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Astros: Three Trades That Can Save The Season

Updated: Jul 8, 2023

Chicago is the place Dana Brown needs to focus for the help the Astros need.


I have been asked multiple times, in various tones of sincerity, "What trades would YOU make to help the Astros win the World Series, Larry?"

To be completely transparent, this question is far more difficult than some may lead you to think. To help this team actually win the World Series means the team with only 5.3% chance needs a dramatic and significant bump in talent to meet that lofty goal. A few things SHOULD happen without any trades:

  1. Alvarez should return this month. WHEN he is healthy again, no other move will make this team better than the return of Alvarez.

  2. Brantley should return this month. Having Brantley in this lineup adds a lefty bat this team really needs.

  3. Diaz should play more at catcher. With both Alvarez and Brantley on the team, Diaz will have to catch more to keep his bat in the lineup.

  4. Urquidy should return this month. Urquidy will at least eat innings and give this team a viable option of a six-man rotation again. This would be critical to limit innings on Brown and other rookie pitchers.

  5. Montero and Stanek advance to their career means. Neither is this bad. Having Montero pitch to his FIP drops his ERA by over 2 runs.

  6. The return of Alvarez and Brantley helps other hitters return to form most notably Bregman and Abreu.

Now comes the hard part. EVEN with those things it is probably NOT enough for this team to win the World Series. The Astros NEED significant upgrades.


Hold my beer!


Folks, I am going to propose two BIG trades and one that is needed to support the other two. They may seem insane to you. I put that disclaimer first because telling me these trades will never happen is just not necessary. I know these deals are a LONG SHOT. I also know that if the Astros are SERIOUS about winning the World Series THIS YEAR, THESE deals are examples of what it would take.


I will test all of these trades with the recently updated value from baseballtradevalue.com. That way at least we have an independent audit of if these deals are close to being fair.


Let's spend the next few weeks in Chicago relentlessly trying to convince the two baseball teams in that town to make THESE deals. Then after getting those two deals done, we will head south to their rivals for the last deal. You ready?


Trade Number 1- White Sox


Astros Receive- Luis Robert Jr, Aaron Bummer

White Sox Receive- Jeremy Pena, Chas McCormick, Korey Lee, Jacob Melton

Baseballtradevalues.com - Trade Accepted

Astros - White Sox Trade

If I am going to get a superstar OF, the deal is going to require trading Jeremy Pena AND Chas McCormick. Pena is required to generate the trade value and is have a sophomore slump of a year and Dusty refuses to bat Pena second. Dusty Baker also refuses to use Chas as a true starter, so trading McCormick is a release from a bad situation for him. Folks, let me be clear. I DO NOT want to trade either of these guys. Since the manager refuses to manage them to maximize their value to the team, the Astros probably SHOULD trade them.


I also included two prospects I really did not want to trade- Lee and Melton. If the White Sox are going to sell, I suspect they will sell a lot and high prospects like Lee and Melton are going to be what they want. Would they even entertain a Robert deal? Probably not, but this is the sort of deal it would take.


If the Astros want to solve CF for next five years, the Astros COULD trade for Luis Robert Jr. who is arguably a top five CF in the MLB.


Why Robert? Follow this link to see the list of OFers at Fangraphs.com and their projected WARs for the rest of this season. Ask yourself if any of the top ten players are even a possible trade target. You will see that the Robert is the best option.


Here is how he compares to McCormick.

Age

2023 1H wRC+

2023 2H Proj wRC+

2023 1H Def WAR

2023 2H Proj Def WAR

2023 1H WAR

2023 2H Proj WAR

Robert

25

143

122

5.9

2.6

3.6

2.1

McCormick

28

119

100

1.1

-0.4

1.1

0.7

I have stated that the OF is the place one can trade for an upgrade, but it NEEDS to look like this to move the needle. Is it worth it? It is Jim Crane's money, and it is his fault they are in this situation with the moves HE made and did not make in the offseason.


In addition, I think the Astros will still want another LHRP. How you feel about Aaron Bummer is completely tied to your knowledge and opinion of FIP and expected ERA.

ERA

xERA

FIP

xwOBA (LHH)

xwOBA (RHH)

Bummer

6.58

3.56

2.78

0.301

0.296

Rank among Astros RP >20IP

7 of 8

5 of 8

2 of 8

6 of 8

5 of 8

Bummer would fit in well in the good Astros bullpen.


This is THE key deal to giving the Astros a REAL chance to win the World Series. Why would the White Sox make this trade? I think they are about to rebuild around some of their top prospects. Pena and Montgomery could be their middle infield for the next 5 plus years. Lee could be their starting catcher. McCormick and Pena can be young leaders of a building team.


I don't know IF it can be done. This is the move the Astros need the most.


