The Astros may be split on what to acquire at the trade deadline.
Do the Astros go with a starter or a reliever? Decisions decisions! If they trade for a starter, it will be an upgrade over what they have for Game 3 in the playoffs. They don’t need an average Joe. They need someone better than the bottom three starters.
If they trade for a reliever, it will be a left-handed reliever. Tony Sipp has proved that he can be hot and cold from game to game. They need one more piece and put Brad Peacock in the bullpen. It can dominate when they are right.
What if the Astros make a blockbuster deal to upgrade both? While some of you may not like what I am about to propose, but it is a possibility.
What if the Astros make a trade with the Tigers?
That is exactly what Jon Morosi is suggesting in a tweet this morning. Morosi said, “Astros working hard to add pitching, both in rotation and bullpen, sources say; Sonny Gray remains among their targets.” No, he doesn’t mention the Tigers.
In a separate tweet, Morosi said the Astros are among the teams still interested in Tigers lefty Justin Wilson. The Yankees and Cubs have already made a move to upgrade their team. The Astros are sure to follow.
Are the Astros working with the Tigers to acquire Wilson and Justin Verlander? Morosi just mentioned on MLB Network that the Astros and Dodgers being the two teams trying to get both Justin’s. A lifetime Tiger, Verlander is throwing just as hard as ever, just hasn’t pitched well this year. However, he was second in the voting for AL Cy Young last year.
With scouts in attendance, Verlander pitched seven innings with eight strikeouts versus the Royals. Brandon Moss did take him deep, but he only allowed two runs. His ERA for the season is 4.54 which probably doesn’t wow anyone. He has struck out 111 hitters in 117 innings after 254 strikeouts in 2016.
Change of scenery?
While he is under performing this season, maybe a change of scenery would help him. The Tigers have struggled for most of the season, and the writing was on the wall last year. He would instantly become the probable third starter with his playoff experience. It would be a risk but could have a big reward if his stuff comes back. It wouldn’t hurt to have Kate Upton around the ballpark.
The problem is the salary that Verlander has committed to him with $28 million this year and the next two seasons. Then he has a $22 million vesting option for 2020 if he finishes in the top five for Cy Young in 2019. That is a hefty price, but he could be that impact guy.
If the Astros were to trade with the Tigers, they would have to either trade more prospects or eat most of the salary. The Tigers said they wouldn’t eat any of Verlander’s salary early on, but they have reversed that stance. For the Tigers to eat some of the contract, the Astros would have to give more prospects.
If the Astros pay a lot of the deal, then they won’t have to give up much. However, the Tigers could get more prospects if Wilson is part of the deal. It could be one stop shopping for the Astros to cover their needs.
Wilson did get touched for two runs in yesterday’s game, but he could be the team’s lead lefty in the bullpen. He has a 3-4 record with a 2.75 ERA while striking out 50 hitters in 36 innings.
We will see what happens and how much the Astros are willing to give up. The rumors are the Gray chase is heating up, but keep the Tiger duo in mind if that doesn’t work. This could also be a smokescreen to distract others from their pursuit of Gray.
***Stats by Baseball-Reference***