Examining if the Astros should be buyers or sellers with the trade deadline approaching
The MLB trading deadline is normally hot and heavy. It's one of, if not the most exciting trade deadlines in sports. Rumors abound about which teams will be buyers, who's selling, what players may or may not be available. Then, there's the inevitable WOW move that no one expected or thought could be pulled off. However, this year will be different. How different? I can't tell as of yet. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it's to expect anything and nothing is "normal" anymore.
The trade deadline is August 31 this year for the shortened season. The Astros are hovering around .500 on the season. The pitching staff and the lineup both look more like the Bad News Bears than a professional baseball team. While the starting pitching wasn't expected to look as bad, the bullpen was definitely a question mark before the season began. The lineup seemingly has gone from a strength to a liability. This team went from a favorite to win the World Series, to...well, you get my drift. So, what do they do? How can they fix things? Can things be fixed? To trade, or not to trade? Let's explore the question:
In the economic times we're in, the future is uncertain. While things will get better eventually, no one knows when. The Astros have several attractive assets contenders would want for the stretch run and beyond. Sure, trading guys like George Springer, Zack Greinke, or Carlos Correa would be a white flag, but how else are they going to retool the depleted farm system? With draft picks taken away over the next couple drafts, already dealing away top prospects, and not getting what they thought out of Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley, they don't have many options. Shedding salary now or future salaries will aid in the economic impact of the pandemic and help start to rebuild the farm system.
If Justin Verlander can come back and pitch this season, that'll help the starters and bullpen if he can eat innings. If Jose Altuve can start to hit at least closer to his career low .276 batting average, that'll serve the lineup well. Lots of ifs here, but they're viable ifs (except Verlander, that scares me). That being said, why not push all the chips to the middle of the table and go for it? Your window for winning a World Series is open for only so long and it's starting to close. Making moves to keep it open as long as possible is what organizations who want to win do and do well. Time for James Click to earn his keep.
With eight teams making the playoffs in each league, the Astros will more than likely make it, even if they're still floundering. This team has the ammo to make a run if they get their act together. Just like I stated above, there are a lot of ifs involved. But players don't forget how to play. Skills diminsh over time. This isn't Space Jam and the Monstars didn't zap the Astros of their abilities. If Jim Crane wants to help his team, he needs to give them their balls back. Josh Innes has said it multiple times that Crane castrated this team's swagger when he made them apologize for the scandal. It has been mentally crippling to several players. Let them get back to being themselves, they'll play like they're capable of playing, and there won't be a need to make any trades. Add this to the hope of some of the younger Astros fulfilling their potential, and you have a contender.
If it were up to me, I'd stand pat unless there's a deal out there I can't refuse. If someone says they're willing to move the moon and stars for an Astros player, I'm making the move. If someone is willing to take my best (or not so best) offer for a player I feel will put this team over the top, I'm pulling the trigger. I won't risk the future of the organization on a whim. It'll be a well-thought out decision. Researching these things have already started hopefully. Whether the team pulls the trigger on anything remains to be seen. We're less than two weeks away from the deadline, so let's wait and see what happens. James Click: you're on notice sir.