Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Astros could be interested in trading for a starting pitcher. Old news, right?
One of the biggest non-secrets in baseball is the Astros rumored interest in acquiring a starting pitcher. This has been the tale ever since the 2016 season ended in October.
Lo and behold, we are in the time of the year where baseball trade rumors run rampant in the streets. I recommend you safely hide your children and precious belongings before it is too late. After all, this storm will take no mercy on its victims or prospects. Goodness, every fan loves their prospects. And I am one of them.
Anyway, the Astros have been recently linked to one Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher in J.A. Happ. You may remember him from his previous Astros stint. Eric Huysman broke down the rumor here yesterday.
Another Blue Jay pitcher has also been mentioned as a trade possibility if Toronto decides to tear it down: Marcus Stroman.
Per Thomas Lott of Sporting News, the Astros are mentioned on TSN’s 1050 radio show by Buster Olney of ESPN as a possible landing spot for the 26-year old right-hander. Lott notes in his article that “teams like the Cubs, Astros and Yankees are scouting Stroman right now in anticipation of him being available”.
I hereby declare this an interesting development.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Astros have been recently linked in one way or another to Sonny Gray, Jose Quintana, Chris Archer and Justin Verlander. Happ’s name has also recently surfaced. But Stroman changes the equation, even if by a slight amount.
First of all, Stroman has “Stro” in his name! It is such an obvious fit. If the Astros don’t acquire him, then it should be considered a crime against humanity.
Alright, I am somewhat kidding about the “crime against humanity”.
Seriously, though, just imagine the promotions surrounding Stroman in Houston. It would be basically endless.
From a pitching standpoint, I guess there is a fit if you squint your eyes just enough.
2017 statistics: 8-5 W-L, 105.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, 3.96 FIP, 3.50 xFIP, 20.2% K%, 6.1% BB%, 61.0% GB%, 19.1% HR/FB
Oh, who am I kidding? There is an obvious fit here.
Not only would Stroman give the Astros another quality arm in the starting rotation, it may also allow the bullpen a bit of, well, relief.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Then there is the ground ball effect. FYI, the Astros like pitchers who can generate ground balls.
Astros trivia bonus: Stroman would lead the team in innings pitched if he were on Houston’s active roster. Mike Fiers is currently first with 87.2 innings pitched on the season.
Did I mention that the fit is kind of obvious?
In terms of prospect compensation, it would be a lofty price for the Astros to bear. Multiple top prospects are perceived as the going rate on the trade market for starting pitchers. Add the fact that Stroman will not reach free agency until 2021, then the price will surely rise.
I won’t, and refuse to speculate, which top prospects will be required to change hands. However, I have a feeling at least one highly regarded pitching and position prospect would be the bare admission price to discuss such a deal.
Only time will tell if this rumor holds any water. Odds are that the Astros won’t trade for Stroman mainly due to the asking price. But they could, and this wouldn’t be a bad thing. Honestly, a trade of this magnitude could be a step in the right direction in terms of the short term goals. It just so happens that World Series contention is one of those short term goals.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Spotrac**