Do the Astros need to go for a reliever like Zach Britton closer to the trade deadline?
After Astros closer Ken Giles literally punched himself versus the Yankees, people thought that his confidence was shot. The weird thing was that this was after one of his most dominating performances on the mound the night before. He was bringing fire with his emotions and his fastball. The next day he just didn’t have it. This is when he lost his cool after allowing the first run of the game.
With the upcoming trade deadline in July, it would seem that the bullpen could be the primary focus for an upgrade. The rotation appears to be in great shape despite some offensive struggles. With some MLB ready talent wasting away in Triple-A, any holes in the lineup can be replaced from within. J.D. Davis and Tyler White. These two don’t have too much more to prove at Triple-A, but fans want to see the phenom, Kyle Tucker.
An upgrade needed in the bullpen?
Injuries can change plans, but the bullpen has struggled this year in close games. Some people are thinking that Lance McCullers would be better as a closer with his stuff, but this may not be the route he would like to follow. AJ Hinch has told Giles that he wants him to control his emotions when pitching. Since then, he has two saves and has looked better. Still, the may be another cry for a new closer if he struggles again.
The bullpen overall has not been terrible, they have a 3.23 ERA with 108 strikeouts outs in 101 1/3 innings. While their overall numbers are not terrible, Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski have struggled in recent close game situations. Collin McHugh is showing well as a reliever, while Hector Rondon is bouncing back after a down season with the Cubs. Joe Smith and Tony Sipp are the only ones really struggling consistently this year.
Britton, take 2?
According to Jon Heyman, he could see the Astros and Orioles trying again for a Zach Britton trade. The Astros have won a World Series Championship since the bad blood between the two teams after the last rumored Britton deal. Maybe they can work out a deal, but in hindsight, it was actually a good thing that deal fell through. According to Heyman, that deal would have most likely have included Colin Moran, who was traded in the Gerrit Cole trade.
Not only is it too soon to be discussing trade deadline needs, Britton has not thrown a pitch this year out of the bullpen. He is on the disabled list now with an Achilles injury, is slated to throw live batting practice on May 15. According to ESPN fantasy baseball app, he is expected to be ready mid-June. That would give him enough time to build some trade value before the deadline.
The Orioles are in no rush to trade him because they would not be getting face value in return. While the Astros are unlikely to make a strong push to trade for him without knowing if he will be healthy. It’s still too early to really access the Astros needs at the trade deadline. Houston fans should monitor the situation in case he could become a target.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***