Astros aren’t budging on top prospect Forrest Whitley
By Cody Poage
For better or worse, the Astros appear reluctant to include their top pitching prospect in trade discussions.
Prospects in baseball are a tricky business. Not all pan out, or as successful as originally forecasted. As the Astros learned from their own rebuild, it takes a balance of young, homegrown talent combined with established veterans to contend for a World Series title. There are times when a team needs to trade prospects for proven major league players. The trade for Justin Verlander in August 2017 stands out as a recent example.
That said, the Astros are probably right in not including top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley in trade negotiations. As you may have heard, the Mariners traded their best starting pitcher, left-hander James Paxton, to the Yankees on Monday afternoon. Houston’s refusal to include Whitley in their offer for Paxton appears why Seattle instead chose New York’s package of Justus Sheffield, Erik Swanson, and Dom Thompson-Williams. I have a feeling a little bit of the trading within the division dynamic played a role in the request.
There is no doubt that Paxton was one of baseball’s better starters last season, when healthy. He would’ve been a fine replacement for Dallas Keuchel as Houston’s best left-handed starter. However, the Astros are clearly betting on Whitley’s potential over the next six seasons than the remaining two seasons on Paxton’s contract. For the record, Whitley on Monday night did seem to appreciate the stance of general manager Jeff Luhnow to not include him in the trade negotiations.