The Houston Astros have been pretty low-key on the trade rumors here since they brought Yimi Garcia to the club from the Miami Marlins, yesterday. Ultimately, they weren’t in the final mix for Max Scherzer, as the right-hander seemed to have a pretty strong handle on dictating where he wanted to end up (the West Coast).
I am definitely feeling like the Astros might be done for the time being in regards to big trades. They have a solid rotation with depth, going down the stretch.
While it would be nice to replace one of the weaker, younger starting pitchers with a bonafide veteran ace, the Astros instead made moves to bolster the bullpen by acquiring Kendall Graveman and Garcia from the Seattle Mariners and Marlins, respectively.
However, if they were going to pull the trigger on one more deal here before the July 30th, 3pm EST deadline, there is one area where I think the Astros can make a move: a left-handed bullpen arm. Look, I’ve been running staunch defense for Brooks Raley’s role on this team all season.
He’s just not doing himself any favors. With the minimum three-batter rule implemented now, I just cannot see a place for Raley except to close out seven-plus run leads until he earns back that trust.
The Astros can always take on another reliever at the trade deadline, as a left-hander makes the most sense.
Looking at the market, the logical choice would have been Taylor Rogers from the Minnesota Twins. However, with him hitting the injured list with a sprained finger, as reported by Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, it would seem that would be a less likely target for the Houston Astros at this point. So, let’s dig in here and take a look at what left handed arms remain on the trade market.
Paul Fry of the Baltimore Orioles would be a solid fit for the Houston Astros’ bullpen. The lefty is playing in his fourth season in the big leagues. So far, this season, he has four wins and three losses through 38.2 innings with a 3.49 ERA. The 29-year-old Fry relies primarily on two pitches; a four-seam fastball and a slider.
According to Baseball Savant, his fastball has an average velocity of around 92.8 MPH and the slider averaging around 84.8. Pitching to contact, left handed batters are only batting .170 against Fry this season, per Fan Graphs.
The Cubs are definitely going to be moving assets. While a trade for Craig Kimbrel would be swell, it is more realistic for the Houston Astros fans to pine after left handed specialist, Rex Brothers. The 33-year-old pitcher is in the midst of his ninth MLB season. Like Fry, he relies heavily on the four-seam fastball and slider combination.
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Looking at Brothers’ season numbers on FanGraphs, he’s having a bit of a renaissance since his fall from grace as the former Colorado Rockies closer a few seasons back. He’s thrown 39.1 innings that has yielded a 36.8 K%, which is currently a career high. It would be an understatement to say that Brothers dominates left-handed batters. Lefties are batting .140 with a 37.1 K% against him this season.
A lesser known arm from the Baltimore Orioles bullpen is Tanner Scott. Tanner Scott is a 26-year-old reliever playing in his fifth MLB season. In the shortened 2020 season, Tanner Scott broke out. He sported a 1.31 ERA through 25 appearances.
While he isn’t having quite the dominant season this year, he has still managed to put together a respectable 3.07 ERA in 46 appearances. His biggest knock is the walk numbers. He currently has a 6.15 BB/9, per his FanGraph page. Interesting thing about Scott, he remains formidable to righties which brings a lot more versatility, who are only batting .172 off him this season.