Examining potential moves Astros could make before deadline

Starling Marte could be on the move. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

After losing two of three games against the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, the Houston Astros still sit atop the American League West Standings with a 56-38 record.

As it currently stands, Houston is ahead of the Oakland A's by 3.5 games and the suddenly ascending Seattle Mariners by 6 games.

To keep pace and remain ahead in the A.L. West, the Astros will look to make some roster moves with players returning from injuries and making a move or two before the July 31st trade deadline.

Alex Bregman, Aledmys Diaz, Brooks Raley and Jose Urquidy are all on the 10-day IL and should be coming back soon.

Bregman is eyeing a rehab stint with Triple-A Sugar Land soon. He has been on the IL since he strained his left quadricep on June 16th running the bases. His return could give the Astros some much-needed production at 3rd base.

Diaz on the other hand is closer to a return as he has played in two rehab games with the Florida Coast League Astros. His goal is to rejoin the club before the end of the month and give Houston some depth at all four infield positions.

Raley is close to a return as he is on the IL for health and safety reasons. As soon as he's eligible to come off that list he will rejoin the club instantly.

Urquidy has been on the IL since July 7th when he was pulled from a start against the Orioles. He will resume throwing again soon and hopes to rejoin the team some time in August, we presume.

The Astros could also bolster their bullpen with the eventual return of Pedro Baez. The 33-year-old is currently doing a rehab assignment with Low-A Fayetteville and Baez could return to the team as early as August.

Astros G.M. James Click said that Houston will be buyers at the trade deadline. The team as already been connected to multiple key players who could be on move this month.

Closer Craig Kimberl is having a great season for the Chicago Cubs and looks to be on the move. The Astros have reached out to the Cubs about the All-Star reliever, but the asking price may be too high for their liking. He is in line to make $16 million next season and could solidify this Astros bullpen. If the price isn't too high, Houston should take this consideration seriously. Kimbrel could become the new closer on this staff and All -Star Ryan Pressly could move to the 8th inning setup role like he did in 2019.

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, another name the Astros have been associated with is Miami Marlins outfielder Starling Marte. The 32-year-old has a batting average of .290 this season with 22 RBI's and 19 Stolen bases.

The Astros don't necessarily need another outfielder as they already have Michael Brantley, Myles Straw and Kyle Tucker. They don't need a DH either, as they have Yordan Alvarez.

What they could use though is a lead-off hitter. Jose Altuve has been solid at the top of the batting lineup, but having Marte and Altuve at the top of the lineup could be a deadly combination.

Houston could make him the everyday center fielder and make Myles Straw the fourth outfielder. Too much depth is never a problem.

The Astros have also been rumored to have interest in Nationals pitcher, Max Scherzer. He would clearly be a great addition for Houston, but he won't come cheap.

There are plenty of opportunities for the Astros to improve their roster with players returning from injuries and some moves that could be made before the trade deadline. Needless to say, the Astros are in great position to make their 5th straight playoff appearance and their 6th postseason run in 7 seasons.

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We'll see if Watson is in pads on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans had their last practice before pads come on for the first time on Tuesday. There was plenty to see on Monday.

1. Deshaun Watson had his usual extremely light level of work. He did very little throwing to teammates, though he did throw to the tight ends in 1-on-1 drills.

2. Texans head coach David Culley said "nothing has changed" when asked if Deshaun Watson will be in pads Tuesday. Culley has maintained that answer for a couple of sessions now.

3. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was back after missing Saturday with an excused personal day. Taylor has been the best quarterback in camp by a wide margin. Taylor makes better decisions with the football than other quarterbacks, but he does struggle on deeper passes. Taylor missed wildly on one deep ball and was a little wobbly on another.

4. Nobody in camp can cover wide receiver Brandin Cooks. This could be the easiest training camp of his life. He easily gets open in 1-on-1 situations.

5. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins continues to flash his abilities in camp. Collins easily shook loose from defensive back John Reid and took the route vertical for an easy score. Collins later had a tough catch in traffic.

6. It's only been a few days, but the competition for inside wide receiver reps is tough. Former Bears wideout Anthony Miller has looked quick and nothing like the "draft bust" the Bears fans watched. Keke Coutee has rarely lost a rep, but Desmond King did win a few times over Coutee in the opening days of camp. Former Bengals wideout Alex Erickson finds himself constantly open. The cuts at wide receiver are already shaking out to be difficult.

7. Davis Mills bounced back in a sense that he couldn't be worse than he was on Saturday. The performance from Mills on Saturday was abysmal, but head coach David Culley said he liked how Mills responded today. With Tyrod Taylor back, there were fewer reps for Mills, but he had some impressive throws to go along with an off-target throw or two. Mills was far better than Jeff Driskel on Monday. Driskel tossed two interceptions right to defenders, including one that would've gone the wrong way for a score.

8. This linebacker group is interesting. With a new defensive scheme under Lovie Smith, the type of linebacker is very different from previous years. There was a clear emphasis on cover ability as these linebackers were added to the team.

9. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Kevin Pierre-Louis have both had some significant wins for the linebackers in coverage.

10. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan looks the part physically, but he's had a rough few days, including a drop on Monday.

11. With the pads coming on Tuesday, it will be fun to watch the rebuilt defensive line clash with the many combinations of the offensive line. There will be no J.J. Watt who historically stirred up the team on day one of pads. Laremy Tunsil's cool confidence about the offensive line over the weekend leads me to believe they are a confident group, while there are spots to be won on the defensive side of the line.

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