No. 3: If Carlos Correa signs elsewhere, then a trade for a veteran shortstop could be an option.
I must preface that this trade would only happen if Correa ends up signing elsewhere this off season. It would also rely on the Astros not going out and signing a replacement for Correa before the season begins.
Let’s assume that either Aledmys Diaz or Jeremy Pena are now the starting shortstop. If either of them get into some kind of slump, I think that this trade has a medium to high probability of happening.
The first option the Astros could make is a trade for a player on the last year of his contract, and give up much less in the process. The only player that fits this scenario is Didi Gregorius who hit .209 with a .639 OPS in 2021, both of which are worse than Diaz.
The best cheap fit I see is the San Francisco Giants’ Brandon Crawford, who is 34, but coming off an All-Star 2021. He slashed a .298 batting average and an .895 OPS, which are both improvements from Diaz.
I project the Giants to decline this year, so there’s a good chance they will be ready to deal Crawford at the deadline for prospects. Since he’s a bit older, the Astros will have to give up less, but almost would be getting him basically as a rental for one or two playoff pushes.
Now, if the Astros want to really make a splash and go after a big name, they would probably have to give up a package that included one of the center field tandem, Pena, Forrest Whitley and maybe someone else. This trade would definitely happen at the deadline.