Astros Rumors: Sonny Gray becoming the favorite?
By Eric Huysman
With six weeks or so till the 2017 trade deadline comes and goes, will the Houston Astros make a move?
The Astros have a deep rotation when healthy, but that is not the case at the moment. David Paulino made a great step forward last night pitching six innings on only 81 pitches. This was the deepest that Paulino lasted this season. On last night’s Talking Stros, we said that
On last night’s Talking Stros, we discussed the importance of pitching deep into the game. Paulino, Mike Fiers, and Francis Martes have answered the call the last three games. But like we said on the show, would we be confident in Fiers, Collin McHugh, or Charlie Morton pitching in Game 3 of the playoffs?
If the answer is yes, then you will probably not like the rest of this article. Maybe Martes becomes that guy with his pedigree. Maybe Morton continues his early season success when he returns. What if McHugh becomes that guy, but he has yet to throw a pitch this season. There are a lot of ifs with this rotation.
It’s for the playoffs.
For the regular season, we are good. I got the opportunity to interview Buster Olney on Friday. He believes that the Astros need help now, not later, in the rotation. He believes that they need starting pitchers to go deeper in the games because the bullpen will suffer later. His phrase was, “extra innings thrown by relievers in June and July always seemingly manifests itself in October.”
While Olney thinks that the Astros need to add two pitchers, he thought that Sonny Gray would be the most likely. Here is what Olney said about a possible trade.
"“We have seen Houston and Oakland matchup before with a trade and Billy Beane is one of the few GM’s who would consider a trade of significance to trade within the division. I think Oakland would be motivated to move him today while the Pirates may wait a while.” – Olney."
Olney said that he recently talked to Gray and said he feels great. He is throwing harder, and his breaking pitches look better. According to Olney, Gray looks like he did a few years back and we often forget that he has playoff experience. With Gerrit Cole and Jose Quintana‘s struggles, Gray is soaring high.
Gray’s ERA is a little high at 4.44, but he has 53 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings. He has allowed only five homers and 17 walks. While these numbers don’t jump out to you, remember he is playing for a last place team. Gray is only 27-years-old and under team control till 2019. The Astros tend to like groundball pitchers, and Gray has a 53% groundball rate. Honestly, Gray would be a great fit for this team.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
According to Nick Carfardo, there is “mutual interest” between the Astros and A’s in making a trade for Gray. Cafardo went on to say that the A’s have been monitoring the Astros farm system. As Olney said, the A’s are more likely to move Gray soon if the price is right. We know Jeff Luhnow has said that they will wait until closer to the deadline.
The Astros are in the same position the Cubs were at this time last year. They have time to strategize a plan of attack carefully. If in six weeks and all the starters have returned, maybe they won’t trade for a starter and focus on the bullpen.
Next: Astros: Previewing the Red Sox series with Buster Olney
If a trade is to be made, it will be painful! You have to give up something to get something. If there were a favorite at this point, I would say it would be Gray. It will cost Paulino or Martes and Kyle Tucker or Derek Fisher and players like Franklin Perez. The Astros are still the best team in baseball with a 46-23 record. Enjoy the ride!
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs***