The Astros' rotation needs some real help and soon
The Astros' rotation is arguably the most important thing they need to sort out sooner rather than later. So far, Houston has been able to make things work in 2023 as they currently rank sixth in fWAR in all of baseball thanks to stellar work from Framber Valdez this season and strong first half performances from Hunter Brown and Cristian Javier have helped the cause.
However, the depth here is concerning. Lance McCullers Jr. is out the rest of the season after having flexor tendon surgery and Luis Garcia underwent Tommy John surgery which is going to keep him out until sometime in 2024. Jose Urquidy has also been out for a while as well as he has been dealing with shoulder inflammation, but it does at least seem like he could return sometime in July. These were all guys that Houston was relying on to give them meaningful innings in 2023 and now the Astros have some innings to cover.
A look at Houston's minor league system doesn't yield a lot of answers to this problem. Double-A is where their best options are as Spencer Arrighetti has the sort of swing and miss stuff you would love to see, but the lack of a viable offspeed pitch at the moment combined with a spotty track record of command is a bit concerning. Colton Gordon has also put together a nice season thus far in Double-A and does not have Arrighetti's command questions, although his stuff doesn't jump off the page.
This brings us to the trade market and Houston has some real options here. Lucas Giolito is a pending free agent and the White Sox are currently 11 games below .500, so he should be a viable trade option. The Tigers' Eduardo Rodriguez is another guy who could be a fun option as well assuming he gets healthy here quickly and Detroit actually decides to sell. If Houston wants to make a deal for a guy with team control beyond this season, Dylan Cease could be a good choice, although acquiring him could be costly.
If Urquidy can come back healthy and be the guy we have seen in the past, that would be a big help here. However, the Astros could use another rotation arm even if they have a ton of confidence that he will be back soon.