The Houston Astros need to push for a trade for Lucas Giolito
Lucas Giolito is going to be a very popular name at the trade deadline this year and with good reason. He misses bats, doesn't walk a ton of batters, has a track record of performance in the big leagues, and is a free agent after the 2023 season so teams don't have to commit as many resources into acquiring him.
There are some warts here, though. Giolito didn't have a great 2022 thanks to a 4.90 ERA and while his surface level numbers this season have been good, a deeper look at his peripherals is a bit spookier as he has been hit kinda hard this season. There is also the problem that a bunch of teams are going to be bidding for his services at the deadline which will drive up the price for a rental starter.
All of that said, the Astros should make a real attempt at nabbing Giolito. Even with the concerns regarding the batted ball profile against him this year, he is still the best rental starter that is likely to be available on the trade market since Sonny Gray probably isn't going anywhere. While he would cost more than your typical rental, he still shouldn't be all that expensive and this is the kind of arm that the Astros need and can get the most out of.
Marcus Stroman should be on the Astros' radar at the trade deadline
Marcus Stroman hasn't gotten as much press as a trade deadline candidate primarily because most of the talk with him has centered regarding his desire for the Chicago Cubs to give him an extension. However, it sounds like that the team hasn't been willing to make that sort of offer and with him looking like he should opt out of his current deal at the end of the season, this is another rental Houston should take a look at.
Stroman doesn't have big time swing and miss stuff, but he gets a ton of ground balls and has been a mortal lock to post a 3-3.50 ERA the last four seasons. He is currently in the middle of one of his better seasons as a pro with a 2.96 ERA and 2.4 fWAR in 19 starts this season. The guy just puts up quality innings every single year.
The Cubs sort of hanging around in the terrible NL Central despite being five games below .500 puts a wrinkle in things to be sure. They may wait a little bit to see how things shake out coming out of the All-Star break. Stroman also doesn't exactly light up the advanced metrics, either. However, his track record should be enough to convince Houston that he is at least worth having some conversations with the Cubs.