Astros GM Jeff Luhnow suggested today that he doesn’t anticipate making another significant acquisition this month. In an appearance on the Josh Innes Show on SportsTalk 790, the Houston executive said in particular that the team isn’t likely to add a starter.
“Right now I would set expectations very low that anything happens between now and the end of the month,” Luhnow said when asked about the possibility of bolstering the rotation. While he noted that the club will “continue to monitor” the market, Luhnow indicated there are no ongoing talks to pick up another arm.
While we heard yesterday that the ’Stros have had some recent chats with the Tigers about Justin Verlander, it also seemed that there was no real momentum toward a deal. The longtime Detroit ace is just one of many players to have cleared waivers this month, though he’s actually the only starter to have reportedly done so to this point.
Despite Luhnow’s understandably cautious comments, perhaps it’s still possible something could come together. Houston and Detroit have “a good understanding of the other’s position” in trade talks, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). That situation, he suggests, could yet set the stage for a late-breaking deal later this month.
Beyond Verlander, it’s tough to identify a plausible target for Houston during the August trade season. An unknown organization has placed a claim on Blue Jays righty Marco Estrada, though there’s no indication it was the Astros or that any deal is likely. A variety of other hurlers could also conceivably make for August trade candidates, though none have been tied to Houston.
While the Astros would surely like to upgrade their overall pitching mix, the team has made clear it won’t reach on a valuation to do so. And there’s little reason for the club to add an arm for depth purposes, with the division in hand and plenty of viable rotation pieces on the staff. If anything, it would seem the organization would have potential interest in adding a hurler worthy of taking the ball to start a postseason game.
It’s worth your time to give a listen to the remainder of the interview as well. Luhnow discussed a variety of topics, including the recent acquisition of Tyler Clippard — a pitcher the team has “had [its] eye on for a couple years” — and the outlook on young contributors Derek Fisher and Francis Martes.