Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Inbox: What is Astros' plan for Deadline?

Beat reporter Brian McTaggart answers questions from fans
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is just 11 days away.

With the Astros still possessing a big lead in the American League West, let's open the Inbox and see what's on fans' minds from questions submitted through Twitter.

HOUSTON -- The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is just 11 days away.

With the Astros still possessing a big lead in the American League West, let's open the Inbox and see what's on fans' minds from questions submitted through Twitter.

Tweet from @jakemeltzer: What's a bigger priority in the minds of the Astros front office right now? Starter or bullpen?

The Astros' starting rotation could be at full strength, health-wise, by the end of the month, with Collin McHugh set to return Saturday and Dallas Keuchel likely making his final rehab start the same day. With the resurgence of Mike Fiers and the development of Brad Peacock as starters, Houston suddenly has a wealth of rotation options. The Astros can still upgrade and then make a tough decision about who goes to the bullpen.

:: Submit a question to the Astros Inbox ::

Relief pitching is a huge need at this point, especially with Will Harris on the disabled list. One name to keep an eye on is Orioles closer Zach Britton. A lefty who was a wipeout closer last year for Baltimore, he'd be the perfect addition.

Tweet from @MLVasquez361: With this mornings rumors, what's the better deal? Verlander/Wilson or sonny gray?

Justin Verlander would be a nice addition, but he's making way too much money for the Astros to take him, in my opinion. He's making $28 million this year and each of the next two years, which takes him through his age 36 season. Verlander is the 2011 AL Cy Young Award winner who's had tons of postseason appearances, but Sonny Gray is younger, cheaper and has more upside at this point.

Gray, 27, has two more years of arbitration-eligibility, and he is making $3.575 million this year. He is also rounding into form. Gray is 4-1 with a 1.62 ERA in his last five starts, and he would be at upgrade at several spots in Houston's rotation.

Tweet from @VoltCortez: Are there any prospects that are seen as "untouchable" by the front office?

I still believe outfielder Kyle Tucker is untouchable, but that doesn't mean the Astros won't be swayed eventually to trade him. Tucker is 20 years old, hits left-handed and has put up very strong numbers at Double-A Corpus Christi, hitting .301 with a .360 on-base percentage with eight homers and 20 RBIs in 36 games. It's not a stretch to believe he could be in the big leagues at 21 years old, which is why other teams want him as well. Houston just has to decide if trading its top position-player prospect is worth what it will be getting in return.

The only other prospect that may be untouchable is the Astros' 2016 first-round pick, right-hander Forrest Whitley. Even if Tucker and Whitley are off the table, Houston has other prospects to get trades done.

Tweet from @lalo_827Marlins: Is Jacob DeGrom a possibility for HOU?

I just don't see it. I'm not sure the Mets are going to trade him, anyway.

Tweet from @44allycat: Any chance Bregman gets some reps at short?

Yes. Manager A.J. Hinch said Wednesday that Alex Bregman would be play shortstop this weekend in Baltimore. With Carlos Correa on the disabled list, Hinch said he'd like Marwin Gonzalez to still move around the field, which is a role he's used to playing. Bregman will play some shortstop, with Colin Moran and perhaps Yuli Gurriel getting some reps at third as well.

Tweet from @MargTalent: Can we overcome Correa's injury and make it till October?

Of course. The Astros have a 15 1/2-game lead in the division and still have a strong lineup, even without Correa for the next six to eight weeks. How many teams can lose one of their best players and plug in a capable bat like Gonzalez? Houston needs Correa back for the postseason, for sure, but his absence for two months shouldn't hinder its chances.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros