The Astros are reportedly one of six teams in on Zach Britton.
After yesterday’s game, it is not surprising that many Astros want more bullpen help. It’s not a good sign when J.D. Davis pitches the ninth inning when they are losing. The bullpen gave up nine runs, with late innings options Will Harris and Chris Devenski giving up eight runs together. The question is, do the Astros really need an upgrade in the bullpen?
Don’t let one bad game get you all paranoid about the bullpen. However, one more reliever would make the team better. When you are the cream of the crop, the rest of the teams try to match your roster. The Astros have a complete roster that doesn’t need to make a move, but they may only have a limited window to win while the core is still intact. The future is now.
While Raisel Iglesias is the better long-term option, the Astros have the prospects needed to get that deal done. But before the Astros can make a move, they must determine that the player is a significant upgrade. While Zach Britton could represent a significant upgrade, he will be a free agent after the 2018 season. How much would the Astros be willing to give up for a rental reliever with a recent history with a sketchy medical history?
A lot of chatter.
There is so much chatter surrounding the Stros and Britton, among other teams, for this to not be a thing. According to Jon Heyman, the Stros are one of six teams in on Britton. The left-handed Britton is 30-years-old, coming off an achillies injury that kept him out for two months. In 16 games on the season, he is 1-0 with four saves with 13 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings. His 3.45 ERA has come down after a rough start after returning from an injury. Stats from Baseball-Reference.
The Nationals and Indians have already made their move to improve their bullpen. When healthy, the Yankees bullpen can be dominating. Jensen Lewis claimed, “that Astros have the weakest bullpen of the six AL contenders.” I’m not sure if I agree with that, the bullpen currently has the second lowest ERA (2.96) in the AL. They may struggle at times, but they also don’t have the same workload that most teams do with the rotation.
With Ken Giles struggles on the mound this year, the Astros are getting a look at Cionel Perez as a potential lefty. According to Jim Bowden, the front office is “all in” for Britton. He also assured fans that last year’s failed trade would not hinder trade talks. After the Manny Machado trade, the Orioles appear ready for a rebuild. Heyman says the Cubs and Astros are the teams most linked to trading for Britton.
According to Dan Connolly, the Astros have the pitching prospects that the Orioles could want. The Houston farm system is deep and can absorb one or two trades depending on the players traded. Ken Rosenthall also says the Astros are deep into the discussion. With so many teams involved, the price for Britton has risen. His fastball is reportedly up in his last few appearances.
CTH’s Tomas Romo listed out some of the prospects who could be involved to get Britton. In my opinion, it will take two to three prospects to get the deal done. Unless the bidding war gets high, I wouldn’t expect the Astros top three prospects to be involved. Many people in the industry feel like a deal can be made soon. We will see how important a dominant lefty closer type of player is to the Astros plan.