What could really be motivating Houston Astros blockbuster trade report

Where there's smoke...

What could really be motivating Houston Astros blockbuster trade report
Are the Astros eyeing a massive trade? Composite Getty Image.

It's no secret, the Houston Astros are on a hot streak and have evened their record at 40-40 after winning seven straight games. But there's always room for improvement, and Astros GM Dana Brown has said repeatedly that the club will be buyers at the trade deadline.

Just this week, Astros insider Michael Schwab posted that Houston has interest in trading for Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., according to sources.

And Schwab has been right about these things before. He was the first to report that the Rangers were trading for Max Scherzer last season.

But this report made us wonder, should upgrading first base be the team's top priority? The club is down to four starting pitchers, and Mauricio Dubon has done a decent job at first since the departure of Jose Abreu.

Plus, dealing with the Blue Jays could get tricky, with former Astros GM James Click in Toronto's front office. We highly doubt he's looking to help the Astos after Jim Crane allegedly pushed him out the door after the 2022 World Series winning season.

And let's not forget, teams like the Yankees have deeper farm systems that could provide the Blue Jays with a bigger haul than Houston. The Astros at a minimum would likely have to trade away a quality prospect or two and player on the roster like Jake Meyers or Chas McCormick.

Oh, and we haven't even discussed the money. Guerrero Jr. is making about $20 million this year, and is under contract next season as well. A move like this would push the Astros over the second luxury tax threshold in all likelihood.

Pitching wins championships

The Astros currently have seven pitchers on the IL, and Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers aren't expected back for another month at the earliest. Justin Verlander is also dealing with a neck injury, with no timetable set for his return.

Not to mention, Spencer Arrighetti and Ronel Blanco have never thrown more than 125 innings in any professional season, according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome.

Which is why we wouldn't be surprised if the interest in Guerrero is a smoke screen, and the Astros are really focused on adding pitching. However, it is fun to imagine him in the middle of the Astros lineup.

Finally, it may be time to have a discussion about how quickly the Astros are bringing pitchers back from injury. Dana Brown has admitted they may have rushed JP France back a little too soon. He, too, is done for the season and expected to have shoulder surgery next week.

This leads us to question if the season-ending injuries to Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy could have been prevented.

Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!

*Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and Charlie Pallilo discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. And be on the lookout for bonus episodes on Thursdays!


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Raners defeat the Astros, 4-2. Composite Getty Image.

Josh Smith homered twice with four RBIs to lead the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday.

Smith had a two-run shot in the first and added another one with two outs in the eighth to push the lead to 4-1. It’s the first multi-homer game of the 26-year-old’s career.

The Rangers won the last two games of the series after dropping Friday’s opener 6-3. They also got a 2-1 victory Saturday thanks to Nathaniel Lowe’s RBI single in the 10th inning.

Jake Meyers cut the lead to 1 with a solo home run in the third but the Astros went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position to fall to 50-46 entering the All-Star break.

Texas starter Max Scherzer allowed four hits and a run with six strikeouts in four-plus innings in his fifth start of the season.

Jon Singleton walked before a single by Jeremy Peña with no outs in the ninth. There was one out in the inning when Singleton scored on a groundout by Joey Loperfido to cut the lead to 4-2. Trey Cabbage grounded out to end it and give Kirby Yates his 16th save.

Ronel Blanco (9-4) permitted two hits and two runs with five strikeouts in six innings. He settled down after his tough first inning and retired the last 12 batters he faced.

Marcus Semien singled to start the game but was out at second when Corey Seager grounded into a foreceout. Smith gave the Rangers an early lead with his towering shot to the second deck to make it 2-0.

Meyers opened Houston’s third with a shot to the seats in left field to cut the lead to 2-1. Jose Altuve singled with two outs and stole second base but Scherzer struck out Alex Bregman for the third out.

The Astros had a shot to tie it or take the lead in the fifth. Peña and Meyers both singled before Loperfido walked to load the bases with no outs in the inning and chase Scherzer. Josh Sborz (2-0) took over and escaped the jam by striking out Mauricio Dubón before retiring Altuve on a pop up and Bregman on a groundout to end the inning.

Seager walked with two outs in the eighth before Smith connected again to give him 10 home runs this season.

Altuve reached on a fielding error by Smith with one out in the eighth before Bregman singled off José Leclerc. Jacob Latz took over and struck out Yordan Alvarez before Yainer Diaz grounded out to leave Houston emptyhanded again.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: 3B Josh Jung (fractured right wrist) swung 15 times off a tee using a regular bat Sunday. Manager Bruce Bochy said he would continue increasing his activity during the break as he nears a rehabilitation assignment.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (neck discomfort) threw a bullpen session of 25 pitches Sunday. Manager Joe Espada said he looked “really good” and would throw another bullpen session during the break.

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