The Astros and Padres have had “at least a preliminary conversation” regarding starters Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports. Houston is continuing to evaluate an array of options, though — including talks with the Phillies on Cole Hamels that appear to have some traction — so nothing appears close.
Houston GM Jeff Luhnow said earlier today that the club is prepared to deal from among its best prospects “if that’s what is required and that was our best option to improve this team.” Of course, the club’s best-regarded young players are now a part of the 25-man roster.
Adding a young, controllable arm such as Ross or Cashner would obviously require the Astros to give up some serious value in return. The former is probably the more valuable piece at this point, given his added year of control and superior overall performance over the last two years. But both are highly desirable assets, and Houston would undoubtedly face competition if they are marketed.
The issue with Hamels, of course, is his no-trade clause, which reports have suggested he’d be disinclined to waive for the Astros. But discussions between the teams have not reached the point where that question has been addressed between Houston and Hamels, per the report, so it’s not certain whether he could be an achievable target.
Luhnow continues to emphasize that starting pitching is his highest priority, though he’s also cited an increasing need for a bat. As MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reported earlier today, Luhnow says that his club has “opened up a lot more conversations regarding position players” and was also talking with teams about pen arms.