Which pitchers should the Astros target ahead of the trade deadline?

With the Astros climbing to the top of the AL West standings, Astros trade rumors 2021 are swirling as the trade deadline approaches. Houston is looking like a genuine World Series contender.

After the embarrassment of being outed as cheaters, the Astros could be more motivated than ever to win a championship. But they know that if they want to be World Series winners, they’ll need to improve the roster before the trade deadline.

Just keep in mind that the Astros have rarely been shy when it comes to making moves. In past years, they’ve worked out trades for both Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander right before the trade deadline. Houston’s approach could be similar this year in terms of the Astros’ trade targets and a willingness to make serious moves that can make them World Series winners for the second time in five years.

Astros trade rumors 2021

Most Astros trade rumors this summer will likely revolve around the bullpen. This is undoubtedly the biggest weakness on Houston’s roster. In fairness, the Astros are solidly middle of the pack in bullpen ERA and have been successful in past years without a stable bullpen. However, this is one area that the Astros must address if they expect to win another championship.

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At the same time, the club might need a veteran starter, just to be on the safe side. Outside of Greinke and Lance McCullers Jr., the Houston rotation has been carried by a group of young pitchers.

The Astros are obviously hoping that those pitchers can continue to perform at such a high level. But there’s no guarantee that will happen, especially with the uncertainty of young pitchers reaching an innings limit after a shortened 2020 season. That could create a need for a veteran starter to shore things up and provide a little insurance and experience.

Finally, don’t be surprised to hear some Astros trade rumors relating to the catcher position. While this isn’t a pressing need, Martin Maldonado is having a dreadful offensive season. Granted, the Astros don’t need a lot of offense from that position. But it’s one area where an upgrade might be required.

Astros trade targets

As mentioned, the top Astros trade targets will all be relievers. Pittsburgh’s Richard Rodriguez, Seattle’s Kendall Graveman, and Ian Kennedy of the Rangers are among the best relievers who are likely to be traded this summer.

Kennedy would be the top choice, although he will also be the most expensive, especially if the Astros want the Rangers to trade him to a division rival. Of course, getting any one of those relievers would be huge, especially since the Astros might need to trade for multiple bullpen arms this summer.

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In terms of starting pitchers, look for Michael Pineda of the Twins and Danny Duffy of the Royals to be potential trade targets.

Both pitchers are having good seasons for bad teams. Neither would be considered a frontline starter, but either could be a solid mid-rotation starter to shore up the Houston rotation down the stretch. The Astros don’t need a top-notch starter as much as they need bullpen help. That’s why most Astros trade rumors will likely revolve around steady mid-rotation and back-end starters but also the best relievers who figure to be available.

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