CRACKING THE CODE
How to decipher Astros GM's latest cryptic trade comments
The MLB trade deadline is quickly approaching, and the Astros still have some needs to fill before they make their charge toward the postseason. Astros GM Dana Brown spoke on the team's flagship station this week and said the team's priority is now to add a starting pitcher.
Brown also said that fans shouldn't expect a “home run” trade before the deadline, but a “double” is certainly a possibility they are focusing on. So what do these terms mean as far as connecting some possible names to the team?
Well, we believe we can eliminate a few names right off the bat. Angels' Shohei Ohtani, Cubs' Marcus Stroman, Mets' Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Padres' Blake Snell should be out of contention. It's also hard this time of year knowing exactly which teams will be buyers and sellers come Aug. 1.
But what about Guardians' Shane Bieber and White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito? One could argue that their past success should count as a home run, but only Dana Brown knows for sure.
Two names we feel definitely should apply are Cardinals' Jordan Montgomery, and Tigers' Eduardo Rodriguez. Both pitchers have produced multiple seasons with at least 30 starts, but they aren't considered top targets. Montgomery's ERA has been pretty impressive, but his stuff doesn't jump off the page when it comes to advanced analytics.
Rodriguez does check some boxes for the analytics nerds, but neither Montgomery nor Rodriguez have the spin rate that the Astros are known for coveting. If spin is what the Astros crave, Padres' Seth Lugo (curveball 99th percentile spin rate) and Tigers' Michael Lorenzen (plus fastball spin rate) could appeal to the Astros. But neither pitcher has made 30 starts in one season.
If the Astros go discount shopping, they will likely have to pick between spin rate, and legit pitching pedigree and production.
Finally, is Dana Brown right to prioritize a starting pitcher over a left-handed hitter? The Astros have the second-best team ERA this year, and are 17th in OPS?
Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!
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