NEW YORK -- With so many big-name pitchers sustaining injuries in the first weeks of the season to teams that began the season with high hopes -- a list that includes Felix Hernandez, Noah Syndergaard, Cole Hamels, Corey Kluber, David Price and Madison Bumgarner -- there could be more demand
NEW YORK -- With so many big-name pitchers sustaining injuries in the first weeks of the season to teams that began the season with high hopes -- a list that includes Felix Hernandez, Noah Syndergaard, Cole Hamels, Corey Kluber, David Price and Madison Bumgarner -- there could be more demand for available arms at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
The Astros, who lost Collin McHugh to an elbow injury at the start of the season, figure to be one of the teams in the market to add an arm over the next 2 1/2 months, but general manager Jeff Luhnow said Thursday the team will be in no rush, especially considering how well the club is playing right now.
"We jumped on [Scott] Kazmir two years ago early in the trade season, and there's pros and cons to that," Luhnow said. "We got a really good month of some good starts in July that year prior to the Deadline, but other pitchers came available -- namely, David Price -- that had not really been available early, and so if you really want to know what the landscape looks like completely, you kind of have to wait until the end.
"Like I said, we're going to be active in conversations so we know who's available and when they might be traded, but I don't feel like we're going to be in any hurry, especially since we've gotten off to a good start. As long as we continue to play well, there's no urgency to solve a problem right now."
The Astros acquired Kazmir on July 23, 2015, and he made two scoreless starts in July before faltering down the stretch.
Entering Friday, Astros pitchers ranked second in the Majors in team ERA at 3.42, including fourth in starters' ERA at 3.69. Dallas Keuchel has American League Cy Young Award stuff again, Lance McCullers has put it together, but the rest of the rotation -- Joe Musgrove, Charlie Morton and Mike Fiers -- has been hit or miss.
As of now, Luhnow is hoping McHugh can return midseason and provide a boost. What's more, starting pitching prospect David Paulino made his 2017 debut on Minor League rehab Thursday night at Triple-A Fresno after coming down with a bone bruise in his right elbow.
"Those are two important pieces for us internally, especially since [Brady] Rodgers is now out [after undergoing Tommy John surgery last week]," Luhnow said. "I think we have to wait and see how things go over the next month before we make any determinations. We're going to be active in conversations throughout. It's not clear to me how active we'll be in terms of making big trades."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.