The trade market is believed to be incredibly hot with a somewhat light free agent class. Aside from Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and maybe a resurgent Aaron Nola, there aren't a ton of franchise changing talents on the free agent market.
Here's 4 under the radar trade targets for the Astros this offseason
With the Astros unlikely to shell out top money for a piece like Yamamoto, and also unlikely to overpay for a streaky talent like Blake Snell or Cody Bellinger, where might they find upgrades? We already looked at four under the radar free agent targets they Astros could target for marginal and inexpensive upgrades, but what about via trade. Are there available pieces that could help improve their depth in areas of need?
Let's look at some under the radar trade candidates the Astros could look to land as an upgrade.
#1 Seth Brown
It's probably surprising to see a member of the hapless Oakland A's listed as a potential upgrade for Houston, but Seth Brown actually could be incredibly useful in Houston. The Astros simply have to hit right handed pitchers better and hit better at home in 2024.
Enter Seth Brown into the mix. He's definitely a platoon player, as the lefty is almost a guaranteed out anytime a southpaw is on the hill. But for his career, Brown is a .238 hitter with a .776 OPS and 110 OPS+ against righties.
He's also been punished by playing in the cavernous Oakland Coliseum, where he holds a .718 OPS versus a .751 OPS on the road.
Brown could be had for a mid-tier prospect or two, and there's a chance for a big breakout in Houston. His contact numbers were down a bit from his 2022 season, but he still finished 2023 in the 79th percentile in barrel and hard-hit rates, as well as 69th in xSLG.
Houston slugged only .411 at home this season--a terrible mark for a contending team. For the second time in five years, Houston lost a seven-game series in which they went 0-4 at home. Houston has to find ways to score. Brown isn't going to come to Houston and win AL MVP, but he's a massive upgrade over Jon Singleton as a bench piece. With Yainer Diaz now the everyday catcher, Brown can serve as DH on days when Yordan Alvarez is in left to give the Astros another power threat against right-handed pitching. And he would provide them a true threat as a pinch-hitter in October.