BIGGEST NEED: LEFT-HANDED PITCHING
Did you expect anything else? Up until Reymin Guduan’s call-up last Tuesday, Tony Sipp was the only left-handed reliever to make the Opening Day roster and is the only one to pitch this year outside of the ineffective Ashur Tolliver. The poorest kept secret in baseball is that the Astros will make a splash at some sort of left-handed arm this summer.
Whether that is Jose Quintana or Tony Watson or a starter or a reliever will entirely depend on the asking price. Luhnow stood pat at the trade deadline last year, and it paid off significantly. Astros fans watched with glee as the Rangers gave away a chunk of the farm system for both rentals and studs in a disgusting seller’s market.
Luhnow’s patience led to solid winter acquisitions and signings at prices that were more than reasonable. Brian McCann’s asking price was significantly higher at the trade deadline last year, and Carlos Beltran cost the Rangers some of their top prospects. And now he is with us. Home, where he belongs. (Isn’t baseball amazing?)
The best part is that there are some excellent lefty relievers on mediocre and bad teams. The Padres’ Brad Hand, the Tigers’ Justin Wilson, and even the Royals’ Mike Minor are just a few of the number of options out there. Expect Luhnow to pounce on the best value, and, if possible, sweeten the deal to bring a frontline starter with them.
P.S. – Do not let Jose Quintana’s less-than-great start fool you. He is an excellent pitcher on a bad team and comes with years of team control. He isn’t going to be cheap, but if the White Sox’s price is right, expect Luhnow to pull the trigger.
Carlos Gomez’s precipitous 2016 decline notwithstanding, Luhnow has mentioned time and time again that overpaying in trades is something organization is simply not willing to do. (I’d bet Luhnow was expecting a different caliber Gomez, wouldn’t you?)
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***