With an eye on one particular need, here are five trade targets for the Houston Astros.
Even with a 15-12 record in June, which included a seven-game losing streak, the Houston Astros have a comfortable 6.5-game lead in the AL West as the calendar flips to July. Another trip to the postseason feels like a lock, particularly with a run of games within the division coming leading into, and after, the All-Star break.
In Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, the Astros have an enviable 1-2 punch at the top of their starting rotation and Wade Miley (3.39 ERA) has been fine. But things have been pieced together beyond that, with Framber Valdez, Corbin Martin, Collin McHugh and now Jose Urquidy (slated to start Tuesday night against the Rockies) filling turns in the rotation. Brad Peacock (shoulder) recently landed on the IL, and Lance McCullers will miss the entire season post-Tommy John surgery.
The Astros may be able to foster a deep run in October with Cole and Verlander leading the way followed by Miley, Peacock, McHugh and others to fill out starts and lengthier outings when necessary. But Houston has also been rumored to have interest in multiple starting pitchers, with varying degrees of likelihood at this point.
As the trade deadline gets closer, these five players should be on Houston’s radar.
5. Matt Boyd, SP, Detroit Tigers
According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network the Astros have interest in Boyd (3.72 ERA, 11.4 K/9, 1.8 BB.9, 6.5 K/BB ratio this season). But the line of demarcation is currently top outfield prospect Kyle Tucker, who Houston does not want to part with, dating back to when they engaged the Tigers on Justin Verlander. A big ask from Detroit’s end regarding Boyd is not necessarily news, as they reportedly asked for Gleyber Torres when the Yankees called about the left-hander.
Boyd will be arbitration-eligible for the second of what could be a total of four times next winter, so that level of team control automatically drives up the asking price for Detroit. If the Astros don’t meet it, someone might (even the Yankees, if the Tigers move off Torres).