Astros: Will Jeff Luhnow Shop Alex Bregman for an Ace?
By Eric Huysman
Is the only way to get an ace for the Astros’ rotation by trading Alex Bregman? Please say it ain’t so!
Have you ever received something in a gift exchange where people can steal your gift? For example, you got that bottle of Crown you wanted, but per the rules, someone was allowed to get it instead. You bonded with that Crown and thought it would taste splendid with your favorite soda. Let’s hope this is not how Houston Astros fans feel during the hot stove season.
The Astros received shortstop turned third baseman Alex Bregman in exchange for not signing Brady Aiken in 2014. We waited patiently for almost a full calendar year to see what Bregman could offer in the big leagues. At first, Bregman was not showing what he was capable in his first 38 at-bats. Then, Bregman became one of the best hitters in the lineup.
Astros fans were sad at the end of the season as Bregman had to miss some games and the team fell short of the playoffs. Outside of the outfield and catcher positions, many people feel like we have the talent to break out offensively in 2017. As we talked about on Talking Stros
Trading Bregman for an ace?
As we discussed on Talking Stros Sunday night, there are not that many quality starting pitchers on the free agent market this offseason. New York Post writer Joel Sherman echoed what we talked about in the article. Outside of a 37-year-old Rich Hill, there is not much available that would be better than what the Astros have.
Sherman addresses that some teams are built to win now, so they would need to make a move this offseason to improve. The Astros have a great core intact, but there are questions in the starting rotation with Dallas Keuchel‘s struggles and Lance McCullers‘ having trouble staying healthy. Then Sherman went and did it. He opened the can of worms. Let’s see what Sherman had to say about the Houston squad.
“They badly need an ace. So, for example, do they use Bregman as the key piece to go after Sale (on a great contract the next three years) or to try to get a potential young ace such as Julio Urias (if the Dodgers lose Justin Turner to free agency, they could form an infield left side for years of Corey Seager and Bregman)?”
For those of you who listen to Talking Stros, you would know that the only person we think they would trade Bergman for would be Chris Sale. This would be the acquisition of a true ace pitcher, even one with the drama of Sale. Sale has one year guaranteed with the other two years team option years. Sale has $12 million guaranteed with a possible total sum of $38 million during the next three years.
A good deal for Sale?
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Compared to what pitchers are getting paid nowadays, that’s a fairly reasonable salary for an ace pitcher. While Bregman’s stats don’t seem all that impressive, you have to keep in mind how slow a start he got off to. Also, having Yulieski Gurriel on the team for the next three years could give them a sense of false hope that they can afford to deal Bregman.
If the Astros acquired Sale, Bregman would most likely be involved. While I would like to say they wouldn’t trade Bregman, I’m hoping that they hold onto him. Bregman has a winners attitude, and that type of attitude is contagious. But, put Sale in the front of this rotation and offense, the Astros might finish ahead of the Rangers in 2017.
Next: Astros 2016 Rewind: A Look at Alex Bregman
We talked about making a splash, which is something the Astros have not done under the current management. Jeff Luhnow will look at all other options before trading Bregman, but other options might cost less such as Chris Archer or Jose Quintana. Sherman is right. The Astros must acquire a pitcher through a trade. This writer hopes that is not one that includes Bregman. By the way, Bregman would only be part of the deal.
***Stats and Salary from Baseball-Reference***