Wednesday, May 29, 2024
AL WestAmerican LeagueAnalysisHouston AstrosMLB

What If Twitter Ran The Astros

James Click after sucking the soul out of the Mariner’s clubhouse

Mutually Assured Destruction

The 30 MLB organizations are settling into their roles of buyer and seller as the trade deadline approaches on Friday afternoon. Some teams uncertain of their future, like the Mariners, have shuffled around a few relievers and aren’t declaring their intent. Other teams, like the Cubs, have hung up the yard sale sign and are busy shipping off what’s left of their 2016 World Series core. The Dodgers are drunkenly spinning through the trade market buying anything with a large price tag.

Andrew Friedman threw around money and prospects like the Yankees of yesteryear on Thursday afternoon dealing 3 of his top 20 prospects in Keibert Ruiz (1), Josiah Grey (2), and Gerardo Carrillo (17) along with Donovan Casey to the Nationals in exchange for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. It’s the type of flexing only an organization with absurd depth can make, and shows there’s no end in sight to the Dodger’s championship window.

That is the type of trade usually cooked up by delusional fans who can only see as far into the future as this October, not experienced GMs steering a dynasty on an 8-year division title streak. Perhaps that very streak lent the Dodgers a sense of urgency as they lost a road series to the Giants and fell 3 games back in the uber-competitive NL West. Perhaps they feared an ultra-aggressive AJ Preller and a resurgent San Diego ball club sniffing at their heels at only 2.5GB with only 58 games to play. All three teams have their eyes set on a WS coronation and are loading up in the baseball equivalent of the nuclear arms race that precipitated the Cold War. So if they can do it, why can’t the Astros?

Caution, Meet Wind

The obvious answer would be that the Astros have severely depleted their organizational depth over the past four years, spending big on pitching at the deadline, and any major moves would doom the franchise to a Sisyphean fate of repeating the horror of the early 2010s. However, armchair GMs on Twitter have no such concerns. A second WS trophy would go a long way towards soothing the pain of playing like the Rangers during the coming years. So if 2021 is all that matters, and prudence be damned, who could the Astros get?

The Astros Top 10 prospects going into 2021

The Chicago Kubs

Astros twitter has been weirdly fond of Craig Kimbrel this season as a trade target. It’s easy to see why; he has elite numbers anywhere you look, striking out an eye-popping 46.7% of batters faced this season while pitching to an 826 ERA+. Through 622 career games, he has a better FIP, WHIP, and ERA than Mariano Rivera. Plus, he looks like a bird before he comes set which is probably a reason why Atlanta drafted him in the first place. He’s expensive and under team control through 2022, so it’ll take some good pieces to get him out. How about Enoli Paredes, Josh James, Hunter Brown and Korey Lee? Between Paredes and James throwing high 90s, you’ll hardly notice Kimbrel is gone, Cubs fans

Kris Bryant soaks up the sights and sounds of Wrigley Field for possibly the final time after a loss to the Reds.

Kris Bryant hasn’t been traded as of 12:36 PM CST on 7/30/21, so the Astros will take him too. An intelligent observer may object that Alex Bregman will be back from his rehab assignment within a week so why get another 3B? I was 19 steps ahead of the intelligent observer, however, and took a trip to Bryant’s Baseball-Reference page, where it became apparent that Bryant is only moonlighting at third and his true future is in center field. Move aside Myles Straw, we have OAA stats to ruin. Okay, let’s be realistic, Bryant can play right field full time and Kyle Tucker will move to center field. Since Cubs fans no longer have anyone left to love, the Astros will trade Peter Solomon, Freudis Nova, and Robel Garcia to the Cubs

Have Some Bucks, Buxton

The Twins are two steps away from relegation to AAA, what with their record-setting playoff victory drought and all. Coupled with a trainwreck of a season which has seen them placed firmly in “sell” mode, it’s time to trade off star CF and IL resident Byron Buxton. It may seem foolish to trade for someone who’s only played 140 games once in his career, but this move is more practical than the tone of this article would let on. Carlos Correa is likely departing in free agency, following George Springer this past offseason as high-profile offensive losses. Replacing a premium bat at a premium position is hard, but Buxton’s injury history and aborted extension talks with Minnesota make him an ideal target for the Astros. His injury history will keep his market price well below what a player of his caliber is worth and he’s still under team control through 2022. This move is the most practical of the four but will cost Myles Straw, Jeremy Pena, Forrest Whitley, and Colin Barber.

The Lone Star in Dallas

The Texas Rangers have confronted reality this year and shipped off every player worth having except for one: Kyle Gibson. Gibson is having an excellent year, earning his first All-Star selection on the back of a 156 ERA+ season. Another player with an extra year of club control, Gibson would bolster an already strong top-five for the Astros. The obvious trade chip here is Jake Odorizzi, who is below average in every Statcast metric except BB% and wouldn’t be needed with Gibson around and Framber Valdez as a completely competent sixth-starter. Obviously, that’s not 1:1 compensation, so Tyler Ivey and Jaime Melendez will accompany Odorizzi to the DFW metroplex.

A Fish Named Mike

Well this is the obvious answer, isn’t it? The Astros do need a CF with pop and this would get Mike Trout off the division-rival Angels. So what if he’s on a 10-year contract and will be an MVP candidate until he’s 35. Just give the Angels your whole AAA team and have done with it. World Series here we come!

The Houston All-Stars

Of the trades mentioned above, I think moves for Gibson and Buxton are most likely. Buxton’s been on the IL since June 22nd, so one would hope his fractured wrist would be healed in time for October. Adding him to an already savage Houston lineup would put this offense on par with the 2019 unit that tied the Murderer’s Row Yankees for best offense in history by wRC+. Perfect for bludgeoning a strong rotation fielded by teams like the White Sox, Dodgers, and Brewers.

That said, don’t hold your breath, Astros fans. Realistically there may be no further trades, or something minor like Paul Fry from the Orioles. That’s not going to stop me from obsessively refreshing Twitter until the deadline hits though.

Featured Image- Twitter’s profile picture on Twitter

Jacob Hubbard

Jake is a lifelong baseball fan and grew up watching the Round Rock Express MiLB games. He played baseball from ages 2-19, but a 20 graded power tool forced him to retire. Now he spends his days yelling at Fangraphs and Baseball Savant. You can find him on Twitter @FeelSurgical