Bleacher Report predicts Astros will say goodbye to longtime player at trade deadline

The consensus is growing that this Astros star could get shipped out at the trade deadline this year.
Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros
Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages

At this point of the season, it is hard to envision how the Houston Astros can turn things around in 2024. Sure, there is enough talent on the roster to make a run, but being nine games under .500 through a quarter of the season is a pretty massive hole to climb out of. As much as general manager Dana Brown doesn't want to admit it, Houston is very much trending towards being a seller at the trade deadline.

While betting on the Astros selling at the deadline seems like a smart one, how much they sell is still open for debate. The team still holds hope that they can extend Kyle Tucker and Framber Valdez, and clearly the Astros aren't interested in another total rebuild.

However, the elephant in the room is that Alex Bregman is about to be a free agent and there has been basically no news regarding a possible contract extension for him in Houston. Given his struggles this season, it's hard to blame the Astros for not pushing harder there. However, his status also means that Bregman may be the most likely Astros trade candidate and Bleacher Report seems to agree given their early deadline prediction for him

Bleacher Report predicts that Bregman will be playing in the NL Central after the trade deadline

Right now, the Astros extending Bregman just doesn't seem to make sense for anybody. Bregman and his agent, Scott Boras, are going to be looking for top dollar for him in free agency and that is a tough sell to Houston, who has had a front row seat to his decline in recent years.

The real questions here are two-fold. First, would the Astros trade Bregman if they had any chance of contending in 2024 (which is possible if unlikely)? And second, is the expected return for Bregman worth more to the organization than the draft pick (and subsequent increase in draft bonus pool) Houston would get if he signed elsewhere after receiving the qualifying offer?

Part of the calculus for the Astros is that Bregman is making north of $30 million this year and the Astros have pushed past the luxury tax threshold in 2024. By trading Bregman (and maybe others) away at the deadline, there is a world where they get back under that number by the end of the season, assuming they can find trade partners willing to take on salary.

Bleacher Report goes on to note that the Brewers could be a good fit as they are in a tough division race in the NL Central and could use an established third baseman. However, getting the Brewers to take on a hefty salary like Bregman's could be difficult, although Milwaukee does have the prospects to make a move appealing to the Astros even if they have to eat some money.

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