ASTROS REPORT

Examining potential moves Astros could make before deadline

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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Astros beat the Mariners 4-2. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a go-ahead two-run homer off former Houston reliever Ryne Stanek in the seventh inning, and the Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 on Saturday night to take sole possession of the AL West lead for the first time this year.

Stuck playing catchup through the first 3½ months of the season, Houston has won six of eight to climb into first place all alone.

Seattle lost its fifth straight and fell out of first place for the first time since May 11.

Meyers drove a 1-2 pitch from Stanek (6-3) to right-center field for his 11th homer. Stanek opened the inning by walking Jeremy Peña, and the homer by Meyers cost George Kirby the chance at a victory after he allowed one run in six innings.

Yainer Diaz added a solo homer in the eighth off reliever Trent Thornton that bounced off the top of the wall.

Julio Rodríguez snapped Seattle’s 14-inning scoreless drought when his two-run homer off Framber Valdez gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead in the sixth. It was his 11th of the season and Rodríguez nearly hit a second longball in the eighth off Ryan Pressly only to watch Trey Cabbage make a leaping catch at the wall in right field.

It was one of two terrific defensive plays by the Astros in the eighth as Joey Loperfido ended the inning with a diving grab of Mitch Garver’s drive into the left-field corner and saved one run from scoring.

Valdez pitched 5 2/3 innings. He allowed three hits, four walks and struck out six. Tayler Scott (7-3) got the final out of the sixth before Bryan Abreu, Pressly and Josh Hader closed out the final three innings. Hader earned his 20th save.

Kirby allowed four hits and struck out six. Houston’s only run off him came on Peña’s infield single that scored Alex Bregman in the fourth.

UNUSUAL STRIKEOUT

Houston slugger Yordan Alvarez struck out to end the first inning when he was called for a pitch-clock violation for not being ready in the box prior to a 3-2 delivery from Kirby.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHPs Justin Verlander (neck discomfort) and Luis Garcia (Tommy John surgery) threw bullpens. Verlander threw about 40 pitches with increased intensity, while Garcia threw 15 pitches. Both are expected to throw again sometime early next week. … C Victor Caratini (hip) was expected to catch for a second straight day at Double-A Corpus Christi.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Ronel Blanco (9-4, 2.56 ERA) has allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven straight starts, but lost to Texas in his last outing before the All-Star break.

Mariners: RHP Bryan Woo (3-1, 2.45) will make just his second start since June 24. Woo allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings on July 12.

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