If the Astros Will Trade a Starter, Who Should it Be?

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In their quest for a position player, the Houston Astros are reportedly willing to trade a controllable starting pitcher. Who is the right one to move on from?

For many teams, the trade deadline often comes with excruciatingly tough decisions, and the Houston Astros have a big one to make. They are reportedly willing to deal a starting pitcher with team control to acquire a position player who also has team control, and considering that they will have 7 starters on their MLB roster when Lance McCullers Jr. completes his rehab assignment, there are a great many ways they could go about this process.

McCullers was recently signed to a long-term extension that would keep him in Houston until 2027, so excluding him, the Astros have 4 starters with team control on their roster. The catch is that all 4 of them are above-average pitchers with postseason experience, and not much separates them in terms of their career stats. If he can lock in on a controllable position player that he wants, GM James Click and his front office are going to be tasked with determining which one’s absence would hurt the Astros the least, which is far from easy.

As a result, I’m going to try to determine who to trade if I were in Click’s position. The choices are going to be Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy, and Cristian Javier. Due to the fact that he has been the most consistent of the group so far (and since he’s the only left-handed pitcher on the staff), I am considering Framber Valdez untouchable. He has established himself as the clear #2 in this rotation behind Justin Verlander and will almost certainly take the reins long-term, so he should not be in consideration in any trade talks.

As well, Jake Odorizzi was not considered for this piece. He’s easily the most expendable pitcher the team has, but his contract is up after this year, meaning he likely wouldn’t cut it in a trade package for a controllable position player on a non-contender.

With that, let’s dive into the case for and against trading each expendable and controllable starter, beginning with Luis Garcia.