These Astros players could get traded at the deadline if things don't turn around

Could the Astros actually become sellers later this summer?
Houston Astros infielder Alex Bregman
Houston Astros infielder Alex Bregman / Logan Riely/GettyImages

It's still so early, they say. Don't panic, they say. Well, April is coming to a close in a matter of days and the Houston Astros have no chance of being a .500 team by the time the calendar flips to May. So when is it OK to start panicking?

One look at the Astros injured list can give the Houston faithful a clue as to why the team's struggles have persisted through the first several weeks of the 2024 season. But injuries are part of the game, and that's not the only reason why they have fallen on hard times.

Would the Astros really be sellers at this year's trade deadline? The initial reaction on the part of any logical Astros fan would be "no," but stranger things have happened. If rookie manager Joe Espada isn't able to turn the tide, Astros GM Dana Brown may be fielding more calls than he's used to this summer.

These Astros players could get traded at the deadline if things don't turn around

Before delving into who could be traded, it should be understood the Astros would not be setting themselves up for a fire sale. Players like Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, and Kyle Tucker aren't going anywhere. Not many teams would be interested in Justin Verlander given his contract/injury history, and the Astros couldn't give away Jose Abreu at this point. But there are some names that will emerge if Houston remains in the AL West basement.

Ryan Pressly, Astros RHP

Let's just rip off the bandage, shall we? Pressly is taking home $14 million this season and maintains a mutual option on his contract. After signing Josh Hader to a five-year, $95 million contract this past offseason, there's no way Houston is going into 2025 with nearly $40 million invested in the back of the bullpen.

Contending clubs will see Pressly as a closer, and some teams could be willing to pay a high price for the veteran right-hander. If the Astros continue to occupy last place in the division, Pressly is as good as gone.

Alex Bregman, Astros 3B

Don't laugh. This could actually happen. If the Astros are out of contention by July, they'd be crazy not to shop Bregman. Houston's third baseman will be a free agent next winter and Bregman has every intention of testing the open market.

While this past winter didn't prove to be as lucrative as most free agents had hoped, Bregman's resumé is rather impressive. If the Astros have no hope to re-sign their All-Star infielder, then trading Bregman may become a reality.

Victor Caratini, Astros C

Caratini has played well in limited action so far this season. While new to the Astros, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Houston part ways with Caratini at the trade deadline if Espada's club has no hope of making a run at the postseason.

The Astros have hitched their wagon to Yainer Diaz as their future backstop. Caratini wouldn't necessarily be the top trade candidate on the Astros roster, his contract (two years, $12 million) is affordable and he's a switch hitter.

Framber Valdez, Astros LHP

Some Astros fans will see this and immediately reject the notion of trading their frontline starter. But Houston has some big dollars tied up in the rotation for the next few years. While it may be unlikely for Justin Verlander to trigger his vesting option, the opportunity certainly exists. In addition, Houston has Lance McCullers Jr. and Christian Javier under contract through at least 2026.

Valdez will be a free agent after next season, and if he returns fully healthy after his IL stint, the Astros could get a haul for the left-hander. The Houston faithful may not like the idea, but the Astros could greatly replenish their farm system by trading Valdez. It's also very unlikely that the Astros are able to retain both Valdez and soon-to-be free agent Kyle Tucker.

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