Adding Bat Should Be Houston Astros’ Top Priority


With the MLB Trade Deadline just days away, the Houston Astros’ focus has remained on adding more pitching. However, with as many glaring holes the lineup currently features, adding a bat is crucial to the success the Astros want to obtain on the way to a postseason run.

In the latest rumors making the rounds around the internet, the Astros are said to be making a push to nab Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels in a deal that would undoubtedly give them the best rotation among A.L. teams with the addition of Scott Kazmir — who was acquired last week in a trade — to go along with Cy Young candidate Dallas Keuchel and rookie fireballer Lance McCullers Jr. Even though getting Hamels would be a fantastic get for Houston, going out and trading for a bat that will contribute to the starting lineup immediately should be a higher priority.

The Astros expect to get infielder Jed Lowrie back in the near future as well as hopefully seeing George Springer return to the lineup sometime during August (though likely September). That having been said, the team is still in need of a consistent bat that can help take some of the pressure off of the pitching staff when the offense goes into a home-run drought.

As it stands, Houston has multiple holes in the lineup offensively at third base in Luis Valbuena, first base with Chris Carter, Jason Castro at catcher and in center field with Jake Marisnick. Defensively, Preston Tucker doesn’t look cut out to be manning the position for a team in the playoff hunt.

Theoretically, keeping Marisnick and Castro in the lineup for defensive purposes is fine if you can find a way to add an upgrade with the bat at another position.

Lowrie coming back to play first or (hopefully) third is a step in the right direction, but until Springer gets back, upgrading left field should be the move Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow addresses first.

Tucker is a liability, at best, on defense in the outfield and, as it tends to do, the ball is finding him more and more as of late.

Even though it makes sense with him being left-handed with experience at the position, as well as one of the better hitters in the lineup from a numbers standpoint, Tucker is apparently not an option to move to first base, according to Evan Drellich in an article about a week ago. Unfortunately, that leaves him as the odd-man out unless the Astros dive into the market for a first baseman, which doesn’t seem likely unless they are ready to give up on Singleton.

Adding a corner outfielder gives the Astros more flexibility in the future when Springer comes back, being able to move Colby Rasmus from right field to center and making Marisnick the fourth outfielder/late-inning defensive replacement, or just letting Springer take over center field himself.

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As for who might be an option to take a serious look at for the Astros, Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez might be the perfect fit. Now that Troy Tulowitzki is on the move to the Toronto Blue Jays, Gonzalez — who has seen a resurgence at the plate after bringing his average up 25 points this month to .278 to go along with 20 home runs, 51 RBIs and an ..852 OPS — may suddenly be even more attainable and would be an instant upgrade over Tucker in every aspect.

You can be sure that Luhnow is continuing to look at ways to improve the Astros for a postseason run as the trade deadline approaches. Even though the rumors seem to have them focusing on pitching, don’t be shocked if you see Houston land a bat to help increase the production at the plate.

The MLB Trade Deadline is July 31st.

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Next: Four Trades That Will Push The Astros To A World Series

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