Jeremy Hellickson should be the Astros' number one target in any trade involving the Rays... but is he even available? Perhaps, but perhaps not. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
According to a variety of sources, theare involved in serious trade talks with the , who are aggressively looking to improve before the deadline. With many of their best players reaching the end of their prime years, Philadelphia's window to win it all (again) may soon close, so they can't afford to miss any chance to make the postseason over the next few years.
That, plus Ed Wade's inclination to trade with his old team, makes them likely suitors for may be close to presenting a scenario to Oswalt for his consideration.. According to some reports, the two teams are serious enough that the Astros
We also hear that the Phillies are looking to trade Jayson Werth, and they may seek to move him to the . This opens up the possibility of a three-team trade, which would likely appeal to the Astros since the Rays have a much better farm system than Philadelphia's.
With all of this in mind, what players (from both teams) could the Astros be considering?
UPDATE: In advance of today's game against the Cubs, Bernardo Fallas has an update on Roy Oswalt. When asked about the Philadelphia rumors, Oswalt said the team hasn't approached him with anything but that he'd be accepting of a deal to Philly. This could happen fast.
You can forget aboutright now. He's not available, especially if the Phillies are shopping --they'll need him to fill the hole in their outfield. With that in mind, no other minor league players should be considered off-limits. Unfortunately, most of their best prospects are in the lower minors, but if that's the only way for the Astros to get back potential impact players, it should at least be considered.
- , LHP. Happ is a trap. It's actually fortunate, in a way, that he's suffered from injuries this year, because it reduces his value to a more reasonable level, where he wouldn't likely be the centerpiece of a deal. His ERA has been much better than his peripherals suggest it should be since his debut in 2008. All of that said, if he can stay healthy, he's still a solid pitcher; he projects as somewhere around a no. 3 or no. 4 starter, which is useful, but not the young phenom you might expect glancing at his earned run average. Hopefully if he was included in a deal it would be as just one part of a larger package.
- Jarred Cosart, RHP. Cosart is a right-handed starting pitcher with great stuff, although he is far from the majors. He's a native Texan from the Houston area, which is a nice bonus, but more importantly, he has no. 1 starter upside and great stats in the minors. Were the Astros to trade for him, he would seem likely to follow the path of Jordan Lyles and skip straight from low A to AA next season.
- Jonathan Singleton, 1B. Profiling as a potential impact bat, Singleton is tearing up the low-A Sally league at the ripe age of 18, and he's already in Baseball America's top 50 midseason prospects list. Like Cosart, he's a great prospect, but he's a long way from being MLB-ready. With Ryan Howard under contract through 2016, the Phillies may be more amenable to trading Singleton than Cosart.
- Brody Colvin, RHP. Much like Cosart, Colvin is a starting pitcher with great stuff who is in low A and far from MLB-ready. He's not quite as good of a prospect, but he could still draw interest.
The Rays have a very deep minor league system. You can forget about their top prospect, Desmond Jennings, and, right behind him, may or may not be available in trade. I can't hope to cover all of their interesting prospects and players, but here are a few who could be attractive to the Astros.
- Jeremy Hellickson, RHP. If this turns into a three-team trade with the Rays, Hellickson should be the Astros' number one target. He projects as a no. 2 starter at the big league level, but it pays not to underestimate pitchers with his track record and pitchability. He could turn into the next Roy Oswalt; the perfect piece to get back when trading away Oswalt himself.
- , SS. With Jason Bartlett under contract and shaping up to expected form in July, the Rays may be willing to trade young shortstop Reid Brignac. He'll never be a star player, but he's a fairly safe bet to be a solid everyday starter, better than any of the Astros' current options. He is an average defensive shortstop with a roughly ML average bat (which plays as above average at shortstop, a premium defensive position).
- , RHP. Davis has not been good this year, but he was a top prospect coming into the season, and he has frontline starter upside. His strikeouts are down and his walks are up, but his track record suggests both should improve.
- Matt Moore, LHP. While farther from the majors than any of these other players (Moore is in class-A advanced), his strikeout rate is jawdropping and his ceiling is that of a true ace.
- Alexander Colome, RHP. Another pitcher a little ways off from the majors, Colome, like Moore, has excellent stuff and could be a frontline starter down the road.