With the MLB Trade Deadline approaching, the Houston Astros are in an enviable position of potentially being both buyers AND sellers at the deadline. They have an embarrassment of riches in their pitching rotation, a rarity with how fragile shoulders and elbows can be. Lance McCullers Jr. is close to returning to the rotation, meaning the Astros will have seven starting pitchers, which will automatically make at least one of them expendable. The easiest to trade would be veteran right-hander Jake Odorizzi.
The Houston Astros should trade Jake Odorizzi before the August 2nd deadline.
If Sunday was Odorizzi’s final start for the Astros, did he ever raise his trade value. He threw seven shutout innings while giving up two hits, two walks and striking out eight batters against a playoff-caliber opponent in the Seattle Mariners.
Considering the Cardinals’ need for starting pitching depth, they match up well with the Houston Astros as a trade partner. The question is, what would the Astros get back for Odorizzi?
Looking at the Kansas City Royals’ haul for Andrew Benintendi being nothing more than the Yankees’ number 19 prospect, number 21 prospect and an unranked prospect, the Astros shouldn’t expect much in return regardless of who they trade with for Jake Odorizzi. Not only that, but he’s a half-year rental and not a top-tier starter.
That said, once upon a time, they once traded journeyman reliever Josh Fields for a then-unknown prospect by the name of Yordan Alvarez. The Astros have spun straw into gold with a low level trade before. Considering their glut of starting pitching, it’s worth using Odorizzi to see if they can catch lightning in a bottle twice.
Not to mention, the Astros wouldn’t have the pitching depth they have right now if it weren’t for incredible scouting of previously unheralded younger players like Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier.
While Odorizzi has pitched well this year, there just isn’t a place for him in the regular season rotation and he might not even make the playoff roster.
The Astros have said they’d be willing to part with controllable starting pitching, but given their depth and need to rebuild the farm system after two years of losing first and second round picks, they might as well take advantage of their major league surplus by dealing a rental instead. In the process of deepening their farm system, it could then give them the ability to trade away some prospects who they otherwise may not want to part with.
While the Astros will assuredly try and make their major league roster better, they do have the ability to also improve their farm system and considering their starting pitching did just fine with Jake Odorizzi on the injured list, they won’t lose anything on the major league roster by trading him away. Perhaps they could trade Odorizzi for young talent with a long way to go but lots of potential. Two possible packages for him involving the Cardinals could be:
-Cardinals get Jake Odorizzi
-Astros get #22 Prospect Edwin Nunez (RHP), #27 prospect Leonardo Bernal (C)
-Astros get #22 Prospect Edwin Nunez, #26 prospect Won-Bin Cho (OF)
Nunez is a gas-throwing 20-year-old righty with control issues, but the Astros’ penchant for developing and harnessing pitchers’ control is already on full display in the form of Framber Valdez.
Bernal is a switch-hitting 18-year old-catcher who has an above-average arm with the promise of double-digit homers.
Cho is an 18-year-old outfielder who has a 6’3″ frame that, if filled out, could profile as a corner outfielder with solid pop from the left side of the plate.
Odorizzi won’t fetch much in the way of top prospects, but with the Astros’ success rate in finding diamonds in the rough between Yordan Alvarez, Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier, it’s entirely possible an Odorizzi trade could net a future superstar. As well, it wouldn’t hamper the Astros’ ability to improve their major league roster this year in an effort to get that elusive second World Series championship.
It would be pointless from the Astros’ perspective to hold this much starting pitching and receive nothing in return for it, especially with such glaring holes offensively on the team. Odorizzi could deepen the farm system and, in effect, cause no harm to the major league roster.
Whether the Astros choose this route or receiving more by giving away Urquidy or possibly even Garcia or Javier, they must at least mull over losing some of their starting pitching to improve the team in some way. Too much starting pitching is a situation that doesn’t come around too often in baseball. Houston can’t let it go to waste.