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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The Houston Astros haven't counted on their catchers to deliver much offensive production in recent years, with defensive specialist Martin Maldonado being their primary catcher for the last few seasons. But top hitting prospect Yainer Diaz is making a case to get more playing time behind the plate and at first, based on his ability to swing the bat.

Until recently, he hasn't been able to get any meaningful playing time. Even David Hensley, who was optioned to Sugar Land a few weeks ago, has more plate appearances than Diaz this season.

So how does manager Dusty Baker find more opportunities for Diaz? Should he use him more often as a DH, along with getting time at first base and catcher?

And what does that mean for Jose Abreu, Martin Maldonado, and to a lesser extent, former first round pick and Sugar Land Space Cowboy catcher, Korey Lee?

Plus, considering how good the Astros outfielders have been this year, does the team need to grab another bat before the trade deadline?

Don't miss the video above as we break it all down!

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