Astros GM’s proposed trade deadline plan has a huge fundamental problem

It's a good plan, but there's an issue.
Houston Astros GM Dana Brown
Houston Astros GM Dana Brown / Bob Levey/GettyImages

The Houston Astros need help and their general manager knows it. Astros GM Dana Brown has been staunch in his assertion that Houston will be buyers, not sellers, at this year's MLB trade deadline. That's good news, right Astros fans? After all, this roster was constructed to compete for the American League pennant, not second or third place in the division.

But that is, in fact, where the Astros find themselves at the moment. Houston is deadlocked with the Texas Rangers, and both teams who call the Lone Star State home are looking up at the AL West-leading Seattle Mariners.

With the Mariners likely shopping to upgrade their offense in the coming weeks, the Astros cannot afford to sit idly by and watch other clubs in the race for the postseason pass them up. Brown shared his plans for the upcoming MLB trade deadline, but there's a glaring problem with his philosophy.

The Astros' prospect capital won't allow them to make many moves at the MLB trade deadline

Brown recently divulged during a radio interview that the Astros would be looking to players with several years of team control. What a coincidence — so will every other GM in the league. Every MLB executive will be trying to one-up the other by attempting to swing a trade for a player that'll be with his new team for more than just two months.

Speaking of which, Brown also spoke on the subject of so-called "rentals". Players that are impending free agents and playing for non-contenders are quite popular this time of year. If Houston decided to become sellers, Alex Bregman would fit in that category.

But Brown mentioned that rentals may not make sense for the Astros and could be more difficult to trade for. Perhaps, Brown is used to his team not needing so many pieces at the MLB trade deadline, but that's not how this works.

Astros GM Dana Brown may have his work cut out for him at the MLB trade deadline

Typically, the two-month rentals are much easier to come by than a player with years of control. Teams who know they have no hope of re-signing an impending free agent will oftentimes try to get whatever they can so as to not lose the player for nothing after the season.

On the flip side, those players with multiple years of team control remaining are more in-demand. That means the price tag is much higher, and typically those types of teams are looking for prospect-laden packages in return. Astros fans know that Houston's farm system is not ripe talent, meaning that Brown's ability to entice another ball club to swing a deal for a controllable asset is quite unlikely.

Perhaps this was just your typical GM-speak (saying a lot without saying anything at all). But if Brown really believes that this is how the trade deadline works, I've got some oceanfront property in Arizona for sale.

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