The Houston Astros have made a shift to their team this year. The last several seasons, the team has consisted of the same mediocre veterans sprinkled into a group of younger players who are not going to be full-time major-league players. Things have changed this year. The Astros have begun their youth movement to the majors in calling up highly-touted prospects such as George Springer and Jon Singleton. Along with a couple of other players, the organization looks to be on the rise, but that doesn’t mean the Astros should think they are contenders just yet.
The trade deadline is approaching and the Astros have a few players they could move in order to get prospects who would help the future of the team. The problem is, they have to realize they are going to have to give up on this season and finish at, or near, the bottom of the league for a fourth-straight year. If they “tank” the rest of the year, they will set up again for a top pick in the draft and making their farm system even deeper at the same time. The Astros’ best chance to win is to lose now.
The Astros have very few positions where they need depth at, but catcher is one of them. Jason Castro is having a down year, but could still bring in at least one prospect who is nearly major league-ready. If the Astros wanted, they could decide to trade Castro, a former All-Star, for a catching prospect who is still a year or two away from being called up to the show. This would help them get younger and have a catcher ready for when they are in a position to contend for the division title.
The Astros could also part with Chad Qualls, their best reliever. He has rejuvenated his career in Houston and could land them a few solid prospects from a team looking for late-inning help. If the Astros made this trade, their already-terrible bullpen would be abysmal. It would definitely help them in their fight to get a higher draft pick in 2015.
The player who may fetch the Astros the most in terms of high-grade prospects besides Castro is designated hitter Chris Carter. He has not hit for average at all this season, but he continues to put up huge power numbers. He, again, will hit around 30 home runs this season and could get the Astros some very nice low-A prospects on the verge of being promoted to double-A. This would put their paths to the major leagues right in line with when they will be at full strength.
The Astros have the luxury of not having to trade any of their players if that’s what they choose. However, with the Astros a few short years from being in serious contention for years, they would be wise to get rid of anything that can fetch them major-league ready help within three years.