Houston Astros Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2014

Houston Astros Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Things haven't been nearly as bad in Houston as many expected they would be, with the Astros looking very much like a team that has finally taken a big step back towards respectability after years of being the laughingstock of the game.

    General manager Jeff Luhnow has done a remarkable job in recent years of unloading his veterans for younger, less-expensive talent, and the current roster doesn't have much in the way of valuable trade chips to peddle at the trade deadline.

    That doesn't mean that things will be quiet surrounding the club all month long, however.

    Keep it here for the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the Astros, along with analysis and everything else that comes with it. While the post date will always show as July 1, simply click to the next slide to see the latest from the rumor mill as the Astros look to add pieces for a future playoff run.

Done Deals

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    July 31: Traded RHP Jarred Cosart, SS Enrique Hernandez and OF Austin Wates to Miami for OF Jake Marisnick, 3B Colin Moran and a compensatory draft pick (Analysis)

July 31: Acquired OF Jake Marisnick and 3B Colin Moran from Miami

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    USA TODAY Sports

    While it cost the Astros a quality young arm in Jarred Cosart and two minor leaguers, Houston continues to build a solid offensive foundation for years to come with the addition of Jake Marisnick and Colin Moran (pictured).

    Marisnick, 23, was one of the key pieces of Miami's infamous "fire sale" trade with Toronto before the 2013 season and ranked as Miami's third-best prospect heading into the season, according to Baseball America.

    While his hit tool lags behind the rest of his skills, the speedy center fielder is an above-average defender that could develop into a dynamic presence if his approach at the plate improves.

    Moran, 21, was the sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft and Miami's No. 2 prospect heading into 2014 (h/t Baseball America).

    He projects to be a big-time presence in the middle of a lineup, hitting for average and power while playing average-to-above-average defense at third base, which he's athletic enough to stick at despite a lack of foot speed or lateral quickness.

    Marisnick will likely be the first to arrive in Houston, but both could be wearing an Astros uniform as early as 2015.

Astros Looking to Move Chris Carter

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Wednesday, July 30 at 4:20 p.m. ET

    Aside from being open to moving some of their starting pitching, the Astros are looking to deal 1B/DH Chris Carter, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.

    Carter, 27, offers legitimate power from the right-side of the plate but little else, hitting only .212 with a .291 on-base percentage this season and .217 with a .309 on-base percentage over his five-year career.

    While right-handed power is always in demand, it's not clear if there's much of a market for Carter's services. Seattle, a team that is known to be on the hunt for a productive bat, has no interest, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.

     

Astros No Longer Leery of Dealing Young Arms?

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    PAUL BEATY/Associated Press

    Update: Tuesday, July 29 at 8:18 p.m. ET

    Just when it looked like the Houston was open for business, a rival GM tells the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich that the Astros are "hesitant" to trade Dallas Keuchel. 

    It would make sense for the Astros to keep at least one of their young arms, and Keuchel has been the most impressive of the three that have been rumored to be on the block. That said, "hesitant" could simply be another way of saying "it'll take more to pry Keuchel loose than it would Cosart or McHugh."

    With the clock ticking and the trade deadline drawing closer, we'll have some clarification sooner rather than later.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Tuesday, July 29 at 2:23 p.m. ET

    Interest in Cosart, Keuchel and McHugh continues to increase, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets, with the Astros standing firm on what they're asking for in return: MLB-ready offense.

    With incredibly high asking prices on the best starters available (Cole Hamels, Jon Lester and David Price), the Astros could be one of the busier teams over the next 48 hours as contenders look to bolster their rotations for the stretch drive.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Monday, July 28 at 12:46 p.m. ET

    In what continues to be an ever-changing stance by the Astros, the team now seems open to trading one of it's young major league arms—Jarred Cosart, Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh—as Luhnow told Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal:

    We do seem to have an excess of pretty good young starters so we wouldn’t rule anything out. We’d have to get back a big-league piece, preferably a bat, in a package that makes sense for the future and present.

    That's a complete 180 from Luhnow's comments earlier this season, when he indicated that he absolutely would not consider trading any member of that trio.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Sunday, July 27 at 5:53 p.m. ET

    Luhnow reiterated to Sirius/XM's Jim Bowden that he is not going to trade Chad Qualls, but that he would be open to dealing a starting pitcher from either the major league or Triple-A roster if he could acquire an outfield bat.

    The team had earlier said that neither Jarred Cosart nor Dallas Keuchel was available and it's fair to assume that's still the case, but for the right outfield bat, you'd have to wonder if either of them could suddenly be in play.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Thursday, July 24 at 6:57 p.m. ET

    While Tony Sipp might still be dealt, it doesn't appear as if the Astros have any intention of trading Chad Qualls. GM Jeff Luhnow said as much to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart:

    I hesitate to use the word 'untouchable,' but he likes it here, he's comfortable here and he's pitching well. To have a guy who's capable of pitching late in the game, in close games, we're going to have opportunity going forward. This is a team that's improving, and as the team improves, you have more save opportunities, more opportunities to pitch at the end of close games. We need more Chad Qualls. We don't need less.

    Signed to a two-year, $6 million deal before the season began, Qualls is certainly an affordable veteran presence to keep around.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Thursday, July 24 at 12:19 p.m. ET

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that teams continue to call about Qualls and Sipp (with Sipp drawing the most interest) but that the Astros have no interest in listening on young starters Jarred Cosart or Dallas Keuchel.

    That Cosart and Keuchel aren't on the block makes sense given the Astros need for quality young arms. Still, if a contender were to come calling with an exorbitant offer, you'd have to think that GM Jeff Luhnow would at least give dealing one of them away some serious consideration.

    --End of Update--

     

    Teams are calling about Qualls and Sipp, primarily, sources tell Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, though there's no word on who those teams are or what the Astros are seeking in return.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Wednesday, July 9 at 12:11 p.m. ET

    It wouldn't surprise anyone if the Astros traded away some pieces of their bullpen, especially when you consider that the team isn't ready to contend. But it seems as if Houston may be taking a different approach at the trade deadline, as owner Jim Crane told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart:

    The bullpen's been hurting us a little bit. We had some guys beat up down there. Crain hasn't come back yet, and we still have Albers out. [Anthony] Bass came back and got beat up. That's something we have to take a look at it and see if we can fix it before the end of the season because it's definitely costing us some games.

    We're always looking more long term, but we want to try to establish a nucleus this year and win a lot more ballgames than we did last year.

    While Crane should be commended for wanting his club to achieve more on-field success than they have in recent years, he needs to be a realist. Heading into play on July 9, Houston trails Oakland by 20 games in the AL West and sits 12 games out of a wild-card berth.

    Fixing the bullpen before the end of the season shouldn't be something that GM Jeff Luhnow is wasting his time with. Trying to find additional pieces for the team's future relief corps should.

    --End of Update--

     

    If there's one area of strength from which the Astros can deal, it's in the bullpen, where veteran relievers Chad Qualls, Tony Sipp and Matt Albers (if he can return to health) are sure to draw interest from contending teams looking to shore up their relief corps, as ESPN's Jayson Stark recently noted.

    Of the three, Sipp (pictured) may be the most valuable. A left-handed reliever, the 30-year-old has a sparkling 1.61 ERA and 0.63 WHIP on the season while averaging nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings of work.

    That said, value is a relative term, as the Astros aren't going to be able to command much more than a mid-level prospect for any of their bullpen arms.