The Athletics are having a rebuilding sale. Everything must go! The Astros can take advantage of this.
With the trade, Sunday between the Nationals and Athletics, Washington improved their bullpen in one trade. They still lack a closer, but the Nationals have improved their team. You will see many of the teams in competition make trades in the next two weeks. Will the Astros make a trade before the July 31st deadline?
While some may say they don’t have to, most people think the Astros need a top pitcher. This team is built to win now, and the right pitcher could be the difference. If the Astros are going to give up some future talent, they want to get someone who will be here for a while.
The A’s rebuilding begins.
Don’t look for the Astros to trade for a one-year rental. They want a controllable asset. Billy Beane is not afraid to trade with their division. By trading Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, the A’s could be starting a full rebuild. The team has already made a move to get younger by releasing Stephen Vogt earlier.
After watching the Astros rebuild, the Athletics could be ready to do the same. They are trying to get their own ballpark. They could want a team ready to win when the ballpark opens. To achieve this, they must accumulate talent. There are only so many tradeable assets on the team left.
The A’s will most likely hold onto Khris Davis to be that long term bat similar to what Jose Altuve has become. That leaves Sonny Gray as the A’s top trade chip. With Jose Quintana off the market, many feel like Gray is the top starter at the moment. However, that trade could have also taken the Astros out of a trade. The Astros prefer not to overpay for the right player.
Will Luhnow outbid another team for a player like Gray?
It has been speculated that the Astros prefer to not trade Forrest Whitley or Kyle Tucker among others. Looking at the trade made Sunday, the A’s are looking for players who are major league ready along with prospects. Buster Olney wrote recently that the Athletics will trade Gray and he has playoff experience that others don’t.
As Olney told me when I interviewed him a month ago, Gray is pitching as good as he was a few years ago. He feels healthy and could be ready for a change. People may not think he has playoff experience. The A’s were good in 2013. Astros fans have mentally locked 2013 away.
Gray faced Justin Verlander twice in the 2013 playoffs in the ALDS. The first game, he pitched eight shutout innings with nine strikeouts. The A’s won that game 1-0 with Verlander only lasting seven innings. The Tigers offense did get to him in the next start for three runs in five innings.
With this offense, Gray would be a good addition to the team. Gray would be under team control through the 2019 season so that he would fit the team criteria. Speculation trade ideas are floating around, but they would need at least one top prospect.
Gray has pitched better recently bringing his season stats to 5-4 with a 3.72 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 84 2/3 innings. We saw how Quintana pitched better with his new team, sometimes a change of scenery is needed. If I had to guess who the Astros get, it would be Gray.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***