With the trade deadline just a few days away, I wanted to list a few guys I think would be realistic targets for the Astros and guys I would like to see them acquire.
I think offensively, the team is in a good spot with Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve back healthy. So for this, I will focus on the pitching side. I also think the Astros will look to add cheaper options in terms of prospect cost, to keep the top prospects in the system for now.
Michael Lorenzen, RHP, Tigers (Starter)
Lorenzen is one of the better performing rentals on the market. The right-hander has a 3.49 ERA this season for Detroit and has yet to allow a run in three starts in July. While he may not have the high strikeout numbers some guys prefer, he keeps the walks and hits down and has a 1.093 WHIP. Lorenzen can slide into the middle of the rotation and be an innings eater for the Astros. He is a free agent at the end of the year so cost should be pretty low.
Marcus Stroman, RHP, Cubs (Starter)
Stroman might be one of the more “expensive” options on the market. The right-hander has a 3.09 ERA with 105 K in 122.1 innings this season. He has a long history of strong pitching in this league as well. Stroman has a player option for next season, so that could factor into his cost. He would be able to slot in behind Valdez as the #2 in the Astros rotation.
Lucas Giolito, RHP, White Sox (Starter)
Like Stroman, Giolito is most likely going to command more in a trade than Lorenzen. He owns a 3.79 ERA this season with 131 K in 121 innings. He is also a free agent at the end of the year so overall cost shouldn’t be crazy. This would be a nice get for Dana Brown as it would add another high strikeout pitcher who can eat innings to the rotation.
Keynan Middleton, RHP, White Sox (Reliever)
The Astros could get both in a deal acquiring Giolito and Middleton. Middleton has a 3.41 ERA with 44 K in 35.1 innings in relief this year. He is also a free agent following the season and we have seen the Astros willing to trade major league depth for rental relief pitchers (Graveman, Garcia in 2021). Middleton has really good stuff and would be a nice arm for late inning relief.
Jordan Hicks, RHP, Cardinals (Reliever)
Hicks is electric out of the pen with a fastball that averages 101 MPH. He has 59 K in 41.2 innings and the swing and miss stuff you want in the playoffs. As the closer for the Cardinals this year, he has collected 8 saves and has a 3.67 ERA, but a 3.02 FIP. He is also a free agent at the end of the season.
Chris Stratton, RHP, Cardinals (Reliever)
Stratton has played for four different teams but has been a good reliever for the Cardinals. After posting a 2.78 ERA there last year, he has followed that up with a 4.47 ERA this year (though he has a 3.00 FIP). He has 59 K in 52.1 innings and could be a cheap reliever to throw in the mix before getting to Abreu and Pressly.
Kyle Finnegan, RHP, Nationals (Reliever)
If the Astros wanted to pony up some extra prospects, Finnegan could be a nice target. I’m not sure if he is on the block or not, but the right-hander has been closing games for three seasons now for the Nationals. He has a 3.16 ERA this season with 14 saves. He would have two years of control remaining.
Randal Grichuk, OF, Rockies
I will throw a bat in here. Grichuk is a right-handed hitting outfielder who has put together a strong year hitting .313 with a .857 OPS playing all three outfield positions for the Rockies. He is a Houston kid who could start in LF or provide depth at the other outfield spots. Like the rest on the list, he is a free agent at the end of the season.
We will see which way the Astros go, but I don’t see them breaking the bank and trading multiple top prospects. I think adding a starter like Lorenzen or Giolito and then getting one reliever who position this team well moving forward, and for the post-season if they make it there.