Last year one of the Astros key moves at the trade deadline was acquiring Christian Vázquez of the Boston Red Sox. Might Boston be a trade partner for the Astros in back-to-back deadlines?
Dusty Baker shared today that Michael Brantley had plateaued in his return from shoulder surgery. That's now two setbacks for Brantley, and at his age coming off of multiple shoulder injuries and surgeries, it's looking less and less likely that Uncle Mike makes an impact for the Astros in 2023.
With Michael Brantley's status unclear, the Astros need to land Alex Verdugo from Boston.
Fully healthy, the Astros only have two lefties in their lineup: Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker.
Houston is hitting only .247 with a .721 OPS against righties this season. They need more balance to begin stringing some runs together and help pick up their injury depleted pitching staff.
Enter Verdugo into the equation.
He's hitting .296 with a .824 OPS. He profiles very similarly to Brantley. He's not a huge power bat, but he's a contact machine that racks up doubles. He's only got six home runs this season, but he's already got 26 doubles and four triples.
Against righties, Verdugo is hitting .316 with an .898 OPS. For his career, Verdugo hits .297 with an .824 OPS against righties. That is exactly the kind of bat the Astros need in the heart of their order.
He also would come with an additional year of team control through 2024.
The outfield would require some reconfiguration, as Verdugo has exclusively played right field this year, but in his big league career, he's got more starts in left than he does right, and while not entirely the same dimensions, because of the Green Monster, has experience playing in front of a short wall with wild caroms.
He's been worth 21 defensive runs saved in his career as a left fielder.
Imagine the Astros lineup with a bat like Verdugo getting the plate appearances that have gone to Corey Julks?
If Houston rolled into October healthy with a lineup like this, who is stopping them?
2B Jose Altuve
LF Alex Verdugo
DH Yordan Alvarez
3B Alex Bregman
RF Kyle Tucker
1B José Abreu
C Yainer Diaz
SS Jeremy Peña
CF Mauricio Dubón
You may notice Chas McCormick's name not on that list. He'd likely be the piece that gets the deal done, and while he deserves so much more than he has gotten this year with regard to playing time, the asinine time share in the outfield needs to end.
Baseball Trade Values gives Verdugo a trade value of 27.1 and McCormick a value of 27.7. If Dusty Baker won't play Chas, Dana Brown should leverage him for a big bat down the stretch.
If Dana Brown can land Alex Verdugo, and while you're on the line see what it would take to get Chaim Bloom to add James Paxton to the mix, then the deadline is a massive success for Houston.