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Astros Hot Stove: Rumors link Houston to multiple high-end relievers

The Hot Stove is heating up in Houston, as the rumors are beginning to confirm what we've suspected.

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Jeff Luhnow has made no secret of his desire for elite relief help, and preferably the kind with elite velocity. Jerry Crasnick is hearing that that has indeed been playing out in recent trade talks involving the Astros.

Most of this fits with what we know. At the deadline, Carlos Gomez's extra year of control was a big factor in that deal, and Mike Fiers has even more control than that. They've been linked to Freddie Freeman, who is controllable and young. Now Giles, Boxberger and McGee would all fit both the elite relief and contact control goals Luhnow seems to prize.

While the Scott Kazmir trade makes it clear that the Astros aren't afraid of rentals (or maybe they just didn't like Jacob Nottingham as much as some), it's obvious that that isn't their preferred target, which is intriguing with Jim Crane being a fan of his. If Chapman does come to Houston, it might be an indication that Crane pulls more strings in Luhnow's front office than we've realized.

Giles is 25 years old and has two Big League seasons under his belt. He's posted a sterling 1.82 FIP with nearly 12 strike outs per nine innings during that time, and regularly sits 95-97 with his heater, reaching as high as 101 MPH on occasion. With five seasons of club control left on his contract, he's certainly a tantalizing option that hits all of Luhnow's checklist boxes, but the price figures to be high, as evidenced by the Phillies asking for Lance McCullers.

McGee has been just as good as Giles over the last two seasons, and has a history of success in the American League. He also brings similar heat to Giles. He's the oldest of the group, however, and only has two years of club control remaining.

Boxberger is a couple years older than Giles (though younger than McGee) and has one fewer year of club control. His command can wobble, too, and his average fastball velocity is no better than 92 MPH. It's possible his lack of velocity and his inconsistency might lower his price compared to the other two; if so, he could be a sneaky-good buy if the Astros can nab him.