It is July 1st, and we already have a trade rumor involving the Astros. The Hot Stove season is officially upon us.
By the numbers and the eyes, we all know that the Astros are a good team. In fact, one of the best. But there is always room for improvement. For example, another quality arm or two in the bullpen would be an excellent start.
Cue the latest rumor.
Per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Astros have been rumored to be interested in Raisel Iglesias of the Reds. The age-28 right-hander has been one of the best relievers in baseball since the 2016 season. In 2018, Iglesias had a 2.08 ERA and 3.53 FIP entering Sunday. Cafardo does note Houston’s interest in Iglesias, but he also mentions that the Red Sox are in the mix as well.
"The Astros are looking hard at Iglesias, but so are other teams, including the Red Sox."
Interestingly enough, Zach Britton of the Orioles is still mentioned by Cafardo to be an Astros’ target, but the team may have cooled on him.
"Britton has long been an Astros target, but with his struggles, Houston is looking for more of a sure thing."
In case you aren’t familiar with Iglesias, the Reds’ right-hander primarily throws a mid-nineties four-seam fastball, a slider, and a changeup. Here is a quick video of Iglesias striking out Kris Bryant of the Cubs to end a threat in the sixth inning back in 2016.
On the surface, Iglesias would be a valuable addition to any baseball team. Not only does he come with experience in high leverage situations, but he would also be under contract through the 2020 season.
Iglesias salary breakdown, 2018-2020
2018: $4.5 million
2019: $5 million
2020: $5 million
Per FanGraphs, Iglesias can also choose to opt into arbitration during his current contract.
Like Brad Hand of the Padres, Iglesias will surely be a name to watch as we approach the trade deadline at the end of July. And like the Padres with Hand, the Reds will surely demand a steep price in return. Connor Byrne of MLB Trade Rumors references how the Astros currently have the “Baseball America’s 10th-best farm system“, which could provide Houston an edge in negotiations versus other interested organizations. I do not expect for general manager Jeff Luhnow to make top prospects like Forrest Whitley or Kyle Tucker available in any talks for Iglesias, though.
In short, we should expect more rumors like this one to churn out of the rumor mill all month long. I would also assume that the Astros continue to look at Hand and Britton. But Iglesias would be a terrific addition to Houston’s bullpen despite not addressing the left-handed relief role. Stay tuned in the coming weeks.