Though they’ve fallen back to the pack somewhat in recent weeks, the Astros have serious interest in Reds starter Johnny Cueto, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Cueto sat atop Houston’s list of targets at the end of June, per Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, and Heyman says that still appears to be the case. Needless to say, the veteran righty would provide a huge boost to an Astros team that has received underwhelming results from the back of its rotation, effectively slotting another top-of-the-rotation arm (alongside Dallas Keuchel) into a slot that has been occupied by a revolving door of starters. Houston will obviously face plenty of competition in their pursuit, assuming that Cincinnati puts its ace on the market.
Here’s more from the AL West:
- The Athletics remain one of the most interesting teams to watch heading into the season’s second half, as they possess several obvious trade pieces but are still not fully buried in the AL West. John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group breaks down the factors weighing in club’s decisionmaking process, noting that GM Billy Beane remains optimistic of his current roster’s quality. A rival American League GM tells Hickey that he doesn’t believe Oakland to be too far back to make a run, and Hickey ultimately concludes that “it seems unlikely to see a mass selloff” as things stand.
- After welcoming back starter Matt Harrison from a lengthy absence, the Rangers are set to activate fellow left-handed rotation piece Martin Perez on Friday, the club announced. Perez underwent Tommy John surgery last May, at the same point in time that Harrison went down. Now 24, Perez agreed to a four-year, $12.5MM deal with three club options (2018-2020) back in November of 2013. At the time, he was fresh off of a 124 1/3 inning, 3.62 ERA showing in his age-22 season. He has plenty of time to regain his former promise and provide value to the Rangers under that contract.
- While Rangers GM Jon Daniels said recently that he hopes to add a “complementary right-handed bat,” it remains unclear precisely what players the team could target. MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted in the just-linked piece that now-free agent Delmon Young could make some sense, particularly given that he could likely be had for a relatively meager commitment. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets that Texas has not yet reached out to Young’s representatives, though of course the 29-year-old has only been on the market for a few days.