While many, including myself, had high hopes for another bat (Carlos Beltran/Jay Bruce/Jonathan Lucroy) and/or some pitching help (Chris Sale/Chris Archer), Luhnow decided the costs weren’t worth the potential benefits. And within that decision, Luhnow made it clear it’s up to the 25 men currently on the roster to turn things around.
A Beltran or Bruce type would’ve been nice to plug into left field and/or DH, it very clearly wasn’t worth the cost. To get Beltran, the Rangers dealt the #4 overall pick in last year’s draft. Granted Dillon Tate has been terrible and his prospect status has fallen, he still has tremendous upside and was one of the Rangers top 5 prospects. For the Astros, that would have been like sending Kyle Tucker to the Yankees. I’ll pass on that for a 39-year old rental, no matter how well Beltran has been playing this season.
With no offensive help at the deadline, Luhnow clearly sends a message to guys like Colby Rasmus, Carlos Gomez and Evan Gattis. The three veterans have been terrible for the most part this season, though Gattis has actually proven to be a pretty good backup catcher. Still, the trio is hitting .218, .216 and .221 on the season, and July has been even worse for two of them with Rasmus hitting .074 and Gomez hitting .189.
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Yes, Luhnow wants those three to improve, but the truth is the Astros will be getting offensive help with Luis Valbuena coming back healthy and Yulieski Gurriel’s eventual call up. Gurriel is currently in the Minors shaking off some rust, but should be able to help the Astros immediately at left field or DH, both positions of need.
The Astros should also call up first base prospect A.J. Reed. He should be receiving everyday at-bats at the Major League level and could help out at 1B and DH. He was hitting .233 with an .757 OPS in inconsistent July at-bats in Houston and was better than five other regulars. Why he was sent down is beyond me.
But by not trading for any bats, Luhnow told his team that they’re good enough to win without help. That if you guys (read – Rasmus, Gomez, Gattis, Castro and others) start producing at normal levels, then this team and this offense will flourish.
Whether that was the right move or not remains to be seen, but I believe trading for extra bats was not worth the price. The Astros have the players to get better internally and I believe they will.
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