The Astros had a very active day on Monday, bringing in a pair of veteran position players in Trey Mancini and Christian Vázquez and reportedly agreeing to swap Jake Odorizzi with the Braves’ Will Smith. Houston isn’t finished trying to bolster the roster before the deadline, however, as Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reports (Twitter link) they’re on the hunt for center field help.
Houston general manager James Click has already checked off what very well may have been the club’s three biggest needs this summer — first base, catcher and left-handed relief. Center field is arguably the final area the front office should target, as the club has gotten just a .200/.262/.342 showing out of the position. Jake Meyers has struggled since returning from the injured list, and José Siri underwhelmed before he was dealt to the Rays as part of the three-team deal that brought back Mancini. Chas McCormick has played well for a second straight season, but he’s seen a bit more time in the corner outfield than in center this year.
The Astros have reportedly inquired about Pirates star Bryan Reynolds in the past, and Rosenthal recently floated the idea of Houston dangling some of their controllable starters to the Orioles in an attempt to pry away Cedric Mullins. Both players seem unlikely to move over the next 16 hours, but the Astros potential interest in both demonstrates the club has explored the possibility of an impact center field pickup for a while.
Assuming both Reynolds and Mullins stay put, the trade market at the position isn’t especially robust. Oakland’s Ramón Laureano would be the top player who’s likely to be available, but it’s hard to envision the Astros making a run at him. Not only could the intra-division rivalry complicate a trade, the Astros dealt away Laureano as a prospect for a minimal return, and there’s been no love lost between the A’s and Astros over the past few years.
Kansas City’s Michael A. Taylor and the Cubs Rafael Ortega are the only other center fielders who placed among MLBTR’s top deadline trade candidates. Other players who could conceivably be available include the Nationals Víctor Robles and, if the Giants decide to retool at the deadline, Mike Yastrzemski.