Trade Number 2- Cubs


Astros Receive- Marcus Stroman and cash to stay below CBT

Cubs Receive- David Hensley, Kenedy Corona, Justin Dirden

Baseballtradevalues.com - Trade Accepted

Astros - Cubs Trade

You might be upset that I have the Astros trading Hensley, Dirden and Corona. I will say this. The Astros gave Hensley a look and didn't seem committed to him or to bring him back. Corona will likely be challenged to get playing time vs. all of the other OF prospects. Dirden seems to be challenged at AAA (92 wRC+). All three represent potential for the Cubs. Is it enough? I don't know.


I think it is becoming more and more clear that the Astros need more pitching help. I got a RP from the White Sox and I get probably the best SP available from the Cubs. Marcus Stroman would be a strong SP with a 2,47 ERA which is better than any of the Astros SP and a 3.37 FIP which would be second of their SP.


Our time if Chicago has been fruitful but these trades exposed some holes we now need to fill with the Cardinals.

 

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Trade Number 3- Cardinals


Astros Receive- Paul DeJong and Jack Flaherty

Cardinals Receive- Colin Barber, Corey Julks, Seth Martinez

Baseballtradevalues.com - Trade Accepted

Astros - Cardinals Trade

The Cardinals know they are out, and it will be soon time for them to trade and get what they can.


Tommy Edman may very well be a better shortstop than Paul DeJong. DeJong has $12.5M (2024) and $15M (2025) club options that may be too expensive for the Cardinals. In 2023 he counts as $4.3M against the AAV. Without Pena, DeJong could in the least split time with Dubon.


Jack Flaherty is a free agent after this season. He currently makes $5.4M. He has had injuries issues and while he hasn't been terrible (4.25 FIP), he is in my targets more for insurance than performance.


Many folks are going to be upset that Barber, Julks, and Martinez are being shipped out. Barber may transcend other OF prospects, but it is NOT a sure thing. Julks is older than Jake Meyers. This could be the best Julks will ever be. Yes, he is a decent 4th OF on a good team. The Astros have better OFs coming in. Martinez would be pushed to AAA with the other pitchers acquired here.


The Cards deal is more about depth needed for a postseason run. My task was to win the World Series.


Summary


These are the trades that the Astros could make to save this season and to propel themselves to have a chance of winning the World Series. In reality, given the prices I expect will actually be paid this trade deadline season, the Astros MAY have to another prospect or two to some of these deals to actually get the trades to happen.


These deals would improve the Astros a batting into a juggernaut when healthy. Let me show you a possible batting order after these trades based on their Fangraphs.com depth chart projected stats for the rest of the season.

Astros Batting

The overall projected wRC+ of this lineup scaled to likely playing time would be 114. This would beat the current projected wRC+ of EVERY team in the MLB.










How would the pitching stack up? Here is the projected pitching staff after these trades.

Astros Pitching

The overall projected ERA of this staff scaled to likely playing time would be 3.87. This would keep the staff at near the top of the MLB.










Financial implications


The Astros currently have a payroll of $218M. The CBT is $233M These trades would add:

  • Robert- $8,33M AAV (~60 games- ratio- $3.1M)

  • DeJong- $4,33M AAV (~60 games- ratio- $1.6M)

  • Stroman- $23.67M AAV (~60 games- ratio- $8.8M)

  • Flaherty- $5.4M AAV (~60 games- ratio- $2M)

  • Bummer- $3.2M AAV (~60 games- ratio- 1.2M)

  • About $1.1AAV comes off of payroll in these trades

  • The total net of these trades is $15.6M

  • IF you can get these teams to add $2M cash in the trades, the Astros would stay under the CBT in 2023.

  • It would be nearly impossible for the Astros to stay under the CBT in 2024 and 2025.


I gave myself the task of giving the Astros the BEST chance of winning the World Series. I believe these three deals would do that. I believe these three trades can save the season for the Astros.


Do I think the Astros SHOULD make these trades? No, I don't. I have not thought the 2023 Astros would win the World Series at any point this year. I think making these deals might help in the near term, but the price is too high especially for the first deal.


I think the Astros SHOULD trade for an impact SP and trust that the offense will be good enough. I don't think they will do this. I think they are going to get an impact bat. The issue is what bat and at what cost and will that bat actually help this offense. Stay tuned.


Let me know what you think. What trades do you think the Astros should make?


Here are some other trade scenarios that I think could help the Astros.



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1 comentario


Very valuable exercise. Robert’s JR is on my wish list. However, due to the pain exhibited in these deals and what I think will be a hugely competitive trade season once it really kicks off, I don’t see Brown making deals of this magnitude. WS would be nuts to trade Robert., too. Maybe Brown can use Chas to get a reliever somewhere. Chas has limited value to us as long as Dusty is managing. Dusty is hurting Chas career as well. Maybe throwing Gilbert into the Robert deal could get that done but, again, too much pain.

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