NO DEAL!

Analyzing all the reasons the Astros were silent at the deadline

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

James Click didn't pull the trigger on any moves prior to Monday's deadline, choosing to roll forward with the team as is for the rest of the year. Extenuating circumstances related to the virus aside, it's a departure from the status quo for the Astros. The Astros were loud at the deadline last year, getting Zack Greinke. They were loud (and controversial) in 2018 when they got Roberto Osuna. They were quiet at the deadline in 2017, but famously followed it up by getting Justin Verlander at the buzzer in August in the last season where waiver trades were allowed. The team was similarly buzzy in 2015, getting Carlos Gomez and Scott Kazmir leading up to the deadline.

It's been half a decade of being massive trade deadline players for Astros fans. Yes, the pandemic certainly had a lot to do with the lack of activity. However, it's also a new regime in charge. Jeff Luhnow no longer runs the ship.

The Astros were linked to some arms, specifically relievers. Trevor Rosenthal, who eventually went to San Diego, and Archie Bradley, who went to Cincinnati, were two arms linked to the Astros that seemed plausible. While bullpen help and pitching depth is always nice, there really isn't a clear need there for the Astros.

Yes, the bullpen isn't in great shape at the moment, as they were responsible for the loss last night, but it should improve naturally by the end of the season. Roberto Osuna is working hard to get back before the end of the year. Chris Devenski and Brad Peacock are nearing a return. Josh James should be back eventually. Two pitchers currently in the rotation will slide to the bullpen when Jose Urquidy and Justin Verlander return, and a third will slide to the bullpen when rotations shorten to four arms in the postseason. Lastly, two of the young arms in Enoli Paredes and Blake Taylor have proven themselves as reliable bullpen options.

Take a look at this:

Justin Verlander

Zack Greinke

Lance McCullers

Jose Urquidy

Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Brad Peacock, Josh James, Enoli Paredes, Blake Taylor, Chris Devenski, Cristian Javier

That staff and bullpen is plenty good enough to win a World Series, especially with an offense as potent as Houston's. The Astros' biggest deadline acquisitions are coming from the Alternate Training Site in Corpus Christi.

Trading for an outfield bat also seemed like a legitimate option. With Yordan Alvarez on the shelf for the season, there's not a set-in-stone everyday DH, meaning a trade acquisition could play there. The acquisition, if it were an outfielder or DH, would serve as insurance for losing one or more of Michael Brantley, George Springer, Josh Reddick, and Yuli Gurriel in free agency. Brantley, Reddick, and Gurriel have all played well this year, and Springer is playing better of late. Yes, those guys could very well be gone in the offseason, but those voids can also be addressed in the offseason. They can also be addressed more easily, since teams won't be limited to only the players in the 60-man player pool for each franchise. But, since the Astros don't need a bat to win RIGHT NOW, and the openings can be addressed in the offseason, there's not a need to make a deal right now.

Lastly, the farm system has been decimated through the graduation of prospects, the underperformance of prospects, and trades for big leaguers. Combine the already thin farm system with the fact that the Astros didn't have a 1st or 2nd round pick in 2020 and won't have a 1st or 2nd round pick in 2021 means it won't be getting less thin anytime soon. The few prospects the Astros do have are more valuable to the Astros than other teams, because they really do need the depth.

Fangraphs put the Astros odds at winning a World Series as the third best in baseball. This is a really good team, and there really weren't any clear upgrades available. If there were a deal that made sense for Houston, James Click would've done it. In this case, the deals he didn't make made the most sense.

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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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