Astros: best trade options out of the NL East

Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Houston Astros, Starling Marte
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami Marlins

Starling Marte

With contract extension talks halted, it seems more likely that the Marlins will try to trade center fielder Starling Marte. The 32-year-old All Star and Gold Glove winner appears motivated to find a new contract in a new home – and perhaps the Astros could be that ideal suitor for Marte.

Marte is currently hitting .289 with 7 home runs, 23 RBIs, 19 stolen bases and with an OPS of .833. He hits, he gets on base, he steals, he defends and he does everything you’d want out of a center fielder. While Myles Straw has been terrific this season and has proven himself to be a starting-caliber player, acquiring Marte would be a notable upgrade at center fielder.

There appears to be a lot of teams inquiring about Marte (Yankees and Phillies) which might drive the asking price up higher than the Astros would like. I also think the Astros have been impressed with Straw and aren’t trying to move him.

John Curtiss

Although the right-hander just signed a new contract this past offseason, Curtiss might be one of Miami’s best trade chips if they are trying to acquire prospects. Curtiss currently has a 2.75 ERA with a WHIP of 1.18 in 36 innings this year – nothing too impressive.

However, Curtiss is only one year removed from his season with the Tampa Bay Rays where he posted a 0.96 WHIP, 1.79 ERA and was a key part of the bullpen that carried the Tampa Bay Rays to the World Series last year.

The 28-year-old has a terrific fastball-slider combination, with his fastball sometimes touching the upper 95 MPH range. The thought of Curtiss coming in the seventh inning to pitch for Houston, followed by Pedro Baez (hopefully) and Ryan Presley does bring a smile to my face.

Richard Bleier

Bleier has been a very good pitcher on a ton of bad teams for most of his career – I’d be interested to see what he would do on a good team.

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The lefty primarily uses his sinker pitch which generates low contact, supported by a nifty little cutter pitch that he uses from time to time. Bleier is currently posting a 3.00 ERA with a low WHIP of 0.84 for Miami. Bleier’s play also seems to be trending up – in the month of July (excluding one bad game against Washington) he has given up 0 earned runs over 10 innings and has an opponent batting average of .140

The most appealing thing about Bleier would be his control. He doesn’t give up home runs (career 1.7% HR rate) and he doesn’t walk batters (1.9% walk rate). This would be a welcome addition to an Astro bullpen that gives up some big bombs and clusters of walks from time to time.

Bleier is 34 years old and likely not part of Miami’s long-term plans, which means Houston may be able to acquire him on the cheap end. When you have an offense as good as Houston does, you need bullpen arms that keeps the bases empty and don’t give up big mistakes – Bleier fits that model.

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