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One Way the Astros Could Catch the Angels


ettin

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So I started writing what was essentially an Astros article yesterday and left my computer on and overnight it rebooted and I lost all that I wrote. This was probably a higher power warning me not to move to the dark side and post what would really be an article for Astroswin.com. Message received.

Instead I'd like to suggest that the Astros need to improve by about 4-5 WAR in the 2nd half in order to try and catch the Angels.

One way they could do that is through a blockbuster trade with the Cincinnati Reds. If the Astros used their young prospect base and traded for 1B Joey Votto, SP Johnny Cueto, and OF Jay Bruce they could improve by nearly 4 WAR and potentially take back the lead from the Angels.

Ultimately they could end up, once injured players return, with the following players: LF Jay Bruce, CF Jake Marisnick, RF George Springer, 3B Jed Lowrie, SS Carlos Correa, 2B Jose Altuve, 1B Joey Votto, and C Jason Castro/Hank Conger. Top four of their rotation could be Johnny Cueto, Dallas Keuchel, Colin McHugh, and Lance McCullers. The 5th could be Vincent Velasquez or another acquisition.

The Astros have plenty of payroll available to make a blockbuster trade and they certainly have plenty of prospects they could use to make a big trade happen.

I guess where I was going with the article was that the Angels shouldn't sit on their laurels because the Astros are very likely going to seriously upgrade and we need to make sure we upgrade, intelligently, as well. We probably need to improve by at least 1 WAR in the 2nd half to have a good chance of maintaining our lead.

As previously suggested in my trade articles and others on this board, acquiring two left-handed hitters, one to play LF (Guyer, Hicks, Bradley Jr., et. al.) and one to bat DH (Lind, Upton, Smith, Bruce, et. al.) would go a long way towards maintaining our lead.

Edited by ettin
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`

They could win one game and the Angels lose one.

Yes there's that Mark. The article that I lost talked about how, with the way things stand as of the end of the 1st half, that the projection system at FanGraphs sees the Angels 3 Wins ahead of the Astros by the end of the season. Thus the reason I suggested the Astros need to improve significantly in order to "catch" the Angels based on the projections.

I just had no desire to rewrite all that I wrote so some of the basis of the idea is lost in a thread post.

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Cueto to the Astros wouldn't surprise me in the least, and it should be scary for the Angels...until Cueto's shoulder or arm blows out.

 

Or his hip...from that very exaggerated twist he uses in his delivery.

Edited by Mark68
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I'd love to head just which prospects would it take to get the Reds' 2nd and 3rd best hitters and their stud SP

I think any package going to the Reds would start with a nucleus of Chris Carter, Robbie Grossman, Mark Appel, Max Stassi, and Rio Ruiz. Astros absorb all of the contracts.

Not sure why you think it is inconceivable Lou? Cueto is a pure rental. Bruce is controllable through 2017 (nice short contract). Votto is 31 years old and his contract runs through 2023! He even has an option year in 2024 which mercifully is a team option. He's owed $212MM starting next year.

Which part of this wouldn't appeal to a team that might fully rebuild? You get some quality prospects and a nice power-hitting role player in Carter and free up a ton of money?

I'm sure I'm completely off on what would exchange hands but it's not outside the realm of reality. Improbable maybe but what I'm trying to say is that I think the Astros will strike in a major way before the deadline. They may not want to go that strong and lose so many prospects but they will make some noise.

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I think we all agree that we need to upgrade the bats in LF and DH but I don't think it's written in stone that they be 2 lefty bats. A LH DH/1B type would be great to add the expectation that whoever bats behind Albert can do some damage. Someone with legitimate pop. But LF could go to anyone who can get on base at a decent clip and provide some speed. Anyone who can get on first base in front of Calhoun and make the other team think he might actually run.

 

A wildcard for us to acquire is a true one out lefty who can get a K or a weak swing from a lefty hitter. Pretty much all the damage done to us in the ALDS came from Hosmer, Gordon, Moustakas. Ramos and Alvarez have been pretty solid but I don't see either as a true LOOGY.

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Somehow I just can't see the Astros abandoning the plan the have been working with the young guys to suddenly take on these veteran players.  I think they like where they are at, and in their mind maybe they are a year or two ahead of their original schedule for competing for a championship.  If they try to force the issue earlier, it may backfire on them.  I could be wrong, but I don't see them doing much this year in the trade market, but they could be a big time nuisance starting next year or in 2017 for sure if they continue with their original plan.

 

Adding guys at the July trade deadline is a crap shoot.  The best chance for success seems to be if you have a need for just one or two premium players to fill some obvious holes.  It takes time to assimilate players, reset the team chemistry, and scramble your lineup into something that's clearly better.  There are really not many opportunities to turn something marginal into a plus-plus in a very short timeframe.

Edited by tomsred
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I agree that trade deadline deals are a crapshoot, but at the same time, our offense woes arent short term. Were basically in the same boat offense wise we were in pitching wise the last few years.

Off the top of my head in the minors, guys like green and kubitza and moncada are all we have that might come up next year or so (that i know of). None of those seem like difference makers today, much less after pujols is a year older, freese is gone, iannetta leaves etc.

I like the idea of targeting a younger impact guy like a schwarber (pipe dream) for newcomb, and its probably a smarter idea to do that. But, either way, were gonna have to do something. Ive said it before, one of th3 absolute biggest mistakes we made last decade was not getting another impact guy to duo with vlad. I dont want to waste trouts big years the same way.

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Certain July acquisitions have paid off big time.

Street of course a year ago dominated after coming here.

The Astros acquired a player 11 years back who destroyed NL pitching upon arrival: Carlos Beltran.

But yes, if it is not the only weakness you are fixing, a July acquisition still has a lower chance of getting you to October.

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Discounting any acquisitions that Houston makes, they are still a real threat in my mind.  They have a lot of good young players who can go off at any time. I know they are on a losing streak, but every team goes through those.  Until we actually have a good cushion on them, I'm not counting them out.

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Somehow I just can't see the Astros abandoning the plan the have been working with the young guys to suddenly take on these veteran players.  I think they like where they are at, and in their mind maybe they are a year or two ahead of their original schedule for competing for a championship.  If they try to force the issue earlier, it may backfire on them.  I could be wrong, but I don't see them doing much this year in the trade market, but they could be a big time nuisance starting next year or in 2017 for sure if they continue with their original plan.

 

Adding guys at the July trade deadline is a crap shoot.  The best chance for success seems to be if you have a need for just one or two premium players to fill some obvious holes.  It takes time to assimilate players, reset the team chemistry, and scramble your lineup into something that's clearly better.  There are really not many opportunities to turn something marginal into a plus-plus in a very short timeframe.

 

Their plan has worked very well thus far. They have gone from being a national joke to a division contender in a fairly short time. Their young talent is beginning to produce, and while they may not win the AL West this season, they will have to be dealt with as time goes on.

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