Houston Astros to Pursue Front Line Starter

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Off to a hot 19-10 start in the AL West, the Houston Astros are reportedly in the hunt for a big name starter to pair with the resurgent Dallas Keuchel

As was oft cited throughout the off-season, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports, notes that the Houston Astros are looking to add a front line starter with White Sox ace, Jose Quintana, at the of the shopping list. With the impressive start by the Astros and an equally disappointing one by the rival Texas Rangers, Fangraphs now has the Astros playoff odds at an impressive 93.7%. Despite being less than a week into the month of May, it appears time for GM Jeff Luhnow to turn his attention to bolstering a potential playoff roster.

However, advancing through the playoffs, for the Astros likely means doing battle against AL powerhouses the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians. Both clubs feature imposing starting rotations – the Red Sox boasting Chris Sale, Rick Porcello and the soon-to-return David Price, the Indians countering with Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. Adding a top starting pitcher makes all too much sense for a club looking to win its first ever World Series. As it currently stands, the Astros would enter a playoff match-up with a starting rotation of Dallas Keuchel, the talented yet volatile Lance McCullers  and Charlie Morton.

Quintana has been a rumored fit for the Astros since last years trade deadline. Signed through 2018 for just $16.35m, followed by club options for 2019-20 at just $10.5m, Quintana has quietly proven to be one of the better starters in the American League. The multiple years of team control are a perfect fit for a team built around a talented young core that includes Carlos Correa and George Springer. However, a talented young starter under cheap team control for multiple years is a fit for any number of teams, so bidding will be fierce.

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Luckily for Houston, this summer’s trade deadline boasts an impressive array of potential targets. Yu Darvish appears to the top arm available this July and as a free agent at years end, may be somewhat reasonably priced. However, currently employed by the division rival Texas Rangers, a deal for Darvish would appear rather unlikely.

Over in the NL West, a poor start by the San Francisco Giants and a significant injury to ace, Madison Bumgarner, may convince the club to re-tool at this years deadline. If so, Johnny Cueto and his impending opt-out clause may be on the move in yet another deadline deal. Like the aforementioned Quintana, Cueto  comes with the potential of multiple years of control with a club option that carries the Dominican native through the 2022 season.

Finally, with the Kansas City Royals’ window of contention closing, 2016 breakout starter Danny Duffy may be available in trade talks. Signed through 2021 at $13m a year, the hard throwing left-hander would be an interesting addition for the Astros.

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However, with the Astros own Christopher Devenski doing his best Andrew Miller impersonation out of the bullpen, Houston may not even need the extra rotation help. With the growing playoffs success of ‘super bullpens’, getting the ball over to Devenski may be all the help the Astros need in 2017.