden aces, but the Astros will probably only make a trade if it blows them away. I don’t see a Rich Hill or Hector Santiago type trade happening. The Astros don’t have to make a counter move if the Rangers acquire Lucroy, but they might get pressured into it. The answer to this question is TBA right now, we will see, but the Astros like the team they have.
***Trade speculation from MLBTradeRumors.com and stats from Baseball-Reference***