5 potential blockbuster trades involving Framber Valdez

If the Astros wanted to contend for a World Series this year and extend their window of contention, flipping their mercurial ace could be just the way to do so.
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six / Rob Carr/GettyImages
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#4 Framber Valdez for Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Jake Fraley and Rhett Lowder

The Reds are young and very talented. They also have a surplus of position player prospects and are desperate for starting pitching. Framber Valdez would give them a #1 ahead of Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Andrew Abbott.

Houston gets two young studs and a solid outfielder in return.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand would be an Astros corner infielder of the future, most likely at 1B. In 63 games a a rookie, CES hit .270 with 13 home runs, an .805 OPS and a 113 OPS+. He still has some swing and miss in his game, but he makes loud contact consistently.

Jake Fraley would contribute right away in 2024, filling the Michael Brantley role. He won't have as high of an average as Brantley, but he'd balance the lineup with another lefty and comes with three years of team control.

Over the last two seasons (179 games), Fraley is hitting .257 with 27 home runs and a .794 OPS. While he's likely not starting Game 1 of a playoff series, think about how much better Houston is with Fraley as a pinch-hitter instead of Jon Singleton.

And Rhett Lowder is absolutely nasty. The 21-year old just went #7 overall in the 2023 MLB draft. He hasn't yet made his professional debut, but is coming off of a 15-0 senior season at Wake Forest with a 1.87 ERA.

His changeup in particular is wipeout, and pairs a solid fastball and slider with it. He wouldn't contribute in 2024, but would quickly ascend the system.

The Reds may very well decline this deal, but if Houston can make it happen, they have two franchise cornerstones in CES and Lowder.