Astros: Are Yankees Chapman and Miller Trade Targets?

Apr 7, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Andrew Miller (48) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. New York Yankees won 8-5. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Andrew Miller (48) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. New York Yankees won 8-5. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports /

Could the Astros upgrade their bullpen with a power arm?

As the trade deadline approaches, I am trying to figure out what the Houston Astros are going to do? With the soon-to-be additions of Alex Bregman (possibly this week) and Yulieski Gurriel (late August), I don’t see the Astros trading for any hitters at the deadline. This could change if they can get a player who is not a rental to address needs before free-agency this offseason. However, I am fairly confident that there will not be any hitters added.

The primary need for the Astros could be a top of the rotation pitcher like Chris Archer, Chris Sale, or Sonny Gray, but these guys could cost a lot of prospects. The Astros could also use a second left-hander for the bullpen, someone like an Oliver Perez from last year. The bullpen is one of the Astros strengths, but what if they don’t just add a situational lefty?

Enter the Yankees Left-Handed Duo

What if they got a left-hander with the potential to close for the Astros. This would push everyone in the bullpen back, further strengthening the Astros bullpen to a dominating crew. While there are plenty of names out there, for today, let’s focus on two in particular. For the first time in a while, the Yankees are sellers at the trade deadline.

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I remember thinking when the Yankees traded for Aroldis Chapman, that they would have one of the best bullpens in baseball history. It took a while for it to come to fruition with Chapman sitting out 30 games because of his alleged domestic abuse issue. Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances carried the bullpen till Chapman returned, but now they are wasted on a team with a 48-46 record sitting fourth in the AL East.

The Yankees rarely sell at the trade deadline, but they recognize the value that Chapman and Miller have on the market. A good trade could bring the Yankees 3-4 top prospects in return to help return the Yankees to their winning ways in a few seasons. But, they don’t have to make a trade at all either because they are within striking distance for competition.

The Yankees will be listening, waiting for an offer that they can’t refuse for either pitcher. Chapman can be retained with a qualifying offer next season, and Miller is still signed for two more seasons, so the Yankees might not trade them. Since they are not pursuing a trade, they can let other teams fight over each other to give the best bids for their lefties.


The Astros have a long history of trying to get Miller on the team. He may be the target. The Astros apparently were close to signing Miller before the 2015 season, but he signed with the Yankees instead. The problem with Miller, he would cost the Astros a lot of prospects because of the team control past 2016. Miller has had an impressive season so far, 5-1/ 1.31 ERA/ 70 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings.

The problem with Miller is that all the teams in the playoff picture will be looking to trade for him, so his price tag will be high. You would have him for the next two years, but at what cost? The Astros could be interested in Miller but probably won’t want to get into a bidding war over him. Think something similar to the Ken Giles trade, not just for 2016.


The Astros were rumored to be close to acquiring Chapman this past offseason. Chapman could once again be the target for the Astros, looking for another power arm in the bullpen. I have heard that Chapman might re-sign with the Yankees, meaning that he could be a rental arm for the 2016 playoff race. Unlike the Yankees, we could not offer him a qualifying offer for him in the offseason if we traded for him. The package for Chapman might be a little cheaper, but it will be for a half season only.

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However, there is the outside chance that the Astros trade for Chapman to be our closer and he re-signs with us for a 2-3 year deal after the season. The Astros have a team, especially with Chapman aboard, that could dominate in the playoffs. Let’s say they go deep into the playoffs, and this might make Chapman more willing to re-sign with us.

Then there is the X-factor, the Astros just signed his former teammate in Gurriel to basically a five-year deal to play for the Astros. Chapman could like the fact that the Astros went out and signed a fellow Cuban and saw that the team is doing all it can do to win over the next few seasons. In a shortened season, Chapman is 3-0/ 2.22 ERA/ 40 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings. You can see several teams going after a player like that.

Next: What if the Astros don’t make any trades?

While I still think it’s very unlikely that the Astros would make a trade like this, it could give them a bullpen that rivals the 2015 Royals who won the World Series. If the pitchers can just go six innings, a bullpen consisting Chapman/Miller, Will Harris, Giles, Luke Gregerson, Michael Feliz, and Pat Neshek among others would shorten the game. However, you would have a possible distraction on the team with Chapman and his past.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***