Houston Astros trade rumors indicate that the team is still in contact with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, and Tampa Bay Rays in a search for more starting pitching. A report by MLB analyst Bob Nightengale states that the Astros are trying to get Jose Quintana from the White Sox, Chris Archer from the Rays, and Sonny Gray from the Athletics. The asking prices for each of the All-Star starting pitchers is said to be "extremely high" at this point, causing the Astros to take a step back in most of the trade negotiations.
What has become very clear, though, is that the Astros are remaining in constant contact with the three teams "selling" starting pitching in case the price happens to come down. An official offer came in from the Chicago White Sox, with the team putting Jose Quintana on the table. The asking price was Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker, and Joe Musgrove. The team was said to have balked at that offer, suggesting the Astros aren't willing to overpay for another starting pitcher (yet).
Another report on the Houston Astros trade rumors comes from MLB analyst Peter Gammons, who states that Sonny Gray isn't heading to Texas. It would appear that the Astros are striking out in a quest to land one of the big-name starting pitchers on the trade market, which could lead the team to explore other options in free agency or on the lower end of the spectrum. While Astros fans would love the team to acquire players like Jose Quintana, Sonny Gray, or Chris Archer, it could be good news that the front office won't give up uber prospects to make it happen.
The Oakland Athletics are shopping Sonny Gray because he has entered the arbitration years of his contract. While he still has three years of team control left (including the 2017 MLB season), this is typically what the Athletics do in order to get the most value from a player. Even if a deal isn't struck with the Astros, the Athletics are expected to part ways with Gray long before the MLB trade deadline hits in July. Currently, the asking price might be too high for some teams, as Gray is coming off a rough 2016 season.
As for the other pitcher continuously getting mentioned in Houston Astros trade rumors, it may not be affordable for the team to acquire Chris Archer from the Tampa Bay Rays. It has long been rumored that the Rays would want to receive Alex Bregman as part of any package, but the Rays also took a step back from trade negotiations when they dealt pitcher Drew Smyly to the Seattle Mariners. The team may no longer want to part with another piece of the rotation unless they were to fall out of contention early in the 2017 campaign.
The easiest player for the Astros to acquire would be Jose Quintana of the Chicago White Sox, as the franchise is desperate to move all of its veterans. The White Sox already traded pitcher Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox and outfielder Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals, with both deals yielding high-end prospects. The team could also move third baseman Todd Frazier and first baseman Jose Abreu if the right deal comes along. The short-term plan is to trade Quintana, though, with the front office waiting for the right moment to pull the trigger.
If the Astros truly want to acquire Quintana, then the team has the assets to complete a deal. The White Sox are already showing interest in a lot of prospects that the Astros control, but the price tag won't be inexpensive. If the front office in Houston feels that the team is one starting pitcher away from being World Series contenders, then it might be time to just pull the trigger on a deal. It has been a winter packed with Houston Astros rumors, but one final trade could certainly give the team added momentum and ticket sales as Spring Training approaches.
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