The Astros will likely be an active player in this year’s offseason. With a deep farm system at its disposal, the club has the assets to entice other teams in trade talks.
Ever since Houston’s sudden resurgence in 2015, there has been a debate about whether or not the front office should cash in its best prospects for proven talent. There are intriguing cases for both approaches. But if the Astros are serious about acquiring external talent to return to the Fall Classic in 2019, then they must part with talent in the form of prospects.
The club’s most glaring weakness heading into the offseason is the catcher position. Outside of Max Stassi and Chris Herrmann, the Astros have no other proven major league catchers. Minor league catcher Garrett Stubbs is Houston’s top prospect at the position, but it is unreasonable to expect for him to be ready for the full-time gig in 2019.
Another area of concern for the Astros is the starting rotation. Although the 2018 staff was one of the best starting units in baseball, there is a good chance that sixty percent of the rotation is gone. Lance McCullers Jr. will likely return to the staff in 2020 once fully recovered from Tommy John surgery. However, Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton are free-agents and likely pitching elsewhere in 2019. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are an excellent one-two punch, but the club also has to consider the duo’s long-term status as both are scheduled to hit free agency next year.
All of that said, here are five trade targets for the Astros to consider. Some are more obvious than others.