Houston Astros: Team ‘fully expected’ to land pitcher Zach Wheeler

New York Mets pitcher Zach Wheeler, who is rumored to be targeted by the Houston Astros (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
New York Mets pitcher Zach Wheeler, who is rumored to be targeted by the Houston Astros (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros are reportedly ‘working hard’ and ‘fully expected’ to trade for starting right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler. What’s the latest?

We’re almost there Houston Astros fans!  The MLB trade deadline is upon us and we have a little over 24 hours to go before ultimately we’ll be seeing a lot of movement.  I think this trade deadline will be more frenzied than ever.

Why?  Tomorrow’s deadline is now all-stakes, there’s no longer a “waiver” deadline at the end of August, so if teams are going to make a move, they best do it now or risk waiting until the winter to get something done.

As you already know, the Houston Astros will be among the fray of buyers and they’ve been shopping for not only a starting pitcher but for a catcher as well.  The starting rotation needs one more arm to fill out the rotation and there are certainly improvements that can be made with the catcher position.

Max Stassi hasn’t been what the Houston Astros have expected at the plate and they obviously feel that they can upgrade at the position.  The latest rumors link the ballclub to trying to bring Martin Maldonado back into the fold.  He was just traded two weeks ago to the Chicago Cubs from the Kansas City Royals.  His familiarity on how the Houston Astros operate obviously make him a good fit for a reunion.

In terms of the starting pitching, the team still has their sights set on Noah Syndergaard, Matthew Boyd and Robbie Ray.

But add another starter to mix of guys the Houston Astros are targeting.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Houston Astros are “working hard” to acquire the services of one Zack Wheeler.  Andy Martino of SNY.tv says that “one rival exec ‘fully expect[s]’ the Houston Astros hunt to end with Wheeler.

The Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s are also hot on the trail for Wheeler’s services as well.

Apparently, the price is too high on Syndergaard so the Houston Astros have turned to Wheeler as another to deal with the New York Mets.

How much would he cost?

Wheeler will earn $5.7 million this season so his costs are quite low in terms of the monetary aspect.  The Houston Astros would likely be paying him about $2.7 million to close out the season.  But I give you one caveat — Wheeler becomes a free agent next season, some I’m sure the franchise sees Wheeler as a rental with the possibility of locking him up to long-term deal if he performs well.

The club typically goes with guys that have controllable years in their pacts but it seems that they’re so hellbent on getting a reliable, capable starter that it doesn’t matter to them and they’ll revisit his contract situation at the end of the season if they were to nab him from the Mets.

Just like with all of the guys that they’re targeting, it’s clear that Kyle Tucker is off the table, especially with Wheeler when you don’t know if you’re going to keep him beyond this season.  I’m still putting Freudis Nova, J.B. Bukauskas or Ronnie Dawson as the centerpiece to any trade package that I’m putting together.

If they can get it done with less, that’s all the better for the Houston Astros but we’ll certainly

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have to see how this deal — if it happens — shakes out.

How is Wheeler doing?

The 29-year-old right-handed pitcher hasn’t had his best of seasons but that doesn’t necessarily matter.  With a change of scenery, especially to the Houston Astros, he will likely see a bump in production.  The Justin Verlander trade is Exhibit A and I think the same could happen with Wheeler.

Wheeler has posted a 7-6 record, a 4.71 ERA while tossing 137 strikeouts off 65 earned runs through 124.1 innings pitcher in 20 starts.  He has a solid 3.65 FIP as well as a decent 1.27 WHIP.  His K/9 rate is definitely something to drool over as it’s currently holding at a 9.9.  That’s the kind of player the Houston Astros need in their stable.

Next. Astros looking to reunite with catcher Martin Maldonado. dark

The Bottom Line

Nonetheless, grabbing Wheeler will be an ultimate trade deadline win and this team will benefit from his presence.  His contract situation makes this a bit of a risky move but it’s all about pushing some chips — not all — to the table to WIN NOW.  Wheeler is the guy to do it for.

So all in all — I fully endorse this rumor and hopefully, the franchise reaps the fruit of their labor to get Wheeler.

Let’s do this — go Houston Astros!