The Astros acquired Tyler Clippard last night and swung a deal to acquire Francisco Liriano prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, but they’re still on the lookout for relief upgrades, tweets MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal. Specifically, Houston hopes to add another left-handed reliever. Of course, with the best record in the American League, Houston won’t have a wide swath of quality relief arms from which to choose. The Astros’ stellar 72-45 record means they’re currently 14th in line for American League players that are placed on revocable waivers and dead last in line for National League players that are put through the same process. Desirable assets like Brad Hand, for instance, have no chance of making it to Houston via the waiver circuit.
From a purely speculative standpoint, the Astros could once again look at left-handed starters that have fared well against southpaws this season. Houston tried that route with the Liriano acquisition, though the early returns haven’t been pretty. Nonetheless, such an acquisition would come with a minimal or negligible cost. Derek Holland, for instance, has been effective against lefties but torched by righties this year and could likely be had for little more than salary relief. Alternatively, Houston could roll the dice on a struggling change-of-scenery reliever such as Ian Krol.
A bit more from the AL West…
- Six days after landing on the disabled list due to bursitis in his right shoulder, Felix Hernandez is still at the strength-building stage of his recovery, Mariners manager Scott Servais tells Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Hernandez is currently on anti-inflammatory medication but has yet to begin throwing. His initial three- to four-week recovery timeline appears unchanged. There’s better news on David Phelps, though, Dutton writes. He’s progressing through a throwing program and could be activated as soon as this weekend against the Rays.
- Athletics manager Bob Melvin said today in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that Matt Olson and Matt Chapman are “definitely” the team’s corner infielders of the future (audio link via Twitter). The skipper exuded confidence in the duo’s defensive abilities, though each has also shown promise at the plate in his first extended look in the Majors. Olson is hitting just .211 but has a 10 percent walk rate and seven homers through his first 80 plate appearances. He’ll need to improve on his 36 percent strikeout clip, though his 24 percent mark in Triple-A offers some optimism in that regard. Chapman, meanwhile, is hitting a similar .228/.305/.507 with eight homers and a 9.7 percent walk rate through 154 plate appearances. He’s regarded as a superlative defender and has posted an outrageous +12 Defensive Runs Saved in just 351 innings.
- Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram spoke to Adrian Beltre about the Rangers’ Wild Card hopes even after trading Yu Darvish prior to the non-waiver deadline. “I think we were a little disappointed trading one of the best pitchers in the last five years,” said Beltre. “…It was a little gloomy, but we had a little talk. … In this clubhouse, we are still grinding and believe we can get back in this.”
- The Rangers have reached a pivotal point in their schedule as they hope to position themselves for a Wild Card berth, writes Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. With a four-game series against a depleted Tigers roster and three games against the rebuilding White Sox, the Rangers have a favorable slate of games on the horizon. Texas is currently just 3.5 games out of the American League’s second Wild Card spot and is coming off a series victory over the division-leading Astros this weekend. The majority of the American League still has some degree of Wild Card hope remaining, and the final two weeks of August figure to play a large role in what August moves (if any) fringe Wild Card clubs will make before month’s end.