- The Astros will not trade closer extraordinaire Chad Qualls, presumably valuing his veteran leadership as well as his filthy sinking fastball (40.50 ERA over the last seven days notwithstanding). They will also need to be really impressed to trade Tony Sipp.
- The Astros may trade a starting pitcher in pursuit of a bat which is close to ML ready. The names that spring to mind for me are Nick Franklin and Asdrubal Cabrera.
- Chris Carter may be on the block.
This lack of Astro-related rumours is not a surprise given that the Front Office is famously tight-lipped, and the lack of top players who are starting to get expensive or who are impending Free Agents in the Astros ranks. At the moment, Jose Altuve, George Springer and Dallas Keuchel are the three best players on the Astros, and they are either signed to really team-friendly contracts, or making the ML minimum.
So all this is really, really hard to write a story about. Which makes it the Worst Trade Deadline Ever!
My picks (based on nothing by my own musings) - and the other AC writers can feel free to contribute as well:
- Watch out for Dominguez to the Nats - I can see a fit there given Ryan Zimmerman's Grade III hammy-tear, and the Astros scouts have been looking at the Nationals system.
- If a starter gets traded, it will be Cosart or McHugh. McHugh is a clear "sell high" candidate, whereas Cosart would be selling on potential. I like both, personally, and doubt either will go anywhere for twelve months at least. Both have good velocity, have pitched well for extended periods this year at times, and still have significant room to improve, especially around command.
- Marwin Gonzalez could be useful to a contender as a middle infielder with a bat that won't kill you. I would think that the Blue Jays may be interested, but prying a useful prospect from them would not be easy.
- I doubt that any teams would pay much for Carter's potential - and 2014 July - which is what the Astros would be selling. He would be a nice trade piece with two or three good months behind him. Probably worth keeping for his potential.
- Neither catcher is going anywhere, partly because Max Stassi is struggling in AAA.
- The entire trade market appears flat. The buying teams either have few prospects they are willing to move, or are already loaded with perhaps only a bullpen to flesh out. The Astros' best bullpen pieces are Sipp and Fields, and I don't particularly want to see either of them traded unless Mike Trout is the piece coming back.
- At the beginning of the year, I thought Dexter Fowler would be on the move around this time. Nope. Not this year.
I have been wrong before, and I look forward to being wrong again. But like I said, Worst Trade Deadline Ever.