Here's how to solve Houston Astros trade deadline quandary

The Astros should prioritize upgrading the offense. Composite Getty Image.

MLB's trading deadline is August 1st this season. As of this writing, the Astros are three and a half games behind the Rangers, and one game ahead of the Angels for the final Wildcard spot. Pretty unfamiliar territory for a team that's won this division five of the last six seasons. That one season they didn't win the division (2020 Covid season), they reached the ALCS for the fourth consecutive time and came this close to another World Series berth.

All that being said, this team needs help. While the Rangers lost their ace until sometime next season, they amassed so much talent this past offseason, they won't be going away. The Angels have always had talent, but haven't put things together until maybe this season. When Luis Garcia went down for the season, it compounded the Lance McCullers Jr injury. Michael Brantley not being able to come back healthy and productive compounded the slumps guys like Jose Abreu and others have been in offensively. Now Yordan Alvarez is hurt! He's expected to miss a month. The breaks they've caught this season have been bad ones for the most part.

The debate about the deadline centers around whether they need a bat or an arm. The lineup has been bad. They're 17th in batting average, 20th in on base percentage, 19th in OPS, 23rd in walks, 16th in hits, and 15th in HRs in all of MLB. That's bad considering they've been one of the better lineups in their current run. Pitching has been the other calling card. The depth of starters at one point called for a six-man rotation. They're currently leading MLB in ERA & earned runs surrendered, ninth in hits surrendered, and are seventh in WHIP. To me, all of this means they require more help in the lineup than in the rotation or bullpen.

“But Jermaine, we can't rely on the guys in our rotation and bullpen going into the postseason!” Yeah, well, how do you expect to get there if you DON'T rely on them?!? When Brent Strom left, he left behind two capable guys in Josh Miller and Bill Murphy. They've, so far, have been able to navigate the waters of the post-Strom era pretty well. I've come to the conclusion they can't count on LMJ anymore. However, when a guy like Hunter Brown steps up, it eases that blow. J.P. France and Cristian Javier have been good. Don't forget the Great Frambino and Ryan Pressly are still on this staff as well. Pssst! Jose Urquidy should be coming back soon too!

The lineup is another story. 16 of their 29 losses so far this season have been by one or two runs. Four of those came in extra innings where you get a man on second base to start off with. The numbers clearly say this team needs a bat, or two. GM Dana Brown said if they find a bat, manager Dusty Baker will find at-bats for them. His job is easier considering what the lineup is currently producing. So what if Abreu signed a bigger deal than what he should've. Who cares if Yuli Gurriel should've been brought back instead. Alex Bregman has started slow damn near every year. Jose Altuve has only been back in the lineup for about a month now. Either they'll take time to get right, or bring in some guys that'll help the cause.

Baseball is a numbers game. The offensive and pitching numbers indicate this team needs to boost the lineup. Argue all you want about the pitching staff needing improvement. If you can't score, you won't win. I see a lot of you forgot what the 2005 team looked like. Remember? The team that was left for dead, only to rise up and reach the World Series? Yeah...but they got swept by a total of six runs because THEY COULDN'T SCORE! If you've read this far, thanks. By now, I hope I've convinced you where the clear-cut need is for this team at the deadline this year. If not, seek help. I know a great therapist.

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