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Astros Could Pursue Multiple First-Edge Additions

The Astros are in danger of missing the postseason for the first time in eight years. Houston has not only made the playoffs each year since 2016, won at least one game every season and captured a pair of World Series. This year’s team is seven games under .500 in June, owning a 31-38 record that is better than only the Angels, A’s and White Sox in the American League.

Houston has a franchise-high payroll and an aging base that has had plenty of success. They are not interested in quitting 2024. General manager Dana Brown said earlier in the month that he “(didn’t) see any situation” where the team was selling. Brown revealed that he expects to add at the deadline even though they are in their place at the top. To that end, Jon Heyman of the New York Post writes that the team would like to add two starting pitchers before the deadline.

Rotation has arguably been the team’s biggest weakness, so it’s a definite target. They have been hit hard by injuries that have exposed a lack of depth in the senior kids. Lance McCullers Jr. again Luis Garcia they haven’t started their first season after arm surgery in 2023. The Astros lost. Cristian Javier again José Urquidy from Tommy John surgery a few weeks ago. Those procedures were announced after Brown announced that he would not be able to foresee a trade, but both pitchers were looking to be tested at the time. The GM probably knew that season-ending surgery was at least realistically possible.

That leaves Houston with a rotation of Framber Valdez, Justin Verlander, Ronel Blanco, Hunter Brown again Spencer Arrighetti. Valdez and Verlander are guaranteed a rotation spot for the season as long as they stay healthy. Hunter Brown has righted the ship after a terrible April with a 3.05 ERA and a 27.4% strikeout rate in his seven starts. Blanco has a 2.67 ERA while striking out nearly 24% of opponents in 12 outings.

It’s a front-four that makes sense, especially if Brown continues to pitch as a middle-of-the-pack arm. The depth remains dangerously small. Arrighetti had a breakout rookie campaign, allowing 5.33 runs over nine in his 11 MLB starts. His run blocking has improved over the past month. Arrighetti has allowed three or fewer runs in five of his last six contests. He did not perform well, however, issuing multiple walks in all 11 appearances. The 24-year-old has shown some chops against big-league hitters, but his first season has been uneventful.

Even if Houston doesn’t want to move Arrighetti from the starting five, they won’t be ready to deal with any more injuries. JP France he is on the minor league injured list. Eric Lauer has allowed 14 runs in 15 Triple-A innings since signing a minor league deal. Arrighetti was the only top prospect many scouts looked up to in a small farm system. Garcia and McCullers could return at the trade deadline. There is a certain level of risk with both strikers completing rehabs from extended absences – especially McCullers, who has an extended injury history.

It’s unclear how far the Astros can push in their search for starting pitching. It’s unlikely they’ll find replacement arms in the middle or better, especially without the top talent to buy through the farm system (and the potential need for a first-round pick). Finding one middle rotation starter and a deep arm to eat innings can be found. It is debatable whether the Astros it should take away from their minor league pipeline to develop the 2024 program – MLBTR’s Steve Adams argued for Houston to be easy to fire veterans in the Front Office draft tonight – but the front office is apparently still looking for short-term help.

Garrett Crochet could be the prize of this summer’s stock market. The White Sox will need a breather to face two more seasons of club control. They may trade Erick Feddewho has a contract until 2025. The Marlins will probably leave Jesus Luzardo and he could trade one Trevor Rogers or Braxton Garrett. Popularity of Zach Eflin, Jack Flaherty, Yusei Kikuchi, Luis Severino, Sean Manaea, Austin Gomber again Cal Quantrill it may also be available closer to the deadline.

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