The Astros arguably need another starting pitcher. And they have a player that could land them that “ace” in any deal.
When you look back at one reason why the Astros failed to make the playoffs, this is probably it: the lackluster starting rotation. The team had no real answer for the struggles of Dallas Keuchel and the injuries of Lance McCullers.
That is the reason why the Astros are noted to be in the starting pitching market this offseason. Chris Sale and Chris Archer are the two biggest names that Houston could be in on. And naturally both come with high price tags. One player that could possibly net the team one of the two could be Alex Bregman.
The question now is whether that the Astros should even consider trading the LSU product?
It depends on who you ask.
I am sure there are some that would be for trading Bregman to acquire a proven starter. At the same time, there are some that would prefer to keep the young hitter and go about picking up a proven pitcher another way. Each argument makes a certain level of sense.
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For example, Bregman only has 217 major league plate appearances. Despite an impressive major league debut outside of his opening slump, he is still a relative unknown on the top stage. While his ceiling may be high, there is no guarantee he may reach it. His value may never be higher than it is right now. Acquiring an “ace” starter under club control for multiple years could be too tempting to pass up. And if Bregman’s inclusion is needed to make this happen, you have to at least consider the offer before making a decision.
This had been discussed on Talking Stros often.
On the other hand, Bregman’s ceiling is quite high. In fact, he has received praise from numerous teammates in his short time up at the major league level. He arguably forms a mighty quartet alongside Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer. The lineup would be in great shape for the foreseeable future. His 2016 season provided just a snapshot of what could be.
2016 statistics: .264/.313/.478, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 115 OPS+
And while his terrible start was publicized much, his rebound confirmed why he was a top prospect throughout last season.
2016 statistics in Sept./Oct.: .323/.344/.629, 3 HR, 14 RBI
Bregman has the opportunity to man third base for some time at Minute Maid Park. An infield that features him, Correa, and Altuve would be a force for years. In fact, it may be better for Houston to acquire a second-tier starting pitcher and bet on itself with top pitching prospects from within.
At the end of the day, the Astros will have to determine what package they feel comfortable with making to acquire a top notch starting pitcher. Bergman could or could not be in the deal. And that could be the top storyline to follow with the Astros this offseason.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**