If the Astros don’t recover from their 17-26 start, they could become interesting sellers as the trade deadline approaches, says FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link). As pending free agents at season’s end, outfielder Colby Rasmus, right-handers Doug Fister and Scott Feldman, and catcher Jason Castro could all be on the move. Center fielder Carlos Gomez’s deal is also set to expire, though his value is close to nonexistent at the moment, according to Rosenthal. Gomez has rapidly fallen from grace since the Astros surrendered a handful of youthful pieces for him and righty Mike Fiers at last year’s deadline. Thanks to both that trade and the offseason acquisition of reliever Ken Giles, the Astros have lost several young players and could replenish their system this summer by moving at least some of the aforementioned veterans.
More of the latest rumblings from Rosenthal:
- Athletics lefty Rich Hill, third baseman Danny Valencia and reliever John Axford are all potential deadline chips, reports Rosenthal. The only member of the trio unsigned beyond this season is the 36-year-old Hill, who is on a $6MM salary and has performed like an ace since his red-hot September with Boston in 2015. Valencia is currently making $3.15MM and has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining, and he has been quietly spectacular going back to last season. Over his past 475 plate appearances, Valencia has slashed .302/.352/.531 with 24 homers. With third base prospect Matt Chapman waiting in the wings, the A’s could sell high on Valencia, per Rosenthal. Axford, meanwhile, has gotten solid results in 18 2/3 frames this year (2.89 ERA) while recording a career-worst strikeout rate (5.79 per nine) and a personal-best walk rate (1.45). He’s making $4.5MM this season and is set to rake in another $5.5MM in 2017.
- The Indians could try to upgrade their bullpen by acquiring a left-hander or a dominant late-inning arm, but two factors are working against them: Other contenders will be in the hunt for similar help, and the Indians are “notoriously cautious” when discussing trades.
- The Phillies are prepared to deal right-hander Jeremy Hellickson if a solid offer comes along, though they’re also focused on limiting the innings thrown by some of the younger members of their rotation. Thanks to Charlie Morton’s season-ending injury, the 28-year-old Hellickson is now the elder statesman of a Phillies rotation that has been among baseball’s best in 2016. Hellickson, who’s on a $7MM salary and is scheduled to become a free agent at season’s end, has put up a 3.99 ERA to accompany significantly improved strikeout and walk rates (9.06 and 2.36, respectively) in 49 2/3 innings this year.