The trade deadline is nearing, and for the Houston Astros, a high-leverage arm is on their radar. Depending on player, the value and meat of the trade could vary, but with every deadline, the 40-man roster will shuffle.
A relief pitcher seems like the most important need to address, but the Astros can always turn to more depth in the utility room or behind the dish. The catching position has been underwhelming as of late but doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon.
The trade deadline is on the forefronts of our minds, but which 40-man players are in contention of being traded?
After a hot start in the utility role, Abraham Toro has been quiet recently. In his last two weeks, the switch-hitter is slashing .170/.259/.255 with only one home run. Toro was recalled in part to Alex Bregman’s injury but has boosted his own trade value.
Every player wants to win, and I’m sure Toro loves the core in Houston. But if more playing time is in the picture with another team, I, as a fictional player, would be fine being moved and not play in the minor leagues every month. This isn’t his choice, but Toro could easily be flipped for a reliever like Richard Rodriguez of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This looks like a shocker but bare with me. Since his return from the injured list, Bryan Abreu has worked out of the bullpen. With a high upside on his fastball, the right-hander was targeted as a starter in his career.
In his return, Abreu has worked 3.1 innings, surrendering three runs on four hits. With a high-leverage arm on the horizon like Craig Kimbrel, a top pitching prospect would need to be in the return.
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At full strength, the bullpen sits at Josh James, Austin Pruitt, Joe Smith, Cristian Javier, Ryne Stanek, Blake Taylor, Brooks Raley and Ryan Pressly even without trades. There might not be room for Abreu now, especially with one starter falling to the bullpen when Jose Urquidy returns.
While making his debut with the Astros this season, Peter Solomon hasn’t made a big impact other than during the COVID-19 stint in the clubhouse. The right-hander has value as a spot starter and reliever with option years left.
Solomon fanned eight, while allowing one run on one hit in his start on Tuesday with the Sugar Land Skeeters. He is not holding much value in coming back up as a replacement this season, although being starter depth. Solomon could be an easy throw in come July 31, if the receiving team needs an optional arm.
Some might wonder why pitchers like Andre Scrubb, Nivaldo Rodriguez or Brandon Bielak are not on my list. These three don’t show the same value as the others listed, and due to the need of high-leverage arms, one of these three could be thrown in with their options. But with high-leverage major-league talent on the radar, it will cost the Astros high-leverage prospects.
In years past, Tyler White and Tony Kemp were dumped to open roster space and bolster the backstops. General manager James Click could be looking to do a similar thing with Garrett Stubbs, if needed.