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Injury-Plagued Astros Scrambling for Starting Arms

Now firmly back in contention, the Houston Astros are scrambling to add starting arms at the deadline to round out their injury-plagued rotation. Sitting just two games behind the first-place Seattle Mariners, general manager Dana Brown called Houston a clear buyer at the trade deadline. Among their deadline priorities, is another starter (or two) to round out their injury-plagued starting rotation.

Operating with just four starters, the Astros received a troubling update on Tuesday about two of their star pitchers. While Luis Garcia’s rehab assignment is underway, right-handers Lance McCullers Jr. and Justin Verlander are still absent from the rotation. Houston lost both Cristian Javier and José Urquidy to season-ending Tommy John surgery last month, while J.P. France recently underwent shoulder surgery. Leaving the Astros currently operating with just four healthy starters.

More than ever, the Astros need to add some depth and stability to their rotation at the deadline. Even if it means acquiring a serviceable arm over a top-tier arm who could slot into a theoretical playoff rotation. Doing so would lessen the reliance on their trio of currently injured righties going into the second half. Brown has said all along that Houston would be buying at the deadline, and there’s every reason to believe him.

Astros Seeking Reinforcements for Injury-Plagued Rotation

Now a clear threat to win the West (again), the rotation is arguably the Astros’ biggest liability. Fortunately, the Astros “will not hold back at the deadline” and plan on pursuing one, maybe two starters.



Insiders have recently linked the Astros to several intriguing starters including Zach Eflin, Cal Quantrill, and Jack Flaherty. White Sox lefty Garrett Crochet is one of the most sought-after players on the trade market and one insider predicts he will land in Houston. The Astros are said to be looking for players that have future control left on their contracts. Flaherty is the only pending free agent of the group. 

One factor to consider in any Astros trade scenario is salary. After signing closer Josh Hader to a record five-year, $95 million contract, Houston sits right at the luxury tax threshold. Houston has only paid the luxury tax twice under owner Jim Crane, which could limit their spending come July 30th. While the Astros’ farm system is far from great, they do have 2023 first-rounder Brice Matthews who they could include in a bid for Chicago’s star southpaw.

Time will tell how much Crane is willing to spend and who Brown will pursue to return to the postseason. But if the Astros can successfully upgrade their rotation, their resurgence could become a full-fledged reign of terror – one that the baseball world knows well.

Main Photo: © Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports


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