The Houston Astros currently have the second-best record in MLB and lead the American League West by 13.5 games. Despite the team currently being on fire, there are still a few holes that the squad may look to fill at the trade deadline.
Who should the Astros add to their star-studded roster at the trade deadline?
1. A Hitting Backup Catcher
Let’s face it Astros fans: as much as we love Martin Maldonado, “Machete” is not a good hitter. He needs to be kept on the roster for his defensive ability, but a backup guy who can hit should replace Jason Castro when come playoff time. Everyone says Willson Contreras is the obvious answer, but I think that the Cubs will want too much in return. As he’s on a one year deal, I could see GM James Click maneuvering a way to get Contreras for less, but a team with a greater incentive like the Mets will probably offer more. Instead, I like the Miami Marlins’ Nick Fortes, who has a .277 BA and a .946 OPS. He isn’t the best defensively, but with that bat, he doesn’t need to be. He also wouldn’t hurt the Astros in the Luxury tax cap.
2. Alternative First Baseman
No, I am not saying we replace Yuli Gurriel. If the Astros did, it would cause too much drama in the clubhouse, and hurt the club more than it would help. Instead, I think we need to trade for someone who can split time with him, but can actually hit. I like Trey Mancini as he’s another veteran who could fill the role well and also help out in center field when needed, but I just don’t know if the Astros would give up what would be necessary to get him. Mancini is slashing .281 with a .785 OPS in Baltimore.
What do I think will actually happen?
Unfortunately, I believe that the Astros will stick with Gurriel/ Castro/ Lee, and hope that either Castro or Lee can become a quality player at the plate down the stretch. I also think that they will ride with Yuli Gurriel, but will trade for another utility option with a quality bat to help out at first base or centerfield, as well as another bullpen arm. Will this be enough to get to the World Series? Probably. Will it be enough to win it? I don’t think so.