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TCB Discussion of the Week: When is it time to start buying?

Our staff talks about possible deals and where Houston's at on the success cycle.

Doug Pensinger

Once again, the TCB staff put together an email thread of massive proportions on a topic. This week, we weighed in on whether it makes sense for Houston to scavenge from the Diamondbacks, or any other team, really. But, I say about the same thing in the first email, so I'll get right to it.


The Department of Redundancy Department


With all the turmoil right now in Arizona, I wonder if there's a chance for Houston to pounce. Could the Astros somehow make a deal for one of the extra D'Backs pieces? Specifically, I'm thinking can they get Brandon McCarthy for below market value?

Do you think the Astros are in a spot yet where they COULD take advantage of situations like this? Are they at a place where they could spin depth into upgrades for the major league roster? Or, is that for next year?


Could they?


Should they? Yes! A 1000 times!

I would love to see the Astros add pieces. Nothing in the blockbuster variety, but nice additions.


By trading Justin Upton and Adam Eaton, the D-Backs already traded the two players that I'd be most interested in acquiring. I wouldn't be enthused about McCarthy. He's been good for his career, but he is an extreme fly ball pitcher. As we've recently discussed the relative merits of fly ball vs. ground ball pitchers, and given the Astros' iffy Left Field defense, coupled with the Crawford Boxes that would be doubly dangerous for a right-handed fly ball pitcher...I'd pass.

Aside from that, the Astros don't need Aaron Hill, and Paul Goldschmidt would never be traded, I like the Astros' catching corps better than Miguel Montero. Mark Reynolds is essentially Chris Carter with an injury, and I don't see Gerardo Parra or A.J. Pollock as any more interesting than L.J. Hoes, Robbie Grossman, or even Austin Wates.

The only two players I'm vaguely interested in are Mark Trumbo and Martin Prado. Either guy would fit nicely at LF or 1B. Trumbo isn't a realistic option because he reaches Free Agency after 2014 and there's no sense adding a short-term rental, unless he pre-agreed to an extension that would have him moving to DH when Singleton arrives. Doesn't seem possible. Prado is signed through 2016, and is a guy I'd love to have on the Astros. He's 30, but seems to be a guy who might age well, in baseball terms.

So - my final verdict - I'd try to acquire Martin Prado. But I can't see the D-Backs' incentive to do that unless the Astros were to give up some good prospects. Would Foltynewicz, Ruiz, Santana be enough? Or not enough? I know some of our readers might think it's too much.

I wonder what the price on Cody Ross would be. He might be a cheaper addition that could play LF.


I like Parra and Prado. Parra is a pretty good defender in the outfield, hits a lot of doubles and can steal bases.

I would not advocate acquiring McCarthy for the exact reasons mentioned previously.


I've always liked Gerardo Parra, because he can provide elite corner outfield defense (last year he was +26 on defense as a full time LFer), and he is a lefty batter. He has gotten off to a rough start, so maybe he could be available at a buy-low price. I wouldn't mind it if the price is right. Ross hasn't played much---I wonder if he is healthy, but in any event he is really a platoon player vs. LHPs.

Thatcher is good LH reliever, and the Astros could use a good lefty in the pen. But how much should the Astros be willing to give up for a bullpen LOOGY who is over 30?


I love Prado, but that is indeed too much. I would see if they would discard McCarthy as well, I think he would fit in here well as a 3-4 starter.


I like the idea of McCarthy more than I actually like him. He really embraces saber metrics and would fit in well with the organization from that standpoint. So, in that sense, he's the anti-Harrell. I don't really see the need to add a pitcher like him, given the depth the club has for those rotation spots. He might be a little redundant. The rotation is a relative strength right now, and I think it will continue to be. I just don't see him contributing much.


I think David was just using the DBACKS as an example.

The Astros should try to target players in trades that are blocked or who's value is simply down. This doesn't always work, but hopefully they'll get lucky and cash in on a player who's underperformed to expectations.

Maybe the piece is under the radar targets that could help the Astros and simply apply this to trade pieces such as _____.


Yeah, my affection for McC has as much to do with the kind of guy he is and what he has dealt with, as how good a player he is. Having said that, he's better than Williams for sure. McHugh? Now I'm not so sure!


Not going to lie, I would love to see McCarthy come to Houston and dominate the Rangers several times just to anger that one idiotic blogger who attacked his wife on twitter.


I had forgotten about that. Yes. And his wife is totes adorb.


Sure, I'm in favor of the Astros looking for some underpriced pieces to add to the ML roster through trade. But it's not all that easy this time of year, because most teams are looking for help at the ML level, and really what can the Astros offer? I thought David used the D-Backs illustration because the front office-manager turmoil might lead to some hasty trades, or perhaps a reset for the future.

As I answer this email, Josh Fields blew a save against the Mariners. Jose Veras has started off poorly for the Cubs (over 15 ERA in 4 innings). Maybe the Astros can trade for him as their closer, and wait for some regression.


I believe we certainly can and should take advantages of situations like the D-Backs. Problem is, aside from Archie Bradley, and perhaps Martin Prado, there isn't a lot that excites me on that roster, hence they are in this position to begin with. Also, news is that Trumbo has a stress fracture in his foot, and could miss an extended period of time. Maybe that makes them even more desperate, or maybe the injury nudges them to succumb to reality and plan for the future.

I personally believe that Folty, Ruiz, and Santana for Prado is not a great fit with our roster at the moment. I like that Prado is a professional hitter and is under-appreciated by most, but if I am giving up those pieces, I want more in return. I would do something similar but target Bradley. I understand that he is probably considered an untouchable by the D-Backs, but would an offer such as Cosart, Folty, and Santana (or Carter - to replace the injured Trumbo) at least pique their interest? They get a MLB-ready SP in Cosart to immediately bolster their rotation, along with another high-end, nationally ranked pitching prospect in Folty. Along with that, you get another toolsy prospect in Santana (and Towers is an old school GM that falls in love with tools more than he should, so Santana is probably more enticing to him than most). That's my sales pitch at least.

The fact of the matter is, we will hopefully have the enviable problem of a roster crunch. In fact, we are already seeing that in our minors. That means that the time to consolidate is now, or in the near future. I think it would be beneficial to package 3 or 4 of good and talented players that we might not deem as part of our future core for 1 or 2 elite type prospects. Although there are no guarantees when discussing prospects, I would have much more faith hoping Bradley reaches his ace potential over hoping Folty harnesses his control and Cosart continues to out-produce his peripherals.

Looking at The D-Backs top prospects, I think they get real thin after Bradley, so our 10-15 range prospects probably slide in their top 5, or somewhere near it.

If not the hypothetical situation above, I hope and am confident that the front office is already thinking ahead and managing their talent and rosters accordingly.