The All-Star break is coming to a close, and while no Houston Astro was in attendance, it is time to turn our eyes to the trade deadline. The organization has made blockbuster trades before in pursuit of World Series trophy, but with James Click at the helm, will he look for a big-time starter like the Astros have in recent years?
Due to need, a rotational piece doesn’t seem like the ideal move, but an addition of someone like Max Scherzer would bolster the bullpen by moving either Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia or Jake Odorizzi to the relieving room. Although being linked to Craig Kimbrel, I still believe that the Astros should target two high-leverage relievers by July 30.
With trade talks swarming, we can only hope these two prospects stay out of discussion.
These should be obvious choices. The two best prospects still in the minor leagues for the Astros are Pedro Leon, based on upside, and Korey Lee, based on overall production right now. As Lee missed a whole see of progressions in 2020, the top-ranked catcher in Houston’s system has crushed the ball since his promotion to Double-A.
While both are not currently on the 40-man roster, they will most likely not see the show this season. Leon made $4 million from signing this past winter, and while this doesn’t count against the Astros’ payroll, his international free agency bonus would be a hefty dollar to just deal away the following season.
If the front office explores deals for high-end arms, Leon and Lee’s names will have to be thrown in the conversation, which is nerve wracking for a depleted farm system. There are hidden gems already in Jake Meyers, Bryan De La Cruz, Joe Perez and Norel Gonzalez brewing in the minor leagues, while some of these could be traded away come late July.
It would sound like a lie, if I said the Astros weren’t going to make a drastic move at the deadline. They have to; this could be the final year without Carlos Correa. It is about winning now, and in the eyes of national news outlets, the minor-league system can’t take many more hits.
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The bullpen is the biggest weakness on the team; every fan knows that, but are there other parts of the team to address? Alex Bregman and Aledmys Diaz are returning in the coming month, bolstering the hot corner and utility position. With Myles Straw hitting more effectively and Chas McCormick adding depth, the outfield should be just fine, unless Kris Bryant is somehow offered with Kimbrel. This is just a speculation, but Bryant can play the outfield and third base.
Leon and Lee should be held onto, while seen as the top position players in the Astros’ minor leagues. The shortstop position is up in the air with Correa most likely departing, and while also a centerfield, his addition of versatility improves an Astros team down the stretch in 2022. Lee is one of the most hyped Houston catching prospects since Jason Castro, and without a load of options at disposal, the right-hander should not be dealt.