Thursday's Houston Astros Hot Stove Report

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

A new idea I had, tackling the hot stove league in a roundup form with commentary on what the news might mean for Houston. This is also the place we'll handle any rumors of free agents or trades.

The hot stove league is in full swing, so I thought we could touch base on some of the topics therein and how they affect our hometown nine. Not sure how regularly we'll get to this, but for now, enjoy all sorts of rumors and other juicy news from around the league...

Jason Bay is bought out by the Mets - The erstwhile slugger was never a fit in New York, suffering through injuries and the cavern that is Citi Field. However, as soon as he was bought out, Cee Angi and some other smart people started connecting him to Houston's open DH position. He'd certainly come cheap, but can Houston afford to give that job to someone with as unreliable an injury history as Bay?

Jose Valverde would be interested in coming back to Houston - This is from further back. While the immediate answer is, "No, no, no, no, for the love of all things holy, no," this report got me wondering. Will free agents try to use the knowledge that Houston has both spots in the lineup and money to spend to try and drive up their own prices? Valverde may have interest in Houston, but only to up his price tag and not to actually pitch here. It's something that bears watching this winter.

Trevor Bauer is available - This shocking piece of Diamondbacks news was going to be an item in Friday's Three Things, but I'm stealing it for here. Basically, if Arizona is putting Bauer on the market, how high does Houston's offer have to go to get him? Who would you be willing to part with? Here are some of the deals I brainstormed last night:

Bauer for McCullers and Villar

Bauer for Paredes, Villar and Brady Rodgers

Bauer for Altuve

Bauer for Jed Lowrie

Bauer for Bud Norris and McCullers

As you can see, there aren't many players I wouldn't include in a deal here. To me, the list of untouchables is Correa, Singleton and Springer. That's it. Anyone else on the team or in the system is fair game, because I think Bauer can be a true ace for a team, and be that relatively quickly. The one thing Houston doesn't have in the system is a pitcher with true ace upside. So, if Bauer really is available, they need to make that happen.

Justin Upton is too - This one, I'm more intrigued about than interested from an Astros perspective. While Upton would fill a hole in the Astros outfield, my sense is that George Springer could produce at roughly the same levels Upton has in his non-breakout years pretty soon, and be cheaper for the near future too. It sounds like Upton may actually get traded this time, so I'll be interested to follow how it shakes out.

How well do GMs predict the winter? - This is a great story from Sam Miller over at Baseball Prospectus on Jerry Crasnick's yearly article asking GMs and front office types to predict the market. How well did they do? Turns out, those GMs and front office types may be smart, but they can't predict the market any better than a coin flip. Which makes sense, because if smart people could figure out something with as much randomness and human elements in it as free agency or the trade market, then they'd be on Wall Street making a billion dollars a year.

Mariners in on Hamilton - Our new neighbors in the AL West are apparently big game hunting once again. A year after the M's lost out on Prince Fielder, they are apparently focused on Josh Hamilton. The Orioles are too, but I'm greeted with a hefty dose of skepticism on both fronts. How many times have we seen big ticket free agents linked to those two teams? How many have actually landed there? My guess is that Hamilton will be leaving the AL West this winter, and possibly the AL entirely.

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